SMITH (SMYTH), Sir John, 2nd Bt. (c.1659-1726), of Long Ashton, Som.
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Family and Education
b. c.1659, 1st s. of Sir Hugh Smith, 1st Bt.†, of Long Ashton by Elizabeth (d. 1697) da. of John Ashburnham†, groom of the bedchamber to Charles I, of Ashburnham, Suss. educ. Eton; St. John’s, Oxf. matric. 6 Feb. 1677, aged 17. m. 11 Aug. 1692 (with £10,000), Elizabeth (d. 1715), da. and coh. of Sir Samuel Astry of Henbury, Glos., 3s. (2 d.v.p.) 5da. suc. fa. as 2nd Bt. 28 July 1680.1
Sheriff, Som. Nov. 1688–Apr. 1689, Nov. 1689–90; member, cttee. of poor, Mdx. and Westminster 1706.2
Smith, who came from a strongly Tory family, had been turned out of local office in 1688 for giving negative replies to the questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws. Having served a second term in the shrieval office during 1689–90, he was reappointed a deputy-lieutenant in May 1691. He briefly came under suspicion in 1694 as being one of the leading Tory figures in the Bristol area who still pledged loyalty to King James. However, the government’s informer on this issue was able to give assurances that Sir John Knight*, the leading Jacobite figure in the Bristol area, had never spoken of Smith as ‘a rebel’, and he was noted on an accompanying list as being ‘against the late King’. He was returned unopposed for Somerset in the 1695 election, and appears to have quickly aligned himself with the Country opposition: in January 1696 he was forecast as a probable opponent of the Court on the proposed council of trade, and voted against fixing the price of guineas at 22s. in March. He also refused to sign the Association in February. Although granted leave of absence on 23 Nov. 1696 on account of his wife’s illness, he did not leave London until he had voted against the attainder of Sir John Fenwick† on 25 Nov. He was given leave again on 5 Mar. 1697 to attend his dying mother. He declined re-election in 1698, but in an analytical view of the House compiled afterwards he was noted as a member of the Country party. Though never tempted to re-enter Parliament, he was nevertheless active in later elections.3
After 1715 Smith remained on the Somerset commission of the peace and became notable for discouraging zeal against sedition. In 1719 he was dismissed from the bench by the lords justices, and subsequently convicted at Taunton assizes for using his power as a magistrate in a ‘factious’ manner. He died on 26 May 1726 aged 66 and was buried at Long Ashton. His only surviving son succeeded him as 3rd baronet. Two of his daughters married the Bristol MPs Thomas Coster† and Sir Jarrit Smith, 1st. Bt.†4
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Authors: Paula Watson / Andrew A. Hanham
- 1. Collinson, Som. ii. 293–4, 300–1; Bristol RO, Ac/74/10, 34, John Ashburnham to Hugh Smith, 17 Dec. 1659, 28 June [no year]; Trans. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. xxxiii. 313–14, 330.
- 2. Folger Shakespeare Lib. Newdigate newsletter, 29 June 1706.
- 3. CSP Dom. 1690–1, p. 358; BL, Trumbull Misc. mss 40, info. sworn by Owen Banaghan, 29 Aug. 1694; Bath mss at Longleat House, Thynne pprs. 25, f. 441.
- 4. L. K. J. Glassey, Appt. JPs. 257; Collinson, 294, 301.