SMITH, Sir Lawrence (c.1516-82), of Chester and Hough, Cheshire.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. c.1516, 1st s. of Sir Thomas Smith, mayor of Chester, by Katherine, da. of Sir Andrew Brereton of Brereton. m. (1) by 1546, Agnes, da. of Sir Thomas Foulshurst of Crewe, 3s.; (2) Jan. 1561, Jane, da. of Sir Peter Warburton of Arley, wid. of Sir William Brereton I, 1 or 2 da. suc. fa. 1538. Kntd. 11 May 1544.1

Offices Held

Mayor, Chester 1540-1, 1558-9, 1563-4, 1570-1; commr. musters, Cheshire 1545, j.p. from c.1543, q. 1564, sheriff 1551-2, 1566-7; commr. to survey church ornaments, Chester c.1553; commr. and deputy to council in marches of Wales 1553; commr. piracy, Cheshire 1565.2


Smith’s father had given valuable services to Chester, and there is a reference in the borough archives to the ‘great good liking of the city’ for both Sir Thomas and Sir Lawrence—who may have been the ‘Lawrence Smith, goldsmith’ mentioned in Chester records for 1543-4. Between 1540 and 1545 he served as a soldier and was knighted at Leith. He voted against a government bill in the Parliament of 1555. Early in Elizabeth’s reign he again saw active service, leading a company of 200 men in the Scottish campaign of 1560. Seven years later he was one of three local officials chosen to take musters at the port of Chester, and was responsible, jointly with Sir Hugh Cholmley, for transporting soldiers to Ireland. Smith had to borrow from the city for the soldiers’ charges.3

He was a comparatively wealthy landowner, holding property not only at Chester and Hough, but at Chorlton, Blakenhall and elsewhere in the county; and in a district where a number of the leading gentry were crypto-Catholics, his support of the Elizabethan church settlement (he was classified as favourable in 1564) would have made him a valuable county official. In Chester he continued his father’s tradition of generosity, offering to pave the Black Friars, and agreeing with two craftsmen for

the annual painting of the city’s four giants, one unicorn, one dromedary, one luce [pike], one camel, one ass, one dragon, six hobby-horses and six naked boys.

He died on 23 Aug. 1582, and was buried at St. Bride’s, Chester.

The funeral sermon was preached by Mr. Goodman, standing in the window of the high house next adjoining to the church, because the church was so little, and the company so great.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. PRO, Chester 3/67/13; 80/19; Vis. Cheshire (Harl. Soc. xviii), 209; (lix), 212; G. Ormerod, Cheshire, iii. 503; LP Hen. VIII, xix(1), p. 328.
  • 2. Ormerod, i. 213; Cheshire Sheaf (ser. 1), ii. 184; Chester mayors’ bk. 1541-5, f. 3; G. L. Fenwick, Hist. Chester, 534; LP Hen. VIII, xx(1), pp. 254, 316; CPR, 1547-8, p. 81; 1550-3, p. 397; Chester RO, M/L/5/3; APC, vii. 284.
  • 3. Chester RO, A/B/1/187; mayors’ bk. f. 9; HMC Montagu, 7; CSP Dom. 1547-80, pp. 288, 291.
  • 4. PRO, Chester 3/80/19; Chetham Soc. li. 21 seq.; Cam. Misc. ix(3), pp. 73, 76; Chester RO, A/B/1/185; Fenwick, 370; Ormerod, iii. 503; J. Hemingway, Hist. Chester, i. 152.