The Smithson Family of Newsham and of Cumberland

William Le Smythsonne of Thornton Watlas, near Bedale, who was defendant in a plea for depasturing cattle at Thornton Watlas in 1265 (49 Hen. III.), had two sons, of whom:

  1. Robert Smytheson was residing at Thornton Watlas in 1286 (14 Ed. I.).
  2. Wm. le Smytheson lived at Kerperby in 20 Ed. I., was married, and had issue.

The elder son, Robert Smytheson of Thornton Watlas, who married - -, and had issue (together with two other sons, Wm. of Ainstable, Co. Cumberland, who paid subsidy 1 Ed. III., and was a defendant in a plea of debt 18 Ed. III., and Roger Smithson of Lynton, 1 Ed. III., living 18 Ed. III., whose son, Thomas Smithson – married, and had issue – plaintiff in a plea of land, 40 Ed. III.) an elder son, viz.:

Peter le Smytheson of Thornton Watlas, who paid subsidy in 1 Ed. III. (1327) ' married –, and had issue two sons:

  1. Robert Smithson of Thornton Watlas, defendant with his father in a plea of assault at Burrell, 9 Ed. III.; summoned, together with Hugh de Thoresby, before the King to answer for their redemption, 22 Ed. III. He married –, and had issue three sons, of whom below.
  2. William Smithson of Thornton Watlas, defendant in a plea of trespass, 19 Ed. III.; married, and had issue.

Of the three sons of Robert Smithson above mentioned, the second, Hugh Smithson of Barton, sold one messuage in Liverpool, which he had in right of his wife Eleanora, in the fourth year of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, 1365. The third son, Robert Smithson, was residing at Dalton, 44 Ed. III. The eldest son of Robert Smithson, sen., of Thornton Watlas, was named William Smithson, who moved to Newsham, in Broghtonlith, and against whom John de Richmond claimed £20 damages for depasturing cattle on his lands at Newsham, etc., 44 Ed. III. (1370). The above William married –, and had issue four sons – William, John, Robert and Roger. Of these the second, John Smithson of Altofts, near Wakefield, was defendant in a plea touching lands of his wife's inheritance, 4 Hen. IV. (1403-4). He married Cecilie, daughter and heiress of Adam Bates of Whitwood, Co. York, and had issue. From him was descended Thos. Smythson, jun., of Altofts, whose will was proved at York in 1530 (cf. Appendix), and mentions his son Gilbert, etc. Also from him probably came Thomas Smythson of Normanton. Will proved at York, 1543, and mentions his sons William, Thomas, Robert, and James.

The third son of William, Robert Smithson of Altofts, held lands of his brother John, and was defendant in divers pleas – 4 Hen. IV., 4 and 9 Hen. V., and 17 Hen. VI. He was married and left issue.

The fourth son of William, Roger Smithson of Gilberdike, Co. York, was plaintiff in a plea of trespass, 4 Hen. IV. He married and had issue. The eldest son of Wm. Smithson of Newsham was Wm. Smithson of Newsham-in-Broghtonlith, called upon the records Wm. Smithson of Newton-in-Brogtonlith, sen., 20 Rich. II. was defendant in a plea at the suit of the Abbot of Rivalle touching lands in Rethe-in-Swaledale, 19 Rich. II., 2 Hen. IV., and 6 Hen. IV., etc. He married –, and had two sons, William and John.

Of these, the younger, John Smithson of Newsham, husbandman, was living 6 Hen. V. and 10 Hen. VI.; married, and had issue.

The elder son, Wm. Smithson, jun., of Newsham, seized of lands in Yafford in right of his wife, where he resided 4 Hen. IV., was one of the jurymen at an inquisition taken at Richmond touching the Manor of Fletham, 5 Hen. IV., and is styled upon the records as yeoman, franklyn, and gentleman, as also forester; ob. temp. Hen. V. In the ' Annals of the House of Percy ' by De Fonblanque, privately printed, an eighteenth-century statement is quoted, which says that ' a parchment Deed is now in the possession of Sir Hugh Smithson (subsequently Duke of Northumberland), from which, together with the Ruins of the Mansion Seat and part of the estate, it appears that William Smithson, gent., there lived in the Reign of Rich. II., and by several subsequent deeds, that the family continued in the same place.'

The above-mentioned Wm. Smithson, jun., married Matilda, daughter and coheiress of – of Yafford by Beatrix his wife, daughter and heir of Henry de Bellerby by Alicia his wife, and had issue three sons, Hugh, John, and Robert. Of these John, the second son, of Walbourne, near Leyburn, was defendant in pleas of trespass, 24 and 29 Hen. VI. Robert, the third son, of whose descendants we shall treat in another chapter, was a man-at-arms at the Battle of Agincourt, 3 Hen. V., and was at the muster at Southampton, May 7, 8 Hen. V.; living 29 Hen. VI. (1450-1). He married –, and had issue Robert Smithson of Gatherley, in temp. Hen. VI. and Hen. VII.; living 12 Hen. VIII. (1520-1); ancestor of the Smithsons of Moulton and Kipling.

The eldest son of William Smithson of Newsham was Hugh Smithson of Newsham, plaintiff, with Alicia his wife, in a plea of debt, 12 Hen. IV.; seized of lands in Newsham, 29 Hen. VI.; and tenant of lands in Newsham to John Catterick, Esq., of Stanwick. He married –, and had issue two sons, Anthony and Thomas Smithson.

Of these Thomas Smithson of Cowton Grange, then in the parish of Middleton Tyas, defendant in a plea of trespass at Middleton Tyas, 12 Hen. VIII. (1520), was ancestor of the Smithsons of Cowton. He maried Elizabeth –, and had issue Brian, Christopher, John, and Thomas, sons; and Isabel, Phillis, and Margaret, daughters. His will was proved, 1543, at Richmond.

Anthony Smithson of Newsham, the elder son of Wm. Smithson, held the lands under William Catterick, Esq., of Stanwick, temp. Hen. VII.; and also had lands in right of his wife. He married Alicia, daughter and heir of –, a widow, 19 Hen. VIII., held lands in Newsham of William Catterick, Esq. By her he had issue: Ralph, John, Christopher, Anthony, Henry, and Robert.

Of these Ralph Smithson of Newsham held lands there in farm under Anthony Catterick, Esq. He paid the subsidies 14, 15, 34, 35, 37 Hen. VIII. Will dated January 16, 1550, proved June 13, 1553, makes his two sons, William and Thomas, executors (witnesses: Anthonie Cattericke, Esq., France Cattericke, gentleman, and John Thompson, Giles Appleton, and Oliver Appleton, with other more). He married Margery, daughter of Alexander Makeres of Makeres of Barningham Hall. Will dated December 7, 1553. By her he had issue: William, Ralph, Thomas, John, George, Francis, and Anthony.

Of these the second son, Ralph Smithson of Newsham, Will dated May 5, 1582, married Margaret –, living 1582, He had issue by her: (1) Ralph of Newsham, ob. 1615, m. Eleanor – (goods administered by husband), and had issue: (2) John, (3) Henry, (4) Francis, (5) Anthony), (6) Margaret.

The third son of Ralph Smithson was Thomas, who was executor of his mother's will, 1563.

The eldest son of Ralph Smithson, William Smithson of Newsham, held lands under Anthony Catterick, Esq., 5 Ed. VI.; sold lands in Barningham, 6 Elizth., conjointly with Eleanor his wife; paid subsidy in Newsham and Melsonby, 8 Elizth.; was tenant of Anthony Catterick, Esq., 28 Elizth. He m. Eleanor –, and had issue: William, Anthony, Robert, Ninian, Christian, and Grace.

Of these, Anthony Smithson of Newsham, tenant to Anthony Catherick, was ancestor of the Smithsons of Stanwick, and of Sir Hugh Smithson, Bart., created Duke of Northumberland after his marriage to the heiress of the Percys.

We now return to Rev. Anthony Smithson, the fourth brother of Ralph Smithson of Newsham, and fourth son of Anthony Smithson of the same.

From a De Banco Roll of the 26 Henry VIII. (1534), we learn that Rev. Anthony Smithson, clerk, of Clyburne or Cliburn near Penrith in Cumberland was, together with Rev. Robert Smithson, late of Tyrington or Terrington, Yorks, and John Smithson, yeoman, of Alenby, Cumb., one of the co-executors of the Will of Rev. Wm. Burbank, senior, Archdeacon of Carlisle. Dr. Wm. Burbank was a very famous Divine, Secretary to Cardinal Bainbridge, then to Cardinal Wolsey, and patron and friend of Erasmus. His history will be told in another chapter. The three executors must have been nephews or near kinsmen of Dr. Burbank. The wills and parish registers in Cumberland do not reach back far enough to enable one to put the matter so clearly as in other parts of this pedigree, but we find in the latter half of the sixteenth century that a family of Smithsons was settled in the parish of Torpenhow, on the lands of Bothel and Blennerhasset, and also that the name Anthony shows that they were descendants of the parson of Cliburn.

Rev. Anthony Smithson, clerk, of Cliburn, Cumberland, younger son of Anthony Smithson (1.) of Newsham, and brother of Ralph Smithson of same place, married about that time (the rule of clerical celibacy never being of obligation in that diocese), and probably had three sons, who were the founders of the Smithsons of Bothel and Blennerhasset in the parish of Torpenhow, and of the Smithsons of Uldale parish, while John Smithson, the brother of Rev. Anthony, founded the Smithson family of Ellanby in the parish of Skelton. The Smithsons settled in the parishes of Bridekirk, Caldbeck, Allhallows, Ireby, and Aspatria, were offshoots of one or other of these branches.

Rev. Anthony Smithson m., and had issue:

  1. Richard Smithson of Bothel m., and had issue:
    1. Anthony Smithson of Bothel, m. Jane, and had issue (w. pr. 1579 at Carlisle):
      1. Richard Smithson of Bothel md. Ellenor, and had issue (supervisor to father's will, 1579; w. pr. 1607):
        1. Wm. Smithson.
        2. Anthony Smithson, paid hearth-money, 1662.
      2. John Smithson, executor of his father Anthony's will, 1579.
      3. Janet, m. Wilson.
      4. Thomas Smithson, believed to have gone to Ireby, of whom below.
      5. Robert Smithson.
  2. Matthew Smithson (?) of Uldale m,, and had issue:
    1. Anthony Smithson of Anertree, Uldale, m. Janet Slack, and had issue (iv. pr. 1578):
      1. John Smithson of Awkatree (w. pr, 1608).
    2. James Smithson of Crosby Ravensworth, m. Margaret Fairer (?), and had issue (w. pr, 1583):
      1. John Smithson m., and had a dr.
      2. Matthew Smithson (supervisor of will of Anthony, his uncle).
  3. Robert Smithson of Kirkland, Torpenhow, m., and had issue:
    1. Anthony Smithson of Kirkland, m. Agnes Plascayt (?), and had issue (w. pr. 1576):
      1. Richard Smithson.
      2. Robert Smithson.
      3. Janet Smithson.
      4. Margaret Smithson.
    2. William Smithson of Tallentier in psh. of Bridekirk, gr. admon. 1574, m., and had issue a dr., Helene.

We now return to Thomas Smithson, the third son of Anthony Smithson of Bothel.

Thomas Smithson, traditionally settled in the psh. of Ireby, m., and had Thomas Smithson, who settled in the parish of Caldbeck, died 1670, and was buried at Caldbeck. He married Frances, who d. 1673, and is buried at Caldbeck, and by her he had issue, with two drs., viz.:

  1. Jennet Smithson, who d. 1701.
  2. Elizabeth Smithson, born c. 1650, m. Thomas Jackson, 1672.

Thomas Smithson, junr., of Caldbeck, born 1645, mentioned in his son Joshua's will, 1720, buried 1735, m. Jane Ritson in 1680, and had issue three children, viz.:

  1. John Smithson of Caldbeck, bap. 1685, bur. 1759; m. –, and with a daughter had issue also a son:
    1. Joshua Srnithson, born 1721, d. 1787; m. Ann –, born 1717, and had issue:
      1. Joshua Smithson, 1759, of Croydon, died 1803.
  2. Joshua Smithson of Woodhall, bap. 1688, died 1720; w. pr. same year; m. Jane –, afterwards, widow of Felside, bur. 1735, and by her had issue an only child:
    1. John Smithson, born c. 1718 at Caldbeck, of whom below.
  3. Sarah Smithson, bap. Caldbeck Church, 1686.

John Smithson, the only child of Joshua Smithson, was the ancestor of a family, which owing to his failure to leave definite information, and also to the circumstance of his having joined the Society of Friends, was unable to trace clearly out the parentage and birthplace of John, their founder. It was only through the persistent researches carried out by one of the members of the family, aided by suggestions from some expert genealogists, and especially by the theory that the son of John Smithson, whose name was Joshua, was so called from his grand-father, that at last, in August, 1905, in Carlisle Probate Registry, the missing clue was found, and the will of a Joshua Srnithson of Caldbeck, proved 1720, turned out to be that of John Smithson's father. His connection ancestrally with the Smithsons of Newsham in Yorks is clearly established by old Carlisle wills, and by a record of an action in the King's Bench at Kendall Assizes in 1534.

John Smithson probably joined the Society of Friends at Kendal. The following entries are taken from the Friends' Records at Kendal:

‘ In the Kendal monthly meeting Records, 1, 3, 1747, appears the following: "A certificate on behalf of John Smithson [then about 28 years old], late of this meeting, is desired to Caldbeck monthly meeting in Cumberland, wherefore George Crossfield is desired to enquire into his clearness and prepare a few lines to be signed at our next meeting." '

The following is also of interest, as written at the close of his life:

' From Kendal monthly meeting, to friends in Cumberland and some parts adjacent ':


' Our Friend John Smithson having laid before this meeting a concern which has for some time been on his mind to pay you a religious visit, requesting our certificate, We may inform you that we have unity with him as a Minister and in his present engagement and recommending him to your Christian regard, with desires that his Iabours of love amongst you may be to edification and to his own peace. We are with salutation and love your Friends.

' Signed in and on behalf of our monthly meeting of Kendal held 4th of 12 mo. 1789. George Benson and 45 other friends (one name of which is a John Smithson, that is John Smithson's son).'

This visit was never undertaken.

That he did, however, go to his birthplace in 1747 is manifest by an extract from the minutes of Caldbeck monthly meeting:

' Meeting held at Gillfoot, 1747, 6 mo. 15. At this meeting John Smithson produced a full clear certificate of his conduct from the friends of Kendal to this meeting which was read.'

John Smithson lived for a few years at Bendrigg, near Sedbergh. He there married Isabel, dr. of Christopher Walker of Middleton Hall, Sedbergh. The marriage took place at Brigflats meeting, near Sedbergh, 3, 3, 1751. Isabel Walker was born 17, 5, 1726; died 21, 2, 1809; and was buried at Park End, Preston Patrick. After the marriage they removed back again to Preston Patrick, where John Smithson bought a small estate, which is still in the family, Mr. Joseph Smithson of Halifax being the owner.

John Smithson died on 12, 7, 1794, aged about seventy-six years, and is buried likewise at Park End, Preston Patrick. He had issue by his wife Isabel the following children:

  1. Joshua Smithson, born 20, 3, 1752, at Bendrigg; died 29, 3, 1829, at Kaker Mill, in the parish of Burton, Westmoreland; and was buried at Preston Patrick.

He married on 29, 5, 1780, at Height Meeting House, Elizabeth, dr. of Joseph and Mary Goad of Baycliff, near Ulverstone, a member of a good old Westmorland family, who was born 10, 1, 1747, at Firth Hall. She died 24, 9, 1791, and was buried at Brigflats, near Sedbergh.

They had issue four sons, of whom below.

  1. John Smithson, born 21, 3, 1758; died 11, 2, 1821; and was buried at Park End, Preston Patrick, without issue.
  2. Miles Smithson, born 10, 1, 1761; died 28, 9, 1819; and was buried at Kendal. He married Mary Willans, and had issue:
    1. John Smithson, born 1, 4, 1794.
    2. Miles Smithson, born 1, 7, 1795; died 23, 11, 1795.
    3. Margaret Smithson, born 9, 6, 1797.
    4. Isabella Smithson, born 6, 10, 1798; died 22, 12, 1811.
    5. Edward Smithson, born 18, 12, 1799.
    6. Eleanor Smithson, born 2, 11, 1803.
    7. Mary, born 6, 6, 1801.
    8. Miles Smithson, born 17, 8, 1806.

We now return to Joshua and Elizabeth Smithson. They had issue the following children:

  1. John Smithson, born 11, 7, 1781; died 19, 7, 1805, s.p.
  2. Joseph Smithson, born 17, 12, 1782; died 11, 2, 1847, without issue.
  3. Joshua Smithson, born 24, 11, 1783; died 3, 8, 1860, without issue.
  4. James Smithson, born 23, 6, 1786, at Hallbeck, Kirby Lonsdale; married at Preston Patrick on the 14, 5, 1817, Agnes, dr. of George and Elizabeth Robinson. She was born 17, 11, 1793; died 15, 9, 1891; and was buried at Halifax. James, her husband, died 15, 6, 1848, and is buried at Lancaster.

James and Agnes Smithson had issue seven children – viz.:

  1. Joshua Smithson, born at Warth Sudden in Preston Patrick, near Kendal, on 9, 2, 1818, and married Elizth., dr. of Ishmael and Elizabeth Nash, on 16, 8, 1855. She died 10, 12, 1888, and is buried at Halifax.
  2. Elizabeth Smithson, born at Warth Sudden 22, 12, 1819; died 22, 5, 1893, and buried at Halifax.
  3. George Smithson, born 22, 4, 1822, at Warth Sudden; died 5, 8, 1888; buried at Birmingham. He married 10, 10, 1860, Mary Ann, dr. of John and Ann Snowden of Bradford, and had two children:
    1. John Snowden, born 3, 12, 1862; married to Edith Lucy Swift at Evesham, 22, 7, 1903.
    2. Agnes Ann, born at B'ham, 17, 11, 1865; married Walter Barrow at B'ham 17, 9, 1895.
  4. John Smithson, born 10, 7,1824, at Warth Sudden; died 11, 10, 1903; buried at Bristol. Married 24, 4, 1857, Sarah Ann, dr. of Alexander and Hannah Morris of Manchester, still living at Clifton, Bristol.

    John and Sarah Ann Smithson have issue the following children:

    1. Elizabeth Mary, b. 5, 2, 1860, married Francis J. Clark, J.P., of Street, near Glastonbury, Somerset.
    2. Lilias, b. 22, 2, 1862, married Fredk. Jas. Hill, now deceased.
    3. George Robinson Smithson, born 29, 4, 1865, at Halifax.
  5. Thomas Smithson, fourth child of James Smithson, born 4, 1, 1827; died 22, 5, 1901; married 24, 1, 1855, at Gainsborough Meeting House, Emma Spencer, born 8, 12, 1828 (died 20, 9, 1905), dr. of Thomas and Mary Spencer of Bransby, Lincolnshire, and by her had issue:
    1. Mary Agnes, born 23, 11, 1855; married 20, 4, 1887, at Rochdale Meeting House, John Henry Jefferys of Kendal (who died 31, 7, 1903), son of Samuel A. and Sarah Jefferys of Melksham.
    2. James, born 21, 12, 1856.
    3. Sarah Alice, born 28, 1, 1859; married 25, 9, 1889, at Cartmel Meeting House, Theodore Burgess Ellis, son of James and Louisa Ellis of Leicester.
    4. Thomas Spencer, born 28, 10, 1861.
    5. Franklin, born 17, 9, 1864.
    6. Emma Elizabeth, born 17, 9, 1864; died 13, 4, 1865.
    7. Alfred, born 11, 8, 1867; married at Stoke Newington Meeting House, Caroline Tylor, dr. of John Burnett and Rachel Tylor of Stamford Hill.
    8. Edith Annie, born 24, 4, 1869; married 25, 9, 1895, at Cartmel Meeting House, William Edmundson Shackleton, son of Joseph Fisher and Jane Wigham Shackleton of Lucan, co. Dublin.
  6. Agnes, born Cams Gill, n. Kendal, 3, 9, 1829.
  7. Joseph, born 7, 5, 1833, at Plumpton Cottage, n. Ulverstone; married Mary Ann, dr. of Charles and Mary Holmes, at Calder Bridge Meeting House, 29, 8, 1860. Had issue:
    1. Joshua, jun., born Halifax, 31, 5, 1861.
    2. Mary, born Halifax, 5, 4, 1863; married at Swarthmoor Meeting House, 19, 7, 1898, to James Arthur Jackson, eldest son of James and Martha Jackson of Garstang.
    3. Charles Holmes, born 21, 3, 1866, at Halifax; married 26, 4, 1894, Edith, dr. of Wm. and Lucy Hutchinson of Gunby, near Selby, at Bubwith Meeting House.
    4. Joseph, jun., born Halifax 6, 5, 1867; married at Bubwith Meeting House, 19, 10, 1896, Mary, dr. of Wm. and Lucy Hutchinson.