Xmera / Gloucestershire Gentry / Smyth of Nibley

Smyth of Nibley

John (1567-1641)

Monument to Grace Smyth, North Nibley

He was born at Hoby, Leics., where his uncle Richard (d. 1579) was vicar, having been appointed by Lady Anne Berkeley. His father Thomas died when he was young and his mother Joan, daughter of Richard Alan of Derby, then married Humphrey Gulson of Hoby. Smyth attended school in Derby, until he joined the Berkeley household in Coventry to attend Thomas, son of Henry, lord Berkeley. He accompanied Thomas to Magdalen College, Oxford and then to the Middle Temple. He was called to the bar, but did not practice as a barrister. Instead he acted as a man-of-business for the Berkeley family.

In 1619 he joined with Richard Berkeley, Sir William Throckmorton and George Thorpe in sending a ship with 36 men to Virginia, intending to found a new town there. The venture ended in disaster with an Indian massacre in 1622.

He married:

  1. Grace (d. 1609), daughter of William Thomas and Alice, the daughter of Richard Hill. She was the widow of John Drewe (d. 1597).
    Through this marriage Smyth acquired Warrens Court in North Nibley, where he lived for the rest of his life, although he spent long spells in London.
  2. Mary (1587-1667), daughter of John Browning of Coaley
    • John - see below
    • Thomas (1613-84) married Mary (d. 1675), daughter of Stephen Fowler of Stonehouse
      • Thomas (d. 1686) married Mary (d. 1675), daughter of Nathaniel Ridler of Chalford by whom he had a daughter Mary
        He subsequently remarried and his will was written in anticipation that his wife Elizabeth might be pregnant at his death.
    • William (1625-1702) married Catherine, daughter of Richard Martin of Nibley - he graduated M.D.. at Padua and was a member of the Royal Society.
    • George (b. 1629) married Mary, daughter of David Offley of London, gent.
    • Richard (b. 1631)
    • Mary married Christopher Purnell of Nibley
    • Ursula (b. 1618) married William Thorpe of Wanswell in Berkeley
    • Elizabeth married Edward Hill of Cam
    • Sarah (1627-42)

His Lives of the Berkeleys and Description of the Hundred of Berkeley are important sources for the history of Gloucestershire.

John (1611-92) Son

He followed his father in becoming a barrister and estate steward to the Berkeleys.

He married:

  1. Anne (d. 1643), daughter of Sir Edward Bromfield of Suffolk Place, Surrey
    • Edward - see below
    • John (d. 1665) - died at Naples
    • William married Cordelia (d. 1682), daughter of John Everett of Canterbury
    • Thomas (b. 1637) lived in Ireland with his wife Elizabeth, who came from Carrick, Co. Donegal.
    • James (b. 1640)
    • Charles (b. 1642) married Frances, daughter of Richard Talboys of Doughton, Tetbury
    • Richard (1643-83)
    • Anne married John Nourse esq. of Weston under Penyard, Herefs.
    • Margaret (1638-1708) married William Archard of Nibley (d. 1668)
    • Elizabeth (b. 1639) married Thomas Veel of Simondshall
  2. Anne (d. 1686), daughter of John Bromfield of Udimore, Sussex
    • Gabriel (d. 1737) became an apothecary and married Anne, daughter of Samuel Symonds of London
    • John

Edward (1630-1700) Son

He followed the family tradition by becoming a barrister.

He married Rose (d. 1689), daughter of Sir Edward Leigh of Shipley, Derbys.

George (d. 1713) Son

He married Margaret (d. 1720), daughter of Charles Dowdeswell of Forthampton

He died when his daughter Elizabeth was an infant and his wife was pregnant with his son George. His widow then made her will, entrusting her estate to her brother Charles Dowdeswell and her brother-in-law Jacob Knight for the benefit of her daughter.

George (d. 1772) Son

He married Lucy, the daughter of Henry Biggs of Benthall, Shrops.

He died 31 January 1772 and his eldest son George died childless on 25th April, so the estate passed to his younger son Nicholas.

Nicholas (d. 1790) Son

He married Anna Maria (d. 1776), daughter of Sir Charles Leighton Of Wattlesborough, Shrops, who inherited Condover Hall, Shrops. through the will of her grandmother Laetitia Owen (d. 1755). The family resided at Condover and their son Nicholas took the surname Owen on inheriting on his father's death.


Articles from the Bristol & Gloucestershire Archaeological Society Transactions: