SMITH, Thomas III.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
This Member bore so common a name that his identity is uncertain. He and his equally obscure partner William Smith are known only from the Crown Office list in the absence of the original returns. Since neither is given any style or description, this Thomas Smith is unlikely to have been the former secretary of state, who had been knighted by Edward VI and who moreover is thought not to have attended Mary’s second Parliament even though he had sat in her first. Nor is there anything to associate Thomas Smith IV who sat for Wigan in 1558 with Chippenham. It is not even known whether the two Members for Chippenham were related. Neither paid taxes there, although a Philip Smith senior was assessed for subsidy on goods worth £80 in 1523 and shortly afterwards Christopher, John and Robert Smith paid smaller sums. Philip Smith is again recorded between 1534-35 and 1552, and John appears under Edward VI. They were perhaps related to the Smiths of nearby Corsham, among whom John, Philip and Robert were popular christian names. Smith’s namesake who joined him in the House as one of the Members for Aylesbury was a cadet of this prolific family.1
Whether or not the Member belonged to the Smiths of Corsham, he may have been the testator whose will was proved on 24 May 1568 or one of two namesakes who died in 1576. The first, Thomas Smith of Knighton, in the parish of Chalke, was a man of moderate wealth, who left 100 marks to one daughter, £50 to another, a lease at ‘Vyford’ to his young son Thomas, and £100 to his widow; the four friends who acted as supervisors included George Penruddock and Charles Vaughan†, whose own families were prominent in the parliamentary history of Wiltshire, and Robert Grove, a servant of the earls of Pembroke. The second was a resident of Tockenham Wick, a few miles to the east of Chippenham, whose largest bequest was one of £30 to an unmarried daughter; his sole connexion with Chippenham is the possession of land in the neighbourhood and there is no sign of a possible patron. The third was a gentleman of Mitcham, Surrey, who held much property in and around London and in Essex; he is the man most likely to have enjoyed official support, since by 1557 he was a clerk of the kitchen and in 1575, as a clerk of the green cloth, he acquired an interest in Wiltshire by leasing the manor of Monkton Farleigh.2