Monday, 6 July 2020

1st Viscount Strangford

The family of SMYTHE is descended from an ancient family which was long seated at Corsham, in Wiltshire, whose arms were azure, an escutcheon argent, surrounded by six lions rampant or, as appeared by a seal then 200 years old, exhibited to the heralds at the visitation of Wiltshire, 1620, which coat was allowed to the younger branches.

JOHN SMYTHE, of Corsham, Wiltshire, living during the reign of HENRY VIII, married Joan, daughter of Robert Brouncker, of Melksham.

He died in 1538, leaving issue,
THOMAS, of whom presently;
Ann; Jane; Elizabeth.
The second son,

THOMAS SMYTHE (1522-91), left Corsham and seated himself at Osterhanger, Kent.

This gentleman was farmer of the customs, or customer, in the reign of ELIZABETH I, by which he amassed considerable wealth.

He wedded Alice, daughter and heiress of Sir Andrew Judde, by whom he acquired the manor of Ashford; and left, with other issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Thomas (Sir), Ambassador to Russia, 1604.
The eldest son,

SIR JOHN SMYTHE (1557-1608), Knight, of Osterhanger and Ashford, espoused, in 1578, Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of John Fineux, of Hawhouse, Kent (son of Sir John Fineux), and had issue,
THOMAS, his heir;
Katherine; Elizabeth.
His only son,

SIR THOMAS SMYTHE KB (1599-1635), of Ostenhanger, and of Ashford, Kent, having inherited a considerable fortune from his father, "being a person of distinguished merit and opulent fortune", was appointed a Knight of the Bath at the coronation of CHARLES I, in 1625-6.

Sir Thomas was elevated to the peerage, in 1628, in the dignity of VISCOUNT STRANGFORD, of Strangford, County Down.

He married, about 1621, the Lady Barbara Sydney, daughter of Robert, 1st Earl of Leicester KG, and niece of the ever-memorable Sir Philip Sydney, and had issue,
PHILIP, his successor;
Barbara; Elizabeth; Philippa; Dorothy.
His lordship was succeeded by his only son,

PHILIP, 2nd Viscount, (1634-1708), who wedded firstly, in 1650, his cousin, the Lady Isabella Sydney, daughter of Robert, 2nd Earl of Leicester, by which lady he had issue, a daughter, Diana; and secondly, Mary, daughter of George Porter, groom of the bedchamber to CHARLES I, by whom he had issue,
ENDYMION, his successor;
Elizabeth; Olivia; Katherine Clare.
His lordship was succeeded by his only son,

ENDYMION, 3rd Viscount, who married, ca 1710, Anne Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Monsieur Jean Largot ca 1710.

He died in 1724, and was succeeded by his only son,

PHILIP, 4th Viscount (1715-87), Dean of Derry, who espoused, in 1741, Mary, daughter of Anthony Jephson MP, of Mallow, County Cork; and was succeeded by his only son,

LIONEL, 5th Viscount (1753-1801), who entered early in life into the Army, and distinguished himself in North America.

He subsequently took holy orders and became a clergyman of the established church.

His lordship married, in 1779, Maria Eliza, eldest daughter of Frederick Philips, of Philipsburg, New York, and had issue,
PERCY CLINTON SYDNEY, his successor;
Eliza Maria Sydney.
His lordship was succeeded by his only son, 

PERCY CLINTON SYDNEY, 6th Viscount (1780-1855), GCB GCH PC, and Baron Penshurst, of Penshurst, Kent, who wedded, in 1817, Ellen, youngest daughter of Sir Thomas Burke Bt, of Marble Hill, and had issue,
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

GEORGE AUGUSTUS FREDERICK PERCY SYDNEY, 7th Viscount (1818-57), MP for Canterbury, 1841-52, who wedded, in 1857, Margaret Cunningham, daughter of John Lennox Kincaid Lennox, though the marriage was without issue.

7th Viscount Strangford. Photo Credit: The National Trust

His lordship was succeeded in the family honours by his brother,

PERCY ELLEN ALGERNON FREDERICK WILLIAM SYDNEY, 8th Viscount (1825-69), who espoused, in 1862, Emily Anne, daughter of Rear-Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort KCB.

The 8th Viscount died without issue, in 1869, when the title expired.
A Selection from the Writings of Viscount Strangford on Political, Geographical and Social Subjects was edited by his widow and published in 1869. His Original Letters and Papers upon Philology and Kindred Subjects were also edited by Lady Strangford (1878).


Before moving to Ashford, John Smythe had made a fortune importing wine from Spain into the port of Bristol.

John’s son, Customer Thomas Smythe, was a major financial player in England.

Customer Smythe developed the very first stock company to spread risk and advance exploration with the Moscovy Company to find a northern route to East Asia above Russia.

He became Lord of the Manor of Ashford, Kent.

When Customer Smythe died, his eldest son, John, managed their vast holdings and investments in the various exploration companies.

Customer Smythe also invested in the profitable Drake voyages with a kinsman, Admiral William Wynter, one of the first English admirals.

The Smythes previously purchased or built a very large mansion on Philpot Street, adjacent to Fenchurch Street, London, from where they managed their various investments, and were front and centre in the various investments that later followed such as the Levant Company, Bermuda Company, The Virginia Company of London, and The North West Company.

The Smythes were also involved as Undertakers during the Plantation of Ulster.

John Smythe, the eldest son of Customer Smythe, was managing the family fortune and he resided at Ashford Manor and/or their other estate at Westenhanger.

In 1603, Robert Sydney was Lord Chamberlain for the household of Queen Anne of Denmark, consort of JAMES I.

Robert Mansell of Mount Desert (E), who was knighted at Cadiz where a brother of Thomas Smythe was killed, married a Lady in Waiting to Queen Anne.

The bride was the daughter of John Roper of Kent. Captain William Roper of the Eastern Shore had married the sister of Captain William Eppes, and the Ropers held land at Ivychurch.

Robert Sydney’s daughter married the nephew of Robert Mansell, and another of Sydney’s daughters, Barbara, married the son of the elder son, John Smythe of Ashford.

His name was also Thomas, and he held the title Viscount Strangford.

First published in January, 2011. 


Anonymous said...

The title is back -

Alistair Basil Cooke OBE, having been created Baron Lexden, of Lexden in the County of Essex, and of Strangford in the County of Down, was introduced and took the oath, supported by Lord Cope of Berkeley and Lord Black of Brentwood, and signed an undertaking to abide by the Code of Conduct.

January 2011

Timothy Belmont said...

Interesting. Does he have a residence at Strangford?