Blackmore Area Local History
John Smyth (1498 - 1543)
|John Smyth purchased Blackmore Priory from King Henry VIII in 1540 and became the first of six generations bearing the family name to be associated with Blackmore in Essex.|
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The booklet, 'The Smyth Family At Blackmore',
tells the story of the Smyth family from a local perspective.
It is available from the
Priory Church of St Laurence, Blackmore,
and via this website,
priced £1.50 plus postage and packing.
following is an extract from ‘The Smyth Family at Blackmore’.
|John Smyth (1498 – 1543)
John was the second son of Thomas Smyth, of Rivenhall, a family who descended from Sir Michael Carrington, standard bearer to King Richard I during the Crusades. The family apparently fled to
The Smyth family was related to Jane Seymour, Henry VIII’s third wife. John’s brother, Clement married Dorothy, the sister of Lady Jane Seymour.
In the Essex Record Office [ERO D/DQ 55/36] are copies of the original sale Deed in Latin and an English translation, dating from 1714.
Henry the Eighth by the grace of God of England … King Defender of the Faith Lord of Ireland and on Earth Supreme Head of the English Church . To all whom those present Letters patent shall ye know that for the sum of Five hundred and sixty three pounds and five shillings of lawfull money to the hands of the Eroafuror (Escheator?) of the Court of Augman … by our John Smith of Blakamore otherwise called Blakemore in the County of Essex … have given and granted and by those present … to the said John Smith and Elizabeth his Wife All our Lordshipp and Mannor of Blakemore with all its rights … and appurtances … lately belonging and apportaining to the late Monastery of Waltham Holy Cross in the County of Essex lately dissolved and being parcel of the possessions of the late Monastry. And also all Messuages Houses … Lands … Pastures … Woods … And all the profits … lyeing in the villag or parishes of … Blakemore Shellow Norton Shenfield and Stondon … to the said John Smith and his assignees … And also all the Rectory and
This document, dated
At that time about two fifths of the County’s land was sold, which represented one of the biggest sales of property since the Norman Conquest. For example, when Barking Abbey was suppressed, Sir William Petre bought Ingatestone Manor for £849 12s 6d, paying the King, in full, by instalments. Sir Thomas Audley did one better receiving Walden Abbey as a gift.
John Smyth received in the same year, as a gift from Henry VIII, property previously belonging to William Pawne. The original Deed bears the great seal of the King [ERO D/DRm T5/21]. An English translation is given:
John Smyth Esquire in our Court before the Justices at Westminster impleaded William Pawne and Ellen his Wife of Four Messuages* one Dovehouse One Hundred Acres of Land twenty Acres of Meadow twenty Acres of Pastuer and twelve Acres of Wood with the Appurtances in Blakemore and High Ongar by a Writ of Entity upon Disseisin** …. And into which the same William and Ellen have not Entry but after the Disseisin which Hugh Hunt … hath made to the aforesaid John ….
Smyth sold 30 acres of this land the following year [ERO D/DBm T5/22].
John Smyth died in late summer 1543, about the same time as the demolition of the priory buildings. In the inventories of his will, dated 10th May that same year, he mentions the contents of his private chapel in his manor house, Smyth Hall.
In the chapel chamber, a long setle joyned. In the chapel, one aulter of joyner’s work. Item, a table with two leaves of passion gilt [a panelled ditych]. Item, a long setle of wainscott. Item, a bell hanging over the chapel. Chapel stuff, copes and vestments three. Aulter fronts four, corporal case one, and dyvers peces of silk necessary for cushyons v. [Cutts 1914 p434].
The reference to the bell, according to Mrs E E Wilde (1913) was probably to the one hanging, at the beginning of the twentieth century, in the stables at The Hyde, Ingatestone. The bell, dating from around 1340, inscribed PETRUS DE WESTON ME FECIT, was probably a Sanctus bell. “Tradition says that it came from Blackmore Priory”. She suggests that when Smyth Hall, the house originally owned by the Smyth family, was demolished in 1844, “this bell may very probably have been bought there by Mr John Disney of the Hyde, who was a great collector of antiquities” [Wilde 1913 p103].
The Will does not mention altar vessels, as these were probably included with the remainder of the silver, indicative of the Smyth’s wealth.
* A messuage is a dwelling house.
** A disseisin is the removal of a seisin, or estate, from one person, placing it into the ownership of another.
Cutts. Rev Edward L. Parish Priests and Their People (SPCK, 1914)
Wilde, Mrs E E. Ingatestone and the
|Last updated: 6 January 2010|