Thomas 'Customer' Smythe
|Died||7 June 1591|
Thomas Smythe or Smith of London, Ashford and Westenhanger, Kent,(1522–1591) was the collector of customs duties (also known as a "customer") in London during the Tudor period, and a Member of Parliament for five English constituencies. His son and namesake, Sir Thomas Smythe (died 1625), was the first governor of the East India Company, treasurer of the Virginia Company, and an active supporter of the Virginia colony.
Ashford is a town in the county of Kent, England. It lies on the River Great Stour at the south edge of the North Downs, about 61 miles (98 km) southeast of central London and 15.3 miles (24.6 km) northwest of Folkestone by road. In the 2011 census, it had a population of 74,204. The name comes from the Old English æscet, indicating a ford near a clump of ash trees. It has been a market town since the Middle Ages, and a regular market continues to be held.
Westenhanger is a small village in south-east Kent, England. It is located around 3 miles (5 km) north-west of Hythe and just south of junction 11 of the M20 motorway. Stone Street, the Roman road from nearby Lympne to Canterbury, passes through the village. It is in the civil parish of Stanford.
Kent is a county in South East England and one of the home counties. It borders Greater London to the north-west, Surrey to the west and East Sussex to the south-west. The county also shares borders with Essex along the estuary of the River Thames, and with the French department of Pas-de-Calais through the Channel Tunnel. The county town is Maidstone.
Thomas Smythe, born in 1522, was the second son 1538) and Joan Brouncker, the daughter of Robert Brouncker of Melksham, Wiltshire. John, a substantial yeoman and clothier of Corsham, Wiltshire, left Smythe a farm in the Hundred of Amesbury, Wiltshire, that provided an annual income of £20. After his father's death, Smythe moved to London to seek his fortune; Smythe was approximately 16 at the time.of John Smythe (d.
Melksham is a town on the River Avon in Wiltshire, England, about 4 1⁄2 miles (7 km) northeast of Trowbridge and 6 mi (10 km) south of Chippenham. At the 2011 census, it had a population of 19,357, making it Wiltshire's fifth-largest town after Swindon, Salisbury, Chippenham and Trowbridge.
A yeoman was a member of a social class in England and the United States. It is also a military term.
Corsham is a historic market town and civil parish in west Wiltshire, England. It is at the south-western edge of the Cotswolds, just off the A4 national route, which was formerly the main turnpike road from London to Bristol, 28 miles (45 km) southwest of Swindon, 20 miles (32 km) southeast of Bristol, 8 miles (13 km) northeast of Bath and 4 miles (6 km) southwest of Chippenham. Corsham is close to the county borders with Bath and North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire.
Smythe joined his father's merchant guild, the Haberdashers, and then the Worshipful Company of Skinners. In 1550, Smythe developed a close connection with Sir Andrew Judde, Lord Mayor of London. About four years later, Smythe married Judde's daughter, Alice Judde.
The Worshipful Company of Haberdashers, one of the Great Twelve City Livery Companies, is an ancient merchant guild of London, England associated with the silk and velvet trades.
The Worshipful Company of Skinners is one of the Livery Companies of the City of London. It was originally an association of those engaged in the trade of skins and furs. It was granted Royal Charter in 1327.
Sir Andrew Judde, or Judd was a 16th-century English merchant and Lord Mayor of London.
During the reign of Mary I of England, Smythe purchased the Office of the Customs from one Mr. Cocker for £2,500. He was confirmed in his appointment at the Customs on the accession of Elizabeth I in 1558, and he continued in the office for 11 years. In 1567, he appears to have incurred her Majesty's severe displeasure, having been accused of issuing privy warrants leading to a £6,000 loss; his friend William Cecil, Lord Burghley, intervened and helped Smythe escape imprisonment. Cecil persuaded the Queen to be lenient, arguing that if Smythe was allowed more time he would repay this loss.
Mary I, also known as Mary Tudor, was the Queen of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death. She is best known for her aggressive attempt to reverse the English Reformation, which had begun during the reign of her father, Henry VIII. The executions that marked her pursuit of the restoration of Roman Catholicism in England and Ireland led to her denunciation as "Bloody Mary" by her Protestant opponents.
Elizabeth I was Queen of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death on 24 March 1603. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the last of the five monarchs of the House of Tudor.
Elizabeth began to require larger and larger fines to renew Smythe's leases in order to replenish her exchequer. Over time, Smythe became unable to meet these demands and again fell under her Majesty's severe displeasure. His October 1589 counteroffer of a more modest payment was rejected. Due to his increasing infirmities and perhaps the stress of trying to meet the Queen's demands, Smythe died 18 months later, on 7 June 1591, leaving his widow, then 60 years old, 6 sons and 6 daughters.
Smythe was a Member of Parliament (MP) for Tavistock October 1553, for Aylesbury April 1554, Rye November 1554, Winchelsea 1555, and Portsmouth 1563.
Tavistock was the name of a parliamentary constituency in Devon between 1330 and 1974. Until 1885 it was a parliamentary borough, consisting solely of the town of Tavistock; it returned two Members of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom until 1868, when its representation was reduced to one member. From 1885, the name was transferred to a single-member county constituency covering a much larger area.
Aylesbury is a constituency created in 1553 — created as a single-member seat in 1885 — represented in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom since 1992 by David Lidington, of the Conservative Party.
Rye was a parliamentary constituency centred on the town of Rye in East Sussex. It returned two Members of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom until its representation was halved under the Reform Act 1832.
Thomas Smythe had 13 children with his wife, Alice Judde. They are as follows:
Sir Richard Fanshawe, 1st Baronet PC was an English poet and translator. He was a diplomat and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1661 to 1666. During the English Civil War he supported the Royalist cause and served King Charles II in battle and in exile.
Sir William Scott of Scot's Hall in Smeeth, Kent was Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports.
Viscount Strangford was a title in the Peerage of Ireland. It was created in 1628 for Sir Thomas Smythe. He was son of John Smith J.P., High Sheriff of Kent 1600-1601, also M.P. for Aylesbury and Hythe, and grandson of Thomas Smythe, of Westenhanger Castle, collector of customs for London, haberdasher, and M.P.
Sir Richard Sackville of Ashburnham and Buckhurst in Sussex and Westenhanger in Kent; was an English administrator and Member of Parliament.
Sir Thomas Scott, of Scot's Hall in Kent, was an English Member of Parliament (MP).
Westenhanger Castle is a fortified manor house once owned by royalty, located next to Westenhanger railway station and the grandstand of Folkestone Racecourse in Kent. The castle has endured a period of steady decline to near ruination in recent years, but the current owners have engaged a programme of consolidation, conservation and restoration to the castle and adjoining buildings. It is now being used as a conference and wedding venue.
Scot's Hall was a country house in Smeeth, between Ashford and Folkestone in southeast England. It was the property of a gentry family, the Scotts. The first known resident was Sir John Scott, who married Caroline Carter.
Thomas Milles (1550?–1627?) was an English customs official, known for his economic writings, in which he defended the staple system.
Thomas Fanshawe, 1st Viscount Fanshawe KB was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1621 and 1661. He supported the Royalist cause in the English Civil War. Following the Restoration he was raised to the peerage.
Sir John Fogge (c.1417–1490) was an English courtier, soldier and supporter of the Woodville family under Edward IV who became an opponent of Richard III.
Sir John Evelyn was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons variously between 1626 and 1660.
Sir Henry Fanshawe (1569–1616) was a Member of the English Parliament who held the office of Remembrancer of the exchequer.
Sir Thomas Smythe or Smith, was an English merchant, politician and colonial administrator. He was the first governor of the East India Company and treasurer of the Virginia Company from 1609 to 1620 until enveloped by scandal.
Sir John Raynsford was an English politician.
Sir John Smith or Smythe, of Westenhanger, Kent, was an English politician.
Sir John Spencer (1524–1586) was an English nobleman, politician, knight, sheriff, landowner, and Member of Parliament. He was an early member of the Spencer family.
Sir John Scott was the eldest son of Sir William Scott of Scot's Hall. He served in King Henry VIII's campaigns in France, and was active in local government in Kent and a Member of Parliament for New Romney. He was the grandfather of both Reginald Scott, author of The Discoverie of Witchcraft, a source for Shakespeare's Macbeth, and Thomas Keyes, who married Lady Mary Grey.
Sir Rowland Hayward was a London merchant, and Lord Mayor of the City in both 1570 and 1591. Through his commercial activities he acquired considerable wealth, and was able to loan money to Queen Elizabeth I and purchase properties in several counties as well as houses in and near London. He entertained the Queen at King's Place in 1587.
Sir John Scott, of Scot's Hall and of Nettlestead Place in Kent, was an English soldier, Member of Parliament (MP) and an early investor in the Colony of Virginia. The second son of Sir Thomas Scott, he served as captain of a band of lancers in the English army in the Netherlands, and in 1588 was knighted for his services. In 1597 he commanded a ship in the expedition to the Azores. In 1601, Scott was implicated in Essex's Rebellion but succeeded in clearing himself, and in the same year was a parliamentary candidate for Kent in 1601. He was unsuccessful on this first attempt, but was elected its MP in the Parliament of 1604 and for Maidstone in the Addled Parliament of 1614. He became a member of the Council for Virginia in 1607, the year when that colony was re-established, subscribing £75, and was a councillor of the Virginia Company of London in 1609. He died in 1616 and was buried at Brabourne in Kent.