The 1963 edition of the Visitation of London in 1568 stated that Richard, son of Thomas Smythe and Alice Judde, was 2 years and 7 months old at the time of the Visitation, indicating he was born around 1565.
Richard was probably baptised at All Hallows Lombard Street, City of London (10 out of 12 siblings were baptised there). However, two Richard 'Smiths' were baptised at All Hallows Lombard Street during the relevant time period. The dates of baptism were 28 Nov 1565 and 16 Feb 1565/1566. As no parents names were recorded with the baptisms it is unclear which of these was this Richard Smith.
Richard was also recorded in the Smyth pedigree taken during the Visitation of London in 1633-1635. However, he was not recorded in the Smythe pedigree taken during the Visitation of Kent in 1619.
Portraits of Richard Smythe, his brothers, sisters and parents, were painted by Cornelis Ketel in 1579-1580 and most (including the one of Richard) are now owned by the Skinners' Company of the City of London.
In the will of his father, the will made on 22 May 1591 and proved on 29 October 1591, Richard was bequeathed £100.
Richard was a co-Executor of the will of his mother, Alice, the will made on 10 Jul 1592. The will also referred to his wife (though not named), and their sons, Thomas and John.
Richard was appointed a co-Executor of the will of his brother, Robert Smithe, gentleman of London, the will made on 01 Dec 1600 and proved on 28 Jan 1600/1601. His brother bequeathed to him his sword and twenty marks to buy a gelding.
Richard Smith of Kent was knighted on 23 Jul 1603 in the Royal Garden at Whitehall before the Coronation of King James I.
Sir Richard was a servant of the Crown as Receiver General of the Duchy of Cornwall, a role which was continued by his nephew, Thomas Smythe, the son of Richard's brother, Henry. He also acted as Commissioner for the revenues of Prince Charles.
Richard's primary residences appear to have been in Bromley, Kent and a house in the City of London, most likely in the parish of St Stephen Coleman Street.
Richard purchased Leeds Castle in Kent from Sir Warham St Leger in 1618. To purchase Leeds Castle he made an exchange of his estate at Salmeston on the Isle of Thanet, Kent, plus a further two thousand pounds. He demolished a number of the buildings on the site and then built a Jacobean manor house which stood until the 19th century. Sir Richard remained the owner of Leeds Castle until his death in 1628 at which point it passed to his son, Sir John Smythe.
He was also noted in 1624 in the will of his nephew, Sir John Davy of St Mary Aldermanbury, City of London, and of Defynock, Brecknock.
Sir Richard died on 21 Jul 1628 (see Memorial) and was buried in the church of St Mary the Virgin in Ashford, Kent on 25 Jul 1628.
Richard Smythe married three times, the dates and places for the marriages are all unknown.
His second wife was Jane White, widow of Samuel Thornhill. In Strype J (1720) it was reported that a monument had existed in the Parish Church of St. Stephen Coleman Street, City of London, with an epitaph as follows:
Here lyeth Dame Jane, Daughter and sole Heire of John White, of this Parish, Esq; First married to Samuel Thornehill, of Bromley, in the County of Kent, Esquire; by whom she had issue two Sonnes, Timothy and John, and one Daughter, named Elizabeth. She secondly married Sir Richard Smith, Knight, Son of Thomas Smith, of Oestenhanger, in the County of Kent, Esquire, and had issue by him but one Daughter, named Mary. The said Dame Jane died the 13. of October, 1607. being about the age of 33 yeeres. In whose remembrance, her said Husband caused this Monument to be made, 1608.
Scott refers to the following inscription on the monument to the memory of Sir Richard Smythe, in the transept of St Mary the Virgin, Ashford, Kent:
"H'ere lyeth the bodye of Sir Richard Smythe, of Leeds Castle, Kent, fourth son of Thomas Smythe, of Ostenhanger, in the County of Kent, Esquire. He married three wives who were widows, by the first of them, being a daughter of Sir Thomas Scott, of Scot's Hall, he had his only son, Sir John Smythe, and two daughters, Elizabeth and Alice ; and by his second wife he had his daughter Mary ; and by his last wife, who survived him, he had his daughter Margaret. He was Receiver of the Duchy of Cornwall, and Surveyor Generall and Commissioner for the revenewes assigned to Prince Charles for many years; he was a just officer in his accompts, which he effected with much contentment where he was trusted. His love to his wife and children and friends was extraordinary. He tenderly did respect them. His bounty to the poor was very great. He lived piously, and having an assured hope of a Joyefull resurrection by a lively faith in the meritts of Jesus Christ, he rested from his labors on the 21st July, 1628, in the 63 yeare of his age."
In his will made on 12 Oct 1627 and proved on 01 Aug 1628 he was recorded as “Sir Richard Smith of Leedes Castle, Kent”. His will was to be buried in the parishe church of Eyshford (Ashford) in Kent “where my ffather, my mother and my eldest brother lye interred” and “a convenient monument be erected containeinge the portraitures of my selfe, my three wives of such children as are now livinge by any of them, and of my daughter Thornehill deceased the charge thereof not exceeding One hundred and ffourtie poundes”.
He made bequests of money to various family members (and their servants) ‘for blacks’ (i.e. for the purchase of funeral attire) including: his son Sir John Smythe, his son in law Sir Timothy Thornehill, his son in law Maurice Barrow esq, his daughter Pointz (wife of Maurice Barrow), his daughters Alice and Margaret, his sister Lady Fanshawe, his nephews Sir Arthur Harris, Sir Thomas Fanshawe of Jenkins, William Fanshawe esq the Auditor of the Duchy of Lancaster; his friend Thomas Brett esq; his servant John Cunliffe; and to all his other servants, men and maids.
He made a number of charitable bequests including: to the poor of the parish of St Stephen in Coleman Street London, £15, plus a further £100 “to continue as a stock to buy and provide coles for them”; to the poor of the parish of Bromley in Kent, £20; to the poor of the parish of Leeds, Kent, £5; to the poor of the parish of Bromefield, Kent (presumably the Broomfield near Leeds Castle), £6; to the poor of the parish of Thurnhamin, Kent (presumably Thurnham), £6; to the poor of the town of Eyshford (Ashford), Kent, £20 and a further £10; to the poor of Ongar in Essex, £5.
He bequeathed various items from his house in London and also items that had come from houses at Ockenden and Ongar in Essex.
He bequeathed £1,000 to his wife, and £3,200 to his daughter Margaret.
He bequeathed £100 to his son in law Sir Timothy Thornehill; and to his godson, Richard Thornehill, eldest son of Sir Timothy Thornehill, “one large standinge guilt Cuppe grape fashion”.
To his granddaughter, Elizabeth Thornehill, daughter of Sir Timothy Thornehill, he bequeathed £1,800. If she should die then the sum was to remain to the two younger sons of Sir Timothy Thornehill, Francis and Timothy.
To his son, Sir John Smythe, £100, and to his “his well deserving daughter in lawe his wife, one hundred poundes”. He bequeathed to his son, Sir John Smythe his “best gilt Bason and Ewre and all my goodes and furniture of howshold stuffe whatsoever and of what sort soever remainenige or beinge in my howse at Leedes Castle in Kent, which I will and appoint shalbe his for his entertainment there, when he shall have occasion to repaier thither”. He also bequeathed to his son a Persian Carpet from his London house which had belonged to the Testator’s brother, Sir John Smythe; and two velvet footcloths, “whereof one was given unto me by Sir John Scott knight deceased, and the other I bought from the ’state of Sir Henry Baker knight and Barronett deceased”.
To his son in law Maurice Barrow he bequeathed £100, and to his wife, Lady Pointz, the Testator’s daughter, £100, and to “her sonne Richard Pointz my godsonne, one standing gilt cuppe peare fashion”.
To his sister, Lady Fanshawe, he bequeathed his “greate round guilt bason, and also my guilt salt, steeple fashion”, and “one great gilt salt with a Cover, which sometime was my fathers”.
He bequeathed to his "sonne in law, Sir John Thornehill (in respect of ye love I have to his mother my wife, in money the some of ffiftie poundes to buy him a Dyamond ringe, and all my bedsteads, tables, cupboords, stooles and wooden thinges whatsoever remaineinge and being in Bromely howse.”
Other bequests to family members included: to his nephew Sir Thomas Smith knight of the noble order of the Bath, son of his brother, Sir John Smith, £20; to his nephew Sir Thomas Fanshawe knight of the noble order of the Bath, son of Sir Henry Fanshawe, deceased, £20; to his nephew Sir John Smith, son of his brother Sir Thomas Smith, £20, “and the watch that was his fathers”; to his nephew Thomas Smith esq, son of his brother Henry Smith esq, deceased, £20; to his nephew Edward Smith, second son of his brother Henry Smith, £6; to his niece Alice Mountjoy daughter of his brother Henry Smith, £5; to his nephew John Smith esq, son of his brother Robert Smith esq, deceased, £20; to his nephew Oliver Butler esq, son of William Butler esq, deceased, £10; to his godson Richard Fanshawe another son Sir Henry Fanshawe, deceased, £20; to the Right Honourable Countess of Leicester, the wife of his late brother, Sir Thomas Smith, £10 for a piece of plate; to his kinsman Mr Smith of Bayden, £6 13s 4d; to his cousin Nicholas Culverwell esq, £6 13s 4d; to his kinsman George Rooke esq of Horton Monachois (Monks Horton), Kent, £5; to his cousin John Hawtray of Eyshford, Kent, £5; to his wifes kinsman, Samuel Hartliffe, £10; to his brother in law Sir Edward Scott knight of the Bath and to Robert Scott esq his brother, to each of them 40s apiece to buy them a Ring; and to his cousin Mary Hall ,widow, £6 13s 4d.
He made a number of bequests to friends and servants including 40s to “Nurce Baker that waites on my grandsonne Tymothy Thornehill”; and to his godson, Richard Percivall, son of his friend Thomas Percivall esq, Physician, £10.
He provided an annuity of £60 per annum (or a capital sum of 500 marks) to John Cunliff, “haveing ever found him a verie trustie and carefull servant in all my affaires”. To all his other servants dwelling with him at the time of his decease he bequeathed a whole years wages.
He willed that his executors “shall enter into Bond, interchangeablie each to other, not to doe anie act or thing whatsoever to the preiudice of my estate, or to the dammage of one another, in and about the execution of this my last will and testament”. His will referred to indentures of 01 March 1616 and 20 Mar 1620 concerning his lease of the parsonage of Fayerfield (presumably Fairfield) “and certain glebe lands and of other thinges in the countie of Kent for divers uses”. Those assigned in the indentures were to collects the rents and profits from the Parsonage and premises until they had received the sum of £2000. This sum was then to be paid to his son, Sir John Smythe. But if his son was unwilling to enter into bond with the Testator’s executors then £500 each was to be paid to his three daughters then living and £500 to the children of his daughter, Dame Elizabeth Thornehill, deceased.
Regarding an indenture of 05 Oct 1627 he required Sir Thomas Fanshawe, William Fanshawe esq, Thomas Brett esq and John Cunliffe, gent to sell his “Capitall messuage called the White Swan, with certeine howses and other thinges, lyinge in the parishe of St James at Clerkenwell in the countie of Midd by me heretofore purchased of John Bagglie and Margarett his wife, and Agnes Bagly widoew” for the satisfaction of the legacies recorded in his will.
Regarding his lease from King’s College Cambridge of a “messuage with the appurtenances now divided situate in the parishe of St Andrew in ye Wardrobe London” he willed that this should be sold in order to buy out annuities devised by Thomas Hayes esq, which Sir Richard, as the sole executor of Thomas Hayes esq, was discharging on his behalf.
All the rest residue, and remainder of his personal estate was to be divided as follows: to his wife, one sixth part; to his son one sixth part, to his three daughters one sixth part, and to the children of his daughter Thornehill a sixth part.
He nominated as his executors “my verie lovinge Nephewes, Sir Thomas Ffanshawe of Jenkins knight, William Ffanshawe Esquier Auditor of ye Duchy of Lancaster, my good ffreind Thomas Brett Esquier and John Cunliffe my servant”. He nominated as his overseer his friend Sir James Fullerton.
Probate was granted to Thomas Fanshawe, William Fanshawe esq, Thomas Brett esq and John Cunliffe, Executors.
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