SMITH, Humphrey (c.1542-89), of London and Cullompton, Devon.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer




Family and Education

b. c.1542. educ. I. Temple 1556. m. 1586, Ursula, da. of ?Thomas Leveson, 1s.1

Offices Held

J.p. Devon from c.1573-87, Mdx. from c.1579; bencher, I. Temple 1574, Autumn reader 1576 or 1577, Lent reader 1587.


Smith was probably brought in for Bodmin by the 2nd Earl of Bedford. He spoke 13 Apr. (the clerk called him Henry) suggesting that if a man should come into some land subsequent to its being established that he was in debt to the Crown, this land could be extended. The next day he was put on the committee considering fraudulent conveyances, and on 28 Apr. he was appointed to the committee discussing a religious bill.2

Smith owned land at South Charlton, Devon, and elsewhere in the county, most of it in the Honiton district, and, an inn, the George, at Cullompton. With the exception of the Surrey manor of Send the rest of his property was in London, in the parishes of St. Dunstan-in-the-West; St. Giles, Cripplegate; St. Peter, Cornhill; All Hallows, St. Sepulchre and Whitefriars; he also owned the White Horse in West Smithfield. He was a member of various commissions in London and Middlesex, examining recusants, trying to control the plague in Westminster, and investigating fraudulent dealings by the creditors of John Coping, a prisoner in Queen’s bench. His legal duties must have kept him fairly constantly in London; his removal from the Devon commission of the peace in 1587 was probably for non-residence.3

Smith died 15 Sept. 1589. His will, made on the day of his death, has a devout preamble. The widow, the sole executrix, was to supervise the upbringing of their son Walter, who was only 18 months old. If, as seems probable, she was one of the Levesons of Hornes Place, Kent, she had an influential relative to help her in (Sir) Roger Manwood. One of her even more important connexions by marriage, Sir Walter Mildmay, predeceased Smith by a few months.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. C142/221/108; Lond. Mar. Lic. (Harl. Soc. xxv), 150.
  • 2. CJ, i. 84, 86; D’Ewes, 166, 180; Trinity, Dublin, anon. jnl. f. 19.
  • 3. C142/221/108; APC, xii. 211; xiv. 264-5; xv. 392; Lansd. 74, f. 85; 121, f. 66.
  • 4. PCC 70 Leicester; C142/221/108; Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. lxxv), 4-5.