Sir William Smith and Family at Eardiston

The first Baron, Sir William Smith died in November 1821. He was succeeded to the title by his son Christopher Sydney who had been born on 14th May 1808, his mother having been Mary daughter of Edward Wheeler of Lambswick. Christopher served the office as Sheriff of Worcestershire during the 1820s. He was chairman of the Worcestershre Sessions for many years. In 1822 he married Mary, daughter of the then late Reverend Robert Foley rector of Oldswinford Staffordshire by whom he had two sons and a daughter. His eldest son William who had been born in 1823 inherited the title on the death of his father in the 1860s.

Sir William Smith, who resided at Eardiston House was the third Baronet of that family. He originated from Burwarton in Shropshire. In 1843, he married Susan, the fourth daughter of Sir William George Parker, Bart.

He ran the Eardiston estate and eventually became one of the largest landowners in Worcestershire. In the early part of the 19th century he was said to have the greatest breadth of orcharding in the county. He had between 100 and 200 acres of pasture, arable with wheat, beans and other crops, and hops. On the strong ground of the Teme valley, he planted his fruit trees every 9ft ridge and approx 14 yards apart: each tree had 200 square yards of land giving 24 trees per acre.

Sir William served on many committees during his life time. He helped set up the Tenbury Agriculture Society during the summer of 1858, where he chaired its first meeting held in the Corn Exchange in Tenbury. He became its first president.

Whilst holding the office of High Sheriff of Worcestershire, instead of providing the customary dinner for Councillors and Aldermen of Worcester, he paid over to Richard Nash £42 to be extended among the poor during a time of famine.

He was also for many years a local magistrate.

When he died he left behind a set of unpublished diaries, describing many details and events of his years at Eardiston. One such event he described, Henry Harris of Rochford came with me to the Forest of Wyre where we detected one Edwards with 9 or 10 others erecting a house with out permission at Buckeridge. I took it all down.

Sir William sold the state in 1868 to Mr George Wallace.

After leaving Eardiston, according to the 1881 census Sir William was residing at Roxborough Park, Harrow on the Hill, still operating as a JP.

Whilst living in Eardiston Sir William produced one son, Christopher Sydney Winwood Smith born in 1846 who must have been a constant worry to his parents during his short lifetime.

During his early years Christopher emigrated to Australia and settled in New South Wales where he worked as a agricultural labourer. He met and married Ann Morgan, a poor, illegitimate catholic maidservant and conveniently neglected to inform his parents back home in Eardiston.

Christopher and Ann quickly produced three children, but after three years Christopher deserted his wife and family and moved to Sydney. It was there he met and married Caroline Holland, daughter of William Holland of New Zealand. The marriage was clearly bigamous, since he was still legally married to his first wife.

This so called second marriage produced one heir, Sydney Winwood Smith.

Christopher died in 1887 aged just 41, five years before his father who passed away in 1893. On his grandfather’s death, Sydney inherited the baronetcy and therefore became Sir Sydney Smith. Some years later the eldest son from Christopher’s first marriage contested the legitimacy of the baronetcy. After many years and a great deal of legal wrangling the baronetcy was restored to it’s rightful owner, the eldest son.

I have recently been informed that the Baronetcy has since died out, presumably due to the lack of a male heir.

Compiled by Derek Marks, 2012
The information about Australia is taken from Debretts Research Ancestral Case Studies