George Smith (MP for Exeter)

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Arms of Smith of Exeter: Sable, a fess cotised between three martlets or[1]

Sir George Smith (died 1619) of Madworthy-juxta-Exeter[2] and Madford House, Exeter, Devon, was a merchant who served as MP for Exeter in 1604[3], was three times Mayor of Exeter and was Exeter's richest citizen, possessing 25 manors.[4] He was the grandfather of George Monck, 1st Duke of Albemarle (1608-1670) KG and of John Grenville, 1st Earl of Bath (1628–1701).


He was the eldest son of John Smith (died pre 1581) of Borage (or Burridge), near Tiverton, a merchant who served as Sheriff of Exeter in 1565 and Mayor of Exeter in 1567/8, by his wife Alice Muttleberry, daughter of Alexander Muttleberry of Jordans, Somerset.[5][6]


He was knighted at Greenwich on 12 June 1604. He rebuilt his Exeter townhouse in 1584 at a cost of £1,000.[7] His mercantile activities included dealing in tin, a noted product of Cornwall, and he invested in the colonizing voyage to North America undertaken by Sir Humphrey Gilbert in 1583.[8]

Marriages & progeny[edit]

George Smith married twice:[9]

  • Firstly on 30 September 1572[10] to Joan Walker (died post 1587), daughter of James Walker of Exeter, descended from the Mathew family of Wales.[11] By Joan he had the following progeny:
    • Sir Nicholas Smith of Larkbeare, Devon, who married Dorothea Horsey, daughter of Sir Raphe Horsey of Dorset, by whom he left male issue
    • Thomas Smith
    • Elizabeth Smith, wife of Sir Thomas Monk (1570–1627) of Potheridge, Devon, MP for Camelford in 1626. Their second son was George Monck, 1st Duke of Albemarle (1608-1670) KG
    • Jane Smith, wife of Richard Hening of Dorset.
  • Secondly in 1598 to Grace Viell (d.1645), widow of Peter Bevill of Killigarth, Cornwall and daughter and co-heiress of William Viell of Trevorder, Cornwall by his wife Jane Arundell, daughter of Sir John Arundell of Trerice, Cornwall. By Grace he had one daughter:
Heraldic achievement of Sir Bevil Grenville atop his monument in Kilkhampton Church, displaying arms of Grenville (Gules, three clarions or) impaling Smith of Exeter (Sable, a fess cotised between three martlets or)[12]

Death & burial[edit]

He died on 21 March 1619 and was buried in Exeter Cathedral. His heir was his son Sir Nicholas Smith. His will was disputed by his widow Grace and his son-in-law Sir Thomas Monck.[14]


  1. ^ Pole, Sir William (d.1635), Collections Towards a Description of the County of Devon, Sir John-William de la Pole (ed.), London, 1791, p.502. As seen on 1714 mural monument to Sir Bevil Grenville (d.1643), husband of Grace Smith, in Kilkhampton Church, Cornwall; Vivian, p.691 appears to have ascribed to this family the wrong arms, namely those of Smith of Dartmouth (Vivian, p.693) and Smith of Totnes
  2. ^ Vivian, p.569, pedigree of Monk of Potheridge
  3. ^ SMITH, George (-d.1619), of Madford House, Exeter, Devon Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
  4. ^ Yerby & Hunneyball
  5. ^ Yerby & Hunneyball
  6. ^ Vivian, pp.691-2
  7. ^ Yerby & Hunneyball
  8. ^ Yerby & Hunneyball
  9. ^ Vivian, pp.691-2
  10. ^ England, Select Marriages, 1538–1973 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014.
  11. ^ Vivian, p.692
  12. ^ Pole, Sir William (d.1635), Collections Towards a Description of the County of Devon, Sir John-William de la Pole (ed.), London, 1791, p.502
  13. ^ "No. 1020". The London Gazette. 30 August 1675. p. 2.
  14. ^ Yerby & Hunneyball