Thomas Assheton Smith I

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The Right Honourable
Thomas Assheton Smith
Thomas Assheton-Smith.jpeg
Member of Parliament
for Caernarvonshire
In office
Preceded by Thomas Wynn
Succeeded by John Parry
Personal details
Born 1752
Died 12 May 1828

Thomas Assheton Smith (the elder) (1752 – 12 May 1828) was an English landowner and all-round sportsman who played a major part in the development of the Welsh slate industry.

Smith was the eldest son of Thomas Assheton of Ashley, Mobberley in Cheshire. He added "Smith" to his surname when he inherited the Vaynol and Tidworth estates from his uncle, William Smith.

He was High Sheriff of Caernarfonshire for 1774–75 and 1783–84 and High Sheriff of Anglesey for 1784–85. He was Member of Parliament for Caernarvonshire from 1774 to 1780 and also MP for the English borough of Andover between 1797 and 1821. He served as Lord Lieutenant of Caernarvonshire from 1822 until his death.[1]

In 1806 he was able to get Parliament to pass an act enclosing the common land of Llanddeiniolen parish, greatly adding to his land holdings. In 1809 he took over control of slate quarrying on his estate, forming a company of four under his presidency. The company was later dissolved and he took over sole control of the enterprise. By 1826 the Dinorwic Quarry was employing 800 men and producing 20,000 tons of slate per year. Assheton Smith developed Port Dinorwic (Y Felinheli) as a port for the export of the slates.


Thomas Assheton Smith was a keen sportsman and was particularly noted for his involvement in cricket. He was a close friend of George Finch, 9th Earl of Winchilsea and became one of cricket's main patrons following the establishment of MCC in 1787. Smith was not a good player, unlike his son, but is known to have taken part in 45 major matches between the 1787 and 1796 seasons. In the contemporary scorecards, he is generally shown as "A Smith, Esq." whereas his son was usually recorded as "T A Smith, Esq.".


Assheton Smith married Elizabeth, daughter of Watkin Wynn of Foelas. He died at Tidworth in 1828, and the Vaynol estate was inherited by his namesake second son, Thomas Assheton Smith (the younger) (1776–1858), who was also a noted amateur cricketer and all-round sportsman.


  1. ^ "ASSHETON SMITH, Thomas (c.1752-1828), of Faenol, Caern. and Tidworth, Hants.". History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Thomas Wynn
Member of Parliament for Caernarvonshire
Succeeded by
John Parry
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Viscount Bulkeley
Lord Lieutenant of Caernarvonshire
Succeeded by
The Lord Gwydyr