Thomas Assheton Smith (1776–1858)

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Thomas Assheton Smith

Thomas Assheton Smith (the younger) (2 August 1776 – 9 September 1858) was an English landowner and all-round sportsman who was notable for being one of the outstanding amateur cricketers of the early 19th century. He was a Tory politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1821 to 1837. He was also known for his pioneering work on the design of steam yachts in conjunction with the Scottish marine engineer Robert Napier.[1]

Early life[edit]

Smith was born in Queen Anne Street, Cavendish Square, Westminster, London. He was the son of Thomas Assheton Smith I (1752–1828), who made his fortune in the Welsh slate industry and was a noted patron of cricket in the early years of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) from the 1787 English cricket season.

Smith was educated at Eton between 1783 and 1794, eventually playing for the school's cricket team. He went on to Christ Church, Oxford where he joined the Bullingdon Club of Oxford and was a prominent member of its team in 1796.

Cricket career[edit]

Smith was a hard hitting right-handed batsman and made 45 known appearances in first-class matches up to the 1820 season. His career spanned the Napoleonic Wars which had a detrimental effect on the game and so reduced his opportunities for playing.

Smith played for the Gentlemen in the inaugural and second Gentlemen v Players matches in 1806.[2][3]

According to Scores & Biographies (S&B), Smith "being a good hard hitter was pretty successful". He was also, says S&B, a "crack" shot and a "mighty hunter" who acquired the name of the "British Nimrod".

In the contemporary scorecards, he is generally shown as "T A Smith, Esq." whereas his father was usually recorded as "A Smith, Esq."


From 1806 to 1816, Smith was Master of the Quorn Hunt in Leicestershire, then from 1816 to 1824 of the Burton hounds in Lincolnshire. He established his pack at Penton, near Andover, in 1826. In 1834 he bought many of Sir Thomas Burghley's hounds and in 1842 the whole pack of the Duke of Grafton. He hunted his hounds four days a week and sometimes had two packs out on the same day. In 1830, after the death of his father, he moved his stable and kennels to Tedworth House.[4]

Political career[edit]

Smith was elected Member of Parliament representing Andover in 1821 and held the seat until 1831.[5] In the 1832 general election he was elected MP for Caernarvonshire and held the seat until 1837.[6] He was High Sheriff of Wiltshire in 1838.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Smith died at Vaynol Park, Bangor, Caernarvonshire on 9 September 1858 and was buried at Tedworth, where he lived in his later years.

Smith married Matilda Webber (died 18 May 1859) of Berkshire on 29 October 1827. They had no children.


  1. ^ Dawson, Charles (August 2006). "Thomas Assheton Smith's Steam Yachts". The Mariner's Mirror. 92 (3): 331. doi:10.1080/00253359.2006.10657005.
  2. ^ CricketArchive – scorecard of inaugural Gentlemen v Players match
  3. ^ CricketArchive – scorecard of second Gentlemen v Players match
  4. ^ William Charles Arlington Blew, The Quorn hunt and its masters (London: John C. Nimmo, 1899)
  5. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "A" (part 2)
  6. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "C" (part 1)
  7. ^ "No. 19586". The London Gazette. 1 February 1838. p. 232.


  • Arthur Haygarth, Scores & Biographies, Volume 1 (1744-1826), Lillywhite, 1862.
  • J E Eardley-Wilmot, Reminiscences of the late Thomas Assheton Smith, Esq.(London, 1860).

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Thomas Assheton Smith I
Sir John Pollen, 2nd Baronet
Member of Parliament for Andover
With: Sir John Pollen, 2nd Baronet
Succeeded by
Henry Arthur Wallop Fellowes
Ralph Etwall
Preceded by
Charles Griffith-Wynne
Member of Parliament for Caernarvonshire
Succeeded by
John Ormsby-Gore