Ancestor IndexAncestor IndexAccess to Dame Ethel Smyth - public persona

David Smyth's History of SmythImage right: The Smyth girls - left to right: Mary, Violet, Nelly, Nina, Alice and Ethel. Use this image link to find out about Dame Ethel Smyth's colourful and controversial public persona.

Dame Ethel Smyth (1858-1944) - composer and militant suffragette - was, according to Smyth of Barbavilla family historian, Stephen Penny, 'a celebrated descendant' of William Smyth of Ireland, descended from the Yorkshire Smyth line treated on this site. Click on the "Rosedale Spot" to access a comprehensive history of that lineage - written by American cousin, David Smyth, of the Hutchinson Smyth branch of the family.

Ethel Smyth described her Irish lineage Smyth cousins as "admirably God-fearing people with pronounced literary tastes".

The springboard for this article is information supplied by Julie (Neal) Summers (follow link for her family lineage) who is a direct descendant of Dame Ethel Smyth's first cousin, Nina Caroline Sarah Smyth, all of whom are directly descended from the Smyth family of 'the Fence House' at Macclesfield, in Cheshire. Further information has recently (August 2003) been received - with gratitude - via Julie from Lewis Orchard who is associated with the Surrey History Centre (qv below) and who is an expert on the music of Dame Ethel Smyth and has researched details of her immediate family. Further information has been researched from a variety of Internet sources by this site.

Dame Ethel Smythe at interview once said ... "Because I have conducted my own operas and love sheep-dogs; because I generally dress in tweeds, and sometimes, at winter afternoon concerts, have even conducted in them; because I was a militant suffragette and seized a chance of beating time to "The March of the Women" from the window of my cell in Holloway Prison with a tooth-brush; because I have written books, spoken speeches, broadcast, and don't always make sure that my hat is on straight; for these and other equally pertinent reasons, in a certain sense I am well known." - Dame Ethel Smyth on the topic of "fame".

She was a skilled rider, mountaineer, cyclist and also a keen and very able golf player! Stephen Penny, in his 1974 privately printed (200 copies) family genealogy "Smythe of Barbavilla" states:

“Perhaps William’s most celebrated descendant was Dame Ethel Smyth, D.B.E., [1922] Mus.Doc., a very considerable musician, whose best known works were the operas “The Wreckers” and “The Bosun’s Mate”. Imprisoned in her younger days as a militant suffragette, Dame Ethel was always known for uncompromising beliefs and unflagging determination, which were developed to the point of eccentricity. A typical and amusing example of these was described by her obituarist in “The Times”, who wrote:
“I cherish a picture of her, sitting bolt upright in the corner of a first-class carriage between Surbiton and Woking; she was armed with a great bundle of weeklies, which she examined rapidly, crumpled into balls, and hurled recklessly aside with snorts of disapproval, while the rest of the compartment submitted meekly to this astonishing bombardment.”
Dame Ethel was also the author of a “Genealogical Study” about her ancestors, which was privately published in 1892. The pedigree of her family is supported by documents and letters, and it provides a check on some of the “cousins” mentioned in the Barbavilla family correspondence. Dame Ethel Smyth died in 1944, aged eighty six.”

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Dame Ethel Mary Smyth was born on April 23, 1858, in Sidcup Kent. She died on the 8th. May, 1944, in Woking, Surrey, England. In the mid 1860s, the family moved from Sidcup to Frimley, near Aldershot. Dame Ethel Smyth was never married and remained a Surrey resident all her life, ending her days living at Hook Heath in Woking. See the site of the Surrey History Centre for current interest in her life and works and for details of a movement to form a "Dame Ethel Smyth Society". She was the first woman to receive an honorary degree from Oxford University.

Ethel's father was Major General John Hall Smyth, C.B.
He was a senior officer in the Royal Artillery.
Cadet papers are under reference IOR/L/MIL/9/xxx at the O.I.O.Collection at the British Library in London and cover the period from c.1789 until towards the end of the 19th century.
He was married in Norfolk.
1849/Q1 - District 13 - Norfolk/NSfk Vol Page
Smyth John Hall St Faith 13 191
Smyth, John Hall
IOR/L/MIL/9/173/159-67
1951929

Ethel's paternal grandfather Edward Smyth (b1768 d1864) married Sarah Pickford of Poynton, Cheshire - younger son of a younger son. He started military life in the Light Cavalry and had a command at the storming of Seringapatam, Mysore, India in 1799. He fought in the Peninsular War in Spain 1802–1812 (it is presumed, under Wellington) and reached the rank of Captain at least.

After leaving the army, he went into the family banking business in Macclesfield and was also given command of the Macclesfield squadron of the Chester Yeomanry. He went to live with his son (Major General John Smyth) and family at Sidcup when the latter returned to England after the Indian mutiny in 1858 - at which point Edward was some 90 years old. He died at the age of 96. Ethel Smyth pinpoints this by saying that she herself was six years old at the time of her grandfather's death and that "... grandmamma (Sarah Pickford) went to live with one of my aunts in 1864."

Major General John Smyth C.B. (Royal Artillery) - b1815, m1848, d1894 - (as Ethel writes in her memoirs) " ... was one of fourteen children, six of whom were alive when I was young." She also notes that a property - Damson Park - was "inhabited by a gruff-voiced old uncle, husband of Papa's eldest sister."

John Smyth went out to India at the age of 15 - he and his brother having been presented with a commission in the Bengal Army by their uncle, Sir Theophilius Metcalfe.

The Metcalfe Connection

The Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) mentions the following biographical detail pertaining to the Metcalfes and allied families - including their connection with the Smyths through the Reverend Thomas Smyth of Clifton, Bristol - who married Georgiana Theophila Metcalfe.

"(The `Indians' concerned are) the five Metcalfe baronets who flourished in the period c.1780-c.1880, particularly Sir Charles Theophilus Metcalfe, 3rd Bt, 1st and only Lord Metcalfe (1785-1846); Sir Edward Clive Bayley (1821-1884); and General Sir Edward Francis Chapman (1840-1926).

The connection between and among these figures and the Hardcastle family is the marriage in 1899 of Joseph Alfred Hardcastle II and Theresa Clive Bayley, daughter of Sir Edward Clive Bayley by Emily Anne Theophila Metcalfe, niece of Lord Metcalfe; another of their seven daughters, Georgiana Bayley, married Sir Edward Chapman in 1886.

Charles Theophilus Metcalfe, the future Lord Metcalfe, became an assistant in the Chief Secretary's office in Calcutta in 1802, transferring to a similar position in the Governor-General's office in 1803. In 1820 he was appointed Resident at Hyderabad, where his actions brought him into collision with the Governor-General, Lord Hastings. After an interval, he returned to Hyderabad in 1824, and in 1825 was appointed Resident and Civil Commissioner in the Delhi Territories. In 1827 he became a member of the Supreme Council of India, and subsequently served as Vice-President of the Council and Deputy-Governor of Bengal (1833-1834), and then acting or provisional Governor-General (1835-1836), during which latter period his administration was distinguished by an Act of September 1835 which removed the restrictions on the liberty of the Indian press.  He was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of the North-Western Provinces in 1836, and resigned from the Indian Civil Service in 1838.

Following his career in India, he was Governor of Jamaica, 1839-1842, and Governor of Canada during a stormy period, 1843-1845.  He was created Lord Metcalfe of Fern Hill (near Windsor), Berkshire, in 1845, and died in 1846. Lord Metcalfe's peerage died with him, but he was succeeded as 4th Bt by his youngest brother, Thomas Theophilus, the father of Emily Anne Theophila Metcalfe, who married Sir Edward Clive Bayley in 1850. 

Sir Thomas Theophilus Metcalfe, 4th Bt, was Governor-General's Agent at the Court of Delhi, and lived in (and presumably built) Metcalfe House, Delhi, where he died in 1853.  His son and successor, Sir Theophilus John Metcalfe, 5th Bt, was also in the Indian Civil Service, and either succeeded his father as Agent or else served in Delhi in some other capacity, because he was living in Metcalfe House when the Indian Mutiny erupted in May 1857, and narrowly escaped from Delhi with his life - an episode copiously recorded in the [PRONI] papers.  He died in 1883.

Among the earliest Indian material is a run of original letters from Edward Clive Bayley, mainly to his sisters, together with an `index' giving dates, addresses and a brief summary of contents.  The letters date from Bayley's childhoold in Hampstead in 1831 to his death at Ascot in 1884. The Indian locations from which he writes are:  Patna (1842), Allahabad (1842), Meerut (1843), Simla (1843), Saharanpur (1844), Meerut (1848), Rohtak District (1848), Gujerat (1849), and Delhi (1849).  His letter of 11 May 1848 from Meerut ' ... Describes a rising at Mooltan and the murder of Capt. Agnew and Lt. Anderson'.  These are followed by letters, 1836-1850 and 1853, mainly from Sir Thomas Theophilus Metcalfe, 4th Bt, Governor-General's Agent to the Court of Delhi, and from his wife, writing from Delhi to their children who were then living with his sister, Mrs Thomas Smyth, at Clifton, Bristol.

The second of these volumes is titled on the spine 'Family Records Vol. III', and contains typescripts relevant to Metcalfe and Bayley family history and some to more general history as well.  There is genealogical and second-hand material about the Metcalfes and related families, together with passages copied out of printed books.  Of greater significance are `Extracts from letters written by Sir Charles Theophilus Metcalfe, 2nd [sic - 3rd] Bt, ... to his favourite sister, Georgiana Theophila Metcalfe (who married Rev. Thomas Smyth), between the years 1823-1844, transcribed by Mary Clive Bayley, 1924'; the letters are written from Hyderabad, Calcutta, various camps in India where Metcalfe was on active service (including 'Camp Bhurtpoor' just before the storming of that citadel in 1826), Fern Hill, Jamaica and Montreal."

In 1848 when John Smyth was on leave in Norwich - where his father was, at that time, Manager of the local branch of the Bank of England - he met Nina Struth at Sprowston and persuaded her to marry him before he went back to India. When the Indian Mutiny broke out in 1857, he was on leave in England with his wife and two elder children so he returned to India and retrieved their third child, Mary, who had been left there. Ethel was born on 23rd, April, 1858 while he was still away.

Shortly after this, he was put in charge of the Artillery Depot at Woolwich and the family took up residence in Sidcup. In 1867, he was posted to the command of the Royal Artillery at Aldershot and the family moved to Frimley, taking up residency in Frimhurst. He took a retirement option in 1872 and purchased Frimhurst - 'a sagacious choice' - Ethel comments. He lost most of his capital through the failure of the Agra Bank thus money became tight and economies became necessary; however, he ensured that all his unmarried daughters should receive £40 a year under the Bengal Military Orphan Scheme - from which Ethel benefited because she never married. John Smyth was a magistrate and a local councillor for Frimley, a keen Conservative politician and chairman of the County Conservative Union.

This information from the London Ancestor site may shed light on other allied or descendant families.

"The Will (dated May 30, 1879), with a codicil (dated Dec. 11 following), of Mr. Thomas Edward Johnston, late of No. 20a, St. James's Place, who died on Nov. 13 last, was proved on the 20th ult. by Major-General John Hall Smyth, R.A., C.B., James Alexander Strachan, and Alfred Trevor Crispin, the executors, the value of the personal estate amounting upwards of £251,000. The testator leaves numerous legacies to nephews, nieces, and other relatives, executors and others; and the residue of his real and personal estate to his niece Emily Johnston, and his nephew, the Rev. Charles Johnston, in equal shares."

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13/5/03 - In her genealogical studies, Dame Ethel linked her family line back to the Irish Smyths who settled in the northern part of Ireland in "1625", coming originally from Yorkshire. She writes (Impressions That Remained) that they were originally of Heath Hall, Yorkshire "where the parent stock still survives". Later, she writes that her particular branch had been back in England for three generations and that her father "who was vague on such matters" maintained that she was descended from a certain Edward Smyth, Bishop of Down and Connor, who, "in his sub-character of chaplain to William of Orange, drafted the laws concerning Irish Catholics." She goes on to say that she was delighted to find, in later years - by which time she had also found out the nature of those laws - that she was not descended from Edward but from his younger brother, John Smyth, but, about whom, very little is known.

This line is the line of Smyth of Rosedale Abbey in Yorkshire and it would seem that if Dame Ethel is correct in her genealogy, they connect with the Smyth family of Heath Hall ('where the parent stock still survives'). Heath Hall was built after the move of William Smyth to Ireland in the early 1630s so it must have been a descendant of James Smyth, the son who remained in Yorkshire or a descendant of an earlier male Smyth - either way, a descendant of William Smithdike - who became the "Heath Hall" Smyth progenitor.

Nina Struth

13/5/03 Dame Ethel's mother was brought up in France. Her maiden name was Nina Struth - a granddaughter, in the maternal line, of the Stracey family of Norfolk. Nina's mother, Mrs. Struth was the daughter of Sir Josias Stracey, the fourth baronet and, after her first husband's death, she went to live in Paris. It was there that Nina, later Mrs. Smyth, spent most of her youth. Nina later went back to Norfolk to keep house for her uncle, Sir Edward Stracey, at Rackenheath Hall near Norwich. By then, her mother had re-married but the second husband was considered as 'no better than an adventurer' by the Straceys and they were less than happy for the young Nina to remain in Paris. In fact, Nina remained with her uncle's household as Housekeeper until her marriage to John Smyth.

The Stracey's concern about Nina being in France was vindicated as her mother's second marriage ended in a legal separation and near financial ruin. Thereafter, she styled herself Madame de Stracey and became quite a famous person in Paris musical circles. Her salon was frequented by most of the celebrated musicians of the day; among them, Chopin, Rossini and Auber but she was seldom spoken of back in England so that, in her childhood, Ethel knew very little about this grandmother. It was a 'hushed up' matter in front of the children and it wasn't until the nineties, after her mother's death, that Ethel learned the truth. Being the one appointed to go through all her mother's papers, she found there, not a grandmother who was a 'family disgrace', but rather, a woman who was both attractive and exceptionally gifted and something of a kindred spirit to her own.

Writing of her grandmother, Ethel stated, "After reading her letters, especially those to my mother, I came to the conclusion that Bonne Maman, musically talented, warm hearted and thoroughly injudicious, would have been my favourite relation."

There is information on pages from an internet site (Davidson et al.) showing families descended from another daughter, (Alice J. Smyth) where her mother's name is recorded as Nina but with the family name of Bonnemaman - probably extracted from private family sources and originally written by a granddaughter or grandson since the word is - as used by Dame Ethel herself, above - a 'pet' name for "grandmother" in French. This Bonnemaman web reference was found by the descendant of a direct cousin branch - qv reference Hugh Blagg Smyth, ancestor of Julie Summers, who states of this genealogy that "the dates are very different to ours, most of our dates are backed up on different census documents and IGI". The family names (names from that Gedcom) in the descendant list of Alice Julia Ann Smyth are: Davidson, Winterbon, Scott, Jeanes, Tall, Hutton, Merrifield, Mitchell, Fralick, Ramsey, Spencer and Rebman.

Ethel Mary Smyth was the fourth child of eight (six of them female). Sibling family information comes courtesy of Julie (Neal) Summers with gratitude. (The Davidson dates appear in brackets beside Julie's) A study of the photograph at the head of this page may show the relative differences in the ages of the daughters.
Nina (Struth) Smyth was a beautiful and talented woman - both musically and artistically. She could speak French fluently and also German, Spanish, Italian and Hindustani, this latter was useful when discussing matters at dinner table with her husband - matters which the children were not intended to hear! Nina had exceptional social gifts, was a brilliant hostess, a witty conversationalist and (according to Lady Sydney, wife of the then Lord Chamberlain) had the time of her life in Anglo- Indian society, being a lavish entertainer but who also loved going out. She could be careless with expenditure on occasion which caused marital conflicts.

On her return to and permanent re-settlement in England, she made friends locally - including the Longmans (publishers) and the Empress Eugenie, with whom she conversed in fluent French. However, she also became frustrated with the restrictions placed on her by so large a family and so small an income. Nor was she impressed by the social life that she encountered in the military environment. Most of the sunshine went out of her life when her elder son, Johnny, died in 1875. (See below.)

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The Children of John Smyth and Nina Struth

Ethel's family background was fairly typical of those encountered in comfortable middle-class Victorian England - solid, respectable - some might say 'stuffy'. She was surrounded by relatives who were either in the church or the army - or in politics at a minor level.

1 Alice Julia Ann Smyth b. India 1851(48) - died 1933 - married Davidson

Alice was born in 1851 in India. She married Harry Davidson, a young Scotsman, in 1875 and lived at his parents' home at Muirhouse, some 5 miles from Edinburgh on the Firth of Forth. Harry knew Germany well.

2. John H. S. Smyth b. India 1854/5 (49) d.1875 in a hunting accident

Johnny was born in 1854 in India. Ethel saw him as a rôle model to a certain extent. He had a horse riding accident in 1873 from which he never really recovered and he died at Frimhurst in 1875 because of a brain tumour.

3. Mary E. Smyth b. India 1856 (51) - married Hunter

Mary (Smyth) Hunter - after John Singer SargentDame Ethel's immediate elder sister (b. 1856) - Mary Smyth - married Charles Hunter in 1875. He was very wealthy and had extensive American mining interests. In her 1940 memoir, "What Happened Next" Dame Ethel quipped about Mary that it was "her 'sacred duty' to spend every penny of [her husband's] money." In this, Mary Smyth was successful. She built up an important art collection which eventually had to be sold.

Mary was born in 1856 in India. She had been left with friends in India when the Indian Mutiny broke out in 1857 and had to be hidden by her ayah. She married Charles Hunter, brother of a school friend of hers and a wealthy son of a Northumberland coal owner. In 1875 they had a house near Darlington. She was the beauty of the family. She was well known in Edwardian circles as a lavish hostess and a collecter of fine pictures. She was an avid collector of John Singer Sargent's work and was herself painted by him. She also knew Monet, Sickert and Rodin. Her husband was a keen horseman which Dame Ethel appreciated.

After living for some time in County Durham, they moved to Hill Hall, in Essex where prominent visitors included Lady Cunard and Sir Thomas Beecham. (Hill Hall was a Smyth seat (qv Smyth/e of Essex) going back at least to the Tudor era.)

Later, she squandered her money and was then supported by her siblings. Charlie Hunter died in 1916. There is purported to be (or have been) a memorial window to him at the church in Theydon - near Hill Hall. Mary died in 1933.

A seat of early Smyth/es, Hill Hall bears the following history: Hill Hall at Theydon Mount originated with the family Smith from 1560 onwards - built by Sir Thomas Smith Secretary of State to Edward VI. It was owned by Sir Thomas Smythe (from J.P. Neale's Views, Series 2, vol. I, 1824. Kentworthy-Browne, Guide, III, 1981. J.A. Rush, Seats in Essex, 1897, 103. W. Watts, Seats, 1779.) The contents of the Hall were sold July 22+, 1925.

See Site Notes below re. Singer Sargent and the Anstruther ...

4. Ethel Mary Smyth b. 1858 (53) 1858 is the "official" 'biography' date. Unmarried.

As a child - as in adulthood - she was very much a free spirit and growing up in this rather 'establishment' atmosphere caused a number of family conflicts. In modern parlance she would be known as a 'tomboy'. She was certainly known to be a 'bossy' sibling and a less than compliant daughter - this latter to her credit in an age (and milieu) where children were usually supposed to "be seen and not heard" and in which the obedience of daughters, as much as the duty of sons, was so often expected (demanded too) by parents. Note how, even in the photograph at the head of this article, she stands aloof at the donkey's head.

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During World War 1, she served at a French military hospital at Vichy.

"In the year 1919, I published an autobiography called "Impressions That Remained". I wrote that book while doing radioactive work in a French military hospital - locating bits of shell - telling the doctor how deeply embedded they were - and - watching him plunge into an anaesthetised body the knife that shall prove you either an expert or a bungler - is not a music-inspiring job; but writing memoirs in between while was a delightful relief."

She knew a large number of influential people especially in the musical and literary worlds as well as those of "society". She died in 1944 at her house in Woking, Surrey.

5. Nina Augusta Stracey Smyth b. 1862 (54) Kent - married Hollings

Nina - born 1862 in Sidcup - married a local Frimley squire, Herbert Hollings, educated at Winchester, Oxford and a JP. He was a pillar of the local conservative association. He was looked upon locally as a successor to Major General John Smyth. Nina was a good horsewoman and an intepid car driver. Together with her friend, Lady Helen Gleichen, (the painter) she raised a mobile ambulance unit at the beginning of the Great War and was decorated  for valour for service on the Italian front. In 1936 she and Helena lived together in Gloucestshire.

See Note 1 below

6. Violet H. Smyth b. 1864 (57) Kent - married Hippisley
Honoria V. or Violet H.? 1881 census says H.V. She died in 1923.

Honoria Violet Smyth or Violet Honoria Smyth?

Mike Matthews, creator of the site linked below, states that "Honoria V. Smyth" was at school in South Weald, Essex, at the time of the 1881 census - born Sidcup, Kent c. 1864." Mike is a collateral descendant of the Hippisley family. Violet Smyth married Richard Lionel Hippisley in 1885. "The following information," states Mike, "is based heavily on 'Some Notes on the Hippisley Family' - collected by A.E. Hippisley, edited & extended by I. FitzRoy Jones". Mike Matthews adds that A.E. Hippisley's book states that "Violet died on 27th August 1923".

The Hippisley family (qv above in connection with Honoria Violet Smyth, sister of Dame Ethel) was also associated with the Smyth family of Ashton Court in Bristol during the Tudor era.

"John HIPPISLEY II was born in Ston Easton in 1530. His father used some of his new wealth to have John educated in the law. John became a senior lawyer at the "Mydle" Temple in London and was described by Dr. Hubert Hall in his social study "Society in the Elizabethan Age"as "perhaps the most successful country practitioner of his time". John represented Wells as MP between 1562 and 1566 after briefly serving as MP for Bridport and was also Recorder of Bristol - the City's senior Judge - from 1551 until his death. In 1559 he bought "Parkers tenement" in Ston Easton from Hugh Smythe of Ashton Court near Bristol and also bought the manor of Whitnell, where his grandfather had been tenant and bailiff, and which included Turner's Court." 'Some Notes on the Hippisley Family' - collected by A.E. Hippisley, edited & extended by I. FitzRoy Jones" - courtesy of Mike Matthews.

Hippisley Family

"Richard Lionel HIPPISLEY, born 1853, was educated at Cheltenham College and the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich. He joined the Royal Engineers, rising to the rank of Colonel by 1904. He served in the Egyptian campaign of 1882 and was an instructor at the School of Military Engineering in Chatham, Kent. He was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath on 29th November 1900. He served on the staff in the South African War (1899-1902) as Director of Telegraphs and took part in the advance on Kimberley and in operations in Orange Free State and Transvaal. In the First World War he served as Deputy Director of Army Signals, Central Force. After retiring he became interested in the Boy Scout movement and was awarded the Scout Medal of Merit on 22nd January 1930. He was the author of an article on 'Linkages' in the Encyclopaedia Britannica and also wrote "History of the Telegraph Operations during the South African War, 1899-1902". He was also a mathematician of very considerable ability. He married Violet Honoria SMYTH on 4th November 1885. Violet was the daughter of Major-General John Hall SMYTH of Frimhurst, Surrrey. Richard died on 7th December 1936."

The following information was offered by Mike Matthews, extracted from the 1881 census:

At Sandhurst, Berkshire
Robert N. SMYTH boarder 12 Scholar born Frimley, Surrey
At school, Brook Street, South Weald, Essex
Honoria V. SMYTH boarder 17 Scholar born Sidcup, Kent
Elinor SMYTH  boarder 15 Scholar born Sidcup, Kent

Violet was born in 1864 at Sidcup and married Richard (Dick) Hippisley, a major in the Royal Engineers. The Hippisley family home for hundreds of years was Ston Easton, near Bath. Dick's father was a Fellow of ther Royal Society. They moved into a fine house in Pulteney Street, Bath. On Nina Struth's death in 1891, they moved to Frimhurst to be with Violet's father and at that point in time (then Captain) Hippisley was about to be posted to Aldershot. They were still at Frimhurst in 1893 but moved out in October of that year. Violet died in 1923.

Site Note - The 1891 Census notes of John H. Smythe (with the final letter e to his name) that he was a Magistrate and that he was born at "Ludlow in Cheshire" .... in fact, geography places Ludlow in South Shropshire ... and the 1891 census also records that both Richard and Violet Hippisley were with him in the house at that time - April 5th 1891. He was born in 1815 and died in 1894.

7. Ellina (1881 Elinor) (Nelly) L. Smyth b. 1866 (55) Kent - married Eastwood

Nelly Elinor was born in 1866 in Sidcup and married Hugh Eastwood, Colonel in the King's Dragoon Guards, in 1888. They immediately went to India. Later the Guards were transferred to Norwich and the Eastwoods took up residence in Sprowston Grange which was the Dower House of Rackenheath, the home of the Straceys. The Eastwoods had two daughters and there was, apparently, a surviving Eastwood male relative - one Tom Eastwood - of whom nothing is known.

Information and image scans (adapted in this page) courtesy of Ken Hallock - April 2004
Ken Hallock claims no family connection as such. He is a researcher and collector. One of his specialist areas concerns the people and events covering both sides in the Boer War.H.de C. Eastwood

From "The Distinguished Service Order", by Creagh & Humphris, page 279, part 1.

"EASTWOOD, HUGH DE CRESPIGNY, Capt., was born 25 Jan. 1863, second son of the late T. S. B. Eastwood, J.P., Barrister-at-Law (of 28, Gloucester Terrace, London, W., and Lincoln's Inn), and of the late Rosalie Eastwood. He was educated at Eton, and joined the Royal Scots Greys, from the 1st Lanark Militia, 19 Aug. 1885; was transferred to the 1st King's Dragoon Guards, as Lieutenant, 29 Dec. 1886. He served in India, 1887-88 ; was Assistant Adjutant, Cavalry Depot, Canterbury, 1889-91, of the King's Dragoon Guards, 1891-94; was promoted Captain 4 June, 1894. He served in South Africa, 1901, and was present in operations in the Transvaal, Orange River Colony and Cape Colony. He was twice wounded (once severely); mentioned in Despatches [London Gazette, 17 Jan. 1902]; received the Medal and four clasps, and was created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order [Lordon Gazette, 31 Oct. 1902]: " Hugh de Crespigny Eastwood, Capt., 1st Dragoon Guards. In recognition of services during the operations in South Africa." He was invested by the, King 18 Dec. 1902. He became Major 20 June, 1903. He was Adjutant and Instructor, Imperial Yeomanry, Aldershot, 1902-4; retired 26 Feb. 1908. From 1910 to 1913 he was D.A.D.R., Aldershot Command; D.R.O., 1913-14. He served in the Great War; was promoted Lieutenant-Colonel, and was from 1915 to 1917 Commandant, Army Cyclist Training Centre. He was Inspector of Cyclist Units, 1916-18, and was promoted Colonel in 1916. He was mentioned in Despatches in 1919 Colonel Eastwood has the Order of the Iron Crown (Austria), 3rd Class. He married, 25 Jan. 1887, at Frimley, Surrey, Ellinor, youngest daughter of the late General John Hall Smyth, C.B., of Frimhurst, Frimley, Surrey, and they have three sons: Hugh Robert, Lieutenant Commander, R.N., born Oct. 1888; Thomas Robert, D.S.O., M.C., Brevet Major, Rifle Brigade, born May, 1890; and Ronald de Crespigny, born Jan. 1903; and two daughters : Rosalie Joan, born 1892, and Violet, born 1895."

From, "Who Was Who" 1929-1940, Adam & Charles Black, Publishers. Pages 400-401Eastwood portrait - from "After Pretoria: The Guerilla War" - page 326

EASTWOOD, Colonel Hugh de Crespigny, D.S.O. 1902; late King's Dragoon Guards; b. 25 Jan. 1868; 2nd s. of late T. S. B. Eastwood, J.P,, Barr.-at-law, and late Rosalie Eastwood; m. 1887, Ellinor, y. d. of late General John Hall Smyth, C.B., of Frimhurst, Frimley, Surrey; three s. two d. Educ. : Eton. Entered army from 1st Royal Lanark Militia, 1885; served in India, 1887-88; Assistant Adjutant, Cavalry Depot, Canterbury, 1889-91; of King's Dragoon Guards, 1891-94; Adjutant and Instructor, Imperial Yeomanry, Aldershot, 1902-4; D.A.D.R. Aldershot Command, 1910-14; Commandant Army Cyclist Training Centre, 1915-17; Inspector of Cyclist Units, 1916-18 ; served South Africa 1901-2 (twice wounded, once severely, despatches, D.S.O., medal and four clasps); despatches, 1919 ; Order of" The Iron Crown," 3rd class (Austria). Address: Chineham House, Basingstoke. T.: Basingstoke 108. Club: Naval and Military. (Died 18 Feb. 1934.)

From, "The Old Public School-Boys’ Who’s Who, Eton", St. James’s Press, 1933. Page 251.

EASTWOOD, COLONEL HUGH DE CRESPIGNY, second son of Thomas Smith Badger Eastwood, J.P., barrister-at-law, by his wife, Rosalie de Crespigny; b. 25 January 1863; m. January 1887 Ellinor, youngest dau. of General John Hall Smyth, C.B., of Frimhurst Frimley, Surrey, and has issue: Hugh Robert, b. 1888; Thomas Ralph [q.v.], b. 1890; Ronald de Crespigny, b. 1903; Rosalie Joan, b. 1892; and Violet, b. 1895. Educated at Eton 1877-80 (George Eden Marindin's house); entered the army from the militia, having held a commission in the 3rd battalion (the 1st Royal Lanarkshire militia) of the Highland Light Infantry 1881-85; having been gazetted to the 2nd Dragoons (the Royal Scots Greys) 19 August 1885, he exchanged to the 1st (the King's) Dragoon Guards 1887 and was promoted major 20 June 1903; served in the South-African war 1901-02 (wounded twice, mentioned in dispatches, and awarded the D.S.O. 1902, the queen's medal and four clasps, and the third class of the Austrian order of the Iron Crown) ; retired on retired pay 26 February 1908; served in the European war with the reserve regiment of the 1st (the King's) Dragoon Guards 1914 and with the Army Cyclist Corps 1915-18 (mentioned in dispatches and granted the rank of colonel in the army 10 June 1916). Address: Chineham House, Basingstoke, Hampshire (Telephone: Basingstoke 103 ).- Club: Naval and Military. His obituary appeared in "The Times", London, Tuesday, February 20, 1934, page 16, col. 3."Home Guard being inspected by Lt. Gen. T. R. Eastwood, C.B., D.S.O.,  M.C.,  in June 1941"

Thomas (R.) Eastwood has the following entry in the 1933 edition of "The Old Public School-Boys’ Who’s Who, Eton" - page 251

EASTWOOD, BREVET-LIEUTENANT COLONEL THOMAS RALPH, second son of Colonel Hugh de Crespigny Eastwood, D.S.O. [q.v.], by his wife, Ellinor, youngest dau. of General John Hall Smyth, C.B., of Frimhurst, Frimley, Surrey; b. 10 May 1890; m. 21 April 1921 Mabel Vivian Prideaux, dau. of Joseph Temperley, of 47 Chester Square, London, S.W. 1, and has issue: one son. Educated at Eton 1904-08 (Hugh Vibart Macnaghten's house) and at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst; gazetted second lieutenant in the Rifle Brigade 9 March 1910 and promoted lieutenant 11November 1911, captain 30 December 1914, brevet major 1 January 1918 (receiving substantive rank 3 June 1927), and brevet lieutenant colonel 4 June 1927; acted as aide-de-camp to the governor and commander-in-chief of New Zealand, the second Earl of Liverpool [q.v.], 1912-14, served in the European war on the staff in German Samoa, Gallipoli, Egypt, and France and Belgium, 1914-19 (mentioned in dispatches five times and awarded the D.S.O. and the M.C.) and on the staff of the North Russian relief force August-October 1919, and has held the appointments of brigade major successively at Aldershot and at Cork 21 January 1920-4 January 1921, of general staff officer (third grade) and general staff officer (second grade) at the War Office 22 January 1923-21 January 1927, and of general staff officer (second grade) at the Staff College, Camberley (where he was a student 1921-22), from 31 August 1928. Address: c/o The Rifle Dep6t, Winchester, Hampshire. Club: Naval and Military.

From "The Rifle Brigade, Appendix, The Great War, Honours and Awards" by Eastwood and Parkyn, 1936, page 29.

EASTWOOD, LT.-COL. T. R. M.C. 29-10-15. For conspicuous gallantry and ability during operations on 6th/7th August, 1915, in the Gallipoli Peninsula. He guided the night advance of his brigade with skill and resource, especially when the head of the column came under the enemy's fire. Owing to the severity of the opposition the advance came gradually to a standstill, and at this point Captain Eastwood rendered very valuable service in reorganising the column, thus enabling it to continue the advance. D.S.0.3.6.ig. Despatches(6).

The original picture for the image immediately above was sent to Ken Hallock without source details. Such details would be welcomed if any reader knows of them. On the difference in name Robert/Ralph for Thomas Eastwood, Ken Hallock comments, "As for the proper name for Thomas Ralph Eastwood, I believe we can safely say it is "Ralph" as that is how he is listed in the "Hart's Army List" for 1912 ."

[left] Chineham House (home of the Eastwood family) as it appears in 2004.
Picture c/o Ken Hallock - courtesy of Capt. Brian Sperring.

For traces of the de Crespigny family, a good place to start is here.

It is of interest to note that Caroline Smijth (of the Hill Hall, Essex branch of Smijth aka Smith/Smyth) who was born 12th April 1796 - birth registered at St. George, Hanover Square, London, Middlesex - married (firstly) Augustus James Champion de Crespigny (29th May 1817) - marriage registered at St. George Hanover Square in London. She married (secondly) Herbert Joseph Champion de Crespigny (23rd April 1831) at St. Leonard's, Shoreditch, in London. (Information LDS IGI)

For Hill Hall and Smyth family linkages, see also Sir Thomas Smyth of Hill Hall in Essex ... Sir Thomas Smythe - a biography of the statesman who became Secretary of State to Edward VI and to Queen Elizabeth I.

It would now appear that some of the clues as to why Dame Ethel and her family had connections with Hill Hall are beginning to make sense. Smijth > de Crespigny > Smyth etc. Research on-going.
8. Robert Napier Smyth (Brig. Gen. D.S.O.) b. 1869 Surrey

Robert Napier Smyth (Bob) was born in 1868 at Frimley. He was a Cavalry officer, gazetted to the 21st Lancers in 1890 and he sailed for India in March, 1898. He rejoined his regiment at Cairo as part of the army of Kitchener, formed to avenge the death of Gordon in Khartoum and to regain the Soudan. In September 1898 came the Cavalry charge of the 21st Lancers at Omdurman. Winston Churchill, then attached to the 4th Hussars, joined his group. In 1894 he rejoined his regiment in India with the spoils of the sale of Frimhurst in his pocket for the time being. He was an observer at the manoeuvres of the German army in the late 1890s and then, in autumn 1899, was attached to the 13th Hussars who were dispatched to South Africa for the Boer War. He achieved the rank of Brigadier General and was awarded a D.S.O. It was Robert Napier Smyth who, in 1944 - and in accordance with Dame Ethel's last wishes - scattered her ashes on Woking golf course.

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Note 1 - The connection of Theodate Pope Riddle, American architect ...

Theodate Pope was a female American architect but had no formal training as such. She was the daughter of a somewhat cold mother who wanted no children and a father who was a busy, self-made industrialist. Theodate struggled to make her own life. Her buildings are few in number: three schools, the reconstruction and additions to the Theodore Roosevelt House in New York, three country houses, and a parcel of cottages built for servants. She was actively involved in the investigation of mediums as sponsored by the Society for Psychical Research, a group of scholars on both sides of the Atlantic who attempted to determine the existence of the soul after death. As a result of this latter, she became acquainted with the novelist, Henry James and, through him, with Dame Ethel's family ...

A recent account of her life, available here, reads (this is a short extract from Chapter VI) as follows:-

"Theodate's friends in psychical research, the William Jameses, were also in London, having come to England hoping to ameliorate Henry James's bleak depression. William James was debilitated by a heart condition, and the brothers had sought relief in the curative baths at the German spa, Bad Nauheim, before Theodate's arrival. Henry James was beginning to recuperate, but his brother had only become weaker. On July 18th Theodate paid Alice James an afternoon call at the James's small hotel in London, a visit interrupted by the arrival of the sixty-seven-year old novelist whom Theodate had not previously met. The meeting began with tension. Theodate describes the scene in her memoirs. Mrs. James excused herself, and Henry James, indignant at seeing a stranger unexpectedly, looked at her sharply, his eyes "like the barrels of a gun." But after poking at the fire and grumbling about some physical complaint, he turned into a delightful host. James took to Theodate - her wit, her generosity, and her car. She chauffeured him to the Army and Navy stores on a wet afternoon. And with all three Jameses she motored out to Chelsea to look at houses of literary figures.

On their first encounter, Henry James had suggested that they drive the very next day to Hill-Hall, near Epping, northeast of London, to have tea with Mrs. Charles Hunter. Mary Hunter, the wife of a wealthy coal mine owner, was one of five Smyth sisters, the best known being the composer and militant suffragette, Dame Ethel Smyth. Theodate relates that she and James almost missed tea, as Mrs. Hunter was out when they arrived, Henry James not having notified her of their coming. However, Mr. Hunter caught them as they were leaving, invited them to tea, and they stayed on for dinner where Theodate met another Smyth sister who became a close friend. This was Nina Hollings. She invited Theodate to lunch at her house, Watchetts, in Frimley, Surrey, asking her to bring along Helena Gleichen, a painter of horses and landscapes.

Thus Theodate was launched into a society of strong-minded, professional women. She became such an Anglophile that her Farmington friend Anna Cowles admonished her not to think of staying in England since there was much to do for her own country.”

One of the sources for this initernet book was the Macmillan Encyclopedia of Architects, ed. Adolf K. Placzek, New York, 1982, III, 578f.

Site Note 1

Countess Helena Gleichen was a grand niece of Queen Victoria and lived in St. James Palace. Her sister, Countess Feodora, was a sculptor. It is significant that, in 1919, when Henry James Drew-Smythe (Royal Army Medical Corps) had been in Bavaria (see "Dearest Blue Eyes") as part of the International Commission appointed to oversee the repatriation of prisoners of war, he was invited to take tea with the Baroness Gleitchen there, which suggests that he was known to her and thus strengthening the possibility that there is a family connection between this Smythe and Dame Ethel Smyth's family - as well as being connected through the 14-18 War Medical Corps.

Site Note 2

John Singer Sargent was also closely connected with Vernon Lee and thus with Kit (Clementina) Anstruther Thomson ancestor cousin of the maternal Anstruther line of this site. Via Kit's name link adjacent and thence via "Two English Violets in Florence" (site in Italian) it may be noted that Dame Ethel finds Vernon "ugly, without tact, oppressively intelligent, and completely smitten with ...". The name of Gleichen is also significant in this connection.

Sargent also painted Agnes Dorothea Guthrie (d. 1941) the 3rd daughter of James Alex Guthrie of Craigie, Forfarshire, Scotland and the wife of Charles Frederick St. Clair Anstruther (Thomson) who was a brother of 'Kit' Anstruther-Thomson - both children of Colonel John Anstruther Thompson. The daughter of C. F. St.C. Anstruther (Thomson) and Agnes Guthrie was Grizel Margaret St. Clair Anstruther who married (1911) Count Knut Corfitz Bonde of Sweden.

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