University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Smyth Family Papers 1602-1692

© 2006 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary


Smyth Family. Papers




.25 linear ft. (1 box)


Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


The collection contains correspondence, legal records, estate and other property documents relating to the Smyth family of Gloucestershire, England, and to the Berkeley and Overbury families. Includes notes prepared by Mary McEldowney concerning the papers.

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When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Smyth Family. Papers,[Box #, Folder #], Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Scope Note

These papers are concerned with the Smyth family of Gloucestershire in England, and the connections of this family with others in the neighborhood, particularly the Berkeleys (the local nobility), and the Overburys. There are approximately thirty-five letters and legal documents, from about 1602 to about 1686. A few are undated, but appear to belong to this general period. The papers include some personal letters among different members of the family, but for the most part are concerned with such matters as defining property boundaries; listing a harvest of crops; lawsuits over inheritance; etc. Typed copies of most of the original documents are included. Also included are a number of bibliographical sources of contemporary local history of this section of England in the seventeenth century, and biographical and other notes, presumably compiled by Mary McEldowney at the time she was working with these papers.

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Subject Headings


Box 1   Folder 1


  • Eight pages of typescript which contain copies of parts of articles from the Gloucestershire Notes and Queries, plus a list of references pertinent to the Smyth family papers. The articles quoted are concerned with the Smyth family of Nibley, England; possible American descendents in New England, New York, and Virginia; and relations between the Smyths and the Berkeleys of Gloucestershire

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Box 1   Folder 2


  • Undated, Account of lawsuit concerned with the title to a farm, transcribed from old to modern handwriting
  • June 11, 1678 Oath of Robert Cornock, that he has no money to pay his poll tax.
  • Undated, Typed transcript. Reasons why the King cannot pardon on impeachments in Parliament
  • Undated, 1 sheet. Continuation of similar argument
  • Undated, Typed transcript. Lawfulness of commissions
  • Undated, Another document, not transcribed
Box 1   Folder 3

Correspondence (all with typed transcriptions)

  • October 17, 1620, Letter to John Smith from Robert Bridges
  • February 17, 1626, Letter to John Smith from Mr. Battersey
  • August 28, 1627, Letter to nephew John Smith from Mr. Webb
  • September 20, 1627, Letter to John Smith from Be. Webb
  • December 3, 1627, Letter to John Smith from Mr. Battersey
  • February, 1630, Letter to Lady Elizabeth, Berkeley, in London from Mr. Smyth and Mr. Battersey
  • May 18, 1632, May 18, 1632 Letter to John Smyth from Rebecca Goldisbrough (sp?)
  • August 23, 1650, Letter to John Smith from Humphrey Hooke
  • Undated, Letter to John Smyth from Richard Baughe, includes estimated value of a farm, itemized
  • March 2, 1692, Letter to George Smyth from Edward Smith, father
  • May 23, 1672, Letter to John Smyth from Dick Stephens
  • Undated, Letter to Edward Smyth from Alex Blagrave
  • December 9, 1678, Letter to Mr. Smyth, unsigned, perhaps from his sister
  • June 11 (no year), Letter to Edward Smyth from H. Overbury
  • June 29 (no year), Letter to Edward Smyth from H. Overbury
  • Undated, Letter to Rose Smyth, unsigned
  • October 20, 1679, Letter to Edward Smyth from Tho. Overbury
  • June 4, 1681, Letter to Edward Smyth from Tho. Overbury
Box 1   Folder 4

Legal papers

  • July 15, 1625, Receipt, typed transcript
  • April 1634 Receipt, typed transcript
  • December 18, 1648, Bond of John Driver, typed transcript, in Latin and English
  • Undated, untranscribed, another bond
Box 1   Folder 5

Real estate and other property documents

  • A sketch of map of Hipe's land, recently drawn from information in the papers
  • November 5, 1621, Corne leaft in the cockloft (also wheat, barly, malt, pease & beanes)
  • no date, 1 folded sheet, with writing on three sides, only a few sentences transcribed, concerning a description of property that had been occupied by two Welldones and a Stephen Arnold
  • No date, 1 sheet, with writing, untranscribed
  • April 3, 1602, 1 folded sheet, writing on three sides, transcribed, property boundary descriptions in three parts; The land occupied by Carter; the house called the Netherplace; and the lands of John Buttler, the Niller
  • Undated, A map of the Mansion House, with its surrounding fields, roads, brook, mill, etc
Box 1   Folder 6

Notes concerning the papers, presumably by Mary McEldowney

  • List of persons involved in the papers
  • List of names (presumably, those names relevant to the papers) mentioned in Gloucestershire Notes and Queries, with volume and page references
  • Rough drafts of typed transcriptions
  • List of dates of correspondence and other papers. Does not include all listed here, included in collection
  • Relationships of various members of the Overbury family, and further lists of names

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