Smith, William

, herald and antiquary, was born in Cheshire, and descended from the Smiths or Smyths of Oldhough. He was educated at Oxford, but in what college Wood has not ascertained, there being several of the same names about the latter part of the sixteenth century. When he left the university, we cannot trace his progress, but on his application at the Heralds’ college for the office of Rouge- Dragon, it was said that he had been a merchant and traveller. He was recommended by sir George Carey, knight marshal; and “The Society of Arms finding, by many, that he was honest, and of a quiet conversation, and well languaged,” joined in the supplication, which gained him this office. Anstis says, that he had long resided abroad, and had kept an inn, at Nuremburgh, in Germany, the sign at the door of which was the Goose. He wrote a description of Cheshire, which, with his historical collections made about 1590, or a copy of them, falling into the hands of sir Randolph Crew, knt. lord chief justice of the King’s bench, his grandson, sir Randolph Crew, gave them to the public. These materials, and the labours of William Webb, form the bulk of “King’s Vale-Royal,” published in fol. 1656. He made a great number of collections, relative to families in England and Germany. He wrote a description of this kingdom, embellishing it with drawings of its chief towns, Many of his books are in Philipot’s press, in the College at Arms. He composed an Alphabet of Arms, which the late respected Mr. Brooke supposed to have been the origin or basis of such kind of books. The original was lodged in King’s-college library, in Cambridge, to which it had been given by Dr. Richard Roderick. It was copied in 1744, by the rev. William Cole, M. A. of Milton, and is now with his other Mss. in the British Museum. The late rev. Samuel Peggye, the antiquary, had a manuscript copy, improved by him, of Derbyshire, as visited by Glover. This skilful and indefatigable officer at arms died, without farther promotion, Oct. 1, 1618. In the Bodleian library are two Mss. by Smith, the one “The Image of Heraldrye, &c.” a sort of introduction to the science, which forrrierly belonged to Anstis the other, “Genealogies of the different potentates of Europe, 1578,” formerly Peter Le Neve’s. A new edition, with additions, of the “Vale-Royal,” was published at Chester, 1778, 2 vols. 8vo. 1

1 Athi Ox. vol. I, new edit. Noble’s College of Arms. Gough’s Topog. vol. I.