Hester Smith of Ashstead Surrey (née Dance)

???? - 1814


Widow of Nathaniel Smith, and creditor of Sir John Boyd on an estate originally reportedly called Friths on St Vincent. In 1812 she appears to have reached agreement with the trustees of Sir John Boyd's estate to allow an annuity of £300 p.a. to Sir John Boyd 2nd bart., and not to pursue her execution judgments so long as interest was being paid on about £15,000 of debt.

  1. In her will [made in 1811 and proved in 1814] she left her property among her daughters after reserving an annuity of £50 p.a. to her brother George Dance and a lump sum of £100 to her son George. She asked her daughters if they chose to move from her house in Ashstead to offer it at her purchase price to her friend George Mostyn. If her son George Smith was unable to provide for his daughters Hester and Sarah Smith she asked her own daughters to make some provision for them before they [it is ambiguous to whom this refers] married. The Friths estate has not yet been traced: the Boyd family owned an estate called Camden Park on St Vincent at the time of the 1817 Slave Registers, and Camden Park had been owned by Charles Payne Sharpe, known to have mortgaged 'slave-property' on St Vincent to Nathaniel Smith (possibly the land and people that came to form Sharpe's) in 1776.

  2. Both her father George Dance the elder and brother George Dance the younger have entries in the ODNB as architects; her brother James has an entry as an actor; and her brother Nathaniel Dance-Holland as painter and politician. Her husband, a Director and then Chairman of the East India Co., was MP for Pontefract in 1783 and then for Rochester 1784-90 and 1792-94.


Jim Smith has transcribed the indenture concerning Friths estate dated 07/11/1812 and entered 24/01/1814 for which he gives the reference 'from Grenada Registers of Records Item 2 of the microfilm FHL [1563379]', and which shows the assignment of Friths to Nathaniel Smith by Thomas and Rachel Frith to secure £4000 in 1776, and subsequently Sir John Boyd (who had purchased the equity of redemption for Friths) and John Trevanion issuing a bond for £80,000 to secure their debt of just under £40,000 to Nathaniel Smith in 1794, http://agenealogyhunt.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/part-367s-smith-robertson-genealogy.html" [accessed 190/03/2018]. It is not clear how Sir John Boyd and John Trevanion built up the additional debt to Nathaniel Smith.

  1. Will of Hester Smith proved 08/03/1814, PROB 11/1554/89.

  2. Jeffery, Sally. "Dance, George, the elder (c. 1694–1768), architect." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 19 Mar. 2018. http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-7095; Bowdler, Roger. "Dance, George, the younger (1741–1825), architect." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 19 Mar. 2018. http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-7096; Robinson, C. J. "Dance, James [performing name James Love] (1721–1774), actor and writer." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 19 Mar. 2018. http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-7097; Graham-Vernon, Deborah. "Dance, Nathaniel [afterwards Sir Nathaniel Holland, baronet] (1735–1811), painter and politician." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 19 Mar. 2018. http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-13534; http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1790-1820/member/smith-nathaniel-1730-94 [accessed 20/03/2018].

Further Information

Maiden Name
Nathaniel Smith
Ann; Elizabeth; Frances Diana; George

Legacies Summary

Cultural (1)

Prints, Drawings and Paintings
'This is a portrait of the artist's twenty-seven year old sister. At the time it was drawn Hester had been married for five years to her cousin Captain Nathaniel Smith of the East India Company.... 
notes →
Purchased by Tate Britain as part of the Oppe Collection,...

Relationships (1)

Widow → Deceased Husband

Addresses (1)

Ashtead, Surrey, South-east England, England