Abel Smith

17th Jul 1788 - 23rd Feb 1859

Claimant or beneficiary


London banker, partner in Smith, Payne & Smith (q.v.), awarded the compensation for Raymond's estate in Vere Jamaica as trustee of the marriage settlement of Lt-Col John F. Crewe and Harriet Smith, the daughter of Abel Smith's uncle the first Baron Carrington.

  1. He married (1) Lady Marianne Leslie-Melville, daughter of Alexander Leslie-Melville, 9th Earl of Leven and Jane Thornton, 28/08/1822 (2) Frances Anne Calvert, daughter of General Sir Harry Calvert, 1st Bart. and Caroline Hammersley, 12/07/1826.

  2. MP for Malmesbury 1810-12, Wendover 1812-18, Midhurst 1820-30, Wendover 1830-32 and Hertfordshire 1835-47. "His political course was decidedly moderate... [but] reflecting a family concern, he presented an anti-slavery petition from a group of female Methodists, 10 Dec. 1830".

  3. Left £400,000 at death in 1859.

  4. His father Samuel Smith (1754-1834) and several of his uncles were also MPs. His eldest son Abel Smith (1829-98) became Conservative Member for Hertfordshire, 1854-57, 1859-65, 1866-85, and East Hertfordshire, 1885-98.

  5. There are 4 letters from William Wilberforce to Abel Smith in the Abel Smith Collection at Hertfordshire Archives, including a letter dated 30/01/1822 asking Smith to become an executor of his will and trustee of the family trust.

  6. The families of Abel Smith and William Wilberforce were intertwined for well over 100 years. According to research by Sue Castle-Henry:

(a) Abel Smith's grandfather, Abel Smith (1717-1788) had been apprenticed at the age of 15 (in about 1732) to William Wilberforce's grandfather, William Wilberforce (1690-1776), Baltic merchant of Hull.

(b) William Wilberforce's mother was Elizabeth Bird (1730-1798) daughter of Thomas Bird. Her sister was Mary Bird (1724-1780) who was Abel Smith 's grandmother, having married Abel Smith (1717-1788). Abel Smith was thus a first cousin once removed of William Wilberforce. (Thomas Bird's son, John Bird of Coventry and London, married Judith Wilberforce, daughter of William Wilberforce (1690-1776). Their son William Wilberforce Bird (1758-1836) was an MP. The Bird family of Coventry were silk manufacturers.)

(c) William Wilberforce's two youngest sons, Samuel Wilberforce (1805-1873) and Henry William Wilberforce (1807-1873) married respectively Emily Sargent (1807-1841) and her sister, Mary Sargent (1810-1871). ("Wilberforce Family and Friends" by Anne Stott.) Abel Smith was 2nd cousin of Samuel and Henry Wilberforce. He was also 1st cousin once removed of Emily and Mary Sargent who were great-granddaughters of Abel Smith (1717-1788) and Mary Bird, being granddaughters of Abel Smith (1748-1779) who was the brother of Samuel Smith (1754-1834) who was father of Abel Smith (1788-1859). Samuel and Henry Wilberforce were 2nd cousins once removed of Emily and Mary Sargent.

(d) Harriet Smith (d. 1856) - of whose marriage settlement to Lt Col John F Crewe (1788-1840) Abel Smith (1788-1859) as a trustee was awarded the compensation for Raymond's estate in Vere, Jamaica - was the daughter of Robert Smith 1st Baron Carrington (1752 - 1838), who was 3rd son of Abel Smith (1717-1788) and Mary Bird. Harriet was thus also a 1st cousin once removed of William Wilberforce.


T71/858 Vere claim no 122A&B. For more on Abel Smith and William Wilberforce, see https://lbsatucl.wordpress.com/2019/02/27/slave-owners-and-abolitionists-some-letters-from-william-wilberforce/.

  1. Burke's Peerage, 107th edition, Vol. 3 p. 3990 at http://www.thepeerage.com/p13817.htm [accessed 13/03/2013].

  2. http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1820-1832/member/smith-abel-1788-1859 [accessed 13/03/2013]. DE/X105/1/28, see catalogue at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/records.aspx?cat=046-dex105&cid=1-22#1-22 [accessed 13/03/2013].

  3. William D. Rubinstein, Who were the rich? A biographical dictionary of British wealth-holders Volume Two 1840-1859 (MS) reference 1859/36.

  4. http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1754-1790/member/smith-samuel-1754-1834 [accessed 13/03/2013]. http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1820-1832/member/smith-abel-1788-1859 [accessed 13/03/2013].

  5. Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies [D/EAS/4414-17].

  6. (a) Anne Stott, Wilberforce: Family and Friends (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2012) p. 8.

(b) 'Relationships of the Wilberforce, Bird and Sargent families' in Stott, Wilberforce: Family and Friends. For William Wilberforce Bird in History of Parliament Online see http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1790-1820/member/bird-william-wilberforce-1758-1836 [accessed 28/05/2013].

(c) 'Relationships of the Wilberforce, Bird and Sargent families' in Stott, Wilberforce: Family and Friends. John Burke, History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland (London, Henry Holburn, 1838) Vol. 4 pp. 722-723.

(d) A. F. Pollard, ‘Smith, Robert, first Baron Carrington (1752–1838)’, rev. Stephen M. Lee, ODNB online, http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/25892?docPos=7 [accessed 28/05/2013].

We are grateful to Sue Castle-Henry for her assistance in compiling this entry.

Further Information

(1) Lady Marianne, daughter of 9th Earl of Leven and Melville (2) Frances Calvert
With (2): 4 sons, 6 daughters
Wealth at death
Cambridge (Trinity) [1806 ]
Church of England
Oxford DNB Entry

Associated Claims (1)

£4,346 4s 1d
Awardee (Trustee)

Legacies Summary

Commercial (1)

Firm Investment

Cultural (1)

Armchair, and its pair (V & A: W.18-1931), were sold by Sotheby's, 13 March 1931, lot 101, by order of the executors of the late Col. Abel Henry Smith, as part of the furnishings of Woodhall... 
notes →
Full details at: Victoria & Albert Museum Collection: Furniture and Woodwork. Thanks to Allyson Take...

Political (1)

election →
Malmesbury Wiltshire
1810 - 1812
election →
Wendover Buckinghamshire
1812 - 1818
election →
Midhurst Sussex
1820 - 1830
election →
Wendover Buckinghamshire
1830 - 1832
election →
Hertfordshire Hertfordshire
1835 - 1847

Relationships (4)

First Cousins
Notes →
Crewe was married to Harriet Smith, first cousin of Abel...
Son → Father
Grandson → Grandfather

Addresses (2)

15 Portland Place, London, Middlesex, London, England
Woodhall Park, Ware, Hertfordshire, South-east England, England