This branch of my family is one of the oldest known.
It stretches back to my greatx8 grandfather, Edward Smart, who was born before 1630.
It is also one of the most frustrating scions to research as, apart from the records
of baptisms marriages and burials, little has been found about them during the first
The small parish of Chute is about seven miles north-west of Andover in Hampshire.
It had a population of 389 in 1801 which is the reason that few baptisms, marriages
and burials are noted every year. It was decimated by the bubonic plague in the seventeenth
A map of Chute resembles a Scottie dog viewed from its right rump. Its south-eastern
border divides it from Hampshire so that any research of Chute families should include
the counties of Wiltshire and Hampshire. It encompasses several small settlements
with ‘Chute’ in their names such as Chute Forest, Upper and Lower Chute and so on.
The name Chute has the same meaning as the Welsh word, ‘coed’ - that is, forest.
Indeed, the parish was surrounded on its northern, eastern and southern sides by
forest. It’s topography is of a clay and flint top layer which lies on chalk. There
are no streams or rivers coursing through the parish.
The Parish Registers although starting in 1582 are damaged and I suspect they were
less than meticulously recorded - sometimes there are no baptisms of children recorded
who died in infancy. There are somewhat incomplete Bishops Transcript records which
can supply information that has been obliterated in the Parish Registers.
The Smart family
In the Parish Records there is no indication of where the Smarts lived or of their
occupations in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The only certain fact is
that they were not gentry or farmers as the Parish Records distinguishes these as
Two descendants of the family were woodmen in the nineteenth century and if the preponderance
of forests in the area is noted, it may be that earlier Smarts were also woodmen
- managing the forests. Having said that, there is a William Smart who died in 1835
and who described himself as a ‘yeoman’.
There was but one strand of the family in the parish in the seventeenth century.
As they appear to have sired few surviving males, the family did not ‘explode’. The
unusual Christian name, Alexander appears thrice in the records - which probably
links branches that are not otherwise connected by the registers. William Smart (born
circ 1726) is therefore shown as a possible son of Edward and Jane Smart. The main
difficulty with the Smart family tree is to decide which of three John Smarts who
were baptised from 1757-1761 married Elizabeth Phillimore in 1784. Fortunately this
puzzle is not part of my line.
William Smart, baptised in 1785 was my greatx3 grandfather.
Of his surviving brothers, James Smart was a married woodman living at Honey Bottom,
Chute in 1851. He died in the March Quarter of 1858. Thomas Smart married, moved
to Bristol and worked as a silk dyer. He died in the summer of 1863.
William Smart - my greatx3 grandfather
William Smart was the first-born child of Thomas and Elizabeth Smart and was baptised
at Chute in Wiltshire.
He evidently crossed the border into Hampshire and lived in the village of Upper
Clatford, marrying locally-born girl, Anne Withers on 9 November 1806 at All Saints,
Upper Clatford (see below). They were said to be ‘of the parish of Upper Clatford’
and both marked the marriage register.
William and Anne had nine children, born between 1808 and 1829. They were all baptised
at All Saints, Upper Clatford.
William is consistently described as labourer throughout his life. However, while
in 1841, he was an agricultural labourer, in 1851 and 1861 he is noted as a canal
labourer and specifically as ‘a lock keeper employed by the canal corporation’.
In 1789, the Andover to Southampton canal received the ‘green light’ of an Act of
Parliament and began to operate in 1794. It ran parallel to the River Anton through
Upper Clatford. Coal, slates and manure were sent upstream while agricultural products
were carried from the countryside. The canal was closed in 1859 as it wasn’t making
As can be seen from the 1841 map below, in addition to his house and garden, William
also occupied a garden (60) near the canal which was owned by William Tasker, a local
steel manufacturer who had a wharf beside the canal.
In 1841, William and his family were living in a small semi-detached cottage next
door to the ‘Crook and Shears’ public house. It is noted as 115 on the map below.
“The Crook and Shears’
As well as his labouring work, on 20 January 1826, William was deemed a ‘fit person’
to serve the Parish as Hayward. He was responsible for the hedges and fences and
for preventing cattle from straying.
Perhaps it is therefore surprising to learn that in 1837, William was fined 3/- with
2/6 costs for fishing in the canal from the towpath with a net downstream at Goodworth
Clatford on 23 May. An irony is that the action was brought by the local landowner,
Thomas Dowling. He was a descendant of the Dowling dynasty who also feature in my
tree. Ann Dowling married William Dee and their great grandson, William John Dee
married William Smart’s daughter, Lucy.
It was not unusual for members of the Smart family to poach in the canal. The day
after the incident mentioned above, William’s son, George Smart, was found by Thomas
Dowling in a boat on the Andover canal carrying an eel spear for the purpose of catching
eels. Thomas Smart tried to come to George’s defence saying that he was with his
brother and that the ‘eel spear’ was in fact a plain boat hook. The Andover magistrates
did not believe the brothers and George was fined 3/- with 2/- costs. These two episodes
may indicate that the Smarts found it hard to make ends meet.
In late December 1845, William was poacher turned gamekeeper when he testified against
George Goodall, Henry Gilmore and John Bundle. He affirmed that he had seen the men
fishing at Wherwell during the previous June. From a distance of 100 yards, he saw
Goodall get into the water, catch a salmon and throw it to the other two men. As
they couldn’t/wouldn’t pay the fine all three were sentenced to a month’s hard labour
William’s daughter, Lucy married William Dee at Upper Clatford on 10 July 1847. However,
there was some acrimony between two of the Smart men and William Dee. In March 1838,
William Smart was accused of assaulting William Dee (aged 17). He pleaded ‘not guilty’
and both were fined 1/6d. Then TheSalisbury and Winchester Journal of 4 November
1843 reported that Thomas Smart (22) was fined 7/6d for assaulting William Dee (23).
Anne Smart died aged 62 and was buried at Upper Clatford on 9 June 1847. William
was interred there also, on 7 September 1862, when he was aged 77.
The children of William and Anne Smart
George Smart married Sarah Marchment on 9 May 1939 at Upper Clatford. The couple
had no children and lived on Upper Clatford’s main street. George worked as a farm
labourer and died in the summer of 1874. Sarah survived until the spring of 1880.
James Smart married Lucy (from Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire) and was a boatman.
He was living at Lambeth, Surrey in 1881. The couple had one son.
Catharine Smart married Henry Carver aka Shepherd and Callow (Henry’s mother’s maiden
name was Callow). Henry traded in Andover as a nurseyman/seedsman and in 1861 he
employed three men and two boys. They had nine children between 1838 and 1853 including
Eliza and Catharine Carver who married the Dee brothers, William and Robert (the
sons of William and Lucy Dee). Henry and Catharine died in 1884 and 1885 respectively.
Harriet Smart married the baker and grocer, Joseph Winter who traded at Langley,
Andover. They had one son, William Edgar Winter.