Charles Smart was born in Petworth, Sussex in 1793 and it seems likely he was the sixth of 12 children born to Thomas Smart and Jane (nee Moor). Charles married Dorking born Mary Ann Lambert in Bramley, Surrey in 1815. Mary was to be the first of three wives. This branch of the Smart family was to firmly establish itself in Epsom for the duration of the nineteenth century, to again fade from the scene by the turn of the twentieth century.
Early Epsom Parish baptismal records describe Charles as a wheelwright. Charles and Mary Ann had four children. Alfred, the first (and my ancestor), was baptised in Epsom on the 4th February 1816. His siblings Ellen (1817-?), Arthur (1819-1821) and Lambert Abraham (1821-1821) quickly followed.
As so often occurred in that time, Mary Ann Smart died aged 29 years in February 1824. Charles quickly married 36 year old Rebecca Rooke (born Albury, Surrey in 1788 to William Rooke and Anna Maria nee Callingham) in Ewell in September of the same year. Rebecca and Charles had 5 children with the last being born in 1833. From the Epsom Parish baptism records of these children it seems that between 1830 and 1833 Charles made the transition from wheelwright to farmer.
A video clip of a wheelwright from the BBC program a Victorian Farm Image source YouTube. Copyright Lion Television
Rebecca Smart also predeceased her husband. Following her death in 1849 Charles married for a third time - this time in Epsom (1849) to 33 year old Matilda Smith (1816-1885). Matilda, the daughter of mariner Thomas Smith and wife Mary, was born in Poole, Dorset. The couple were to have two children, Emma and Edwin, both born when Charles was into his sixties. At the time of the birth of Edwin his youngest child in 1855, Charles described himself as a gentleman - seemingly a significant progression from his early days as a wheelwright. His first born son Alfred was 39 years old by this time.
Charles Smart prospered as a farmer and was an active and respected member of the Epsom community. Charles and his son Alfred were members of the Epsom Vestry in the 1840s and 50s with both holding office for various periods. Charles was elected Surveyor of the Highways 1848 - 1850 after which the position seems to have been swallowed up by the newly appointed Board of Health. Charles signed the Vestry minutes on a regular basis from 1842 until 17th April 1851 when it is noted that Charles Smart was too ill to attend the Vestry at which money owed to the Surveyors of Highways was to be discussed. This seems to be the only meeting where Charles Smart Jnr (the son of Charles and Rebecca) has signed the minutes. Charles Smart Snr. is again mentioned as being on a Committee convened to review the Poor Rate in January 1853 but is not mentioned as being involved in the Vestry after that date.
On the first of November 1953 Charles Smart sold 25 perches of land at Foxholes Shot to William Beall, a butcher of Banstead, and father of Caroline Beall who married Charles Smart (Jnr), son of Charles and second wife Rebecca in Epsom in 1849.
Charles Smart died in Epsom on 1st April 1872. He was buried in the churchyard at St Martins Epsom, with the memorial inscription being recorded as saying:
Sacred to the Memory of
MARY Wife of CHARLES SMART
who departed this life
10th February, 1825,
Aged 30 years.
Also 2 children who died in their infancy.
Also of REBECCA Wife of
who departed this life
25th April, 1849
Aged 62 years.
Also of 3 children who died in their infancy. Also the above named
who departed this life 1st April, 1872 Aged 78.
His personal estate was valued at under 300 pounds, with Matilda his wife being the sole executrix. It seems that his oldest son Alfred had taken over managing the family holdings prior to the death of his father.
Matilda Smart died 17 April 1885 and is buried in the Epsom Cemetery (Plot B82A).
ALFRED SMART 1816 - 1877
Alfred Smart, the oldest son of Charles Smart (1793-1872) and first wife Mary (nee Lambert) was born January 7th 1816 in Epsom, Surrey. On 20 September 1838 in Epsom Alfred, who was described as a farmer, married Ann White (1813-1888) the daughter of Sutton market gardener John White. Just under 12 months later (28 August 1839) the first of eight children, George was born. The 1841 census shows Alfred and Ann living at Epsom with 1 year old George. Alfred was described as a farmer.
Alfred Smart and his father Charles were active members of the Epsom Vestry. Alfred was elected as one of the dozen or so Overseers of the Poor in the Epsom parish from 1849 until 1855. About this time he is no longer mentioned and had probably moved to Fetcham to farm at this time. There is only one further mention of Alfred, when on Easter Monday 1866 he seconded a motion at the Vestry meeting. In the 1840s and into the 1850s both men were noted as contributing regularly to the Vestry meetings and either one or both often signed the minutes of the meetings. The Vestry meetings were usually held at various Inns such as the Kings Head Inn, Spread Eagle Inn and Coffee House Inn.
The 1861 Census shows Alfred, Ann and their children living on the Home Farm at Fetcham. In the Census the entries directly before Home Farm were Fetcham Park owned by John Bar Hankey a landed proprietor aged 77 years, then Fetcham Lodge. It would seem that the farm was part of the latter. The 'family' from this estate were said to be 'in town' on census night. The housekeeper, widow Mrs Mary Strudwick aged 58 was in residence along with 16 year old stable boy Thomas Strudwick. The entry following Home Farm was (?) Bale Public House. George Bottin was the publican.
Home Farm covered 320 acres and Alfred employed 8 men and 4 boys. His older children were described as farmer's children and the younger children as scholars. Living with the family was 10 year old Emma Smart who was described as Alfred's sister. It is probable she was the daughter of Charles and his third wife Matilda but the waters are muddied by the fact that Emma is also shown at home in Epsom with her parents.
Alfred and his family were no longer on this farm in 1871 when Alfred, Ann and their children Mary Ann (1842-1910), Jane White (1829-1901), Eliza (1845-1912), Nellie (Sarah Ellen 1851-1911), Charles (1853-1855) and their servant - 17 year old Mary Shepherd from Ockley, Surrey - were living at Fern Villa in College Road, Epsom. Alfred was described as a farmer of about 200 acres employing 6 labourers and 3 boys (1871 Epsom Census). At Rosendale Cottage, next door to Alfred and his family lived George Fisher a 48 year old widowed ship owner and his children. Alfred George Smart (1864-1948 - grandson of this Alfred and son of George) was to call his home in Toowoomba, Queensland Australia Rosendale in the 1920s. The other neighbours of Alfred and the family were widowed Independent Minister Thomas Lee and his children.
In 1871 Alfred and Ann's oldest son George Smart (1839-1876) was a farmer of 160 acres employing 5 men and 2 boys in Oakwood Hill near Wooton. With him lived his wife Ann, nee Hopkins Ann was born at Sway near Boldre, Hampshire in 1834, the daughter of Thomas Hopkins and Jane (Harrison). George and Ann's children Alfred George (1864-1948) and Annie (1869 to 1891) were living with them. George died in 1876 aged 39 years, predeceasing his father. He was described as a publican at that time.
The 1873 register of Land Owners in Surrey show Alfred Smart as owning 39 acres 9 perches valued at 434 pounds so I assume he leased the additional land. Following his death in 1877 the contents of Pitt Place Farm were advertised for sale. Charles and Alfred also owned cottages both in College Road and East Street Epsom, with Manor Records showing numerous property transactions in and around Epsom over the years.
Alfred Smart died 15 November 1877 and is buried in the Epsom Cemetery (Plot B25A) in the same plot as wife Ann, and several of his children. A large monument is located in the cemetery. Alfred left assets valued at a healthy 16 thousand pounds. He was described as a Yeoman. The will was proved in 1878 and the executors of the estate were Edwin Jay of Hedley (husband of Alfred's daughter Jane White Smart), Thomas Miles a market gardener, and George Furniss a builder. As both of Alfred's sons had predeceased him control of the estate was vested in Edwin Jay.
Son of the late Henry Jay, Cobham, Surrey. Member of Surrey County Council for Epsom Division for twelve years; member of the Highways Committee, Executive Committee, and Netherne Asylum Committee; for twenty-eight years member of the Board of Guardians; a member of the Epsom Rural District Council since its inception; Chairman for two years (1900-02), during which time he inaugurated bye-laws and standing orders for the Council; for twenty-four years a member of the old local Board (four years Chairman), and of Epsom Urban District Council; Chairman of the Technical Institute; Governor of Wye College; member of the Executive Council, and Hon. Local Secretary of the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution; has been very successful in getting pensioners elected annually; Vice-President of the Surrey Agricultural Association, and Chairman of Committee; pioneer in Epsom of the Allotment Act, letting several acres of his best land and giving prizes for best cultivated plots; a "yeoman", and successful cultivator of land in Walton-on-Hill and Headley, 1870-83, and in Chessington, Ewell, and Epsom, 1883-1904; has taken a prominent part in preserving public rights on Epsom Downs; for eight years was Churchwarden of St. Martin's, Epsom Parish Church. Recreations : shooting and cricket; patronises all sports. Married Jane, daughter of Alfred Smart; she died February 15th, 1903, leaving issue one son, Alfred, and one daughter, Florence Maud. Club : Farmers' and Dairy.
The other executors had close connections with Charles and Alfred Smart both in public and, presumably private life. In 1871 Thomas Miles was 44 years of age. He was married to Elizabeth and had 9 children named George, Elizabeth, Alfred, Jane, Gerrard, Lewis, Frances, Robert S and Lucy. He may have been a market gardener but employed 5 men and 3 boys so it must have been a reasonably large concern.
George Furniss was a 30 year old in 1871 and was a builder who employed 10 men. He lived in High Street Epsom, next door to what are probably his older brother James and father William Thomas Furniss. James was also a builder but William was the Parish Clerk and Collector to the Board of Health. With William lived Mary his wife, other sons Thomas and Alfred (both described as lime and coal merchants), Frances his daughter and his 10 year old granddaughter Elizabeth who was born in New York, America. 17 year old Sarah who was also born in America was living with George and his wife Frances E and their children George and Frances. A sad inclusion in the census said that Alfred Furniss the 35 year old unmarried son of William Furniss and brother of George Furniss was killed by accident that day.
College Rd (in 1861) was the site of the Royal Medical Benevolent College. By 1881 Alfred Smart's widow Ann still lived in College Road, Epsom with her unmarried daughters Eliza and Mary Ann, and married daughter Sarah (Nellie) Gough. Ann, Eliza and Mary Ann were described as annuitants and Sarah as an army wife. Jane White Smart, her husband Edwin Burberry Jay and their two children lived next door, with Edwin being described as a farmer of 400 acres (1881 Census). Presumably he had taken over the farm on the death of Alfred.
Ann Smart (nee White) of Fern Villa, Epsom died on 15/3/1888 and Eliza was executor of the 329 pound 13 shilling and sixpence estate.
EPSOM VESTRY MINUTES
Charles and then Alfred Smart were active members of the St Martin's Vestry. The Minutes from 1837 - 1842 appear to have been lost so the Smart family involvement in these years is not known. Prior to 1837 there is no mention of the family. An outline of some of the issues described in the St Martin's Vestry Minutes 1842 - 1883 is given below (Taken from LDS Film No. 1278934 "Vestry Records Epsom Parish").
There was apparent conflict between the Vicar and members of Vestry. The meeting of August 1842 lists various matters of contention including high fees for erecting tombstones which led to threats to establish a separate burial ground to be shared with the Dissenters. Also discussed were objections to a proposed chapel on Epsom Common, the cost of the organ and the organist - with proposals to sell the instrument to defray church building debts, the vicar's neglect of visiting parishioners, the need for a new committee of management for school following ill feeling about the master's appearance as witness at Assizes.
Other matters discussed include:
1. Church and churchyard, including Christ Church
The Organist and organ blower's salaries were reduced in 1847. Resolutions concerning the Christ Church clerk and bell ringers were made in 1848. Enquiries about title deeds for Epsom Chapel (Christ Church), and responsibility for upkeep and payment there in 1851. John Hopkins was appointed in place of John Chandler as organist at St Martins at 40 pounds a year in 1854. The organ to be sold to Mr. Walker in part exchange for a new instrument costing 545 pounds, to be erected by him in 1854. In 1856 there were 6 candidates for post of organist - John Stone was appointed.
In 1860 we see the text of letters and reports concerning trial at Assizes of claims for damages by Mr. Brooks against the Churchwardens of St Martins Epsom for partitioning a pew to which he claimed exclusive rights. A Committee of Enquiry was convened to investigate the duties of the vestry clerk and examine parish records in his possession in 1862. In 1864 a Committee assesses the need for a new independent Christ Church. A reward was offered and police help sort for tracing persons breaking tombstones in 1865, and in 1868 an inspection of possible sites for a new graveyard including land near the 'new church' and some land owned by Charles Smart. Eight acres on the common were chosen and a Burial Board was appointed in 1868. Fees for the new cemetery were fixed in October 1871.
2. Local Government
Lighting and watching inspectors were appointed from 1842; accounts inserted 1846 - 1849 include maintenance of the fire engine and fire engine house and rent of warehouse for storing lamps. Agreement to allow Nathanial Smith of Ashtead to stop up Madam Smiths Lane leading from Wilmer Hatch Lane to the north west corner of Mr. Smith's house in Ashtead and abutting on Ashtead Park Farm Lane leading to Headley in 1843. In 1847 there was objection to the proposed closure of the footpath by the building of the Brighton/South Coast Railway.
In 1847 the proposed filling in of the stagnant Town Pond and provision of a sewer across the centre of the site was rejected. The pond was to be cleaned and railings painted. The Station and grounds of the Epsom and Croydon Railway was rated at 1,000 pounds in 1847 and the gas house and works at 70 pounds. In the same year it was decided to dismantle the old watch house and clock and the fire engine. The proceeds would buy a new clock and building. 50 pounds was spent on building a house for the fire engine in 1847.
The Surveyors (one of whom was Charles Smart) were to extend covered drains past the National School and along Kingston Lane in 1848. In 1850 a committee was formed to report on encroachments on footpaths and highways. It was decided to individually rate railway buildings and works in 1851 and in 1853 a Committee formed to confer with the local Board of Health on water supply and drainage. In the same year a report recommended the rebuilding of dilapidated Alms Houses.
1856 saw opposition to a proposed railway from Epsom to Leatherhead as it was likely to destroy the beauty of Clay Hill (renamed West Hill 1847) by the construction of a viaduct. The records detail that majority opinion overruled this objection.