Vice-Admiral William Henry Smyth & His Wife Annarella
B-P's Grandfather & Grandmother
From an 1861 oil painting by E. E. Eddis

Admiral William Henry Smyth


Baden-Powell's grandfather, William Henry Smyth, rose through the ranks of the Royal Navy to retire as an Admiral in 1863. He was a noted hydrographer and astronomer and was Vice President of the Royal Society. According to his great-grandson, his charts of the Mediterranean were still in use in 1961. His "Cycle of Celestial Objects" remains a classical text in the history of astronomy and was republished in 1986. The Sailor's Word-Book is still in print (Conway Maritime Press, 1991) and runs some 744 pages of definitions. For an in-depth review of Admiral Smyth's career and contributions, see the Report of the Council of the Royal Astronomical Society published following the death of Admiral Smyth in 1865.


From Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia.

William Henry Smyth (January 21, 1788 - September 9, 1865) was born in Westminster, England. He was the only son of Joseph Brewer Palmer Smyth, Esq., and Georgina Caroline B. Pilkington, and was a descendant of Captain John Smith, the principal founder of the Jamestown, Virginia colony. His parents were colonial Americans who lived in East Jersey. They were English loyalists, however, and after the American Revolution they emigrated to England where their son was born.

Smyth joined the Royal Navy and during the Napoleonic wars he served in the Mediterranean, eventually achieving the rank of Admiral. He married Annarella Warrington in 1815. During a hydrographic survey in 1817 he met the Italian astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi in Palermo, Sicily, and visited his observatory; this sparked his interest in astronomy and in 1825 he retired from the Navy to establish a private observatory in Bedford, England, equipped with a 5.9-inch refractor telescope. He used this instrument to observe a variety of deep sky objects over the course of the 1830s, including double stars, star clusters and nebulae. He published his observations in 1844 in the Cycle of Celestial Objects, which earned him the gold medal of the Royal Astronomical Society and also the presidency of the society. The first volume of this work was on general astronomy, but the second volume became known as the Bedford Catalogue and contained Smyth's observations of 1604 double stars and nebulae. It served as a standard reference work for many years afterward; no astronomer had previously made as extensive a catalogue of dim objects such as this.

Having completed his observations, Smyth retired to Cardiff in 1839. His observatory was dismantled and the telescope was sold to Dr. John Lee and re-erected in a new observatory of his own design at Hartwell House. Smyth still had the opportunity to use it since his residence at St. John's Lodge was not far from its new location, and did a large number of additional astronomical observations from 1839 to 1859. The present whereabouts of the telescope are unknown.

Smyth suffered a heart attack in early September, 1865, and at first seemed to recover. On September 8 he showed the planet Jupiter to his young grandson, Arthur Smyth Flower, through a telescope. A few hours later in the early morning of September 9, at age 78, he died. He was buried in the churchyard at Stone near Aylesbury.

A lunar mare was named Mare Smythii in his honour.

This article is from Wikipedia. All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.


"Daylight is Worth a Foot of Water, or How the Tide Tables were Made" contains a short biography of Admiral Smyth providing some details of his career as well as his activities relating to the founding and leadership of a number of Royal Societies:

Smyth, William Henry (1788-1865), admiral and scientific writer, born in Westminster. At an early age he went to sea in the merchant service. In July 1811 he joined the Rodney off Toulon, in which he combined the service against the French in Naples with a good deal of unofficial surveying and antiquarian research. On 18 Sept. 1815 he was made commander, and without any appointment to a ship was continued on the coast of Sicily, surveying that coast, the adjacent coasts of Italy, and the opposite shores of Africa. In 1817 his work was put on a more formal footing by his appointment to the Aid, in which, and afterwards (from 1821) in the Adventure, he carried on the survey of the Italian, Sicilian, Greek, and African coasts, and constructed a very large number of charts, which are the basis of those still in use. Some of his results appeared in his elaborate Memoir of the Resources, Inhabitants, and Hydrography of Sicily and its Islands (London, 1824, 4to), which was followed in 1828 by a Sketch of Sardinia. 

In 1821 he became a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and of the Royal Astronomical Society. On 15 June 1826 he was elected F.R.S. (Fellow of the Royal Society), and in 1830 was one of the founders of the Royal Geographical Society. In 1845-6 he was president of the R.A.S. (Royal Astronomical Society); in 1849-50, of the R.G.S. (Royal Geographical Society); he was vice-president and foreign secretary of the Royal Society; vice-president and director of the Society of Antiquaries; and was honorary or corresponding member of at least three-fourths of the literary and scientific societies of Europe. He contributed numerous papers to the Philosophical Transactions, the Proceedings of the R.A.S. and R.G.S., and from 1829 to 1849 to the United Service Journal, and was the author of many volumes, the best known of which are The Cycle of Celestial Objects for the use of Naval, Military, and Private Astronomers (2 vols. 8vo, 1844), for which he was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Astronomical Society; The Mediterranean: a Memoir Physical, Historical, and Nautical (8vo, 1854); and The Sailor's Word-Book, revised and edited by Sir Edward Belcher (8vo, 1867). He also translated and edited Arago's treatises on 'Popular Astronomy' and on Comets. The complete story of his literary activity is contained in Synopsis of the published and privately printed Works of Admiral W. H. Smyth (4to, 1864), which enumerates his fugitive papers as well as his larger works. He married Annarella Warington. One of his sons, Charles Piazzi Smyth, was for many years astronomer-royal for Scotland. He wrote 4 tidal letters.


Sailing Ships of the Royal Navy” (from the Maritime History and Naval Heritage Web Site) relates details of the Admiral's career as a Lieutenant in command of the former Spanish gun-boat Mors-Aut-Gloria in 1810-1811, in 1814 on a confidential mission in command of H.M.S. Scylla and as Captain of H.M.S. Adventure from 1817-1824.

MORS-AUT-GLORIA. (Spanish gun-boat armed with one long brass 36- pounder and a 6 inch howitzer. Her bows were decorated with a death's head and cross-bones) 1810- William Henry SMYTH, 4/9/10, Cadiz, until the beginning of March 1811. With a British crew of 35 men she was part of the gun-boat flotilla of 30 boats employed against the French army under Marshal Victor besieging Cadiz.

On 12 September two of her crew were badly wounded when the French batteries near Matagorda opened fire and were immediately answered by the flotilla and on the 19th MORS-AUT-GLORIA and two Spanish gun-boats silenced a small battery in the Bay of Bulls. The following day the French by increasing the elevation of their guns, succeeded in throwing red-hot shot at the squadron from Santa Catalina, a distance of three miles.

Fort Santa Catalina was attacked by the bombs and gunboats during the night of 3 October and a number of fires were started and the walls breached. The following day MORS-AUT-GLORIA was twice hit by shot and on the 5th she joined in an attack on Fort Napoleon, an earth battery of 16 heavy guns near Matagorda, and on Fort Luis, on Trocadero Island. The later fort mounted 14 guns firing towards Puntales and the same number covering the inner harbour. Early in the morning of 1 November seven of the enemy gunboats from the Gualdalquivir flotilla, protected by Fort Conception and horse artillery on the beach, succeeded in reaching Purto San Maria although they were attacked by the British gunboats as soon as they were discovered. Lieut. SMYTH pressed home his attack until MORS-AUT-GLORIA was nearly caught on the bar by the falling tide. In the afternoon, with a strong west wind and a thick haze, she joined in the pursuit of some enemy gunboats running along the shore from Rota.

The French flotilla attempted to get into the Trocadero Creek near Puerta Real on the night of the 14th but the British gunboats drove some into the Rio Guadalete and others into the Rio San Pedro, from where they were transported overland to the creek. On the 23rd the gunboats, with AETNA, DEVASTATION and THUNDER, carried out a bombardment of Fort Santa Catalina from 2.30 in the afternoon until 10 o'clock at night. MORS-AUT-GLORIA fired more than seventy rounds and although several of her sweeps were smashed by enemy fire she suffered no other damage. The evening of Christmas day was spent making preparations for an attack on the French gunvessels which had been dragged overland. During the night the British flotilla moved into the inner harbour and anchored near Cantera with the Spanish vessels. The French opened fire at daylight the following morning but it was not returned until, with the high tide at one o'clock in the afternoon, the whole force swept over to the enemy side. The Spaniards attacked Fort Luis, Fort Puntal opened fire on Matagorda and the British flotilla attacked the enemy gunboats, destroying seventeen of them before hauling off at half past three.

An Anglo-Portuguese force under Lieut. General GRAHAM was landed at Algeciras on 22 February 1811 and the troops marched to Tariffa where they were joined by 70OO Spaniards under General La Pena. The Spanish general marched his troops across the front of the two French divisions commanded by Marshal Victor on the ridge of Barrosa and disappeared into the distance. This left GRAHAM's small force, tired after a sixteen hour march, to fight an enemy numbering more than eight thousand. Lieut. SMYTH had been sent with dispatches after General GRAHAM and he arrived at Barrosa at the termination of the battle in which 30OO French were killed or wounded for the loss of 1243 on the Anglo-Portuguese side. One French general was killed and two taken prisoner along with 47 other officers and 460 men. Lieut. SMYTH was still there when La Pena came marching back to claim the victory in which he had taken no part whatsoever.


SCYLLA. 1814 William Henry SMYTH, Messina with the Anglo-Sicilian flotilla. Early in 1814 SCYLLA was employed on a confidential mission to the Court of Naples at Palermo which was then wavering in its allegiance to Napoleon. On the night of 19 February the WHITBY transport which was moored within the mole head at Palermo caught fire. She was cut adrift and the wind, then blowing a gale, drove her through the lines of moored vessels until she grounded under the citadel. SCYLLA escaped the blaze and Lieut. SMYTH, coming offshore in a boat, was able to rescue a seaman who had jumped overboard from the transport. One of the moored vessels hit by the WHITBY was loaded with 120O barrels of gunpowder.


ADVENTURE, 6, Surveying sloop* (1809 Lynn, as the transport, AID. Renamed ADVENTURE in 1821. Sold 1853)
As AID:— 1817 William Henry SMYTH, Mediterranean. She was fitted out to determine astronomically a new series of latitudes and longitudes for all the harbours, headlands and islands in the Mediterranean. Later AID embarked a party of Austrian and Neapolitan officers and, with the Imperial sloop VELOX, Capt. Poelthl, under Capt. SMYTH's orders, he completed the survey of the shores of the Adriatic started by Napoleon Buonaparte. This took only two years notwithstanding the plague raging in Albania. Capt. SMYTH later assisted Sir Frederick Adam, High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands, suppress an insurrection in Santa Maura by maintaining a strict blockade of the island.

In December 1820 he suggested to Lord MELVILLE that an expedition should be sent to explore that part of North Africa between Tripoli and Egypt which he described as a "perfect blot on the geography of the present day." Following this suggestion Capt. SMYTH commissioned ADVENTURE, as she was renamed, in January 1821. He was joined by Lieut. Frederick BEECHEY, recently returned from the Arctic, as assistant- surveyor, and his brother Henry Beechey who was proficient in Arabic. Lieut. Henry C0FFIN volunteered for the enterprise, together with Mr John CAMPBELL, assistant surgeon, and Mr Edward TYHDALL, midshipman of the ADVENTURE.

ADVENTURE arrived at Tripoli on 10 September 1821 and, on the 15th, Capt. SMYTH introduced the BEECHEY brothers to the Bashaw. In the afternoon his Highness sent a sword for the gunner and 500 piastres for the seamen and marines from ADVENTURE who had landed four guns to fire a salute. While the shore party (which departed on the morning of 5 November, and included three Europeans to act as interpreters and servants, three Arabs from Tripoli to look after the horses, and had the aged Sheik of Syrt with five Bedouins as an escort) struck out along the coast, ADVENTURE explored the small harbours between Tripoli and Bengazi. By the following May Capt. SMYTH had surveyed Alexandria and this completed the whole coast between that place and Tripoli with plans of all the small harbours. They had escaped injury from the frequent hostility of the natives although the captain and Lieut. Michael SLATER were nearly cut off at Tobruk by a party of four of five hundred Bedouins. His gig came under continuous fire until the natives were driven back by Mr Thomas ELS0N, acting master, in the barge.

The Viceroy of Egypt, Mehemed Ali, was impressed when ADVENTURE entered Alexandria in safety. to shelter from a violent storm during March 1822. Two Turkish frigates, three corvettes and a brig were lost trying to reach shelter at the same time. He offered him 'Cleopatra's Needle' as a present for King George IV. 0nly the lack of official authority and circumstances preventing ADVENTURE from returning to Alexandria stopped an attempt to load the obelisk on to the sloop. (When he returned to England in 1824 Capt. SMYTH reported the offer to the Treasury and a Capt. ARBUTHN0T was sent out to Egypt.)

When he arrived at Bomba Capt. SMYTH found a letter there from the BEECHEY brothers and he sailed for Derna to join them. Here he embarked Mr TYNDALL but left the others to continue the exploration of Cyrene where they had discovered two theatres, an amphitheatre and a stadium. They left Bengazi on 25 July 1822 in a bullock-vessel bound for Malta.
A watering party from ADVENTURE was attacked by Arabs under Cape Carthage in September 1822 and the boatswain nearly strangled. Capt. SMYTH protested to the consul, Mr Alexander Tulin, and through him the Bey apologised for the aggression. Those responsible were given 300 bastinadoes publicly in the presence of the consul.

In August 1822 ADVENTURE was at Gibraltar where Capt. SMYTH, as senior naval officer, got embroiled in the Spanish civil war. 'Constitutional forces' under Valdes had captured Tariffa and seized a British merchant vessel but, when Capt. SMYTH sent over PAND0RA for an explanation, he was accused by the French and Spanish authorities of assisting the 'rebels'. Tariffa fell to the French on the 19th and many of the prisoners were executed in sight of ADVENTURE.

On 19 September the people of ADVENTURE and PHAET0N made unsuccessful efforts to save a burning American ship from destruction. They received the thanks of the US consul for their efforts. Shortly afterwards PHAET0N was struck by lightning and set on fire while lying alongside ADVENTURE at the mole.

ADVENTURE returned home to be paid off in November 1824 "without the ship having touched the ground and without the loss of a spar, sail, cable or anchor."

* The designation: "ADVENTURE, 6, Surveying sloop" indicates that the Adventure was classified by the Royal Navy as a Sloop with 6 guns.

Sailing Ships of the Royal Navy” continues the subsequent history of the H.M.S. Adventure under Philip Parker King when she accompanied H.M.S. Beagle to South America for Charles Darwin's famous voyage to South America.

1825 Philip Parker KING, 9/25, Deptford. Following his extensive surveys around Australia in the MERMAID and the BATHURST, Cdr. KING was appointed to ADVENTURE to survey the southern coast of South America. Cdr. ST0KES of the BEAGLE was placed under his orders.

The ships entered the Straits of Magellan on 19 December 1826 but severe gales prevented them reaching Port Famine, near the southern end of the Brunswick Peninsular, until 6 January. While BEAGLE went on to the western extremity of the straits, ADVENTURE remained at port Famine for three months, exploring the coast in the HOPE tender. Many of the deep sounds and inlets on the southern side were examined and the straits mapped as far as Cape Forward. They met one group of about 100 Pategonians. They were a tall, broad-shouldered people, quiet and inoffensive. Several spoke good Spanish and they were well equipped with horses. By comparison the Fuegan Indians dragged out a miserable existence, strangers to every comfort. The only unfortunate circumstance was the loss of the master and two seamen when a boat was upset crossing the straits.
 
The BEAGLE rejoined at the end of March, having fixed the position of Cape Pillar on Desolation Is. and, early in April, the two vessels left for Monte Video for supplies before returning home.


The SEDS website provides interesting background on William Henry Smyth's career as an astronomer:

William Henry Smyth was born on January 21, 1788 in Westminster, England. He was a descendant Captain John Smith, who was the principal founder of the first permanent English colony in North America, at Jamestown, Virginia. He was the only son of Joseph Brewer Palmer Smyth, Esq., and Georgina Caroline b. Pilkington. His parents were colonial Americans who lived in East Jersey (now New Jersey), but as a loyalist, emigrated to England after the American Revolution, where their son was born.

William Henry Smyth started a career at the Royal Navy and served in the Mediterranean during the Napoleonic wars. In 1815, he married Annarella, the only daughter of T. Warington, Esq., of Naples; she was his companion and assistant in all his scientific works. In 1817, during a hydrographic survey, he stayed at Palermo, Sicily, where he met the Italian astronomer Piazzi,* who was already famous because of his 1801 discovery of the first asteroid, Ceres. His interest in astronomy was enhanced by a visit in Piazzi's observatory.

In 1825, Smyth retired from the Royal Navy and settled in Bedford, England, where he established a fine private observatory, equipped with a 6-inch refractor. During the 1830s, he used this instrument for observing a variety of deep sky objects, including double stars, clusters and nebulae, and kept careful records of his observations. He published his observations in 1844 in his still famous Cycle of Celestial Objects. This work was awarded with the gold medal of the Royal Astronomical Society and a presidency of this society for one two-years term. The first volume of this work was on general astronomy, but the second volume became known as the Bedford Catalogue and contains Smyth's observations of 850 deep sky objects (as well as comments of some more), a source of exhaustive information on deep sky objects as it was available at its time. This book was published several times, the last edition by George F. Chambers in 1881. The astronomical value of this work results from the high accuracy of the positions which Smyth had obtained by his micrometer measurements.

Having completed his observations in 1839, Smyth removed to Cardiff, and his observatory was dismantled, the telescope sold to Dr. Lee and re-erected at the Hartwell House in a new observatory designed by Admiral Smyth. Smyth still had occasion to use this instrument as his residence at St. John's Lodge was not far from its location, and again did a large number of astronomical observations in the time from 1839 to 1859.

After suffering an attack in early September, 1865, Smyth seemed to recover and on September 8, showed and explained planet Jupiter to his young grandson, Arthur Smyth Flower. A few hours later, Admiral Smyth died in the early morning of September 9, 1865 at age 78, in his home in St. John's Lodge, Cardiff. He was buried in the little churchyard at Stone near Aylesbury.


A Day with Admiral Smyth at St. John's Lodge, Aylesbury

Maria Mitchell (1818-1889), Professor of Astronomy, Vassar College was a frequent correspondent of Admiral Smyth. Her recollections form part of Maria Mitchell Life, Letters and Journals edited by Phebe Mitchell Kendall and published in 1896. She visited the Admiral and his family in England in 1857.

September 6. We left London yesterday for Aylesbury. It is two hours by railroad. Like all railroads in England, it runs seemingly through a garden. In many cases flowers are cultivated by the roadside.

"From Aylesbury to Stone, the residence of Admiral Smyth, it is two miles of stage-coach riding. Stage-coaches are now very rare in England, and I was delighted with the chance for a ride.

"We found the stage-coach crowded. The driver asked me if we were for St. John's Lodge, and on my replying in the affirmative gave me a note which Mrs. Smyth had written to him, to ask for inside seats. The note had reached him too late, and he said we must go on the outside. He brought a ladder and we got up. For a minute I thought, 'What a height to fall from!' but the afternoon was so lovely that I soon forgot the danger and enjoyed the drive. There were six passengers on top.

"Aylesbury is a small town, and Stone is a very small village. The driver stopped at what seemed to be a cultivated field, and told me that I was at my journey's end. On looking down I saw a wheelbarrow near the fence, and I remembered that Mrs. Smyth had said that one would be waiting for our luggage, and I soon saw Mrs. Smyth and her daughter coming towards us. It was a walk of about an eighth of a mile to the 'Lodge'—a pleasant cottage surrounded by a beautiful garden.

"Admiral Smyth's family go to a little church seven hundred years old, standing in the midst of tombstones and surrounded by thatched cottages. English scenery seems now (September) much like our Southern scenery in April—rich and lovely, but wanting mountains and water. An English village could never be mistaken for an American one: the outline against the sky differs; a thatched cottage makes a very wavy line on the blue above.

"We find enough in St. John's Lodge, in the admiral's library, and in the society of the cultivated members of his family to interest us for a long time.

"The admiral himself is upwards of sixty years of age, noble-looking, loving a good joke, an antiquarian, and a good astronomer. I picked up many an anecdote from him, and many curious bits of learning.

"He tells a good story, illustrative of his enthusiasm when looking at a crater in the moon. He says the night was remarkably fine, and he applied higher and higher powers to his glass until he seemed to look down into the abyss, and imagining himself standing on its verge he felt himself falling in, and drew back with a shudder which lasted even after the illusion was over.

"In speaking of Stratford-upon-Avon, the admiral told me that the Lucy family, one of whose ancestors drove Shakspere from his grounds, and who is caricatured in Justice Shallow, still resides on the same spot as in Shakspere's time. He says no family ever retained their characteristics more decidedly.

"Some years ago one of this family was invited to a Shakspere dinner. He resented the well-meant invitation, saying they must surely have forgotten how that person treated his ancestor!

"The amateur astronomers of England are numerous, but they are not like those of America.

"In America a poor schoolmaster, who has some bright boys who ask questions, buys a glass and becomes a star-gazer, without time and almost without instruments; or a watchmaker must know the time, and therefore watches the stars as time-keepers. In almost all cases they are hard-working men.

"In England it is quite otherwise. A wealthy gentleman buys a telescope as he would buy a library, as an ornament to his house.

"Admiral Smyth says that no family is quite civilized unless it possesses a copy of some encyclopaedia and a telescope. The English gentleman uses both for amusement. If he is a man of philosophical mind he soon becomes an astronomer, or if a benevolent man he perceives that some friend in more limited circumstances might use it well, and he offers the telescope to him, or if an ostentatious man he hires some young astronomer of talent, who comes to his observatory and makes a name for him. Then the queen confers the honor of knighthood, not upon the young man, but upon the owner of the telescope. Sir James South was knighted for this reason.

"We have been visiting Hartwell House, an old baronial residence, now the property of Dr. Lee, a whimsical old man.

"This house was for years the residence of Louis XVIII., and his queen died here. The drawing-room is still kept as in those days; the blue damask on the walls has been changed by time to a brown. The rooms are spacious and lofty, the chimney-pieces of richly carved marble. The ceiling of one room has fine bas-relief allegorical figures.

"Books of antiquarian value are all around—one whole floor is covered with them. They are almost never opened. In some of the rooms paintings are on the walls above the doors.

"Dr. Lee's modern additions are mostly paintings of himself and a former wife, and are in very bad taste. He has, however, two busts of Mrs. Somerville, from which I received the impression that she is handsome, but Mrs. Smyth tells me she is not so; certainly she is sculpturesque.

"The royal family, on their retreat from Hartwell House, left their prayer-book, and it still remains on its stand. The room of the ladies of the bedchamber is papered, and the figure of a pheasant is the prevailing characteristic of the paper. The room is called 'The Pheasant Room.' One of the birds has been carefully cut out, and, it is said, was carried away as a memento by one of the damsels.

"Dr. Lee is second cousin to Sir George Lee, who died childless. He inherits the estate, but not the title. The estate has belonged to the Lees for four hundred years. As the doctor was a Lee only through his mother, he was obliged to take her name on his accession to the property. He applied to Parliament to be permitted to assume the title, and, being refused, from a strong Tory he became a Liberal, and delights in currying favor with the lowest classes; he has twice married below his rank. Being remotely connected with the Hampdens, he claims John Hampden as one of his family, and keeps a portrait of him in a conspicuous place.

"A summer-house on the grounds was erected by Lady Elizabeth Lee, and some verses inscribed on its walls, written by her, show that the Lees have not always been fools.

"But Dr. Lee has his way of doing good. Being fond of astronomy, he has bought an eight and a half feet equatorial telescope, and with a wisdom which one could scarcely expect, he employed Admiral Smyth to construct an observatory. He has also a fine transit instrument, and the admiral, being his near neighbor, has the privilege of using the observatory as his own. In the absence of the Lees he has a private key, with which he admits himself and Mrs. Smyth. They make the observations (Mrs. Smyth is a very clever astronomer), sleep in a room called 'The Admiral's Room,' find breakfast prepared for them in the morning, and return to their own house when they choose.

"I saw in the observatory a timepiece with a double second-hand; one of these could be stopped by a touch, and would, in that way, show an observer the instant when he thought a phenomenon, as an occultation for instance, had occurred, and yet permit him to go on with his count of the seconds, and, if necessary, correct his first impression.

"Admiral Smyth is a hard worker, but I suspect that many of the amateur astronomers of England are Dr. Lees—rich men who, as a hobby, ride astronomy and employ a good astronomer. Dr. Lee gives the use of a good instrument to the curate; another to Mr. Payson, of Cambridge, who has lately found a little planet.

"I saw at Admiral Smyth's some excellent photographs of the moon, but in England they have not yet photographed the stars."


Annarella Warington Smyth (adapted from the Descendant Report for James Warington prepared by Robin Baden Clay, 11th July 2002)

Admiral Smyth’s wife, Eliza Anne Warington, known as "Annarella,” was born April 3, 1788 in Naples She Died January 9,1873 in Paddington at age 84; and is buried at Stone, Buckinghamshire. She was baptized March 4, 1888 at Naples. As a child in Naples, her mother washed her hair after it was touched by the adulterer Nelson. Her painting of Messina harbour was in Charles Shann's house at Tarrant Monkton in 1992. She is reported to have sung before the Court of Naples

In 1866, she was described in her husband's obituary, as "a lady of great ability and rare accomplishments, who through all his scientific labours of every description was his devoted companion and assistant."

Her father, Thomas Warington was born in February 1765 in Newington, Surrey. He died May 16, 1850 in Kensington at age 85. He was baptized February 2, 1765 St Mary's Newington, Southwark. He died at 16 Edwardes Square Kensington after residing at Wadden Park, Croydon and Naples, where he was a prominent banker and silk merchant, and for 40 years was British Consul. He is buried at Kensal Green.

Children of William Henry Smyth and Eliza Anne "Annarella" Warington, Uncles and Aunts of Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell (from the Smyth Family History prepared by Robin Baden Clay):

  1. Elizabeth Smyth (1816-1820?).

  2. Sir Warington Wilkinson Smyth (1817-1890). Geologist. Lecturer at the Royal School of Mines, Married Anna Maria Antonia Storey-Maskelyne. Father of Major-General Sir Nevill Maskelyne Smyth, V.C. and H. Warington Smyth, author of Five Years in Siam.

  3. Charles Piazzi Smyth (1819-1900). Astronomer Royal of Scotland.

  4. Elizabeth Anne Smyth (1819-1821?)

  5. Jane Phoebe Smyth (1821-1842).

  6. Henrietta Grace Smyth (1824-1914). Mother of Robert Baden-Powell.

  7. General Sir Henry Augustus Smyth, K.C.M.G. (1825-1906). Commandant of Woolwich, 1882; crushed Zulu rising, 1887; Governor of Cape Colony, 1889 and of Malta, 1890. B-P served as his Military Secretary in Natal and in Malta.

  8. Josephine B. Smyth (1826-1847).

  9. Ellen Philadelphia Smyth (1828-1881). Wife of Captain Henry Toynbee. Meteorologist. F.R.A.S. Marine Superintendent of the Meteorological Office, 1867-1888. Merchant Captain.

  10. Caroline Mary Smyth (1834-1859).

  11. Georgiana Rosetta Smyth (1835-1923).


  The Royal Astronomical Society published an in depth biographical sketch and memorial as part of the Report of the Council of the Forty-Sixth Annual Meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society following the death of Admiral Smyth in 1865.
  Admiral Smyth's treatise on Sidereal Chromatics (1864) contains his remarks on the colours of Double Stars from the third chapter of the Cycle of Celestial Objects, under the title of A Glance at the Sidereal Heavens. It is an early effort at identifying the variety of colors visible in double stars. It was based on the Admiral's research at Hartwell and remains a pioneering effort in the development of astronomy.
  Admiral W. H. Smyth, Sailor's Word-Book: An Alphabetical Digest of Nautical Terms (1867). Introduction and sample page from the 1st Edition. Published after Admiral Smyth's death, the Sailor's Word-Book was a classic guide to the language of the sea and remains in print today.
  Admiral Smyth was a founding member of the Royal Numismatic Society in 1836. He maintained a life-long interest in coins and was author of a number of interesting treatises on the subject. The history of the Society, Part 1: 1836-1874, describes the founding of the Society including the role of Admiral Smyth.
  Maria Mitchell (1818-1889), Professor of Astronomy, Vassar College was a frequent correspondent of Admiral Smyth. She visited with him and his family in England in 1857. Her recollections form part of Maria Mitchell Life, Letters and Journals edited by Phebe Mitchell Kendall and published in 1896.
B-P's Mother: Henrietta Grace Smyth Baden-Powell, 1824-1914. Daughter of Admiral W. H. Smyth (B-P's grandfather). Links to other members of the Smyth family including: Charles Piazzi Smyth, Sir Warington Wilkinson Smyth, H. Warington Smyth, General Sir Nevill Maskelyne Smyth and Nevil Maskelyne. She was the aunt of both H. Warington Smyth and General Sir Nevill Maskelyne Smyth.
  Charles Piazzi Smyth was Henrietta Grace's brother and Uncle to B-P. He was well known as an astronomer (he was Astronomer Royal of Scotland) and was considered an authority on the pyramids of Giza.
  Sir Warington Wilkinson Smyth, M.A., F.R.S. was a brother of Henrietta Grace Smyth Baden-Powell and Uncle to B-P. He was Professor of Mining and Mineralogy at the Royal School of Mines, President of the Geological Society of London in 1866-1868 and a Fellow of the Royal Society. After university, he spent more than four years in Europe, Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt, paying great attention to mineralogy and mining. Among his published works were A Year with the Turks (1854), and A Treatise on Coal and Coal-Mining (1867). He was knighted in 1887.
Sir Henry Augustus Smyth  General Sir Henry Augustus Smyth, K.C.M.G. (1825-1906) was Henrietta's youngest brother and Uncle to B-P.  He served as an officer in the Royal Artillery rising to the rank of full general in 1891. He was Commandant of of the Royal Artillery Institution at Woolwich, 1882. He was responsible for crushing the Zulu rising in Natal in 1887; served as Governor of Cape Colony, 1889 and of Malta, 1890. B-P served as his Military Secretary in Natal and in Malta. He had a long and distinguished military and colonial career as outlined in the short biographical essay written by his nephew and B-P's youngest brother Francis Smyth Baden-Powell.
  Through the research and courtesy of Robin Baden Clay, Lachlan Cranswick of Melbourne, Australia, provides coverage of the extended family of Lord Baden-Powell to include the Powell, Warington and Smyth families.
  Baden-Powell Family History. A series of links based on the research of Robin Baden Clay, a grandson of Baden-Powell. They are focused on the genealogy of the Powell family. The author is extremely grateful to Mr. Clay for sharing the results of his labors with the Scouting community. Links are provided to pages for three of B-P's brothers: Baden, Warington and Sir George Baden-Powell as well as to the genealogy of the Smyth and Warington families.

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Last Modified: 11:13 AM on December 4, 2009