Vice-Admiral William Henry Smyth & His
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
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
following the death of Admiral Smyth in 1865.
Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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
in 1810-1811, in 1814 on a confidential mission in command of
and as Captain
of H.M.S. Adventure
(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
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
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
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.
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.
provides interesting background on William Henry Smyth’s career as an
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
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
Annarella Warington Smyth
(adapted from the
Descendant Report for James Warington prepared by Robin Baden Clay,
11th July 2002)
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):
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.
Charles Piazzi Smyth (1819-1900). Astronomer Royal of
Elizabeth Anne Smyth (1819-1821?)
Jane Phoebe Smyth (1821-1842).
Henrietta Grace Smyth (1824-1914). Mother of Robert
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.
Josephine B. Smyth (1826-1847).
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.
Caroline Mary Smyth (1834-1859).
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.
(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.
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.
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
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.
Your feedback, comments and suggestions are appreciated.
Please write to: Lewis P. Orans
Copyright © Lewis
P. Orans, 2009
Last Modified: 11:13 AM on December 4, 2009