Clement-Jones family - Person Sheet
Clement-Jones family - Person Sheet
NameBenjamin Leigh SMITH MP, 4630
FatherWilliam SMITH MP , 4605 (1756-1835)
MotherFrances COAPE , 4606 (1759-1840)
ChildrenBenjamin , 7121 (1828-1913)
 Barbara Leigh , 7122 (1827-1891)
 William Leigh , 8116 (1833-1910)
Notes for Benjamin Leigh SMITH MP
Benjamin Leigh Smith (1783–1860)[1] was a British Whig politician who represented the constituencies of Sudbury and Norwich.

He was one of five sons and five daughters of William Smith, the famous MP and abolitionist.[2] He was the father of Barbara Bodichon, who founded Girton College, and the explorer Benjamin Leigh Smith (both illegitimate), and was Florence Nightingale's maternal uncle.


BENJAMIN SMITH [1793-1860]

The son of William Smith and Frances Coape. Benjamin Smith was educated at Knox’s school Tunbridge, and then Hackney.

He met Anne Longden who was a 25 year old milliner from Alfreton. She became pregnant and he took her to a rented lodge at Whatlington, in Sussex. There she lived as Mrs Leigh, the surname of his relations on the Isle of Wight.

They went to America in 1828, for two years. On their return to England they lived in Sussex at Brown`s Farm. By 1833 Anne had become ill and Ben took her to Pelham Place in Hastings, for the fresh sea air. Later that year he took her to Ryde on the Isle of Wight, she died on 30 August 1834. The record of her burial, in the name of Anne Smith states only that she died at Ryde, no home address. She was buried at St. Edmunds Church Wooton. He never married Ann, they had 5 children.

He was elected MP for Norwich and while at the House of Commons, he asked his wife’s Aunt Dolly Longden or Aunt Julia Smith to look after his children.

During the 1840`s he bought more land to the south and west of Robertsbridge, including Scalands Farm, Mountfield Park Farm and Glottenham Manor, Crowham Manor and Brown`s Farm. When each of his children reached 21, he gave each of them investments which bought an annual income of £300. He also gave Barbara the deeds of the Westminster school.

In 1804 his Fathers’ Uncle Benjamin died leaving him £60,000. He entered into partnership with Messrs Cooke and Tate, who ran a whisky distillery and brewery at Millbank. In 1806 a fire destroyed much of the distillery, which William discovered was under insured. His eldest son Ben took charge of the business, with brother Octavius. Another son Adams was not so successful in business. William had set up yet another firm with Adams and his Kemble cousins in charge, in Philpot Lane. Between them they had brought the firm to the point of bankruptcy by 1819. Ben rescued the firm, with money from the distillery business, but it was liquidated in 1823. Williams eldest son, Benjamin, had a better financial head than his father.

His Father had to sell his library, then his painting collection, and both of his houses. Benjamin leased a town house, 5 Blandford Square, St Marylebone, and moved his parents into it. He took over financial responsibility for his unmarried Patty and Julia, also Adams

His property was divided up before he died between his children Barbara, 5 Blandford Square, Benjamin the Glottenham Estates which included the ruins of a 14th century fortified house surrounded by a moat, William Crowham Manor, Anne property in Bath Street, and Isabella had £5,000 in lieu of property on her marriage, as her husband had his own property.

Benjamin also had 3 other children named Bentley Smith, in Fulham. It appears that he had taken a mistress two years after Anne’s death. All three children were educated at schools in Hampshire and Kent.

She was born in 1802 to a family of agricultural labourer’s in Froxfield, close to Joanna Bonham Carter’s house, Ditcham Grove in Hampshire. The 1881 census shows Jane Bentley Smith living in Hammersmith married to John Cross, a Ditcham surveyor of taxes, with nine children and one general servant. Living with them was her younger brother Henry a mariner.

The words on his memorial stone read:

‘He was an ardent advocate of civil and religious liberty and of every
measure which could promote the well-being of mankind. He supported
for 29 years the first Infant School in England. He gave hearty and
generous assistance to migration. He loved the arts and sciences and
was an active friend to their diffusion among the people’

Children of Benjamin Smith and Ann Longden: Anne [1831-], Barbara [1827-1891], Isabella [1830-1873], William [1833-] Benjamin [Leigh Smith]
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