Need Help: Susannah Smith, nee Mackworth Praed

May 1, 2012 at 2:02 pm (diaries, history, news, people, portraits and paintings, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I have been thinking of letters and diaries these last couple of weeks. Some diaries are in the 1810s; others propel me forward to the 1840s; and the letters have been as early as the 1790s!

Today I want to make a special appeal to anyone who might have knowledge of letters written by or to Susannah Smith, the wife of Thomas Smith of Bersted Lodge.

Susannah and Thomas married in 1800; Thomas was a brother of Joshua Smith of Erle Stoke Park, so he was Augusta (Mamma) Smith’s Uncle and therefore a great-uncle to my Emma.

This close-up is from a miniature that recently sold at auction. How can you resist this face?!?

Susannah had a twin-sister: Arabella, Countess of Mayo. She became a lady-in-waiting.

Knowing well that LETTERS were the bread-and-butter of life then, I suspect Susannah’s letters, at the very least to and from her sister, but probably also to others in the Smith’s extended family, must exist. Mrs Thomas Smith was of the generation who visited Tring Park to stay with Mr and Mrs Drummond Smith – and also visit Roehampton, where resided Eliza Gosling (Mrs William Gosling), sister to Mary, Mrs Drummond Smith. How wonderful it would be to read comments – even slightly negative ones! – about my Smiths & Goslings.

Even hints to possible whereabouts of some correspondence would be welcome! Published sources as much as manuscript sources.

* * *

UPDATE: it was stupid of me not to include more information on Susannah’s sister and brother-in-law. The Earl of Mayo had the familial name of BOURKE. Some places associated with the family include Naas and Palmerstown. The Praed family were also related to the Shore family, which produced the delightful publication The Journal of Emily Shore.


  1. Maureen Selley said,

    I have a copy of a letter from Queen Adelaide to Susannah, following Arabella’s death.

    • Janeite Kelly said,

      Hi, Maureen — hope you got my email. To reiterate: I’d love to see whatever you’d like to share. What a wonderful piece of history to have! Susannah was quite affected by the death of Arabella. They were twins, so even closer than a sibling.

      Thanks for writing.


      • Kildare Bourke-Borrowes said,

        Hi Janeite, huge congratulations on your very interesting website. This project may run and run. I am the unofficial boigrapher of our branch of the Bourkes, including John and Arabella Mayo, but very sadly our home Palmerstown was burned in 1923, and everything was destroyed. There are NO letters of Susannah Smith or indeed Arabella, very sadly.
        Four things though:
        The Bonhams site says that Susannah kept a diary 1812-1856. Do you have it? This should be wonderful.
        I would LOVE to see the letter from Q Adelaide owned by Maureen Selley about Arabella – theirs was a very close friendship.
        One the back of an old family picture of Bersted Lodge was written by Arabella: “Bursted Lodge, Bognor. The house of Mrs Smith a sister of Arabella Lady Mayo who with Lord Mayo used to live 2 years at Burstead & 1 year at Palmerstown & so they were able to make a great dash”.
        I hope we can help each other at least a little bit.

      • Janeite Kelly said,

        Hi, Kildare — Wonderful of you to contact me; and thanks for finding the site, and your kind comments.

        I’ve replied over email. Happy to help any way I can. Susannah is just within the circle of my branch of the Smith family — I’ve seen comments about letters, and a few visits. The Bourkes begin to slip off my radar a bit, but being sisters I can’t help but come across items, and both sisters seem to have a great deal of interaction with the Royal Family, which is always fun to encounter.


  2. Claudette said,

    Hi KidI believe my family has ties with Thomas Smith and family.

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