It's April so it's time for our members to help us blog through the 2020 A-Z Blogging Challenge. Our chosen theme this year is Employment, also the topic of our Shared Endeavour where our members are encouraged to research employment within their one-place study. Today's entry is from Steve Pickthall.

Archibald Francis Lewin Smith was born in New Fishbourne and baptised at the parish church of St. Peter and St. Mary on the 29 September 1836. He was born into a far from humble family. His father Francis Smith was the local Justice of the Peace and the family lived at Salt Hill Park part of a large estate that consisted of many pieces of land in several parishes. Archibald was their only son and he had one sister.

Archibald Francis Lewin Smith went to Eton and then studied law at Trinity College, Cambridge obtaining a BA in 1858. He was a rowing ‘blue,’ in 1857, 1858, 1859. In 1859 ‘the race was rowed in a gale of wind, and the Cambridge boat filled and sank between Barnes Bridge and the finish.... Smith alone of the Cambridge oarsmen could not swim, and sat stolidly rowing until, when the water was up to his neck, he was rescued.’.

He went on a career in the legal profession rising through the ranks to become a Justice of the Queens Bench, Justice of the High Court and eventually a Lord Justice of Appeals. He was also the Master of the Rolls. He was knighted in 1883.

Sir Archibald Levin Smith ('Judges. No. 24.')
by Sir Leslie Ward
chromolithograph, published in Vanity Fair 3 November 1888
NPG D44410

He married Isobel Fletcher in 1867 and they had two sons, who followed their father into the legal profession. The family lived in Salt Hill Park (along with other residences) from at least 1887 until 1901. Archibald died in Knockando, Moray, Scotland in 1901. His wife preceded him by a couple of years.

So to give some background on his legal career. The Queens Bench was part of the High Court of Justice - the highest court in England and Wales (note that Scotland had a separate legal system even then) and responsible among other things for making case law that would be used to make judgements in the lower courts. A Justice of the High Court hears the more complex and difficult cases. Appeals judges deal with unfair verdicts, convictions and cases that were deemed not dealt with properly by either parties and a Lord Justice of Appeals again deals with the more complex or contentious cases. The Master of the Rolls is the second in seniority in England and Wales only to the Lord Chief Justice and also has an administrative responsibility for the management and the deployment and organisation of the work of the judges of the civil division (i.e. non-criminal cases)

So to end this piece - two pieces of entirely unrelated information.

  • According to Wikipedia, Archibald suffered from the pituitary disorder, acromegaly, which caused him to grow to nearly 7 feet (2.1 m) tall.
  • One of their servants at Salt Hill Park was my 3 x Great Grandmother and that because she married in New Fishbourne and raised a family there is one of the reasons that I started my One Place Study of New Fishbourne.

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