Cornelius Smelt, Lieutenant Governor 1805-1832

Born, 1748, into an old, well connected, Yorkshire family from upper Swaledale in the North Riding. Second son of William Smelt of Lease and a Miss Caley (two of whose brothers were Recorder of Hull and British Consul at St Petersburg); married in 1785 Mary Trant Ottley (Oxley) of Richmond, Yorkshire, the daughter of Richard Ottley, Treasurer of St Vincent and member of the House of Assembly, and his wife who was born Elizabeth Warner. Mary Trant died when she was 34, and he married a second time, to Anne Hale (daughter of General Sir John Hale and his wife Mary, nee Chaloner) - there were children from both marriages - daughter Mary from 2nd marriage married the Revd Dr Alexander Crigan, son of Claudius Crigan, Bishop of Sodor & Man.

Uncle was General Leonard Smelt, tutor to two of sons of George III as well as an intimate friend of that monarch. A liberal in politics, probably brought to the attention of Whitehall as a counterweight to the feudal Atholls by the English appointed Manx Attorney-General William Frankland whose eldest brother had married Smelt's sister Dorothy.

Proved an admirable check on the ambitions of Governor Murray and became very popular with the Manx for this - the Smelt Memorial or 'candlestick' in Castletown Parade is the only monument to a Governor. Originally buried under altar in St Mary's Church but when church was deconsecrated was reinterred in the Bacon vault at St Peter's Onchan (not Malew which several references give) where his daughter who married into the Bacon family was buried - the original coffin apparently was lead encased with a brass nameplate in the form of a eagle's head.



M. Dolley "The Yorkshire Influence" The Manxman, Summer 1977 pp44/45

D. Winterbottom Governors of the Isle of Man since 1765 Douglas: Manx National Heritage 1999 (ISBN 09524019-5-9)


Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
© F.Coakley , 2000