Thomas Assheton Smith I

Thomas Assheton Smith I

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Thomas Assheton Smith I

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Thomas Assheton Smith (the elder) (1752 – 12 May 1828) was an English landowner and all-round sportsman who played a major part in the development of the Welsh slate industry.

Smith was the son of Thomas Assheton of Ashley in Cheshire. He added "Smith" to his surname when he inherited the Vaynol and Tidworth estates from his uncle, William Smith. He was High Sheriff of Caernarfonshire in 1783-4 and Member of Parliament for the county from 1774 to 1780. Assheton Smith was also MP for the English borough of Andover between 1797 and 1821.

In 1806 he was able to get Parliament to pass an act enclosing the common land of Llanddeiniolen parish, greatly adding to his land holdings. In 1809 he took over control of slate quarrying on his estate, forming a company of four under his presidency. The company was later dissolved and he took over sole control of the enterprise. By 1826 the Dinorwic Quarry was employing 800 men and producing 20,000 tons of slate per year. Assheton Smith developed Port Dinorwic (Y Felinheli) as a port for the export of the slates.


Thomas Assheton Smith was a keen sportsman and was particularly noted for his involvement in cricket. He was a close friend of George Finch, 9th Earl of Winchilsea and became one of cricket's main patrons following the establishment of MCC in 1787. Smith was not a good player, unlike his son, but is known to have taken part in 45 major matches between the 1787 and 1796 seasons. In the contemporary...
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