for whose existence no satisfactory proof is forthcoming. Warburton asserts that one of the pieces destroyed by his cook was ‘St. George for England by William Smith,’ and that the same writer was also the author of ‘Hector of Germanie,’ of ‘The Freeman's Honour,’ and of ‘The Fair Foul One, or the Baiting of the Jealous Knight,’ which was licensed by Herbert in 1623 for performance at the Red Bull Inn. But Warburton seems to have expanded on his own authority the initial ‘W.’ in ‘W. Smith’ on the title-page of ‘St. George’ into William instead of Wentworth. The only writers of the time named William Smith of whom we have contemporary evidence were the sonnetteer and the herald, neither of whom is there the smallest reason for crediting with the authorship of plays [see Smith, William, (fl. 1596); Smith, William, (1550?–1618)]. All the plays assigned in the early seventeenth century to ‘W. Smith’ were in all probability from the pen of Wentworth Smith.
To Wentworth Smith have been unwarrantably ascribed the three plays—‘Locrine,’ ‘The Puritan,’ and ‘Cromwell’—which were published in Shakespeare's lifetime under the initials of ‘W. S.’ These pieces, together with ‘Oldcastle,’ ‘London Prodigal,’ and ‘Yorkshire Tragedy’ (which were fraudulently issued as by ‘W. Shakespeare’), were included as Shakespeare's work in the folio of 1664. There is no clue to the authorship of any of these six plays, and the initials ‘W. S.,’ like Shakespeare's full name, were placed on the title-pages by the publishers merely to give purchasers the false impression that Shakespeare was their author.
[Henslowe's Diary, pp. 185, 204, 206, 207, &c.; Warner's Dulwich MSS. pp. 21, 24, 157; Fleay's Chronicle of the English Drama, i. 160, 300, ii. 249–51; Langbaine's Lives of the English Dramatic Poets, ed. 1712, p. 134; Baker's Biographia Dramatica, i. 676, 677, ii. 11, 250, 287, 238, 333; Halliwell's Dictionary of Old English Plays, passim.]
SMITH or SMYTH, WILLIAM (1460?–1514), bishop of Lincoln and co-founder of Brasenose College, Oxford, born about 1460, was fourth son of Robert Smyth of Peelhouse in the parish of Prescot, Lancashire. His father appears to have been a country squire of moderate estate. It is a probable tradition that William was educated in the household of Margaret, countess of Richmond and Derby, mother of Henry VII and second wife of Thomas Stanley, first earl of Derby [q. v.], at Knowsley, within which parish his birthplace is situate [see Beaufort, Margaret]. The Lady Margaret maintained a sort of private school, ‘certayn yonge gentilmen at her findyng’ being educated at Knowsley by Maurice Westbury, whom she had brought from Oxford for that purpose. Smyth's biographer, Churton, after completely disproving Wood's assertion that Smyth was a migrant from Oxford to Cambridge, inclines to identify him with William Smyth, a commoner of Lincoln College in 1478. He would then probably be about eighteen years old. In that case he must have been only twenty-five when he, being already qualified by the degree of bachelor of law, was appointed (20 Sept. 1485) to the lucrative office of keeper or clerk of the hanaper of the chancery for life, with a salary of 40l. yearly in excess of that enjoyed by his predecessor, a knight, besides an allowance of eighteenpence a day when in attendance on the chancellor (Campbell, Materials, i. 16). The fact that this grant was made within a month after the battle of Bosworth, and that it was followed a few days later (2 Oct.) by preferment to a canonry of St. Stephen's, Westminster (ib. p. 71), shows that Smith's friends must have been active as well as powerful at the new court. Among the state papers is one belonging to 1485, showing the issue of 200l. to William Smyth, keeper of the hanaper, for the custody of two daughters of Edward IV. Another document of 24 Feb. 1486 recites that this 200l. was delivered by Smyth to the Lady Margaret, who ‘of late hadde the keping and guiding of the ladies, daughters of King Edward the iiiith.’ On 17 Feb. in the same year he is described as a member of the king's council. Smyth's first parochial preferment was on 13 May 1486 to the living of Combe Martyn, north Devon, in the gift of the crown (ib. i. 434; Pat. Roll, 1 Hen. VII, pt. iii. m. 13). He was also presented, under the style of the king's chaplain, to the living of Great Grimsby on 4 May 1487 (ib. 2 Hen. VII, pt. ii. m. 8). In 1491 he was made dean of the collegiate and royal chapel of St. Stephen's, Westminster. This preferment he had resigned before 1496. On 14 June 1492 he was presented by the Lady Margaret to the rectory of Cheshunt, Hertfordshire. This he held for two years, resigning it on his promotion to a bishopric. In the same year (1492) Smyth, together with Richard Foxe [q. v.], then bishop of Exeter, and Sir Elias Dawbeney, was made a co-feoffee of her estates in Somerset and Devon for the performance of Lady Margaret's will.
At the beginning of 1493 Smith was made bishop of Coventry and Lichfield. He had been entrusted with the custody of the temporalities of the see since 30 March 1491, his predecessor, Bishop John Hales, having died