The Crest of the Family of Smith
The crest as engraved upon this
Straight Set of Eight George II English Sterling Silver Hanoverian Table Spoons
by Philip Roker II hallmarked London 1753 – 54 is that of the family of Smith.
It may be blazoned as follows :
Crest : A demi-ostrich argent with wings expanded gules holding in the beak a horseshoe or
Upon the balance of probability and without any evidence to the contrary
this crest pertains to a family of Smith.
Many armigerous families of the name of Smith use / used as their crest
either a demi-ostrich as shown above or an ostrich's head between two wings and sometimes an entire ostrich.
The common feature of all these crests in relation to the Smith family
is the inclusion of a horseshoe being held in the beak of the bird.
The association of ostriches and horseshoes stems from the belief that both the ancients
as well as the medieval mind thought that ostriches could eat and digest iron.
Also, the employment of the ostrich and horseshoe by various Smith families in their arms and crests
could also be a canting or punning reference to the art and craft of the blacksmith or farrier.
Some authorities state that the crest as blazoned above belonged to a family of Smith
who resided in the County of Worcestershire.
So, saying, one such Worcestershire Smith family who bore a similar crest has been found
but with the bird blazoned as 'quarterly sable and argent 1.
This family is said to be descended from the Smiths, of Hough in the County of Cheshire.
Notwithstanding the use of an ostrich's head 'quarterly sable and argent' by the Smiths,
of Stoke Prior in the County of Worcestershire,
there is evidence that they used this particular crest without the
'quarterly sable and argent' for it is recorded that on the memorial brass for Sir
Robert Smyth2 (born circa 1594 died 1669), the 1st Baronet of Upton in the County of Essex 3
at Stoke Prior there is incised the following crest :
'A demi-ostrich argent
winged in the beak a horseshoe or'
for which in all intents and purposes is the very
same crest as engraved upon these spoons.
Given this evidence there is a likelihood
that this rather splendid set of spoons
were owned by a descendant of Sir Robert.
Upon an examination of a printed pedigree of the Smith family of Stoke Prior,
leading candidate for the ownership of these spoons would be Sir Trafford Smyth
(born circa 1720 died 8th December 1765), the 4th Baronet of Upton.
was the great, great grandson of Sir Robert Upton.
1 The Smith family, of Stoke Prior and Cropthorne, Co. Worcester (and the City of London and of
Upton in West Ham in the County of Essex) who bore as their crest, viz :
'an ostrich's head sable and
argent between two wings expanded gules in the beak a horseshoe or'.
2 Alternative spelling for 'Smith'.
3 The Baronetcy of Smyth of Upton, Co. Essex was created on the 30th March 1665,
Baronetage of England.
Heraldry Courtesy of John Tunesi of
Hertfordshire, United Kingdom