D. Jack Smith II, Lord of the manor of Great Horwood from 1996 until his death on 18 July 2016
The most recent Lord of the Manor of Great Horwood was Doyle Jackson Smith II, a lawyer from Memphis, Tennessee, United States of America. Jack Smith was an avid historian with a special affection, even (he said) a passion, for American and English history. In his words ‘I am in love with all things British and really wanted some permanent connection with Great Britain as my ethnicity, my lineage, my language, my profession, my religion, my literature, and my world place and view are all English. I wanted something permanent to tie me and my family to our Mother Country and to get to know her and her people in far more depth than just seeing her through the window of a tour bus.’
Jack found out that New College, Oxford had gradually sold off the income-producing land of the manor of Great Horwood, as granted by King Henry VI in 1441, leaving just the ‘history-laden title with all of its wonderful English traditions’. He then approached the College about its possible transfer.
On becoming Lord of the Manor in 1996, Jack became an active participant in village affairs and a generous benefactor. He visited Great Horwood as often as he could, including for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in June 2012, and generously offered the D Jack Smith Annual Charitable Grant for community projects for several years, stopping only when he retired from work a few years before his death. As a result of Jack’s generosity, substantial sums were received by a number of village organisations including the Cricket Club, the Village Hall, Horwode Pece, Brownies and Rainbows, the Youth Club, the Silver Band, the Elm Tree Replacement project and the Book Project which produced the book Great Horwood Past & Present that, in turn, enabled this website to be set up. Jack also met much of the cost of the Diamond Jubilee Party, thus enabling all villagers to attend free of charge.
Jack Smith was a graduate of Vanderbilt University and Harvard Law School and was a US practising attorney for over 50 years. In the past 25 years he developed an international specialism in direct selling and multi-level marketing law. As a member of the New York, Tennessee and Washington DC Bars, he appeared or acted for global companies in all US States and before the US Federal Trade Commission. Jack served two terms in the Tennessee Legislature as a member of the State House of Representatives, and was elected Chairman of the Tennessee State House of Representatives Committee on Business.
He said that he was ‘proud and very, very grateful to the people of Great Horwood for the warm and gracious way’ he was received, and was equally proud of this most unusual hands-across-the-sea friendship and relationship. Jack noted that the fact that he was an American citizen - in addition to his all-English heritage - actually serving in an active capacity as an English Lord of the Manor was the subject of considerable media attention in the United States, and mentioned in American newspaper articles from coast to coast.