Born in 1815 Robert Willan Ashby Smith was a London man his father being a doctor in Bloomsbury. He had gained his degree at Oxford being ordained in 1838. His first ministry was as curate of Christ Church Spitalfields London until 1844 this was followed by a short-lived curacy in Norfolk until 1845 when he was appointed to Holy Trinity Stowupland. There being no vicarage in the parish he found accommodation in Stowmarket. He was a bachelor, not marrying until late in life after he left the area.  He also served as domestic chaplain to Lord Combermere.  He served the parish until 1862 and thereafter did not continue as a parish priest but returned as a don to Oxford dying in 1871.