©Compiled by Michael Russell OPC for Fordington March 2009
Named after his grandfather he was the eldest son and heir of Sir William STRODE knight (1561-1637) of Newham in Devonshire by his first wife, Mary the daughter of Thomas SOUTHCOTE of Bovey Tracey in the same county. His father was the only child of Richard Strode, landowner, of Newnham, Devon, where the family were established by the reign of Edward I, and his wife Frances Cromwell. He was educated at the Inner Temple, and became a friend of Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Ralegh, and commanded the local stannary regiment during the Armada campaign of 1588. His family had regularly provided MPs for the adjacent borough of Plympton Erle since 1437; but in 1597 he became the first to represent the county. Knighted by the queen in the following year, he was appointed surveyor of Crown lands in Devon for life, and sat for local constituencies in the next seven Parliaments. His father is celebrated in Prince’s Devonshire Worthies as “ a person of great honour, worth, and esteem in the county”. He married a second time to, Dennes, the daughter of Stephen VOSPER of Liskeard, Cornwall, on 31 March 1624; but she died without issue in 1635. His father died on 27 June 1637 in his 76th year of age.
William & Mary had three sons and seven daughters, all married into prominent Devonshire families, two of them to baronets and four to knights. After Richard, who we will come to, their second son was:-
William STRODE (1594-1645) A much longer account of his life is given in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. He was baptised 6 Nov 1594 at Bovey Tracey in Devon and admitted to the Inner Temple in 1614; educated at Exeter College which he entered on 9 May 1617 at the age of 18. He graduated BA 20 June 1619. In the last Parliament of James I and the first three of Charles I he represented Beeralston.
On 2nd March 1629 when the speaker at the behest of Charles I tried to adjourn the House and refused to put Eliot’s resolution to the vote, Strode played a great part in the disorderly scene that followed. Denzil HOLLES the MP for Dorchester (<<< See picture left) was one of two MP’s who forcibly held the speaker in his chair. The next day Strode and others were summoned before the council. As Strode declined to come, he was arrested in the country and committed first to the king’s bench prison, then to the Tower, and thence to the Marshalsea. When he was proceeded against in the Star Chamber he repudiated the jurisdiction of that court, and refused to answer outside parliament for words spoken within it. As he also refused to be bound over to good behaviour, he remained a prisoner until January 1640. The Long Parliament (1640-1660) voted the proceedings against him a breach of privilege, and ordered £500 compensation for his sufferings. He returned to Parliament as MP for Beeralston in 1640 and was a fierce opponent of the King. His most important act however was the introduction of a bill for annual parliaments.
He was one of the five members of the House of Commons impeached by Charles I on 3 June 1642 and on the following day the king came to the house in person to arrest the members. According to D’Ewes it was difficult to persuade him to leave the house even when the kings approach was announced. When all persuasions failed Sir Walter ERLE, ‘his entire friend, was fain to take him by the cloak and pull him out of the house’.
After his impeachment William Strode was naturally the more embittered against the king and when the Civil War began he became one of the chief opponents of attempts at accommodation with Charles. He was a Parliamentary Colonel and was present at Edgehill and sent by Essex to give an account of the battle to Parliament. In 1643 his house was plundered by Sir Ralph Hoptons troops and the House of Commons indemnified him out of Hopton’s estate. He died of fever at Tottenham early in September 1645. On 10th September the house ordered that he should have a public funeral and be buried in Henry VII’s Chapel in Westminster Abbey. At the restoration his remains were disinterred by a warrant dated 9th September 1661.William and Mary’s third son was:-
John STRODE (1600 - ?) He also went to Exeter College at Oxford which he entered 24 Oct 1617 at the age of 17. He transferred however to Broadgates Hall where he obtained his BA 11 May 1621. He proved to be a great favourite of the nobility and gentry who spent much of his time about London. He was counted to be the best bowler in all England.
Sir Richard Strode (1584-1670)
On 31 March 1624 at a meeting in the Free School in Dorchester his brother-in-law Sir Walter ERLE, was elected Governor of the Dorchester Company, often rather grandiosely called the New England Planters Parliament, of which Sir Richard Strode was himself a member. As a member of this committee he was closely involved with the schemes of the Rev. John White and actively involved in the foundation of the colony. Even after the company folded in 1626/7 he and his brother-in-law were involved, for example, in the transportation of 20 cattle and other commodities to New England to keep those left behind supplied.
He was also active as a Justice of the Peace serving at the Quarter Sessions held by rotation at Beaminster, Blandford Forum, Sherborne, Shaston and Dorchester. Apart from his brother-in-law Sir Walter ERLE, he often sat with Sir Francis ASHLEY and Sir John BROWNE other Justices who had invested in the Dorchester Company. There are references to him on cases in Sir Arthur Ashley’s ‘casebook’ during 1623 and 1625 and in the Quarter Sessions order books for 1625-1638.
He married three times:-
1st. to Catherine daughter and co-heir of Sir Robert STRODE of Parnham Dorset by whom he had 3 daughters : Elizabeth baptised Beaminster 23 Sep 1605 (when he appears to have been in the Militia); Frances whose baptism has not been located and perhaps was baptised in Holy Trinity in Dorchester; and Catheryn also baptised in Beaminster on 20 January 1608/9. Unfortunately Lady Catheryn appears to have been buried there the same day so presumably died during childbirth.
2nd. to Elizabeth daughter of Thomas ERLE of Charborough in Dorset and Dorothy POOLE. He was therefore brother in law to Sir Walter ERLE (1586-1665) another investor in the Dorchester Company and a close friend of the family. they had a son Sir William STRODE Knight who continued the family and seven daughters.
3rd. to Anne daughter of Sir John DRAKE (knight)There is reference in the book ‘Fire from Heaven’ by David Underdown as follows ‘ besides coming from Parnham Sir Richard & Lady Strode had several of their children baptised at Holy Trinity’. Unfortunately I do not have access to the Parish Registers in Dorset at the moment to discover who these were.
He also refers to an incident involving Richard Christmas of Sydling who was a notorious enemy of the Puritans:-
‘When the pious Lady Strode was returning to Parnham after hearing Mr White preach in Dorchester, Christmas intercepted her coach, asked the footman’ how many Puritans there were in that company? and fired a musket shot which terrified the party.
NOTE:- Sir Richard's subsequent deteriorating relationship with the Parnham branch of the Strode family after the death of his first wife; the publication of his almanack; his imprisonment for debt; and mental health are all covered in an article written by Alan J Miller in the Dorset Life On-line magazine which is recommended to those interested in the history of Dorset. In addition to the direct link to this site I have re-produced it below to make sure it is not lost or buried in an archive somewhere. It does concentrate upon the murder of Lady Strode who was the wife of Sir John Strode the owner of Parnham rather than Sir Richards wife [whose name was Catherine not Mary] but it fully explains Sir Richard's involvement and needs no additional comment from me. The Pedigree of the STRODE Family of Parnham was drawn up by Sir John STRODE of Parnham & Chantmarle from "ancient pedigrees, evidences and records" in his possession in 1636 when he was 75 years old and continued by his successors. It was published in the History of Antiquities of Dorset and an extract for the parishes of Netherbury & Beminster [now Beaminster] which contains the pedigree on pages 130/132 is available to view to members on Ancestry.com. Among other things it confirms the correct name of Richards first wife.
Sir Richard STRODE died on October 9th 1669, at Plympton St Mary. His Will dated 20 July 1669 was proved on 27 July 1670
1670; Source [OXA](Ref: Dorset Visitations 1623, p. 37).[DV](Ref: Dorset Visitations 1677, p. 96).[QS] Oxford DNB: Biography by C. H. Firth 1993 [RT]Devonshire Parishes by Charles Worthy(Somerset and Dorset N. and Q., VIII. 201; Burke, L.G.)Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Name of Register: Penn Quire Numbers: 67 - 128; PROB Ref 11/333 :FFH: OPC Beaminster; History of Antiquities of the parishes of Netherbury & Beminster which contains the pedigree of the Strode family of Parnham.