William Strode, Jr. (c.1575 - 1666) MP

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Birthplace: Shepton Mallet,Somersetshire County,England
Death: Died in Barrington,Somersetshire,England
Occupation: Member of Parliament, UK, Parliamentarian - Roundhead with Cromwell
Managed by: Erin Renee Smith
Last Updated:

About William Strode, Jr.

William STRODE was born in 1589 at Shepton Mallet, Somerset, England, the son of William Strode and Elizabeth Upton.

He married Joan (or Joanne) Barnard in 1621 at Downside, Shepton Mallet.

Their children were:

  • William, married Elizabeth Hivett in 1656, had 1 son and 3 daughters, and died on 19 February 1694/95;
  • Edward, born 22 August 1623 at Shepton Mallet and buried on 2 April 1629 at the Parish Church, Shepton Mallet;
  • John, born about 1627 at Barrington, had two daughters, and died on 7 February 1705/6 at Odcombe, Somerset;
  • Edward, born 2 April 1629/30;
  • Elizabeth, born in 1635 at Barrington and married John Howe at Barrington on 20 April 1659;
  • George, baptized at Barrington on 9 October 1636 and reportedly had four sons;
  • Jane, born about 1640 at Barrington, married John Wyndham in 1659 at Barrington, and her will was proved on 19 August 1699 at Dunraven Castle, Glamorgan, Wales;
  • Johanna, born about 1642, married Henry Hickman in 1667 in England, and died in 1677;
  • Essex, baptized on 7 November 1646 at Barrington, married Mary Strode (daughter of Sir George, his cousin) after 1659 at London, England, and was buried at Westminster, Middlesex, England;
  • Barnard, baptized on 20 August 1649 at Barrington, probably died in 1685; and
  • Mary, born about 1648 and died the same year.

"William followed commercial pursuits from which he acquired great wealth and reputation for integrity and honesty. In 1627 he purchased the estate of Barrington Court, in Somerset County, which had a great mansion house upon it. Then in a very short time, he became owner of many other estates -- at Martlock, Glastonbury, Street, and other places in Somersetshire.

"In Richard Symond's Diary, Symond states that 'William Strode ... lived at Barrington -- 3 myle from Ilminister -- had another house at Street, and hath all the parsonages between this town and Barrington ... his wealth was obtained by being a factor in Spain and the inheritance he received from his father, William Strode, who was a clothier in Shepton-Mallet ...'

"The Strodes served over a 200 year period as members of Parliament from Somerset County. William Strode was reelected as a member of Parliament to represent Ilchester, County Somerset in 1640. Thus he served his county in one of the most momentous times in English history. The Long Parliament (1640-1653) had two William Strodes as members. This has caused much confusion.

"The similarities of names and principals for which both stood caused this William Strode of Barrington and the William Strode, 'one of five members' impeached by Charles I, to be confused by historians, who should have known better. While William Strode of Barrington was in Parliament, having been returned there from the borough of Ilchester, and being a member of the Long Parliament of 1640, he could not have been one of the 'five members' for the following reasons:

"William Strode, M.P. -- 'The Member' -- died in 1645 and was buried in Henry VII's Chapel in Westminster Abbey. William Strode of Barrington did not die until 1666.

"That there were two contemporary William Strodes, who were members of the Long Parliament, is clearly proven by the Calendar of State Papers, '... Proclamation for the apprehension of William Strode of the County of Devon, who was accused of sedition ... was one of the representatives of the borough of Beer Alston in Devonshire.

"In Collision's Notes and Queries, Second Series, Volume XII, on page 461, '...William Strode, 'the member' ... son of Sir William Strode of Devon ... Beer Alson ... Long Parliament of 1640 ... died 1645.' To compound confusion the fathers of these two Williams were also named William.

"William Strode, M.P. for Ilchester in the Long Parliament of 1640, was son of William Strode, clothier of Shepton-Mallet ... he distinguished himself by opposition to the King's authority in Somersetshire ... The State Papers abound with notices of him during this period, and he appears to have been a source of trouble and annoyance to the King, the Bishop, and the Sheriff ... funeral for him was held in the year 1666.

"There is more than sufficient evidence to distinguish between the two William Strodes. Both were heavily involved in the opposition to King Charles I as members of Parliament. This mistaken identity has caused much confusion and misinformation amongst Strode descendants in the U.S. Many American descendants have claimed descent from William of Devonshire, the 'one of five members' impeached. In many cases the tradition has been perpetuated without documentation. We feel confident that William Strode of Barrington, Somersetshire is the correct ancestor to the line of Strodes being traced."

William died on 20 December 1666 at Barrington and was buried at Beminster, Dorset, England.

Wallace Barr, Jr., in The Strode - Barr Descendancy includes a chapter entitled "The Strodes of Shepton Mallet and Civil War" (referencing The Shepton Mallet Story: A Brief Historical Sketch by Fred Davis, Alan Blandford and Lewis Beckerleg, The Shepton Mallet Society, Oakhill Press, Oakhill, Somerset, United Kingdom, 1977, Chapter VI, Civil War, pp. 45-77) which sheds much light on the turbulence of the times for the England and for the Strode family:

"Charles I became king in 1625 when the country was in a troubled and disturbed state. During the first four years of his reign, he called three parliaments, with all of which he quarreled and dismissed. Thus, Charles reigned without a parliament in an arbitrary and oppressive manner for eleven years. In 1640 he was forced to call Parliament. William Strode (1589-1666, discussed above) was an elected member of this parliament from Ilchester, Somerset County. This Parliament is known as the Long Parliament because it was in session from 1640 to 1653.

"This chapter will focus on the role of William Strode in the Civil War and his descendants' role in the rebellion led by the Duke of Monmouth. It will help to explain why some of the Strodes came to America and provides some background for the difficulties in tracing our ancestry in a precise manner in the late 1600's and early 1700's.

"By 1640 confidence in the King had waned to low levels; he could not be trusted and the country was in danger of anarchy. During the debate, the King's friends in Parliament became known as 'Royalists' or 'Cavaliers'. The opposition led by Oliver Cromwell received its chief support from the merchants, shop keepers, small free holders and a whole body of non-conformists and puritan members of the Church of England. The opposition were known as 'Roundheads' or 'Parliamentarians'. The Royalists were largely the nobles, clergy, country gentlemen, Roman Catholics, and others who disliked puritan austerity.

"The demands (19 propositions) of Parliament were such that the King would become a puppet. At this point (1642) Charles I chose to draw the sword and the situation reached its climax on the battlefield in a storm of violence usually witnessed only in civil or religious strife. This was a combination of both.

"The following description of events occurred in Somerset County and largely in Shepton Mallet. The Marquess of Hertford, heading up the Royalists' efforts headquartered in Wells, north of Shepton Mallet, issued warrants to several 'hundred' of people requiring them to supply men and arms.

"The Deputy Lieutenant of the County retaliated by issuing warrants instructing the 'hundred' to ignore the Marquess and to adhere to Parliament. The Deputy Lieutenant and committee announced a meeting to be held at Shepton Mallet on 1 August 1642 to take measures to preserve the peace.

"The Marquess at Wells instructed Sir Ralph Hopton, M.P., Royalist Thomas Smith, and Sir Fernando Gorges with 100 mounted Cavaliers to ride to Shepton Mallet and publish the Commission of Array.

"The following morning Colonel William Strode, hearing of Sir Ralph Hopton's intentions, rode from his manor house with his son and four servants, all but two of them well armed. They reached the marketplace in Shepton Mallet about the same time as Sir Ralph Hopton and his Cavaliers. Colonel Strode demanded to know the reason for the Cavaliers' visit and such a show of arms. Sir Ralph bid him to alight and hear the petition read. To which Col. Strode barked: 'I came not to hear petitions, but to suppress insurrections', and considerably aroused, demanded they leave town. In reply, Sir Ralph laid hold of Col. Strode and arrested him on suspicion of treason.

"In the struggle that ensued, Sir Fernando Gorges struck Col. Strode with a halbert (similar to a pikestaff) knocking Col. Strode from his horse. A number of Cavaliers drew their swords and held their points toward his body. Seeing this, one of Col. Strode's servants drew a pistol and held it to Sir Ralph Hopton, and would have killed him but for a quick witted Sheptonian (a Mr. White) who snatched the pistol from him.

"Col. Strode thus arrested was handed over to the local constable. Sir Ralph started to read the Royalist Petition, and asked for supporters to come forward. After much mumbling and cursing from the large and rapidly growing crowd, only one man stepped forward, one Nicholas Dawton, which Col. Strode was asked to notice. To which he shouted: 'This is of no surprise to me. For this man is but one of the incendiaries of the town, but we are of the County and of Parliament and I demand, therefore, sir, you quit the town.' On this the constable was instructed to take Colonel Strode before the Marquess of Hertford at Wells.

"But shortly, a disturbance from the direction of Town Street caused a distraction. A single Cavalier came at full gallop and forced his way through the dense crowd to Sir Ralph Hopton's side and told him that many country folk were closing in on Shepton Mallet in support of Col. Strode. At this news Sir Ralph Hopton and his Cavaliers turned and rode in haste from Shepton Mallet, a much disillusioned and angry man. He and his followers, on retreat, were spreading violence and terror amongst those he met.

"Following the departure of the Cavaliers, the poor constable became the center of abuse and was compelled to release Col. Strode or lose his life. Col. Strode, one of Shepton Mallet's most wealthy clothiers, was loved and respected by rich and poor alike. Learning of the meeting, the tradesmen, yeomen and peasants swarmed to his support.

"Before noon, without warrant or request, upwards of 2,000 people had joined Col. Strode's ranks. Scouts reported that many people coming to join Col. Strode were met by the Royalists and were beaten and wounded with ammunition and supplies taken from them.

"As a result of the cowardly attacks, charges and counter charges between the Parliamentarians' and the Royalists' forces occurred. In another attempt to read the Commission of Array, Lord Hertford left Wells for Shepton Mallet. He was met about half way by Col. Strode and one hundred fifty horsemen. After much debate, a treacherous assault was made on Col. Strode's regiment. At least a dozen were cut to pieces and many more injured. Despite the element of surprise, the Marquess was not able to stand it and turned tail to Wells.

"The Marquess of Hertford wrote a long letter to the House of Lords 25 August 1642 of which a small portion said '...that William Strode and George Malliard had made great preparation of arms and ammunition in the towns' houses, and divers low persons had given out that such and such houses should be fired and the streets should run with blood.'

"From an original document, being a Parliamentary levey, signed by William Strode of Shepton Mallet and dated 26th August 1644 'Whereas, this county hath extraordinarily suffered in their persons, goods, houses, lands and estates by great and bloody cruelties, oppressions, extortions, and many other wicked invertures of papist cavaliers, and other enemies ... for the prevention of further mischief, and for the preservation of the true protestant religion ... and by the authority of Parliament, require and command you to raise within your hundred fiftie able men of body and to arme them with the best armes you have or can provide and bring them to this town...'

"Later, at what became known as the 'Siege of Wells', the city found itself surrounded by Parliamentarian guns on the Bristol, Glastonbury and Shepton Mallet sides. Col. Strode had 2,000 men, ordinances, and a hundred and fifty horses. The Royalists evacuated the city. Following this the Royalists and Roundheads marched and counter marched throughout the unhappy land leaving bloodshed, violence and death in their wake. Both Royalists and Parliamentarians took their toll on Shepton Mallet, probably more from the latter, for Puritan fanaticism made sad havoc on many ecclesiastical buildings.

"Following the capture and execution of Charles I in 1649, the people of Shepton Mallet returned to manufacturing and to agriculture. The town returned with vigor to both work and leisure.

"Yet the day was not far distant when Shepton Mallet would play and even more intimate part in another drama, more bloody, more violent, than it had yet experienced -- that of the Duke of Monmouth's abortive attempt for the Crown, so bringing a reign of terror upon this town more terrible than English history has hitherto known.

"The Strodes were heavily involved in this rebellion. There are various accounts of how William Strode (?-1694), eldest son and heir of William Strode (1589-1666), entertained the Duke of Monmouth in 1680 at Barrington. In the year 1685, the Duke of Monmouth made an attempt to obtain the throne of England from his uncle, King James II. William Strode was in sympathy with Monmouth and sent him supplies of horses and money.

"While he did this, he was not the only member (of the family) who openly aided Monmouth. William's brother, Edward Strode of Downside, gave this Royal Rebel one hundred guineas. The gift of these guineas was not the only aid that Edward rendered. After the dreadful battle of Sedgmore, Somerset County, Monmouth fled to Shepton Mallet on the 6th day of July 1686. His trusy friend, Edward Strode, at the risk of his own life and fortune, gave the unfortunate fugitive shelter at Downside for the night. Monmouth presented Edward Strode with his brace of pistols as a token of gratitude for the loyalty shown him.

"Retribution came thick and fast for the rebels. Colonel Kirke with a large band of cavalry was sent to Somersetshire to 'teach the rebels a lesson.' Kirke and his forces extorted large sums of money from those that were able to pay. Edward Strode of Downside was among this group. His brother, William must have been able to buy his pardon. The accused who were poor were sentenced without trial and hanged.

"But King James II, feeling that many rich delinquents had escaped for money, sent Lord Chief Justice Jeffreys into the West County. He was the most diabolic judge that ever sat on the bench. Jeffreys was a murderous circuit judge who conducted what has become known as the Bloody Assize. Upward of 300 persons were executed after short trials; many were whipped, imprisoned and fined, and nearly 1,000 were sent as slaves to American plantations. Judge Jeffreys was rewarded by King James II with the post of lord high chancellor. After King James abdicated, the chancellor was committed to the Tower, where he died in disgrace.

"Edward Strode who gave Monmouth one hundred guineas and provided shelter while he was on the run, was granted a pardon, solely through his ability to pay for it (reportedly 40 Pounds). Perry (Octavia J. Perry in A Saga of Strouds and Strodes, Deford and Co., Baltimore, Maryland, 1966, p 45) says: 'Bernard Strode, the fifth son of William and Joan Barnard Strode, was beheaded in the Bloody Assize.' There is American tradition that Barnard was beheaded but full substantiation is lacking. On 10th March 1686 an amnesty or proclamation of pardon was issued for all those involved in the rebellion led by Monmouth.

"Obviously, Edward Strode of Downside was heavily involved in the Monmouth led rebellion of 1685. But he survived the times and remained at Downside, undoubtedly because of his wealth. This is contrary to information in the book by Perry and perpetuated by other Strode descendants. She suggests that he fled to France and/or Holland with his children and sickly wife and eventually to the colonies. Elston does not make this error.

"Photos taken in the Rectory of St. Peter and St. Paul Church in Shepton Mallet in 1986 provide proof to the contrary. There are numerous plaques and busts of the generosity of the Strodes. Two in particular are important in tracing Edward's (1630-1703) family. The first is a plaque in the Rectory stating 'Memory of Joan (Goninge) Strode, wife of edward Strode. Mrs. Joan Strode of Downside, England who had by him 10 children, 5 sons and 5 daughters of which 4 of them lyeth here underneath intered by her to wit: William, Edward, Edward, and Mary. The other six children are now living with their father to wit: Edward, John, Elizabeth, Johanna, Jane and Mercy. She (Joan) died 1st of April 1679 in the 40th year of her age.'

"There is another important plaque in the Shepton-Mallet parish church that says 'Here Relieth Edward Strode of Downside -- he departed this life the 23rd of October 1703 at the age of 73 years.'

"Still another plaque states 'Strode Bread Charity Jan. 23, 1699. Edward Strode by his will established the charity and Elizabeth, his daughter, by her will added to the fund; Rents of Farms at Winsor Hill (Downside), Sun Inn and Cottage, Townsend, Mendip and the annual dividend of L1407.16.11 at Consolidated Bank.'

"In Elston's Vol. II there is a chart that supplies basic information on William (1593-1666) and on Edward's (1630-1703) children. Edward's will abstracted by Mr. Robert Massey at the request of Elston and showed the will was dated 24 September 1697 at Shepton Mallet. Elizabeth, his unmarried daughter, was executrix. The will was proved in London 24 January 1703/04. Edward's will mentions son John and 4 daughters and their children. More importantly it says 'my son, Edward, deceased.' Thus Edward must have written his will sometime after Edward (born about 1665), our ancestor, died enroute to the New World with his family of small children.

"In Elizabeth Strode's will of 1715, there is mention made of her three sisters and their children, but no mention of Edward or John (her brothers). Elizabeth must have retained the rebellious ways of her father and other Strodes. Mention is made of her non-conformist ways and activities.

"The well documented will of Edward Strode and his daughter Elizabeth plus the inscriptions in place as of 1986 in the Shepton Mallet church identifies Edward's family. The will of Edward dated 24 September 1697 gives us positive proof that his son Edward was deceased prior to the writing of the will. Tradition in the U.S. has been that Edward died in 1703. The documented history is much more reliable than word of mouth tradition.

"The generosity of the Strode family of Shepton Mallet was initiated in the early 1600's and continued for about a century. There is a plaque at the rectory that recognizes the 'Strode School Charity.' Founded by George Strode, clothier of Shepton Mallet in County of Somerset in 1627, May 14. The objects of the Charity are the education of Poor children of the Parish of Shepton Mallet, and the Relief of Poor Widows to be nominated Alms women of the Charity by the Trustees. Rectorial tithes of parish of Meare in County Somerset, Annual rent of Globe land at Meare and annual rent at Turbury land at Meare.' George was a brother of William and an uncle of Edward of Downside."

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William Strode, Jr.'s Timeline

1575
1575
Shepton Mallet,Somersetshire County,England
1621
1621
Age 46
Downside,Shepton Mallet,Somersetshire County,England
1622
1622
Age 47
Of, London, Middlesex, England
1625
1625
Age 50
Shepton Mallet, Somersetshire, England
1627
1627
Age 52
Barrington, Somersetshire, England
1630
1630
Age 55
Shepton Mallet,Somersetshire County,England
1634
1634
Age 59
Barrington, Somersetshire, England
1635
1635
Age 60
Barrington,Somersetshire,England
1636
October 9, 1636
Age 61
Shepton-Mallet, Somerset, , Eng
1645
1645
Age 70
Barrington, Somersetshire, England