Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Stradling, John

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STRADLING, Sir JOHN (1563–1637), scholar and poet, was the son of Francis and Elizabeth Stradling of St. George's, near Bristol, where he was born in 1563. His great-uncle, Sir Edward Stradling [q. v.], being childless, adopted John and bequeathed him his estate. Stradling was educated under Edward Green, a canon of Bristol, and at Oxford, where he matriculated from Brasenose College on 18 July 1580, and graduated B.A. from Magdalen Hall on 7 Feb. 1583–4, being then accounted ‘a miracle for his forwardness in learning and pregnancy of parts’ (Wood). He studied for a time at one of the inns of court, and then travelled abroad. He was sheriff of Glamorganshire for 1607 and 1620, and was knighted on 15 May 1608, being then described as of Shropshire (Nichols, Progresses of James I, ii. 196, 422). In 1609 he succeeded to the castle and estate of St. Donat's in Glamorganshire, and was created a baronet on 22 May 1611, standing fifth on the first list of baronets. He was elected M.P. for St. Germans, Cornwall, on 15 Jan. 1624–5, for Old Sarum on 23 April 1625, his colleague there being Michael Oldisworth [q. v.], who married one of his daughters (Preface to George Stradling's Sermons, 1692), and for Glamorganshire on 6 Feb. 1625–6, in which year he was also a commissioner for raising a crown loan in that county. Stradling appears to have enjoyed a great reputation for learning, and ‘was courted and admired’ by Camden, who quotes him as ‘vir doctissimus’ in his ‘Britannia’ (ed. 1607, p. 498), by Sir John Harington, Thomas Leyson, and Ioan David Rhys, to all of whom he wrote epigrams (James Harrington in his Preface to George Stradling's Sermons). To carry out the wishes of his predecessor in the title, he built, equipped, and endowed a grammar school at Cowbridge, but the endowment seems to have subsequently lapsed until the school was refounded by Sir Leoline Jenkins [q. v.] (Arch. Cambr. 2nd ser. v. 182–6). He died in 1637.

Stradling was the author of: 1. ‘A Direction for Trauailers. Taken out of Ivstvs Lipsius, and enlarged for the behoofe of the Right Honorable Lord, the yong Earle of Bedford, being now ready to trauell,’ London, 1592, 4to; a translation of Lipsius's ‘Epistola de Peregrinatione Italica.’ 2. ‘Two Bookes of Constancie; written in Latine by Iustus Lipsius; containing, principallie, a comfortable Conference in common Calamities,’ London, 1595, 4to; a translation of Lipsius's ‘De Constantia libri duo,’ which had been published at Antwerp in 1584. Stradling also mentions Lipsius's ‘Politickes’ among those ‘bookes wherein I had done mine endeuor by translating to pleasure you,’ but this does not appear to have been published, possibly because another translation of the work by one William Jones appeared in the same year. 3. ‘De Vita et Morte contemnenda libri duo,’ Frankfort, 1597, 8vo (Bodleian Libr. Cat.; cf. Wood, Athenæ Oxon. ii. 397; Stradling, Epigrams, p. 26). 4. ‘Epigrammatum libri quatuor,’ London, 1607, 8vo. 5. ‘Beati Pacifici: a Divine Poem written to the Kings Most Excellent Maiestie … Perused by his Maiesty, and printed by Authority’ (London, 1623, 4to), with a portrait of James I engraved by R. Vaughan. 6. ‘Divine Poems: in seven severall Classes, written to his Most Excellent Maiestie, Charles [the First] …’ London, 1625, 4to. The poetry is of a didactic character; the work was described by Theophilus Field [q. v.], bishop of Llandaff, in commendatory verses, as ‘A Sustaeme Theologicall, a paraphrase upon the holy Bible’ (cf. Robert Hayman, Quodlibets … from Newfoundland, London, 1628, p. 62). A ‘Poetical Description of Glamorganshire’ by Stradling is also mentioned (Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. iii. 448), but of this nothing is known.

Stradling married Elizabeth, daughter of Edward Gage of Firle, Sussex. By her he had eight sons, two of whom are noticed below, and one, Sir Henry [q. v.], is noticed separately, and three daughters, of whom the eldest, Jane, married William Thomas of Wenvoe, and had a daughter Elizabeth, who became wife of Edmund Ludlow, the regicide [q. v.]

The eldest son, Edward Stradling (1601–1644), the second baronet, born in 1601, matriculated from Brasenose College, Oxford, on 16 June 1615, and was elected M.P. for Glamorganshire in 1640. He was concerned in several important business undertakings; he was a shareholder in a soap-making monopoly (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1635, p. 474), and was summoned on 14 Oct. 1641 before the House of Commons to account for some of its acts (Commons' Journals, ii. 299). On 15 June 1637 he and Sir Lewis Dives and another were summoned before the Star-chamber ‘for transporting gold and silver out of the kingdom’ (Cal. State Papers, s.a. p. 218), but they subsequently received a full pardon (ib. under 23 March 1638–9). Stradling was also the chief promoter of a scheme for bringing a supply of water to London from Hoddesdon, which engaged much public attention between 1630 and 1640 (ib. under 11 Feb. 1631 p. 555, for 1638–9 pp. 304, 314, 1639 p. 481; Commons' Journals, ii. 585; the deed between Charles I and the promoters is printed in Rymer's Fœdera, vol. viii. pt. iii. p. 157).

At the outbreak of the civil war Stradling was the leading royalist in Glamorganshire, and led a regiment of foot to Edgehill in October 1642, where he was taken prisoner (Clarendon, Hist. vi. 94) and sent to Warwick Castle; but the king obtained his release on an exchange of prisoners (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1644, p. 117), and, proceeding to Oxford, Stradling died there in June 1644, and was buried on 21 June in the chapel of Jesus College (Wood, Athenæ Oxon. ii. 51, Coll. and Halls, ed. Gutch, p. 590). He married Mary, only daughter (by the second wife) of Sir Thomas Mansel of Margam, who survived him. In July 1645 she extended hospitable protection to Bishop Ussher, who stayed almost a year at St. Donat's (Parr, Life of Ussher, pp. 58–63). Of his sons, Edward, the eldest, succeeded as third baronet; John and Thomas served on the royalist side throughout the civil war, both being implicated in the Glamorganshire risings in 1647 and 1648; John died in prison at Windsor Castle in 1648. The title became extinct by the death, unmarried, of Sir Thomas Stradling, the sixth baronet, who was killed in a duel at Montpelier on 27 Sept. 1738. His disposition of the property gave rise to prolonged litigation, which was finally closed and the partition of the estates confirmed under an act of parliament (cf. Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. xi. 153).

Sir John's eighth but fourth surviving son, George Stradling, (1621–1688), after travelling in France and Italy, matriculated from Jesus College, Oxford, on 27 April 1638, graduated B.A. 16 Nov. 1640, M.A. 26 Jan. 1646–7, and D.D. 6 Nov. 1661. In 1642, as ‘founder's kinsman,’ he was elected fellow of All Souls'. He served on the royalist side during the civil war, but the influence of Oldisworth and Ludlow prevented his ejection from his fellowship. In December 1660 he was made canon of St. Paul's and chaplain to Bishop (afterwards Archbishop) Gilbert Sheldon [q. v.] He declined election as president of Jesus on the resignation of Francis Mansel [q. v.] in March 1660–1, but became rector of Hanwell (1662–4), vicar of Cliffe-at-Hoo (1663), of Sutton-at-Hone (1666), both in Kent; of St. Bride's, London (1673), canon of Westminster (1663), chantor (1671) and dean of Chichester (1672). He died 18 April 1688, and was buried with his wife Margaret (d. 1681), daughter of Sir William Salter of Iver, Buckinghamshire, in Westminster Abbey. A volume of Stradling's ‘Sermons’ was edited (London, 1692, 8vo) by James Harrington [q. v.], who prefixed an account of Stradling's life (Wood, Athenæ Oxon. iv. 237, Fasti, ii. 33, 91; Reg. of Visit. of Oxford Univ. pp. 42, 475; Neale, Westminster Abbey, ii. 244; Chester, Westminster Abbey Reg. pp. 70, 203, 220–1).

[Authorities quoted in the text; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ii. 395–7; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Traherne's Stradling Correspondence; James Harrington's Preface to Dr. George Stradling's Sermons (1692); Williams's Eminent Welshmen, p. 475, and W. R. Williams's Parl. Hist. of Wales, p. 97, cf. also p. 108. The genealogical particulars are based upon Collins's Baronetage, ed. 1720, pp. 32 et seq., and G. T. Clark's Limbus Patrum Morganiæ, p. 439.]

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