STRADLING, Sir Thomas (by 1495-1571), of St. Donats, Glam.
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Family and Education
b. by 1495, 1st s. of Sir Edward Stradling of St. Donats by Elizabeth, da. of Sir Thomas Arundell of Lanherne, Cornw. m. settlement 20 Aug. 1516, Catherine, da. of Sir Thomas Gamage of Coity, Glam., 2s. David and Edward 5da. suc. fa. 8 May 1535. Kntd. 17 Feb. 1549.1
Sewer, the chamber 1525; j.p. Glam. 1536, 1555, q. 1558/59, Dorset 1538-40, Som. 1538-44, Glos., Herefs., Salop, Worcs. 1554; commr. musters, Glam. 1545, relief 1550, heresy 1557; sheriff, Glam. 1547-8; muster master July 1553.2
Thomas Stradling was on the threshold of middle age when he succeeded to an inheritance which stretched from its base in Glamorgan across to Somerset and Dorset. It was doubtless through his mother’s kinsman Thomas Arundell, a leading supporter of Wolsey, that Stradling had joined the royal household in 1525 and that he was later to attach himself to Arundell’s kinsman by marriage the 12th Earl of Arundel. Although he made no further headway at court under Henry VIII, probably because of his conservatism in religion, after his father’s death he was put on the bench in the three shires where his property lay and in the King’s last year he was nominated for the shrievalty of Glamorgan.3
From 1547 Stradling’s fortunes fluctuated with those of the 12th Earl of Arundel, in whose honor of Petworth he established himself by acquiring the manor of Binderton from Sir Thomas Smith I in 1550. His knighting in February 1549, during the overthrow of Admiral Seymour, may have been a move of Arundel’s to bind him to the Protector Somerset; shortly afterwards he and Sir Thomas Arundell stood surety for Arundell’s brother Sir John, who was suspected of complicity in the western rebellion, but what part he played in the crises of that summer and autumn has not been discovered. He was not imprisoned with the two Arundells in January 1550 but when the Earl of Arundel was sent to the Tower in November 1551 Stradling joined him there. Arundel was released in December 1552 and Stradling probably somewhat later; he afterwards stated that he was freed ‘not long before’ Edward VI’s death and he was certainly out by May 1553.4
Arundel’s restoration to favour under Mary brought Stradling a widening of local responsibility and a brief career in the Commons. His election for East Grinstead, a duchy of Lancaster borough, to the first Parliament of the reign he owed to Arundel’s stewardship of the duchy’s lands in Sussex, and his seat in the second to the earl’s lordship of the borough from which he took his title. Predictably, Stradling was not among the Members of the first Parliament who opposed the initial stages of the restoration of Catholicism; early in the second session he had a bill ‘for one measure to be through England’ committed to him after its second reading. He may have been excluded from the following Parliament out of deference to the Queen’s request for resident Members and in 1555 as a consequence of the earl’s absence in Calais, during which he shared responsibility for Arundel’s lands; in the last Parliament of the reign he evidently stood down in favour of his sons Edward and David. That he was not returned in Glamorgan is to be ascribed to the strength of the Herbert interest in that shire. In 1557 Stradling brought an action in the Star Chamber against William Herbert V for extortion and bribery in the levy of men for the French war; he justified his choice of court by the argument that no lawyer would appear against Herbert at Cardiff, one which was borne out by the number and tone of the depositions. Stradling’s purchase in the following year of the Glamorgan manor of Sully from Herbert’s uncle the 1st Earl of Pembroke may have been a piece of reconciliation after this episode.5