STRANGWAYS, Sir Giles II (1528-62), of Melbury Sampford, Dorset.
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Family and Education
b. 13 or 20 Apr. 1528, s. and h. of Henry Strangways by Margaret, da. of George Manners, 11th Lord Ros. educ. Corpus, Oxf. 1541. m.Oct./Nov. 1546, Joan (d.1603), da. of John Wadham of Merrifield, Som., 4s. 2da. suc. gdfa. Sir Giles Strangways I 11 Dec. 1546. Kntd. 11 Nov. 1549.1
Commr. relief, Dorset 1550, goods of churches and fraternities 1553; warden, Neroche forest, Som. 1551; j.p. Dorset 1554-d.2
Giles Strangways was 16 years of age when his father’s death at the siege of Boulogne in 1544 made him heir apparent to his grandfather Sir Giles Strangways. A few weeks before Sir Giles’s death in December 1546 the young heir was married to Joan Wadham; a profitable wardship, which Sir Richard Rich had been granted prematurely in August 1546, was thus deprived of much of its market value and Giles Strangways saved from a marriage arranged by a commercially-minded guardian. In July 1549, when he had come of age, he was licensed to enter upon his inheritance, and within a few months, following the Earl of Warwick’s successful coup d’état against the Protector Somerset, he was knighted. Appointments in local government soon followed, although he was not named to the Dorset bench until Mary’s accession. Since as a young man he apparently enjoyed the favour of Warwick, by now Duke of Northumberland, Strangways may have sat for the county in the second of Edward VI’s Parliaments, for which the Dorset returns are lost.3
It was at the early age of 25 that Strangways was elected knight of the shire to the first Parliament of Mary’s reign, a seat he retained at every election save one until his death. His repeated appearance in Mary’s Parliaments did not mean that he embraced her policy; in the Parliament of October 1553 he ‘stood for the true religion’ and two years later he opposed a government bill. He demonstrated his loyalty during the first Parliament of 1554 when he attended the execution for treason of Sir Thomas Wyatt II, and after the disclosure of the Dudley conspiracy his arrest was followed by his speedy release. His absence from the second Parliament of 1554 may not have been from choice; in that year he was outlawed for non-appearance in the common pleas to answer a charge of debt and it was not until he had surrendered himself at the Fleet that he was pardoned in June 1555. He did not go unnoticed in the last Parliament of Mary’s reign for his name was marked with a circle on a copy of a list of its Members.4
In 1557 Strangways saw active service in command of 50 men in the army led by the 1st Earl of Pembroke. Before setting off for France he made his will, leaving a horse and harness to each of his servants ‘as came from my house with me and do go with me ... in my journey beyond the seas ... being soldiers in my band and retinue’. His lands and goods he bequeathed for the most part to his wife until his son should come of age; to his daughter Anne he left 1,000 marks for her marriage. Appointed an executor of the will which the dying Sir William Courtenay II made after the siege and battle of St. Quentin, Strangways himself returned safely from the war and twice made additions to his own will as his family increased, providing in 1558 for a second son and on 11 Apr. 1562, the day of his death, for two more. He made his wife the sole executrix but named 13 overseers to assist her. The eldest son was only six when his father died; the wardship which the father had so narrowly escaped claimed the son. The boy lived with his mother for some years, but she failed to secure his wardship which was granted in 1565 to Pembroke. Sir Giles Strangways was buried at Melbury Sampford; his widow was buried in Bristol cathedral with her second husband Sir John Young.5