STRELLEY, Robert (by 1518-54), of Great Bowden, Leics.
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Family and Education
b. by 1518, poss. s. of Sir Nicholas Strelley of Strelley, Notts. by 2nd w. Ellen, da. of Thomas Gresley. m. Frideswide, da. of John Knight of Spaldington, Yorks., s.p.1
Prob. steward, duchy of Lancaster, Essex, Herts., Mdx. bef. 1540; member, household of Princess Mary by 1553; chamberlain, the Exchequer 2 Nov. 1553-d.2
It is surprising, in view of the abundant genealogical information contained in Robert Strelley’s will, that there should be a doubt about his own parentage. He does not appear in any of the Strelley pedigrees, which are in any case confused. In the pardon roll of 1548 he is styled ‘alias Tebbe late of Linby, gentleman’, a description which would fit a base son of Sir Nicholas Strelley of Linby, Nottinghamshire, whose heirs were his sisters; such an origin would also account for Robert Strelley’s acquisition, in the last year of his life, of an augmented coat of arms. Against this must be set the mention in his will of ‘brothers’ who can be identified as sons of Sir Nicholas Strelley of Strelley by his third wife, a description compatible with Robert’s being this Sir Nicholas’s son by an earlier wife and his omission from the pedigrees because he had died without issue in his father’s lifetime. The circumstance that Robert Strelley died not only without issue but without heirs could be explained by the non-inheritance of the half blood, for Sir Nicholas appears to have had no relatives of the full blood for four generations and Frideswide Strelley’s relatives of the full blood would have been almost equally distant. The augmentation of arms was to be effected by the addition of a border representing part of the arms of Gresley, the family from which Sir Nicholas’s second wife descended. Finally, Robert Strelley’s acquisition of lands in Linby may have been due solely to family solidarity, enhanced perhaps by his early residence with his cousins.3
Strelley was to spend most of his life in Mary’s household, and hence the scarcity of references to him in the records of the time, except in connexion with his land transactions: it was, however, probably he who before 1540 was stewar