STRANGWAYS, Wadham (1646-85), of the Middle Temple and Stinsford, Dorset.
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Family and Education
b. 1646, 3rd surv. s. of Giles Strangways, and bro of John Strangways and Thomas Strangways. educ. Wadham, Oxf. 1660; M. Temple 1663, called 1672. m. Elizabeth (d.1683), da. and coh. of Arthur Radford of Dewlish, Dorset, and coh. to her bro. William, s.p. suc. bro. at Stinsford 1676.1
Commr. for assessment, Dorset 1677-80; gov. Portland Castle 1679-d.; dep. lt. Dorset 1680-d.; freeman, Bridport freeman, Bridport 1685.2
Strangways inherited from his eldest brother the estates which had come to his family through a Wadham coheiress, and although qualified as a barrister it is not clear whether he practised. He first stood for Bridport on the vacancy caused by the death of Humphrey Bishop. But his family interest could not prevail against the lavish expenditure of George Bowerman, and he withdrew before the poll on 1 Feb. 1677. Meanwhile the other Member for Bridport, his brother John, had died, and Strangways took his seat in the House some three weeks later. He was not an active Member of the Cavalier Parliament, being named only to committees on a naturalization bill, a bill for the repair of churches, and the reform of the bankruptcy law. Enough, however, was known of him for Shaftesbury to mark him ‘doubly vile’ in 1677 and for the opposition to include him in the ‘unanimous club’. On his re-election to the first Exclusion Parliament, he was again stigmatised by Shaftesbury as ‘vile’. He was named to the committee of elections and privileges and to that for the disbandment accounts, but on 10 Apr. 1679 he was granted leave to go into the country. Nevertheless, he returned to vote against the exclusion bill.3
The experience of one Exclusion Parliament was enough for Strangways; at the Lent assizes in 1679 he announced his refusal to stand except on conditions which were apparently not fulfilled. Even the certainty of a Tory landslide in 1685 could not tempt him out of retirement. He was on duty with the West Dorset militia when Monmouth landed; and on 15 June in a confused skirmish in the streets of the town he had formerly represented he was shot down by a rebel musketeer at the age of 39. He was buried at Stinsford. He left his estate, including his wife’s claim to two-thirds of the Radford property, to his only surviving brother.4