STRODE, William II (1562-1637), of Newnham, nr. Plympton, Devon.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Family and Education

b. 1562, 1st s. of Richard Strode of Newnham by Frances, da. of Gregory Cromwell. educ. I. Temple 1580. m. (1) 1581, Mary (d.1618), da. of Thomas Southcote of Bovey Tracey, 3s. 7da.; (2) 1624, Dunes (d.1635), da. of Stephen Vosper, s.p. suc. fa. 1581. Kntd. 1598.

Offices Held

J.p. Devon from c.1592, q. from 1601, sheriff 1593-4; surveyor of house and castle of Templeton, Devon for life 1598, dep. lt. 1599; surveyor, Devon for life 1606.1


Strode, held in ‘great honour, wealth and esteem’, was ‘richly and fairly seated’ at Newnham, near the parliamentary borough of Plympton Erle, for which he was so frequently returned. The family tin-mining interests were at first handled by his uncle, Philip, but as soon as these came into Strode’s own hands, in 1593, his desire to enlarge his industrial facilities led to a brush with the Plymouth town planners. Strode’s friend Francis Drake reported that ‘Mr. Sparke, the counsel for the town, has done as much [on the town’s behalf] as could possibly be done, for he has not only stood in answer of the cause at the Council board, but he also laboured all the chief lords apart’. However, Mr. Sparke laboured in vain, for, ‘upon examination of the matter, the lords said they saw no great reason to prohibit him to build upon his own land’, and, after inquiry, sanctioned the project, appointing commissioners, including Drake, Richard Champernown, Edward Seymour I, George Carey and Sir John Gilbert to see that Strode was given a free run. Though encouraged by other friends, including Edward Drew, Michael Hickes and (Sir) Walter Ralegh, the last calling Strode his ‘especial friend and kinsman’, it seems that, in the end, Drake dissuaded him from the project, and instead gardens were laid out on the land in question. Another of Strode’s friends was Ralegh’s servant, Christopher Harris, with whom he superintended the works on Plymouth fort in 1595, the two men being executors of Drake’s will. At the time of the Armada Strode was appointed a colonel of the stannary of Plympton, commanding 100 men. In 1595 he was to lead his men to the defence of Plymouth in case of necessity. His relations with Plymouth do not seem to have suffered as a result of the tin-mine controversy, for the borough gave him several commissions, and £20 for ‘assisting the town withstanding the patent for packing and salting of fish and for other things’.2

Chosen as senior knight of the shire in the Parliament of 1597, Strode is not mentioned by name in the journals of the House, but as a county Member for Devon he may have served on the committees to consider enclosures (5 Nov.), the poor law (5, 22 Nov.), armour and weapons (8 Nov.), penal laws (8 Nov.), monopolies (10 Nov.), the subsidy (15 Nov.) and Devon cloth-making (8 Dec.). In the Parliament of 1601 he was on committees for the penal laws (2 Nov.) and the order of business (3 Nov.). He continued to sit in the Commons throughout the first quarter of the seventeenth century, and died in 1637, believing that all his sins would be washed away by Christ’s most precious blood, and asking to be buried ‘where my most loving and religious wives are buried’. He was on bad terms with his eldest son Sir Richard, and the will was proved 21 Feb. 1638 by his second son William, one of the five Members whom Charles I tried to arrest.3

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: P. W. Hasler


This biography was based upon the Roberts thesis.

  • 1. Vivian, Vis. Devon, 718-19; HMC 15th Rep. VII, 6, 13, 42.
  • 2. Lady Elliot-Drake, Fam. and Heirs of Sir Francis Drake, i. 68 n; Plymouth archives, Strode stannary docs.; Plymouth Recs. ed. Worth, 80, 151-2, 197-8, 214; Lansd. 76, f. 46; 78, f.22; E. Edwards, Life of Ralegh, ii. 106; CSP Dom. 1595-7, pp. 76, 81; APC, xxv. 92, 227; PCC 1 Drake; HMC 15th Rep. VII, 6, 13, 42; HMC 9th Rep. 265.
  • 3. D’Ewes, 552, 553, 555, 557, 561, 569, 623, 624; PCC 18 Lee.