STRADLING, Sir Edward, 5th Bt. (1672-1735), of St. Donat’s Castle, Glam.
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Family and Education
bap. 11 Apr. 1672, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir Edward Stradling, 4th Bt., by Elizabeth, da. of Anthony Hungerford† of Blackbourton, Oxon. and Farley Castle, Som. educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1684. m. 5 June 1694 (with £5,600), Elizabeth (d. 1738), da. of Sir Edward Mansel, 4th Bt.†, of Margam Abbey, Glam. and Soho Square, Westminster, sis. of Thomas Mansel I*, 2s. (1 d.v.p.). suc. fa. as 5th Bt. 5 Sept. 1685.1
Freeman, Cardiff by 1706; dep. constable, Cardiff Castle c.1706–aft.1708, constable 1724–33; sheriff, Glam. 1709–10; steward of Ogmore feodary, duchy of Lancaster 1722–33.2
The Stradling family, possibly Swiss in origin, had first appeared in England in the 13th century and had been settled at St. Donat’s Castle since the 14th. Perhaps their most distinguished representative had been the Marian MP Sir Edward Stradling, a noted scholar and antiquarian whose great library had been preserved by his descendants. The 5th baronet maintained this tradition to the extent of subscribing to Edward Lhuyd’s Archaeologia Britannica and commissioning poems from native bards to celebrate his eldest son’s birth and, later, to lament the young man’s premature death. The other family tradition was a devout Royalism. The 2nd and 3rd baronets had both raised regiments and fought for Charles I in the Civil War, while Stradling’s father, the 4th baronet, had been proposed as a knight of the Royal Oak at the Restoration, had been active as a deputy-lieutenant in the 1660s in the enforcement of the Clarendon Code, and in 1685, the year of his death, had signed a warrant for the arrest of suspected rebels. The Member’s own political sympathies would appear to be evident in his nomination of a high-flying clergyman to the living of St. Donat’s in the 1690s. When elected to Parliament in 1698, on the interest of his brother-in-law Thomas Mansel I, he was classed as a supporter of the Country party. Scarcely an active Member, he was given leave of absence for six weeks on 11 Feb. 1699, because of his wife’s illness, but he did sponsor a bill in January and February of the following year, to permit the Martha of Margam to trade as a free ship. Included in the list of February 1701, of those likely to support the Court in agreeing with the supply resolution to continue the ‘Great Mortgage’, he was an enthusiastic supporter of the impeachments of the Whig lords, writing to Mansel that ‘the Treaty of Partition was the most pernicious thing that was ever done, and those were the people that advised it’.3
Stradling forfeited his seat in the second election of 1701 as a sacrifice to the cause of unity between the hitherto divided branches of the Mansel family. There was little he could do about this. Although one of the leading gentlemen of the county, his interest was no match for the Mansels, and besides, his estate does not appear to have fully recovered from his grandfather’s losses in the Civil War and Interregnum. The arrangements for the December 1701 general election may have initiated what was to become a serious quarrel between Stradling and his brother-in-law Mansel. Enmities were exacerbated by disputes over the payment of Lady Stradling’s marriage portion and Stradling’s alleged misappropriation of a deed, which resulted in a lawsuit. In 1705 Stradling was offered the chance to oppose the Mansel interest at Cardiff by a coalition of magnates bent on challenging Thomas Mansel’s supremacy in the county: the Duke of Beaufort, Lord Windsor (Thomas*) and Sir Humphrey Mackworth*. He turned it down. But after Mansel had again refused to nominate him at a by-election for Cardiff in February 1706, preferring the Whig Sir John Aubrey, 3rd Bt.*, he threw in his lot with the anti-Mansel faction. Announced as a candidate for his old seat at the next general election, he became Lord Windsor’s deputy-constable of Cardiff Castle in an attempt to subvert the Mansel interest there. When the anti-Mansel coalition collapsed just before the 1708 election, with a rapprochement between Mansel and Beaufort, Stradling was at first reconciled to his brother-in-law, but in a couple of days the two were ‘again at the utmost variance’. Stradling kept up his candidature at Cardiff, but ‘all’ his supporters ‘forsook him, because he would not agree to cast lots’, and Sir John Aubrey was re-elected.4
By 1710, relations between Stradling and Mansel had been satisfactorily patched up, and Stradling was returned at Cardiff with Mansel’s help. There had been some question beforehand as to whether Stradling, as sheriff of the county, could legally stand, which had only been resolved by a consultation with (Sir) Simon Harcourt I*. Marked as a Tory in the ‘Hanover list’, Stradling was included among both the ‘worthy patriots’ exposing the mismanagements of the previous ministry and the ‘Tory patriots’ supporting the peace. He also appeared on Lord Treasurer Oxford’s (Robert Harley) lobbying list concerning the Commons’ attack on Marlborough in January 1712, Mansel and Francis Gwyn* being deputed to lobby him, but otherwise made little impact upon the parliamentary record. On 5 Mar. 1714, however, after he had been again returned without opposition, he acted as a teller against hearing at the bar a petition from the defeated Tory candidate at Caernarvon Boroughs, William Owen, and in the Worsley list was described as a Tory who would often vote with the Whigs. Two other lists of the Members re-elected in 1715 classified him simply as a Tory.5
In his last Parliament before retiring in 1722, Stradling voted with the opposition in all recorded divisions. His name was sent to the Pretender in 1721 as a likely supporter in the event of a rising, but despite this, and the fact that he acted as a trustee for the estate of the well-known Jacobite David Morgan (a distant cousin), neither he nor his children seem to have been involved in Jacobite circles. In 1722 he was given a local office under the duchy of Lancaster. His elder son sat for Cardiff from 1722 until his death in 1726. Stradling himself died at St. Donat’s, on 5 Apr. 1735. The younger son, Thomas, succeeded, but three years later he too was dead, unmarried, following a duel in France. While the baronetcy was extinct, the estate, now estimated at some £5,000 p.a., passed to Stradling’s nephew Hon. Bussy Mansel†, son of Thomas, but on his death in 1750 a series of legal actions began, eventually to be resolved by an Act of Parliament which effected a tripartite division of the property. The famous library had already been dispersed.6
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: D. W. Hayton
- 1. IGI, Glam.; Stradling Corresp. ed. Traherne, p. xxiii.
- 2. Univ. Coll. Swansea, Mackworth mss ‘List of Cardiff burgesses in 1706’; Cal. Penrice and Margam Mss, ser. 4(1), 39; Cardiff Recs. ii. 458–62; iv. 316; Welsh Hist. Rev. xii. 185–6; Somerville, Duchy of Lancaster Official Lists, 228.
- 3. DWB, 925–6; P. Jenkins, Making of a Ruling Class, 109, 123, 143, 230; Glam. Co. Hist. iv. 398, 401, 607; Cal. Treas. Pprs. 1714–19, pp. 193, 453; NLW, Penrice and Margam mss L427, Stradling to Thomas Mansel I, 26 Apr. 1701.
- 4. Glam. Co. Hist. 396–7, 399–403; Morgannwg, vi. 53–60; Jenkins, 48, 68, 147–9; Add. 38175, f. 188; Cardiff Recs. ii. 458–62; HMC Portland, iv. 329, 489–90; Penrice and Margam mss L570, Stradling to Mackworth, 17 Mar. 1706–7 (Speck trans.)
- 5. Glam. Co. Hist. 403–4; Morgannwg, 60–61; Add. 70331, canvassing list [c.Jan. 1712].
- 6. Glam. Co. Hist. 405; P. S. Fritz, Ministers and Jacobitism 1715–45, p. 153; Cardiff Recs. iii. 156; DWB, 642; London Mag. 1735, p. 220; Williams, Parl. Hist. Wales, 108; Stradling Corresp. p. xxiii; Gent. Mag. (1738), 546; G. T. Clark, Limbus Patrum Morganiae et Glamorganiae, 438; Jenkins, 230.