STRANGE, John (c.1696-1754), of Leyton Grange, Essex.
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Family and Education
b. c.1696, 1st s. of John Strange of Fleet St., London by his 2nd w. Mary Plaistowe. educ. M. Temple 1712, called 1718. m. Susan, da. and coh. of Edward Strong of Greenwich, 2s. 7da. surv. Kntd. 12 May 1740.
K.C. 1736; solicitor-gen. 1737-42; recorder, London 1739-42; P.C. 17 Jan. 1750; master of the rolls 1750-d.
Strange received his legal training in Salkeld’s office, where Hardwicke, Lord Jocelyn, and Sir Thomas Parker had also started. He was counsel for the defence when Macclesfield was impeached in 1725, and by 1729 had begun to compile the Law Reports published after his death. On his appointment as solicitor-general he was brought into Parliament by the Government, producing evidence for, seconding, and speaking on the bill against the city of Edinburgh after the Porteous riots, May-June 1737.1 In 1738 he declined the mastership of the rolls on the ground that
(besides my objection of want of experience in a court of equity which I know not how to get over) considering the dignity of the post on the one hand and the great diminution of the profits on the other, I cannot with justice to my numerous family so far consult my own ease or any personal accession of honour as to accept the favour that is intended me.2
In February 1741 he spoke against the motion for the dismissal of Walpole. He was not returned in May 1741, but was brought in at a by-election for Totnes, though the mayor received a letter ‘from the Prince and signed by two of his lords, to recommend a candidate in opposition to the solicitor-general’.
Though Strange was one of the five members on the government list who were elected to the secret committee to inquire into Walpole’s conduct, he voted on the committee for the indemnity bill.3 Before the end of the year he resigned all his appointments. According to his own account,4
having received a considerable addition to my fortune and some degree of ease and retirement being judged proper for my health I ... resigned my offices ... and left off my practice at the House of Lords, council table, delegates, and all the courts in Westminster Hall except the King’s Bench and there also at the afternoon sitting. His Majesty when at a private audience I took my leave of him expressed himself with the greatest goodness towards me and honoured me with his patent to take place for life next to his attorney-general.
Strange was counsel for the prosecution against Francis Townley and Lord Balmerino for high treason in 1746, and in 1747 was manager for the impeachment of Lord Lovat. He continued to support the Government, and in 1750 was made master of the rolls. He died 18 May 1754.