STRANGE, Thomas (d.1436), of Walton Deyville and Walton Maudit, Warws. and Warkworth, Northants.
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Family and Education
yr. s. and h. of John Strange (d. bef. 1400) of Walton Deyville and Walton Maudit and Westbury, Bucks. by his w. Maud (d. aft. 1400). m. (1) prob. by Nov. 1418, Amabel (d. 8 Sept. 1430), wid. of Sir John Chetwode*; (2) by Apr. 1431, Elizabeth (d. 25 Oct. 1490), poss. da. of (Sir) Thomas Wykeham*, 1s. Kntd. between Apr. 1428 and July 1429.1
Escheator, Northants. and Rutland 4 Nov. 1418-23 Nov. 1419.
Capt. of Chirk castle, Denb. by 4 July-aft. 22 Dec. 1422.2
Commr. of take French prisoners from the Tower of London to Chirk castle July 1422; purvey horses and carts for the transport of prisoners, Denb. Nov. 1422; of inquiry, Card. July 1426 (treasons and felonies), Salop and the Welsh marches Nov. 1427 (treasons and felonies), Mont. Oct. 1423 (holdings of Edward, Lord Charlton of Powis).
Constable of Ruthin castle, Denb. by Jan. 1423.3
Sheriff, Salop 6 Nov. 1424-15 Jan. 1426.
Constable of Wicklow castle, Ire. 12 July 1429-d.
Treasurer of Ire. 26 Feb. 1430-d.
The subject of this biography numbered among his ancestors John, 1st Lord Strange (d.1309) of Knockin in Shropshire, who obtained the manors of Walton Maudit and Walton Deyville by marriage. At some unknown date John Strange of Myddle (also in Shropshire), a member of a cadet branch of this noble family, gained possession of the two manors, which duly passed to his son, likewise named John, and the latter’s wife, Maud. From another of their many relatives the couple acquired an extensive estate in and around the Buckinghamshire village of Westbury, which, in 1396, they settled upon their eldest son, Alan, with successive remainders to his six siblings. By the time of his death, in 1417, Alan had come to occupy all the above-mentioned holdings, and since his only daughter and heir, Alice, died without issue soon afterwards, his younger brother, our MP, inherited the lot. Thomas Strange found it less easy to implement his title to the ancestral seat at Myddle, which was promptly seized by his kinsman, Richard, the 7th Lord Strange, and by the summer of 1426 the two men had gone to law to establish the rightful ownership. Thomas appears to have been unsuccessful, although his loss here was more than offset by the handsome contribution made by his first wife to his annual landed income. His marriage to Amabel, niece of Richard II’s unpopular favourite, Sir Henry Green*, and widow of Sir John Chetwode, probably took place before his appointment as escheator of Northamptonshire in 1418, as it was to her that he owed his influence in the county. She brought him a life interest in the manor of Warkworth, and even though he undertook after her death to pay an annuity of 20 marks from the revenues to her son, Sir Thomas Chetwode, he still did well for himself out of the property. For a time he also occupied part, if not all, of the Chetwodes’ two manors at Hockliffe in Bedfordshire, which were still in his hands as late as 1428.4
In common with at least two other members of his family, our Member elected to pursue a military career, although he did so for the most part in the direct employ of the Crown rather than in the service of a great lord. His brothers, Alan and Baldwin, had both contracted at various times to fight under the command of Richard Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, Baldwin being also engaged in 1408 as keeper of the earl’s ‘foreign’ or itinerant household. Thomas Strange understandably tended to choose his friends—and particularly his trustees—from members of the Beauchamp affinity, but he did not actually wear the same livery. We first encounter him in December 1413 when he and a companion were assigned £100 by Henry V to cover their expenses in ‘defending North Wales and the fortifications there’, possibly as deputies to Thomas, earl of Arundel, who was the King’s lieutenant in the area. Certainly, from April 1414 until May of the following year he and John Wele* were thus employed, at the cost of nearly £2,000 to the Crown; and six months later a further allocation of £970 was made to him and John Merbury* as wages for a force of 300 men then being deployed by them against the Welsh. Until their disagreement over the fate of the manor of Myddle, Thomas and the 7th Lord Strange appear to have got on quite well together, since it was to the MP that both Strange and his wife turned for help during the course of their dramatic quarrel with Sir John Trussell*. Between December 1417 and the following February Thomas offered joint securities totalling 2,000 marks on behalf of his two impetuous relatives, although he may later have regretted doing so.5 Strange first represented Northamptonshire in Parliament while he was still serving as escheator there; and shortly afterwards he was summoned before the royal council as one of the representatives of the county considered best able to perform military service in defence of the realm. He sat again in May 1421, but was subsequently too preoccupied with affairs in Wales to devote much time to local government. At some point before July 1422 he became constable of Chirk castle, replacing the man for whom he had previously offered guarantees of good behaviour in office. He was then required to take custody of five French prisoners who were to be conveyed, with others, from the Tower of London under his personal supervision, and in the following December steps were taken to reimburse him for their upkeep. Over the next few years Strange was employed by the King on a variety of commissions in Wales and the marches, as well as by Reynold, Lord Grey of Ruthin, who entrusted him, in 1423, with the constableship of Ruthin castle. Further promotion came his way in the following year, when he was made sheriff of Shropshire, a county in which his family possessed considerable influence. His appointment does not appear to have helped him to recover his ancestral seat at Myddle, although he did obtain the trusteeship of certain property in Shrewsbury. Indeed, Strange never abandoned his plans of establishing himself as a landowner in this part of England, and in February 1430 he took on the farm of the manor of Monk Meole during the minority of a royal ward.6
Despite his near continuous involvement in the pacification of Wales, Strange still found time to assist his friends and neighbours in various ways. At some point before July 1421, for example, he was named as a trustee by Sir Thomas Woodhill (whose son, Thomas, married his stepdaughter, Elizabeth); and he went on to act in a similar capacity for, inter alios, Hugh Stanford* and (Sir) Thomas Wykeham of Broughton, Oxfordshire, the latter of whom eventually became one of his own executors and feoffees. Wykeham may, indeed, have been the father of Strange’s second wife, Elizabeth, since in 1431, just after their marriage, he conveyed the reversion of his manor of Earlstone, Hampshire, to the couple. Strange’s dealings with his stepson, Sir Thomas Chetwode, were evidently cordial; and he was prepared to offer substantial securities on his behalf during the course of a property dispute with the Northamptonshire landowner, Roland St. Liz. Strange appears quite often as a mainpernor in the court of Chancery, most notably in October 1422, when he stood bail for Laurence Merbury, the chancellor of Ireland, and in June 1424, at which time he entered bonds worth 50 marks as a guarantee that John Elys of Merioneth would henceforth be loyal to the Crown. At a somewhat later date, in January 1431, he and John Culpepper* gave pledges totalling £1,000 to Sir Walter Tailboys†, who was then involved in a quarrel with Sir John Keighley, and required formidable securities from him and his mainpernors for the performance by him of an arbitration award.7 During the last years of his life, Strange’s main centre of operations changed from Wales to Ireland. He is first known to have gone there in the spring of 1427, the date of royal letters patent allowing him to appoint two attorneys to supervise his affairs in England because of his imminent departure across the Irish Sea; and he returned again exactly one year later, this time in the retinue of the King’s lieutenant, Sir John Sutton. His appointment as constable of Wicklow castle in July 1429, followed not long afterwards by his elevation to the rank of treasurer of Ireland, meant that he virtually took up residence in Ireland, and it was probably there that he died six or seven years later.8
On 8 July 1436 writs of diem clausit extremum were issued in Strange’s name. Four years later his executors, among whom were John Danvers* and his son, Robert Danvers†, were pardoned any trespasses or other offences committed by them while discharging their duties, although Strange had already made careful provision for both his second wife and their young son. The latter, who died in 1486, inherited the manor of Westbury, while his mother retained possession of all the family’s Warwickshire estates. She lived on until October 1490, and was succeeded by her two young grand daughters, Anne and Margaret.9
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Variants: Lestrange, Straunge.
- 1. CP25(1)178/93/46, 207/32/33; Peds Plea Rolls ed. Wrottesley, 328; VCH Beds. iii. 384; VCH Bucks. iv. 264; VCH Warws. v. 196; Mon. Brasses ed. Mill Stephenson, 391; CCR, 1429-35, pp. 119, 227; CFR, xiv. 233; CIPM (Rec. Comm.), iv. 27; CIPM Hen. VII, i. nos. 599, 868; J. Bridges, Northants, i. 218.
- 2. E404/39/57.
- 3. SC2/222/1 m. 2v.
- 4. VCH Beds. iii. 384; VCH Bucks. iv. 264; VCH Warws. v. 196; Peds. Plea Rolls, 328; Feudal Aids, i. 43; iv. 40; CFR, xiv. 233; CIPM (Rec. Comm.), iv. 27; CCR, 1429-35, p. 227; Mon Brasses, 391.
- 5. M.C. Carpenter, ‘Pol. Soc. Warws.’ (Cambridge Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1976), app. 104; E403/617 mm. 2, 12, 13, 619 mm. 12, 16, 621 m. 6; E404/29/135; PPC, ii. 179; CCR, 1413-19, pp. 447, 458.
- 6. E28/97/22; E404/39/57; PPC, ii. 336; CCR, 1419-22, p. 68; 1429-36, pp. 106-7.
- 7. Lansd. Ch. 145; CP25(1)207/32/33; CPR, 1416-22, p. 380; CCR, 1419-22, p. 153; 1422-9, pp. 41, 131, 158, 186; 1429-35, pp. 109-10, 308; 1435-41, pp. 450, 456.
- 8. CPR, 1422-9, pp. 471, 476; 1429-36, pp. 122, 284; CCR, 1429-35, p. 84.
- 9. CFR, xvi. 246; CIPM Hen. VII, i. nos. 599, 868; CCR, 1429-35, p. 119; 1436-41, p. 472.