STRELLEY, Nicholas (c.1353-1430), of Strelley, Notts. and Shipley, Derbys.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b.c.1353, s. and h. of Sir Sampson Strelley (d. Feb. 1390) of Strelley and Shipley by Elizabeth (or Anne), da. of Sir John Hercy. m. Elizabeth, da. of Sir Edmund Pierrepont of Holme Pierrepont, Notts., at least 2s. inc. Sir Robert* (1 d.v.p.). Kntd. by Dec. 1399.1

Offices Held

Commr. of array, Notts. Mar. 1392, Dec. 1399, Sept. 1403, May 1415, Apr. 1418, Nov. 1419; oyer and terminer Mar. 1401 (disorder at Dunham), Derbys. July 1406 (attack on Lord Darcy’s property at Eckington), Notts. Apr. 1410 (refusal of bondmen at Walkeringham to perform labour services); to make an arrest Apr. 1410 (his brother-in-law, Sir Henry Pierrepont*); of inquiry Apr. 1416, Notts., Derbys. Dec. 1422 (illegal fishing in the Trent); to raise royal loans, Notts. Mar. 1422.

J.p. Notts. 13 Feb. 1407-Nov. 1416, 8 July 1420-3.

Collector of royal loans, Notts. Jan. 1420.


Strelley’s forebears took their name from the Nottinghamshire village where they are known to have settled by the reign of Henry II, and over the years they established themselves as leading members of the community. Sir Sampson Strelley, who married into the equally ancient family of Hercy, twice represented the county in Parliament. He died in February 1390, seised of the two adjacent manors of Strelley and Bilborough as well as that of Shipley across the county border in Derbyshire, and other holdings in the Yorkshire villages of Friston and Ferrybridge. His elder son, Nicholas, who was then said to be about 30, took immediate possession of his inheritance, and not long afterwards became involved in a dispute with no less a person than Thomas, duke of Gloucester, over the exercise of his feudal rights. His kinsman, Sir Hugh Strelley, had held the Derbyshire manor of Hazelbridge as one of his tenants by knight service, but on Sir Hugh’s death, in 1391, the King had none the less granted the wardship of this and all his other estates to Gloucester. Naturally enough, Nicholas lost no time in asserting his title, which was recognized by royal letters patent in the following year. By 1412, his Nottinghamshire estates alone were said to be worth £40 p.a., so he clearly ranked among the wealthier of the north Midlands’ gentry.2

Save for his one return to Parliament in 1394, little is known about Nicholas’s activities until the Lancastrian usurpation five years later. That he was a firm supporter of Henry of Bolingbroke seems clear from the award of a knighthood made to him just after Henry’s coronation, and his more frequent employment as a royal commissioner. He was also summoned to represent Nottinghamshire at a great council held in August 1401 at Westminster. He appears to have been on close terms with the distinguished courtier, Sir John Dabrichecourt*, who acted as a trustee of his Nottinghamshire estates. By the beginning of the 15th century these included the manor of Oxton with its extensive appurtenances, which may have comprised part of his original patrimony or else have come to him through his marriage into the rich and influential family of Pierrepont. In 1405 Strelley made a new enfeoffment of these properties, choosing the lawyer, Peter de la Pole* as one of his trustees on this occasion. Other members of his circle included Richard, Lord Scrope of Bolton (d.1403), who named him among his executors, and Sir Thomas Stafford’s widow, Alice, whose estates he held in trust. He also became involved, in 1408, in a collusive suit with Ralph Mackerell*, again almost certainly in the capacity of a feoffee-to-uses. Although he had previously gone surety for Sir Hugh Annesley’s young son, Strelley did not often perform this service, perhaps because of the financial risks involved.3

The year 1407 saw the return to Parliament of Strelley’s elder son, Sir Robert, who represented Derbyshire at the last minute, in the place of one of his many kinsmen. Sir Nicholas himself attended the Nottinghamshire elections at this time, having by then secured a seat on the county bench. He also attested the returns to the Parliaments of 1422 and 1423, along with his son and various other members of the Strelley clan. He was, meanwhile, preoccupied with at least three lawsuits, two of which concerned acts of trespass on his Nottinghamshire estates, while the third was for the recovery of a debt of £10. None reached a successful conclusion, however, as each of the defendants obtained royal pardons for the sentences of outlawry passed against them. Strelley’s relations with his colourful brother-in-law, Sir Henry Pierrepont, also gave him some concern, since he was appointed, in 1410, to a royal commission for his arrest on unspecified charges.4

Strelley was already quite old when, in March 1424, he settled his Yorkshire estates on a group of trustees, who were to receive the revenues for eight years after his decease so that they might implement the terms of his will. In this latter document, dated June 1430, Sir Nicholas set aside the sum of £13 13s.4d. for an elaborate funeral at the parish church of Strelley, as well as bequeathing a further £5 to those local poor who were not notorious ‘gamblers or haunters of taverns’. Six members of the Nottinghamshire gentry were appointed executors, while the office of supervisor fell to the judge, Sir William Babington, his neighbour at Chilwell. Sir Nicholas died some three months later, on 21 Sept. 1430, aged almost 80, having survived not only his wife but also the younger of his two sons.5

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: C.R.


  • 1. CIPM, xvi. no. 940; Test. Ebor. ii. 3-4; C139/48/28; CAD, iii. C3355; vi. C4348, C5331; CPR, 1399-1401, p. 213.
  • 2. CIPM, xvi. nos. 940, 1029, 1030; CAD, iii. C3355; vi. C4348, C5331; CPR, 1391-6, pp. 55-56; CFR, x. 321; R. Thoroton, Notts. ed. Throsby, ii. 218; Feudal Aids, i. 263; iv. 129-30; vi. 412; E179/159/48.
  • 3. PPC, i. 162; JUST 1/1514 rot. 80; RP, iv. 164; Derbys. Chs. ed. Jeayes, no. 1873; CCR, 1402-5, p. 180; 1419-22, pp. 193, 197; CAD, vi. C4724, 4784; Test. Ebor. i. 330.
  • 4. C219/10/4, 13/1, 2; C88/100/13; CPR, 1408-13, pp. 222, 342; 1416-22, p. 345.
  • 5. Test. Ebor. ii. 3-4; C139/48/28; CAD, iii. C3355; vi. C4348, C5331.