STRATFORD, John (c.1631-1701), of Atherstone and Coventry, Warws.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
b. c.1631, 1st s. of Edward Stratford of Horeston Grange, Nuneaton by Grace, da. of William Pargiter of Gritworth, Northants.; bro. of Francis Stratford†. educ. Pembroke, Camb. adm. 15 Mar. 1647, aged 16; G. Inn 1649. m. da. of John Combes of Daventry. Northants., 2s. 2da. suc. fa. c.1651.1
Sheriff, Warws. 1667-8, commr. for assessment 1677-80, 1689-90, inquiry into recusancy fines, Leics. Northants., Rutland and Warws. Mar. 1688; j.p. Warws. 1690-d.2
Stratford’s father prospered sufficiently as a colliery owner to purchase a landed estate and establish his family on the fringe of county society. He served as an assessment commissioner under the Commonwealth; but Stratford himself was proposed as a knight of the Royal Oak at the Restoration, his estate being valued at £1,000 p.a. But he apparently preferred to live in Coventry, and took no known part in politics before 1679. In the spring election he defied ‘all the gentlemen of quality in the county’ by standing for Warwickshire as an exclusionist. But ‘the votes of all the Presbyterian and fanatic party’ were insufficient to bring him victory. A freeholders’ petition was presented to the first Exclusion Parliament, but the return of the court candidates was confirmed.3
In the autumn election Stratford transferred to the more congenial constituency of Coventry, and became the first of the family to enter Parliament. A moderately active Member of the second Exclusion Parliament, he was appointed to four committees of minor importance. Re-elected without a contest in 1681, he left no trace on the records of the Oxford Parliament. He and his colleague Richard Hopkins II were foremost in welcoming the Duke of Monmouth to Coventry during his progress through the Midlands in 1682, and stood for re-election in 1685. It was feared that many of ‘the common people’ intended to vote for Stratford, but he was unsuccessful. In 1687 a local clergyman reported that Stratford allowed nonconformist ministers to preach at Merevale, one of his manors, and asserted that he was ‘of the same stamp’.4
Stratford was returned unopposed for Coventry to the Convention, in which he was appointed only to a committee for a private bill. On 3 Dec. 1689 he was granted leave to go into the country for two weeks ‘upon earnest business’, and he was not listed as a supporter of the disabling clause in the bill to restore corporations. Re-elected for the last time in 1690, he died shortly before 21 Aug. 1701. His brother Francis, a Hamburg merchant, sat for the Cornish borough of Newport as a Tory from 1699 to 1701, but none of his direct descendants entered Parliament.5
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Authors: A. M. Mimardière / Basil Duke Henning
- 1. Vis. Warws. (Harl. Soc. lxii), 139; Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 5), ix. 251; HMC Middleton, 605; PCC 259 Brent, 159 Dyer.
- 2. Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 1805, 1982.
- 3. J. U. Nef, Rise of British Coal Industry, i. 422; Add. 34730, f. 40; Dugdale’s Works ed. Hamper, 421.
- 4. Add. 41803, f. 53; CSP Dom. 1685, p. 72; Midland Hist. iv. 46.
- 5. PCC 262 Ash.