STRANGWAYS, Thomas II (c.1683-1726), of Melbury Sampford, Dorset

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1705 - 1713
1713 - 23 Sept. 1726

Family and Education

b. c.1683, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Thomas Strangways I*; bro. of John Strangways†.  educ. Hart Hall, Oxf. matric. 8 Aug. 1700, aged 17.  m. 1710, Mary, da. and h. of Edward Vaughan of Llangywydden, Mont., s.psuc. fa. 1713.1

Offices Held

Recorder, Bridport 1707–d., common councilman 1708–d., high steward 1714–d.; high steward, Dorchester 1711–d.2


Returned for Bridport on the family interest in 1705, Strangways was classed as a ‘Churchman’ and voted against the Court candidate for Speaker on 25 Oct. He was classed as a Tory in 1708. In October he wrote that

the Parliament will in a short time draw me and, I suppose, the poor remains of the Tories to London, where if we are not enough to do good, we may in some measure prevent mischief. Were it not for that and the hopes of seeing a few friends, I should be as well contented to turn downright country squire, and with a good pack of hounds, a smart gun, and now and then an ungodly jug of October with an innocent neighbour who understands as little as myself, spend the remainder of days.

In February 1709 Strangways was a teller on the Tory side in the disputed election for Newcastle-under-Lyme and in favour of committing the bill to encourage the export of tobacco. In the next session, he told for the Tories in the Cirencester election case and in favour of a bill limiting the number of office-holders in the House. He voted against the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell. On 10 Feb. 1710 he was admitted to the ‘Board of Brothers’, a club with High Tory and Jacobite leanings, and the following year he became one of its stewards. He was also responsible for introducing a new custom at the club whereby each member celebrated his marriage through gifts and favours to his confrères.3

A Tory on the ‘Hanover list’ of 1710, Strangways joined the October Club and figured in one of its successes: after a ‘handsome speech’ on 1 Mar. 1711 he moved for a revocation of all grants made by William III. Thereafter he managed the grants resumption bill through all its stages in the Commons. He was subsequently listed as one of the ‘Tory patriots’ who opposed the continuance of the war. Also listed as one of the ‘worthy patriots’ who helped detect the mismanagements of the previous administration, he told on 17 Jan. 1712 against an attempt to soften the motion condemning Robert Walpole II* for corruption. He was thanked by the Board of Brothers on 25 Jan. for ‘good attendance and service’ in the Commons. On 28 Mar. he obtained a leave of absence for one month, reporting from Dorset shortly afterwards that

everybody almost in these parts pray[s] heartily for peace. They grow weary of the laurels and wish for the olive. They now find for whom they have fought, and that our treasures have been exhausted and our blood spilt for the benefit and advantage of our neighbours.

Strangways succeeded his father as knight of the shire for Dorset at the 1713 election. The Worsley list and two other comparative analyses of the 1713 and 1715 Parliaments classified him as a Tory. Strangways continued to represent Dorset until his death at Melbury on 23 Sept. 1726.4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Paula Watson


  • 1. Hutchins, Dorset, ii. 662–3, 665.
  • 2. Ibid. 8; Dorset RO, Bridport mss B3/H1, pp. 558–9, 562–3.
  • 3. NLW, Ottley mss, 1966, Strangways to [Adam Ottley], Oct. 1708; Add. 49360, ff. 17, 23.
  • 4. SRO, Mar and Kellie mss GD124/15/1020/13, Sir James Dunbar, 1st Bt.*, to Ld. Grange (Hon. James Erskine†), 1 Mar. 1711; Add. 49360, ff. 51, 100; Cobbett, Parlty. Hist. vi. 1005; G. Holmes, Pol. in Age of Anne, 297; Ottley mss, 2448, Strangways to [Ottley], [April 1712]; The Gen. n.s. vii. 47.