STRICKLAND, Sir William, 3rd Bt. (1665-1724), of Boynton, Yorks.

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



1689 - 1698
Feb. 1701 - 1708
1708 - 1710
3 Aug. 1716 - 1722
1722 - 12 May 1724

Family and Education

b. Mar. 1665, 1st s. of Sir Thomas Strickland, 2nd Bt.†, of Boynton by Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Sir Francis Pile, 2nd Bt.†, of Compton Beauchamp, Berks.  educ. Exeter, Oxf. 1680.  m. 28 Aug. 1684, Elizabeth (d. 1740), da. and h. of William Palmes*, 1s.  suc. fa. as 3rd Bt. 20 Nov. 1684.1

Offices Held

Sheriff, Yorks. 1698–9.

Muster-master-gen. 1720–d.


Strickland’s earliest foray into politics, during his late teens, had seen him acting disaffectedly towards Charles II’s government. At the Revolution his criticism of the Stuarts was paraded once again as he set himself up in Leeds as a focal point of support for William of Orange. Aged only 24, he was returned for Malton in 1689 on the nomination of his father-in-law William Palmes who, as lord of the manor of Malton, held the other seat, and in 1690 he was re-elected. He was classed by Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) as a Whig, and during the course of the ensuing session made several speeches. In the opening debate on supply on 28 Mar. he urged, on the Court side, that William Ettrick be taken down for implying that the timing of the supply motion had been deliberately contrived to catch gentlemen off their guard; on 2 Apr. he opposed the raising of supply by way of a land tax. A grant of leave of absence on 17 Apr. probably brought his participation in this session to a close.2

In the 1690–1 session Strickland began to act as a teller in the House, a function he would perform regularly in successive sessions. On 4 Nov., in proceedings on the Cirencester election, he was teller against a motion which effectively favoured the sitting Members; on the 29th, in favour of amending the bill for attainting rebels to extend it to those who had risen in support of King James since his landing in Ireland; and on 31 Dec., in favour of passing a bill for the speedier determination of elections. In April 1691 Robert Harley* classed him as a Court supporter, while the following month he was one of several ‘Whiggishly inclined’ deputy-lieutenants in the East Riding militia who were turned out by Carmarthen.3

The diary of Narcissus Luttrell*, chronicling the two sessions during 1691–3, allows some insight into the measure of Strickland’s emergence as an active and opinionated young Whig, at first often sympathetic to the Country wing of his party. On 13 Nov. 1691 he spoke in favour of establishing a new East India Company. In debates on the size and cost of the army on the 19th and 30th, he spoke against the Court’s desired way of arguing in favour of a detailed examination of the numbers of men required, and pressed for referral of all estimates to a select committee. He spoke on the Chippenham election case on 1 Dec., and at the report from the commissioners of accounts two days later he argued that all office-holders should be required to pay for their patents, as they were meant to do, and stated that the commissioners could provide details of those who had not yet done so. When, the same day, William Jephson’s* secret service accounts were produced showing that some Members had received such money, Strickland declared: ‘I am for every man in this House laying his hand on his heart and declare as I do that he hath no part of this money. And therefore I desire we may vote such persons betrayers of their country and enemies to the King and kingdom.’ On 4 Jan. 1692 he seconded a motion for a vote of thanks to General Ginkel for his part in the reduction of Ireland, and moved for protection to be given to two witnesses called for by the Jacobite informer William Fuller. Four days later he opposed a bill for lessening interest, which he saw as a dangerous experiment. He made further contributions on supply business: on the 18th, supporting a proposal that office-holders contribute a subscription towards meeting the supply; on the 20th, arguing that papists and non-jurors should pay a double poll-tax; and on the 28th, seconding a motion that all fees and perquisites of office above £500 p.a. should be applied to the cost of the war. On 4 Feb. he opposed the insertion of a clause in favour of the Earl of Torrington (Arthur Herbert†) in the bill for vesting forfeited estates in Ireland in the crown. The next day he supported the retention of a clause in the same bill, for forfeiting the remainders on estates tail, on the grounds that it was advantageous to the public. On the 6th he again supported the claims of a new East India company. In a committee of the whole on the poll bill on the 12th he offered a clause for charging offices, fees and perquisites if above a certain value, but the clause was withdrawn. On the same day he presented a bill for erecting a court of claims in Ireland. He was granted three weeks’ leave of absence on the 16th.4

Much the same pattern of involvement is apparent in Strickland’s Commons activity during the 1692–3 session. In the debate on the miscarriages of the fleet on 12 Nov. 1692, he moved that Sir John Ashby, the Tory admiral, be sent for to give an account of his proceedings after the battle of La Hogue. In the debate on the Address three days later, he took issue with Sir John Lowther, 2nd Bt. II*, the Court manager, over the question of whether the King’s Speech should be considered before alliances and accounts. On 26 Nov., in a debate on the miscarriages of the war and the failure of a descent on France, Strickland moved that ‘all matters of state’ should be determined by the Privy Council and that management by a ‘cabinet council’ was ‘dangerous and destructive to the government’. In the debate on the treason trials bill on the 28th, he agreed with those who felt that it should not come into effect until after the conclusion of the war. On 3 Jan. 1693 he spoke against a motion making it possible for Roman Catholics to avoid paying double tax, and in a further debate on supply on the 10th he offered a clause for suspending all pensions until after the war, acting as a teller for this motion. On the 17th he acted as a teller against taking into consideration a recent committee report concerning the regulation of Members’ privilege in legal suits. Three days later he spoke in favour of sending Edmund Bohun into custody for licensing the pamphlet King William and Queen Mary Conquerors. On 8 Feb. he told against a bill for the preservation of timber in the New Forest. His ‘Country’ proclivities were again seen in his enthusiastic support for the triennial bill during its progress through the House in February. On 1 Mar. he was a teller in favour of a motion to adjourn in an effort to obstruct further proceedings on the London orphans’ bill. Seven days later he supported the calls for the expulsion of William Culliford.5

In subsequent sessions Strickland’s record is confined mainly to those occasions minuted in the Journals when he served as a teller, though it may be supposed that the frequency and substance of his interventions in proceedings and debates remained the same as previously. Thus on 4 Jan. 1694 we find him acting as teller for a bill to naturalize foreign Protestants, while on 2 Feb. he told against the motion that the Tory-backed John Weddall was elected for Clitheroe. At some point in that year Strickland attended the Whig Yorkshire Club in the company of Lord Macclesfield (Charles Gerard*) and Lord Irwin (Arthur Ingram*). During the 1694–5 session, following the Whiggish reconstruction of the ministry, Strickland’s views appear to have shifted towards the Court; on 20 Feb. 1695 he acted as a teller against passing the place bill, and at about the same time was classed as a Court supporter by Samuel Grascome.6

Returned for Malton again in 1695, Strickland was forecast in January 1696 as likely to support the Court regarding the proposed council of trade. He added his name promptly to the Association in February, and the following month voted with the Court for fixing the price of guineas at 22s. In the early stages of the 1696–7 session he played a prominent part in the attainder of Sir John Fenwick†, telling on 6 Nov. for the motion to bring in the bill, and on the 16th in favour of reading the information of one of the witnesses against Fenwick. He was teller again on the 23rd for engrossing the attainder, and on the 25th spoke in favour of the bill at its third reading:

I do think in my conscience that Sir John Fenwick is guilty; and thinking so, I ought to condemn him. I do think, if we should spare this gentleman for want of form, as they call it, and now we are in our legislative capacity, and there should be any ill-effects of it, and other people, by thinking they might avoid punishment by the forms of Westminster Hall, should have the like imagination against his Majesty, and they should take effect; I should think myself in a great measure guilty of that misfortune. I think the kingdom is concerned, and the King’s preservation, in this bill, and I hope you will pass it.

Strickland also acted on this occasion as a teller for the bill. He petitioned on 4 Jan. 1697 for Christopher Lister* to waive his privilege in a case involving Yorkshire estates to which Strickland and others were heirs-at-law, but for which the rents were being received by Lister. Later in the 1696–7 session, in addition to several tellerships, mainly concerned with supply measures, he guided through the Commons a bill for repairing the pier at Bridlington Bay. In the 1697–8 session, on 10 Dec. 1697, he was one of the leading Whigs normally supporting the Court who ‘spoke warmly’ against the retention of a standing army in time of peace. On 4 Feb. 1698 he was teller against a petition from Cambridgeshire’s freeholders opposing the election of the Whig Sir Rushout Cullen, 3rd Bt.7

Strickland did not stand for election in 1698, possibly due to ill-health, and in September he was classed retrospectively as a Court supporter. Shortly after his re-election for Malton in February 1701, he supported Sir Richard Onslow, 3rd Bt., for the Speakership, speaking ‘angrily’ against his rival, Robert Harley, as ‘a man with whom he had never voted for ten years’. Later in the month, in the debate on the Partition Treaty during which John Grobham Howe attempted to shelter behind constitutional niceties by stating that the King could do no wrong and that his remarks were directed only at the ministry, Strickland wittily responded that ‘if Kings can do no wrong, then we have injuriously expelled King James; if his councillors are to blame then are we more in fault for they are councillors now’. He acted as a teller on 13 Mar. against the motion that the Tory candidate Hon. Charles North* was elected for Banbury. In April his Whig and Junto affiliations were highlighted when he told against the motions that Lord Orford (Edward Russell*) was guilty of a high crime and misdemeanour (14th) and against addressing the King to remove Lord Somers (Sir John*) from the Council (15th). In a debate on the Kentish Petitioners on 9 May, Strickland again took Howe to task for using liberties of speech which ‘were not to be endured and would occasion differences without doors’. Matters between the two men became more serious during May. On the 13th Strickland took up Howe’s earlier comment on the Partition Treaty that it was ‘a combination of three robbers to rob a fourth’. Strickland tried to turn the tables by saying that Howe had been in receipt of a grant ‘of great value’, making him a ‘highwayman’ upon the public. The next day, in defending the Kentish Petitioners, Strickland alluded to Defoe’s Legion Memorial in which Howe had been named, describing as ‘poltroons’ those people who imagined there were causes for fear and alarm, and that the real friends of liberty had nothing to fear from the people. Howe stopped him short, demanding ‘satisfaction’, but the House intervened to prevent them duelling. During May Strickland acted as a teller on four occasions, twice on disputed election cases. On the impeachments of the King’s ministers in June, Strickland argued for moderation and ‘not run things up to too great heights’. Returned in the second 1701 general election, he was classed in December as a Whig by Harley. In the stormy debates of February 1702 on the addresses for the dissolution of the previous Parliament, Strickland made ‘a brisk hearty speech’ in vindication of the Yorkshire address, which had been signed by 5,000 gentlemen, declaring that Yorkshire would not be relinquishing its right to make remonstrances and was too large a county to be ignored. This led to scenes which reminded the Dutch envoy of a Polish diet rather than of the House of Commons, with shouts, animal noises and Members drawing their swords. At length, Strickland, who attempted to go on speaking, suffered an apoplectic fit and had to be carried from the House. He was well enough to attend the House again on 24 Apr., when he acted as a teller against a motion for a clause exempting Great Yarmouth from the duties payable by the bill for repair of the piers at Whitby in Yorkshire. In the debate on 2 May concerning the new allied agreement against France, Strickland observed in relation to recent reflections against the Dutch that he ‘had rather trust foreigners in the places of state and the army than those Englishmen who had betrayed their country and were for standing armies in King James’s time’.8

Soon after the beginning of Queen Anne’s first Parliament, Strickland, on 11 Dec. 1702, acted as a teller in support of the Queen’s message asking for financial provision to be made for the Duke of Marlborough (John Churchill†). He supported the grant of £5,000 p.a. to the Duke, and, on seeing it opposed by John Grobham Howe, jested over Howe’s previous opposition to placemen in Parliament and said that Howe ‘could devise but one way, how he would come off with his profession of being ever consistent with himself, and that was to say, in strict speaking indeed, he had yet but half a place’ (as joint paymaster-general). Strickland’s remarks were said to have caused ‘the greatest laugh’ heard in the House for a long time. When an address was moved on the 16th against the alienation of the revenue of the crown in favour of Marlborough, Strickland told for an amendment drawing attention to the pensions charged on the revenue by Charles II and James II. Later that month he told in favour of an amendment to the bill for settling the prince of Denmark’s revenue (23rd), whereby none of the prince’s servants should be eligible to sit in the House. On 13 Feb. 1703 he voted for agreeing with the Lords’ amendments to the bill for extending the time permitted for taking the oath of abjuration. Later that year when Parliament was occupied with the affair of the Scotch Plot, Strickland went so far as to imply that Lord Nottingham (Daniel Finch†) could not be trusted with examining the evidence and accused him by name of having released an important suspect arrested at Hull. A contemporary satire, in calling for the return of the ‘Golden Age’, looked forward to a time when ‘Strickland shall coolly talk, and cease to rant’. He was one of the Junto Whigs who took a leading part in defence of the House of Lords’ stand in the Ashby v. White case (see AYLESBURY, Bucks.). When the Commons voted in January 1704 that the qualifications of electors or the right to sit of any person elected were matters which concerned only the Commons, Strickland replied: ‘I cannot agree with this resolution. I think it deprives the people of England of their birthright. For they who have freeholds in any corporation, have as much right to vote in elections to Parliament as they have to their estates.’ On 24 Jan. he told in favour of going into a committee of the whole on the resumption bill, and on 11 Mar., against a motion of censure on the Earl of Orford for failing to pass his accounts as treasurer of the navy. At the beginning of the 1704–5 session he was classed as a probable opponent of the Tack, and voted against it, or was absent, on 28 Nov. 1704. In February 1705 he acted as a teller against an amendment to the bill for prohibiting commerce with France (21st), for an amendment to the bill prohibiting the importation of French wines (23rd), and against a motion that the Whig MP Francis Page was guilty of a breach of privilege in seeking a habeas corpus for the men of Aylesbury (26th).9

Re-elected for Malton in 1705, Strickland was noted as a ‘Churchman’ in an analysis of the new Parliament. He spoke and voted on 25 Oct. for the Court candidate as Speaker. In December he spoke in debates on the proposed union with Scotland; on the proposition that the Church of England was ‘in danger’; the allegations of crypto-Jacobitism made by the Tory Charles Caesar about Lord Godolphin (Sydney†); and was teller on several other occasions. He appears to have been instrumental in bringing forward a bill to authorize the importation of a cargo of French wine, and delivered reports on several conferences with the Lords on this measure later in the session. In January 1706 he spoke and told against the ‘place clause’ of the regency bill (12th), and participated in further debates on the bill on the 15th and 19th. In February he told for agreeing with the Lords’ amendments to the bill (4th), and in the division on the bill’s contentious ‘place clause’ on the 18th he voted with the Court.10

During the summer Strickland was active in Yorkshire in consultations with Lord Wharton (Hon. Thomas*) and the Duke of Newcastle (John Holles†) in selecting a Whig candidate for a county by-election. In the 1706–7 session he told in January 1707 for a motion that the Tory Philip Herbert* was not elected for Rye (23rd) and against a motion that the 1702–3 proceedings for a union with Scotland be laid before the House (28th). On the 24th he was first-named to the committee for drafting a bill for the better preservation of game, and afterwards directed its progress through the House. On 5 Feb. he told in favour of a motion that there had been ‘a notorious riot and tumult’ at the Coventry election. In the following session he managed two pieces of legislation through the House: for better explaining the Act for salt duty allowances, and for establishing a land registry for the East Riding. On 5 Feb. 1708 he acted as a teller against an amendment to a supply bill, and on the 24th against engrossing a bill for restoring an Irish forfeiture. In an analysis of Parliament at this time he was classed as a Whig.11

Moves to set up Strickland as knight for Yorkshire in 1708 were supported not only by his friends Wharton and Newcastle but also by Lord Carlisle (Charles Howard*). He was successful, with wide support in the East and West Ridings, but only after the most bitterly contested election in the reign. A satire on the Yorkshire elections referred to Strickland as ‘a battered, fiery steed/ descended from the old Cromwellian breed’, and described him as ‘half-mad’, and a ‘packhorse for the good old cause’. Once again he was classed as a Whig in an analysis of the new Parliament. On 16 Nov. 1708 he and Lord William Powlett proposed Sir Richard Onslow as Speaker and conducted him to the Chair, while on the 22nd Strickland was first-named to the committee for an address of congratulation to the Queen on the success of her armies, from which he reported the following day. On 16 Dec. he acted as a teller for a motion to censure the high bailiff of Westminster for refusing to tender the oath of abjuration to voters. Around this time it was reported to Sir William Trumbull* that Strickland and ‘two or three more are our governors’ in the House. During January and February 1709 he managed a bill for repairing the pier at Whitby. On 20 Jan. he was teller for the Whigs on a motion concerning the disputed Abingdon election, while on the 29th he moved that an address of thanks be presented to the Queen for her ‘most gracious answer’ to the address advising her to re-marry. Following his participation in discussions among Yorkshire gentry in January on the need for a bill to regulate woollen manufacture in Yorkshire, Strickland was added on 3 Feb. to the committee ordered to draft a bill for this purpose, and subsequently steered it through the Commons. During February there was a good deal of speculation in political circles concerning a letter written to Lord William Powlett intimating ‘that the Tories were to assemble all their forces in order to move an address to the Queen to invite over the next Protestant heir’, but it turned out to have been a ploy to embarrass the Tories concocted ‘at a drunken bout between Lord William and Sir William Strickland’. At this time he voted for the naturalization of the Palatines. In April he told against passing the bill amended by the Lords, relating to trials for treason in Scotland (9th), and for agreeing with a Lords amendment to the bill to prevent mischiefs by fire (20th).12

In the 1709–10 session Strickland acted as a teller on 18 Jan. 1710 against a motion that the Tory Lewis Pryse* was elected for Cardiganshire, and on 1 Feb. in favour of an amendment to Edward Wortley Montagu’s place bill. On 4 Mar., ‘some words of heat’ passing between Sir William Drake and Strickland, they were ordered by the House not to prosecute their quarrel. The occurrence of this episode in the middle of Dr Sacheverell’s impeachment, which Strickland of course supported, suggests that it may have had some connexion with the impeachment proceedings. On the 21st he was teller in favour of a motion to give thanks to the managers of Sacheverell’s impeachment. His personal preoccupation with the case was highlighted again in late March, in his characteristically partisan response to a motion that the House address the Queen for a fast to ‘avert the judgments of Heaven from the nation on account of the many blasphemies and irreligious books lately published’. Strickland was reported to have ‘opposed the resolution entirely’, and said there was no need of a fast on this account, and ‘he knew no judgments we ought to pray God against but the ridiculous judgment lately given in the House of Lords [on 21 Mar.]’. His zeal in the trial was to cost him his seat at the 1710 election when he was ‘vastly outdone’ by the combined campaign of Lord Downe (Hon. Henry Dawnay) and Sir Arthur Kaye, 3rd Bt. When a picture of the doctor was waved in his face at the poll he ‘turned his backside on it’. Although defeated at Malton in 1715, Strickland returned to Parliament in 1716, sitting continuously from that time until his death at Boynton on 12 May 1724.13

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Andrew A. Hanham


  • 1. Dugdale’s Vis. Yorks. ed. Clay, iii. 124–5.
  • 2. Grey, x. 18, 35.
  • 3. Luttrell, Brief Relation, ii. 230.
  • 4. Luttrell Diary, 16, 33, 53, 54–55, 61, 109, 110, 117, 136, 170, 171–2, 175, 180; Grey, 197–9; Cobbett, Parlty. Hist. v. 669–71; EHR, xci. 47.
  • 5. Grey, 245, 276, 306; Cobbett, 710, 731, 766; Luttrell Diary, 222, 228, 263, 265, 348–9, 359, 376, 398, 415, 457, 471; Nottingham Univ. Lib. Portland (Bentinck) mss PwA 2387, ‘More advice for the King’, 26 Nov. 1692.
  • 6. HMC Var. viii. 77.
  • 7. Cobbett, 1123; Chandler, iii. 60; CSP Dom. 1697, p. 507; Northants. RO, Montagu (Boughton) mss 46/163, James Vernon I* to Shrewsbury, 11 Dec. 1697; Poems on Affairs of State ed. Ellis, vi. 22; Cam. Misc. xxix. 356.
  • 8. NMM, Sergison mss Ser/103, f. 64, acct. of election of Speaker, Feb. 1701; Cocks Diary, 63–64, 71, 120, 126–7, 129, 164, 218, 240, 280; Add. 17677 WW, f. 264; XX, ff. 219, 224–6; Ranke, v. 289; Huntington Lib. Stowe mss 26(2), James Brydges’ diary, 17 Feb. 1702; Cumbria RO (Carlisle), Lonsdale mss D/Lons/W2/2/5, James Lowther* to Sir John Lowther, 2nd Bt. I*, 19 Feb. 1701[–2]; W. Yorks. Archs. (Leeds), Temple-Newsam mss TN/C9/195, [Thomas] Smith to John Roades, 19 Feb. 1701–2.
  • 9. Herts. RO, Panshanger mss, D/EP F29, Lady Cowper’s commonplace bk. p. 320; Norris Pprs. (Chetham Soc. ser. 1, ix), 107; H. Horwitz, Revolution Politicks, 194–5; Add. 29516, ff. 153–4; D. Rubini, Court and Country, 220–1; Poems on Affairs of State, 524; Cobbett, vi. 301; Chandler, 382–3, 386–7.
  • 10. Cobbett, 450; Boyer, Anne Annals, iv. 182; BL, Trumbull Alphab. mss 53, John Bridges to Trumbull, 26 Oct. 1705; Cam. Misc. xxiii. 41, 44, 55, 66–67, 77.
  • 11. Portland (Holles) mss Pw2 232, Strickland to Newcastle, 20 Aug. 1706.
  • 12. Lonsdale mss D/Lons/L1/4/Stray letters (Wharton), Carlisle to [Ld. Wharton], 13 Dec. 1707; N. Yorks. RO, Dawnay mss ZDS/X/2, ‘An epistle . . . about the election race’, 1708; NLS, ms 14415, f. 163; Boyer, vii. 251, 260; Cobbett, 744, 755; Chandler, iv. 98–99, 101; Trumbull Misc. mss 53, James Johnston* to Trumbull, 24 Dec. 1708; Folger Shakespeare Lib. Newdigate newsletters 29 Jan. 1708–9; Thoresby Diary, ii. 18, 20; HMC Portland, iv. 520.
  • 13. Trumbull Alphab. mss 54, Ralph Bridges to Trumbull, 28 Mar. [1710]; G. Holmes, Trial of Sacheverell, 254; Thoresby Diary, 69; W. A. Speck, Tory and Whig, 42; Lonsdale mss D/Lons/W2/3/16, Bp. Nicolson to James Lowther, 7 Feb. 1714–5; Banks Letters 1704–60 (Lincoln Rec. Soc. Pub. xlv), 13; The Gen. n.s. vi. 103.