STRANGWAYS, Sir Giles (1528-62), of Melbury Sampford, Dorset.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Oct. 1553
Apr. 1554

Family and Education

b. 1528, 1st s. of Henry Strangways by Margaret, da. of George Manners, Lord Ros, and sis. of Thomas, 1st Earl of Rutland. m. 1546, Joan, da. of John Wadham of Merifield, Som., at least 4s. 2da. suc. gd.-fa. Sir Giles Strangways 1546. Kntd. 1549.1

Offices Held

Warden, Neroche forest, Som. 1551; commr. church goods, Dorset 1553, j.p. from 1554.2


Strangways owned extensive estates in Dorset, including the site of the monastery of Abbotsbury. Through his wife his heirs acquired rights to considerable property in Somerset, which he himself did not live to enjoy. He also owned lands in Yorkshire, whence the family had moved to Dorset in the fifteenth century. He was a protestant during Edward VI’s reign, when he served as a commissioner for church goods. After Mary’s accession he came up to London to render an account of his proceedings in the latter capacity. He was one of those who ‘stood for the true religion’ in the October 1553 Parliament, and in 1555 he opposed a government bill, but he must have given the Marian government general support in the county, as he continued to serve on the Dorset commission of the peace and his wardenship of Neroche forest was renewed by a patent of November 1555. In 1557 he commanded 50 men in the 1st Earl of Pembroke’s expedition to St. Quentin. Sir William Courtenay, who died on the campaign, appointed him an executor.3

Strangways lived—and died—extravagantly. In June 1555 he surrendered himself to the Fleet to avoid outlawry for debts that included over £100 to two London tailors. He sold 700 ewes, 600 wethers and 300 hogs, leaving three estates denuded of livestock. When he died in his early thirties on 11 Apr. 1562, he left his widow with at least six children under 21. His will, which he made before going on the St. Quentin campaign and to which he added two codicils, in 1558 and 1562, required his wife, if she married again, to give a bond of £2,000 to carry out her duties as executrix. The 13 overseers to whom she was bound received a total of £72 plus expenses. The executrix was compelled to sell all the household goods to pay debts amounting to over £3,000. Strangways left 1,000 marks to his daughter Anne on her marriage and 600 marks to a younger son. Among numerous charitable bequests were some to poor prisoners at Ilchester and Dorchester, and to the lazar-house of Bridport. There is an effigy of him in plate armour at Melbury Sampford church.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge


This biography is based upon the Roberts thesis.

  • 1. C142/136/7; Wards 7/9/32; Harl. 1539. f. 104; Hutchins, Dorset, ii. 662-4; PCC 17 Streat, 24 Alen.
  • 2. CPR, 1550-3, pp. 195, 414; 1553-4, p. 18.
  • 3. C142/136/7; Wards 7/9/32; LP Hen. VIII, xxi(2), g.332-91; xxi(2), p. 167; Hutchins, ii. 662; CSP Dom. Add. 1566-79, p. 289; CSP Ven. 1555-6, p. 400; CPR, 1550-3, pp. 142, 394; 1555-7, p. 102; VCH Dorset, ii. 28-9; Bodl. e Museo 17; Guildford Mus. Loseley 1331/2; HMC Foljambe, 5.
  • 4. CPR, 1554-5, p. 259; Hutchins, ii. 678; PCC 17 Streat.