Richard Strode (died 1669)

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Sir Richard Strode (1584-1669), detail from his father's mural monument in St Mary's Church, Plympton St Mary
Arms of Strode: Argent, a chevron between three conies courant sable

Sir Richard Strode (25 June 1584 – 9 October 1669) of Newnham, Plympton St Mary, Devon and of Chalmington in Dorset, was a member of the Devonshire gentry who served as MP for Bere Alston in 1604, Bridport in 1626 and for Plympton Erle in 1640. He was by religion a puritan and towards the end of his life a baptist. During the Civil War he was a parliamentarian and raised a force of 3,000 dragoons.[1]


Strode was baptised at Bovey Tracey on 1 July 1584and was the eldest son of Sir William IV Strode (1562-1637) of Newnham, Plympton St Mary, MP for Devon in 1597 and 1624, for Plympton Erle in 1601, 1604, 1621 and 1625, and for Plymouth in 1614, High Sheriff of Devon from 1593 to 1594 and Deputy Lieutenant of Devon from 1599. His mother (his father's 1st wife) was Mary Southcott (d.1618), daughter of Thomas Southcott of Bovey Tracey, Devon.


He matriculated at St John's College, Cambridge in 1598.[2] At the age of 20 in 1604 Strode was elected Member of Parliament for Bere Alston in Devon, on his father’s interest, and was knighted a month later. He was elected MP for Bridport in 1626.

In April 1640, Strode was elected Member of Parliament for Plympton Erle in the Short Parliament in what appears to be an unresolved double return.[3]

Following the death in about 1608 of his first wife who was a member of the Strode family of Parham, Strode fell into dispute with his cousins, claiming inheritance of the Parham estates for the son of his second wife. Sir John Strode consistently blocked Richard Strode's attempts to bring the matter to court and the situation became more grave when the families were on opposite sides in the Civil War. Richard Strode's younger brother was the parliamentarian William Strode (1594-1645), MP, one of the Five Members whose impeachment and attempted unconstitutional arrest by King Charles I in the House of Commons in 1642 sparked the Civil War. The Parham Strodes, Richard's wife's family, were royalists and his wife Mary Strode was struck dead by a Parliamentarian soldier while defending her home during the Civil War. Strode made copious annotations to an almanack "An Ephemeris for the Year 1652" by Nicholas Culpeper in which he fiercely attacked the Parham Strodes. Later ramblings suggest that Strode had become mentally unstable and he was imprisoned in the Fleet prison with debts of £200. He wrote long letters to Oliver Cromwell setting out his grievances and he was eventually released as being of unsound mind.[4]

Marriages & progeny[edit]

Strode married thrice:

  • Firstly in about 1597 to his cousin Catherine (alias Mary[5]) Strode (died c. 1608), daughter and heiress of Sir Robert Strode (d.1616) of Parnham in Dorset. She brought to the marriage several estates in Devon and Dorset, including Lower Chalmington, Dorset, and Parnham, title to which was later disputed. By Catherine he had 3 daughters.
  • Secondly to Elizabeth Erle (d.1652) daughter of Thomas Erle of Charborough in Dorset by his wife and Dorothy Poole. By Elizabeth he had progeny 1 son and 8 daughters,[6] including:
    • William Strode (1614-1676), MP for Plympton, who inherited Newnham from his father.
  • Thirdly to Anne Drake daughter of Sir John Drake (d.1636) of Ash[7] in the parish of Musbury, Devon, by whom he had progeny:
    • Joseph Strode of Chalmington, Dorset, whom his mother called "John".[8] He inherited the estate of Chalmington from his father, who had inherited it following his marriage to his 1st wife Catherine Strode.
    • Susan Strode, heir to her brother Joseph. She married Hugh Chudleigh (d.1707) of Ashton, Devon, 3rd son of Sir George Chudleigh, 2nd Baronet (1612–1691).[9]

Death & burial[edit]

Strode died in 1669 at the age of 85 and was buried on 9 October 1669, at Plympton St Mary. In his will he left to King Charles II ‘the manor of Parnham which is or ought to be mine’.



  1. ^ Ferris & Hunneyball
  2. ^ "Strode, Richard (STRD597R)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  3. ^ Willis, Browne (1750). Notitia Parliamentaria, Part II: A Series or Lists of the Representatives in the several Parliaments held from the Reformation 1541, to the Restoration 1660 .... London. pp. 229–239. 
  4. ^ Alan J Miller Murder most foul Dorset Life November 2007
  5. ^ Vivian, p.719
  6. ^ Vivian, p.719
  7. ^ Vivian, p.297, pedigree of Drake of Ash
  8. ^ Per will of Richard Strode
  9. ^ Vivian, p.190, pedigree of Chudleigh of Ashton
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Charles Lister
John Langford
Member of Parliament for Bere Alston
With: Sir Arthur Atye
Humphrey May
Succeeded by
John Cage
Edward Bertlet
Preceded by
Lewis Dyve
Sir John Strode
Member of Parliament for Bridport
With: Lewis Dyve
Succeeded by
Thomas Pawlet
Bampfield Chafin
Preceded by
Parliament suspended since 1629
Member of Parliament for Plympton Erle
With: Sir Nicholas Slanning
Sir Thomas Hele, 1st Baronet
Succeeded by
Sir Nicholas Slanning
Michael Oldisworth