Tobacco Growing in the Vale of Evesham,
Winchcombe and District,
and John Stratford.
By Gerald H. Stratford.


This is regarding a Deposition taken on the 16th of October, 1634, before William Stratford, William Barksdale, and Francis Izod, all Gentlemen, at the house of John Eyres in Winchcombe, County Gloucestershire, an Innholder, an a Case where in William Carpenter is the Complainant, and Giles Broadway, Gentleman, the Defendant.

Francis Izod, was of Stainton, County Gloucestershire, and living in 1597, and married in 1615, Maria the daughter of Anthony Abingdon, of Dowdeswell, County Gloucestershire, and he died in 1653.

Giles Broadway, as earlier stated was cousin, to John Stratford the tobacco grower.

William Carpenter, by his earlier admission was brother in law to John Stratford, the tobacco grower.

William Stratford, a Justice of the Peace for the County of Gloucestershire, was of Farmcote, and Lord of the Manor there. He was the eldest son of George Stratford and Elizabeth Hobby of Hailes and Farmcote, County Gloucestershire, and was baptised at Didbrook on the 25th of August 1602.

He served in the 18th Regiment of Foot, on the Royalist side during the Civil War, and in 1640 was described as an Ensign, with the eventual Rank of Major. He entertained Prince Rupert at Farmcote Manor House, and his forces were camped on the Farmcote Estate, prior to the Battle of Edge Hill. William Stratford was sequested for seven hundred and sixty three pounds for his Estates by the Parliamentary Forces.

William Stratford's second son, George married Anne Thorne of Sudeley, and he named his fourth son Tracy Stratford, in relation to the friendliness with that Family.

William Stratford's second wife was Lady Magdalene, the Widow of Sit Walter Overbury, relict of Sir Thomas Overbury of the infamous murder in the Tower of London. He eventually married a total of four times and died at Farmcote, being buried there on the 13th of September 1682. William Stratford's eldest son William, married Anne, the daughter of Sit Walter and Lady Magdalene Overbury. So, son married daughter and father married the widowed mother.

An interesting Bill, which is not relevant to the tobacco growing or the Complaint that I am dealing with at the moment, but, it's contents give an insight to the Stratford Estate, and Farmcote.

The Bill is dated the fourth of December 1683, and is made against William Stratford, the eldest son of the above mentioned William Stratford, and Elizabeth Hobby.

William Stratford, of Farmcote, Esquire, says he and his Ancestors from time out of mind, have been seized of the Manor of Farmcote, being a District Parish, in which there is, and has been time out of mind a Parish Church, where in Divine Service, Christenings, and Burials were performed out of the Impropriation belonging to Christ Church Oxford, and there is Glebe Land, belonging, and Rates have always been levied on Farmcote as a District Parish, and the inhabitants of Farmcote have maintained their own poor and repaired their Church, and never performed any Office on Guiting.

And, the Orator's father, William Stratford the elder, deceased, was a J.P. and a Gentleman of very generous and charitable disposition. And, of his Bounty to the poor allowed his name to appear among Parishioners of Guiting, and contributed twenty shilling per annum to the Poor and it was looked on as a gift. William Stratford the elder signed Documents as a J.P. without expecting to clog his Estate with incumberances. His father also paid an annual sum to Winchcombe, for the support of the Poor.

And, Farmcote paid ail costs of it's own Poor, without the help of others, and the sum paid by William Stratford of late years reached two hundred pounds, and since my father's death, it has cost your Orator forty pounds. The Orator's father died in September 1682, since which time the Constable of Guiting, Edward Cooke, confederating with John Humphreys and William Woollan, Overseer of the Poor, claim that Farmcote is part of the Parish of Guiting, and that he ought to contribute to Charges for the Poor of Guiting.

The Defendants say, that they never knew Farmcote as a Manor, it being one house standing alone in the Middle of Ancient Enclosed Grounds, where the Complainant and his Ancestors, and Servants inhabited, to which was annexed to a Chapel of Ease. Lower Guiting was always the Mother Church. Great Tithes belong to Christ Church, Small Tithes to the Vicar of Lower Guiting. There was no other inhabitants of Farmcote, apart from William Stratford's Servants and Under Tenants. Farmcote was never a District Parish.

There are more details where they distrained some sheep and he refused to buy them back, stating that it would still leave him with over two thousand.

William Stratford was actually correct for at one time when Farmcote was in the County of Worcestershire, it had been a Parish in it's own right.

Edward Powell, of Winchcombe, County Gloucestershire, a Labourer, aged twenty seven years, knows the Complainant and the Defendant, and also John Stratford.

About eleven or twelve years ago, he, and divers others were employed by Mr. John Stratford, to water and dry flax, to a great quantity, which grew at Winchcombe, and other places about Winchcombe. And, being ready, did lay it in a barn, near Winchcombe, called Mr. Owen's Barn, for the said Mr. John Stratford, who paid this Deponent and divers others for their labour. About three or four years after, the Defendant Giles Broadway, came to the Deponent, and asked him whether he could help him to dress and parcel flax, that he now had, which belonged to the said John Stratford, and to procure other workmen to help him. There upon Giles Broadway, agreed with the Deponent, and divers others to dress the said flax, being the same, who he, and others, had lain in the Barn for Mr. John Stratford, for one and a half pence per pound. For the first three weeks, they wrought at the said flax, there was only three of them at work, and every man dressed thirty three pounds of flax, apiece, every week, or more, which, and, they delivered the flax to Francis Burton of Winchcombe, to his use.

After three weeks, there were seven dressers, of which this Deponent was one, and they continued working for nine or ten weeks more, and each man dressed the quantity as before. Again, it was delivered to Burton, and Giles Broadway, sometimes found men for other work, and sometimes his son, Mr. John Broadway, and sometimes Mr. Burton. After dressing the flax it was worth six pence a pound, and all of one goodness, and part thereof was sold to the Deponent's knowledge.
This would mean that Powell was fifteen or sixteen years old.

Humphrey Kirkham, of the Woad Mill in Over Guiting, aged twenty eight years. Known now as Temple Guiting, County Gloucestershire.

He had known the three parties for the last twenty years. Over ten years ago, in 1624/5, the Complainant and Defendant, were very familiar, and often were lodging at Giles Broadway's House, Postlip Hall, Near Winchcombe. And, about that time they were in London together, and from there went to France, and Humphrey Kirkham, went also to France with them as their Servant, and William Carpenter and Giles Broadway, were lodging in the same house in France, for about three months, and traded together, lovingly. There was no question between them of any Bonds or Debts, and nor did he ever hear the Defendant say that the Complainant was indebted to him.

Alexander Packer, of The Ham, in County Gloucestershire, a Gentleman aged sixty years.

Alexander Packer was the fifth son of John Packer, and Katherine the daughter of William Wakeham, and was from Cheltenham. He married Rose in 1611, she being born in 1595, the daughter of William Grevill of Charlton Kings, and Anne Love, of County Warwickshire.

Alexander Packer, believes that in about September of the year 1620, there was dealing between Giles Broadway and John Stratford, and that two hundred pounds was taken up with Giles Broadway and John Stratford, of one Mr. Seacole, and for that Alexander Packer was Bound in Bond dated the twenty eighth of September 1620, in the Penal Sum of four hundred pounds, conditioned for the payment of two hundred pounds on the fourth of April, next ensuing. He remembers this because at the time of his examination he showeth forth a Counter Bond, where upon, Mr John Stratford, did enter into, to save this Deponent harmless from the Bond of four hundred pounds. John Stratford told that the two hundred pounds, taken up as a Mr. Scardale (sic) was received by Giles Broadway, and that he had had it to rent of ground for the tobacco business.

On the twenty seventh of January 1622, John Stratford and the Deponent, delivered to Giles Broadway, and John Scardale the Younger, four hundred and thirty six sheep at nine shillings per head, that is one hundred and ninety six pounds, and in condition thereof, Giles Broadway and John Scardale, promised to pay to John Seacole the Elder, the afor said sum of two hundred and ten pounds, and to save and keep harmless John Stratford, and the Deponent, from the Bond of four hundred pounds.

Alexander Packer, does not know of any account between John Stratford and Giles Broadway, but believes that in April of Charles the First, or within a short time after, upon the sale of Postlip Hall, being formerly in the hands of Giles Broadway, there was paid by Giles Broadway to Alderman Hodges, of London, two hundred pounds which the Deponent believes were the debts of John Stratford. There was also paid to Alderman Allen, of London, by Giles Broadway, seventy pounds, which he thinks was the debt of John Stratford, And, to Mr Hudson of London, one hundred and sixty pounds, which he believes was also debt of John Stratford.

Ralph Kemp, of Winchcombe, County Gloucestershire, a shoemaker, aged 47 years was next to submit evidence.

He has known the three parties for about forty years, About eleven years ago, John Stratford sold and delivered to Giles Broadway a quantity of rough flax, containing two bays, lying in a Barn, near Winchcombe, named Owen's Barn. It was valued by John Stratford at two hundred pounds. It was delivered to Giles Broadway by John Stratford in consideration of a debt, and it was understood, that the overplus should be towards the payment of a debt due to one Mr. Wright.

About ten or eleven years, since William Carpenter and Giles Broadway were very conversant together, and were familiar friends, they went to France together. He never heard of any debt owed by the Complainant or the Defendant, but, about the time aforesaid, he, having bought a little parcel of land, off of the Complainant, William Carpenter, and understanding that completion was made of a Lease to Giles Broadway, of that and other lands of his, for security, being found for him, William Carpenter with the Rent., satisfied a debt due to Mr. Wright, and where as Giles Broadway stood Bound with William Carpenter, as be believeth.

Shortly after, Giles Broadway delivered up the Lease without speaking or demanding any debt, at all from William Carpenter. He never knew of any debt at all with William Carpenter, and he never knew of any debt by William Carpenter to Giles Broadway, until now. Within the last two or three years, when William Carpenter was in prison, at Gloucester, at the Seal of Richard Skey, at which time Giles Broadway laid his action against William Carpenter, concerning the said Bonds.

Edward Harvey, a butcher of Winchcombe, County Gloucestershire, aged thirty seven years, next gave evidence,

He was present, eleven or twelve years ago when John Stratford, delivered to Giles Broadway, three hundred sheep at ten pounds per score, to pay for the Rent of some ground, which John Stratford, formerly had taken of Giles Broadway, to plant tobacco. Since then, John Stratford has delivered flax to Giles Broadway, again in payment of Rent. And, John Stratford conditioned with Giles Broadway that he should pay over any surplus of the money made by the flax, if there be any.

Elizabeth Simpson, a Spinster, aged sixty years was next to give evidence.

She said that she had known the three parties for twenty years. Ten or eleven years ago, John Stratford, delivered about twenty hundredweight of flax, ready dressed out of the Abbey House at Winchcombe, then valued at six pence per pound, to Giles Broadway. It was carried to Postlip, the then house of Giles Broadway, and she helped to pile the same.

There then took place an Investigation on behalf of the Complainant.

Question one. Do you know John Stratford, Gentleman, and Salter of London.?

Question two. Do you know John Stratford and William Carpenter, were Bound thirteen to fourteen years ago, by a Bond, dated the eighteenth of March, James the First, to Giles Broadway, in the Penal Sum of three hundred pounds, for the payment of one hundred and eighty pounds, nine shillings, and was the Complainant the only Surety for the Debt, and was not that Debt the proper Debt of John Stratford Esquire.?

Question three. Was there some Common Dealing between John Stratford and Giles Broadway about this time. And, after the Bond became payable, did John Stratford, Giles Broadway, and Alexander Packer, take up two hundred pounds of one, Mr Seacole, for the satisfaction of Giles Broadway, and did not Giles Broadway receive the two hundred pounds.?

Question four. Were not sheep paid over to Giles Broadway by John Stratford and William Carpenter, in satisfaction of their Debt of two hundred pounds, when it was due.?

Question five. Did not Giles Broadway and John Stratford draw up an Account, in February 1620. Did it not appear that Giles Broadway was fully paid for rent of Goods or whatever else. And, was it not found that Giles Broadway owed John Stratford twenty pounds.?

Question six. Did Giles Broadway fail to surrender the three hundred pounds, saying that he had mislaid the same.?

Question seven. Did you have a Conference with Giles Broadway, about two or three years ago, when he said he did not care if William Carpenter was imprisoned on account of the Bond. Did Giles Broadway admit 'I warned him in France, that if I ever met him in England, I would make him wish he had cut off his fingers, because he had abused me there, as he did Although the Debt is satisfied, yet I have the Bond still, and will keep it to make him rot in prison' ?

Next PartNext Part

Data transcribed by Colin Hinson from:
A document written by
Gerald H. Stratford in 1988.
Reproduced here by permission
© Gerald H. Stratford.