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


This Chapter deals with a Complaint, made by Rouse Stratford, of Temple Guiting, in theCounty of Gloucestershire, and with this Document relates further proof to the identityof John Stratford, tobacco grower.

The Relationships of persons mentioned within the Bill are as follows, Rouse Stratfordwas the son of Anthony Stratford of Temple Guiting, who was the son of WilliamStratford of Farmcote, who had taken as his first wife Joyce De La Mott, and he wasborn in about 1528.

The brothers mentioned, Richard, Edward, Charles, Anthony, Henry, Giles, and John arethe surviving brothers of George Stratford, initially settled at Badsey, and Alice his wife,who eventually inherited the Manor of Farmcote. They were all the sons of JohnStratford of Farmcote, and Margaret Tracy, the daughter of Sir Robert Tracy ofToddington in the County of Gloucestershire.

Henry Stratford, married Mary De La Mere, but does not seem to have inheritedFarmcote, leaving issue of one son, John Stratford of Farmcote, who did eventuallyinherit that Estate, in relation herewith.

Rouse Stratford, born about 1581, married Anne, the daughter of Richard Foggy, ofDane's Court, County Kent. His father Anthony Stratford had issue of Rouse by his firstmarriage , and with his second marriage to Mary, the daughter of William Gent, hadWilliam, who married Elizabeth the daughter of Richard Lilley of Stouthould, and was slainin a Duel with Holte of London.

This then implies that, Rouse Stratford's Grandfather, William Stratford, who marriedJoyce De La Mott, is also the brother of John Stratford who married Margaret Tracy,and the numerous brothers mentioned are cousins to Anthony, the Executor of GeorgeStratford's Will, and, of course Rouse Stratford on the death of his father Anthony, tookover the responsibility of that Executorship.

George Stratford of Badsey, and Farmcote, did have issue of John, baptised at Badseyon the 3rd of November 1578, Alice, baptised at Badsey on the 19th of December 1574,and Elizabeth baptised at Badsey on the 29th of January 1580. We must presume thatthey did not survive their Parents, as they are not mentioned in the Will of GeorgeStratford.

Rouse Stratford Esquire, of Temple Guiting, in the County of Gloucestershire,Complains, that George Stratford Esquire, of Farmcote, in the County ofGloucestershire, died leaving a Purpose of five several Legacies, to his Brothers, Richard,Edward, Charles, Anthony, Giles, John and Henry, and their children, and by his Will datedthe 4th of March 1580, nominated Paul Tracy Esquire of Stanway, Gloucestershire, nowKnight and Bart, and John Temple of Stow, Buckinghamshire, and Anthony Stratford ofTemple Guiting, Gentlemen, the Plaintiff's father to be Overseer of his Will.

The Document is very faded, but, it appears that one of the Bequests, was paid in theform of an Annuity, instead of a lump sum.

The Document states that Anthony Stratford is a Salter, residing in Friday Street, inLondon. This must be noted that this is not Anthony Stratford, the father of RouseStratford, who married Jane the daughter of William Rouse, but Anthony Stratford ofFriday Street London, where had married Elizabeth Churchman of London.

John Stratford, a Salter, the tobacco grower, is accused of defrauding Henry Stratfordof forty pounds, and Henry Stratford, being the elder brother of George Stratford,deceased, and another George Stratford also residing in London.

The Answer of John Stratford, to Rouse Stratford, both Gentlemen.

In the Will of George Stratford of Farmcote, Badsey, and London, he allotted twothousand pounds, except for forty pounds of it, which was reserved for his brotherHenry's daughter Hit which should be disbursed amongst his brothers, and their children,at the discretion of the overseers of his Will, of which one thousand pounds, was to bepaid soon after his death, and the other one thousand pounds after the death of his wife,Alice.

The overseers divided this money, and Henry Stratford, the son of -Richard Stratford ofStandish, the brother of George Stratford, deceased, received forty pounds. TheDefendant says that he never received that forty pounds, and, that George Stratford thebrother of Henry Stratford, being a Freeman of the City of London, and a joiner, and theDefendant, being a Kinsman of George Stratford, being Servant with Peter Robinson, aSalter of London, and of being of good liking with his Master, and having served hisApprenticeship, did Trade in Cheshire Cheese, and Woollen Hoses, and divers otherthings, which were sent him by some of his Master's Chapmen, out of the Country, andwith his Master's leave.

And, George Stratford, being needy, and thinking this Defendant able to relieve him, bygiving him Credit, George Stratford, made his moan to the Defendant, and asked him tolend him money, and trust him with some Cheeses, and other goods, alleging that in sodoing, he would be as a loving Kinsman like favour to him, for there was a neighbour ofgood Estate, who was ready to bestow upon him (George) in Marriage, his daughter, inhis preferment.

So, the Defendant, lent George Stratford the money and Cheese, and othercommodities, to the value of eighty five pounds, twelve shillings and seven pence, out ofwhich the Defendant received later off of George Stratford, forty three pounds fourshillings and eight pence, by monies and wares, at several times in part payment of theLoan.

So, forty two pounds seven shillings and nine pence was still owing. Also, the Defendant,entered into a Bill with George Stratford, at his earnest request, unto one ChristopherRobinson, of Barnaby Street, Southwark, a Fell Monger, for thirty pounds, for the properDebt of George Stratford.

Shortly after, Alice Stratford, the wife of George Stratford of Farmcote and Badsey,died, and the second one thousand pounds, was paid according to George Stratford'sWill, and there was present at Farmcote Manor House, the Defendant with the saidGeorge Stratford, and Henry and William, their brothers? In the Bill it also mentions withtheir Brethren, and their Children, and, after discussion, it was agreed to pay to hisBrother's Children, (his brother Richard's Children) George and Henry, amongst others,the sum of forty pounds each, for their remainder of the portion due.

But, Feoffes, thought Henry, Being sick of Capacity, unfit to receive his Portion, into hishands, and, not used to Trading or Employing Monies to benefit, so it was agreed thatGeorge Stratford should have the money, (Henry's brother), and enter into a Bond, topay Henry Stratford, an Annuity during his lifetime, and provide him with Board andLodgings, in his House, at the earnest request of George Stratford, and it would enablehim to pay off his Debts.

The Defendant, entered into Bond with him, and one George Stratford, now ofFarmcote, (this was the grandson of Henry Stratford, and Mary De La Mere, the eldestson of John Stratford and Margaret Tracy, and therefore John Stratford the tobaccogrower was his Great Uncle. The son of Henry Stratford and Mary De La Mere, John,married Mary the daughter of Sir Anthony Throgmorton, and had issue of this George,who inherited Farmcote, and married Elizabeth Hobby of Hailes), unto the ComplainantRouse Stratford, for the payment of the said Annuity, quarterly, on the condition thatGeorge Stratford, also enter into a Bond, to free the Deed Gift, or other Security, assoon as he returned to London, and to save the Defendant harmless from the said Bond.And, on that condition, the Defendant gave his Counter Bond with George Stratford, tosave George Stratford of Farmcote, harmless from the said Bond, which Security wasgiven to the Defendant, in London, by Deed of Gift accordingly.

so, when the first quarter of the Annuity became due, Henry Stratford, came to theDefendant for his Annuity, and the Defendant, to save the forfeiture of his Bond, and forthat George Stratford, (Henry's brother) was indebted, and being so far indebted, that hedoth not show his head, but has departed from his dwelling, and absented himself for thatpurpose, did only pay for a time, until, the said Henry Stratford, seemingly, to have verydesirous' to travel, into the New Countries, having no Trade to live by in London, wasearnest with Debt, asked him to give him two years Annuity before hand, to apparel him,and put money in his purse, declaring to the Defendant, that with the money, he mighthave in Her Majesties, (notice Her) where he should live like a Gentleman, which ofcourse he was. (This means the incident afor mentioned must have been before the 24thof March 1602/3).

The Defendant, knew that Henry Stratford, could not give sufficient discharge for themoney, but, never the less, at the Entreaty, John Stratford, did venture to pay HenryStratford, two years Annuity, which, being twelve pounds, beforehand, and took aWriting, under Henry's Seal, specifying the like said receipt, of which the Defendant isready to show to this Court.

Before Henry Stratford shipped himself over, William Stratford, brother to the saidHenry Stratford, (this now makes three brothers, George Henry and William,) dwelling inBristol, and coming to London, perceiving his brother's purpose, (Henry) persuaded himto the contrary. Whereupon Henry Stratford declared unto William Stratford, the twoyears Annuity, received off of the Defendant. But, William Stratford, being of anobnoxious and unthrifty disposition, dissuaded Henry Stratford, from the intendedjourney, and got from him a Letter of Attorney, to Recovery of the said Defendant, hisAnnuity, and in fortune of the Bond, if the Defendant should fail to make paymentthereof.

This Defendant, being loath to fall into the hands of so a lewd person, as WilliamStratford, duly paid his Annuity every Quarter there after, until at the hot Siege andStance at Ostend, where unto Henry Stratford was pressed forth at London, underCaptain Shakley, for stance there, (this was in 1601), and the said Captain Shakley, afterreturning to London, having lost most of his men, in that Service, the mother of the saidHenry Stratford, repaired to the Captain, for news of her son's welfare, and then cameto the Defendant, and told him that the Captain had said that her son Henry Stratfordwas now dead.

After this, the Defendant ceased to pay the Annuity, but, William Stratford, had theLetter of Attorney, and alleged that his brother was still living, but dishonestly sent aletter to the Defendant, in Henry Stratford's name, asking for the Annuity. JohnStratford did not pay up, so, William Stratford sued Anthony Stratford, the father ofRouse Stratford, in Chancery to deliver the Bond, as Surety for the payment of theAnnuity.

So Anthony Stratford refused to let the Bond out of his hands, seeing the evil purpose ofWilliam Stratford.

With Anthony Stratford's consent, John Stratford put a Suit in Chancery, that, AnthonyStratford, may bring in the Bond, and leave it in Chancery, until Henry Stratford, shouldcome to claim the Annuity.

This was done, but, William Stratford, brought two felons, who were never seen again,after taking the Oath, who claimed to know that Henry Stratford, was still alive, and asthe Defendant had heard, the Court, handed with the Bond to William Stratford,permission to Sue the Defendant, at Common Law.

So, William Stratford, sued Sued the Defendant to an Outlawery, at Common Law, andthe Defendant, not knowing of this was taken to the Sheriff's Office, in London, and putunder arrest.

The Defendant proceeded in his Suite, and obtained his liberty. But one, ThomasSandford, a Minister and Kinsman of the Families, wishing to make Peace between theParties, William Stratford and the Defendant, asked the Defendant, to give WilliamStratford, something in regard of his great want and poverty.

William Stratford had long been absent from home, and was willfully wasting otherpeople's money, by these Suits, to have an end to the question. So, the Defendant, inorder to save any further expenses, met William Stratford, and gave him five pounds, andtook up the Bond, that William Stratford had in his possession, and thereby got relieffrom the said William Stratford.

The Defendant says, not with standing his readiness to help his Kindred, he is like to loseby George Stratford, the brother of Henry and William Stratford, almost one hundredMarks, besides his loss of time, the neglect of his Trade, and the long vexation in LawSuits.

The Defendant, John Stratford denies all Charges made against him by Rouse Stratford.

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