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Help and advice for Gloucestershire: Tobacco growing in the Cotswolds

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

CHAPTER 12.

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

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

The brothers mentioned, Richard, Edward, Charles, Anthony, Henry, Giles, and John are the 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 John Stratford of Farmcote, and Margaret Tracy, the daughter of Sir Robert Tracy of Toddington in the County of Gloucestershire.

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

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

This then implies that, Rouse Stratford's Grandfather, William Stratford, who married Joyce 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 George Stratford's Will, and, of course Rouse Stratford on the death of his father Anthony, took over the responsibility of that Executorship.

George Stratford of Badsey, and Farmcote, did have issue of John, baptised at Badsey on 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 that they did not survive their Parents, as they are not mentioned in the Will of George Stratford.

Rouse Stratford Esquire, of Temple Guiting, in the County of Gloucestershire, Complains, that George Stratford Esquire, of Farmcote, in the County of Gloucestershire, 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 dated the 4th of March 1580, nominated Paul Tracy Esquire of Stanway, Gloucestershire, now Knight and Bart, and John Temple of Stow, Buckinghamshire, and Anthony Stratford of Temple 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 the form of an Annuity, instead of a lump sum.

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

John Stratford, a Salter, the tobacco grower, is accused of defrauding Henry Stratford of 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 two thousand pounds, except for forty pounds of it, which was reserved for his brother Henry'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 be paid 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 of Standish, the brother of George Stratford, deceased, received forty pounds. The Defendant says that he never received that forty pounds, and, that George Stratford the brother of Henry Stratford, being a Freeman of the City of London, and a joiner, and the Defendant, being a Kinsman of George Stratford, being Servant with Peter Robinson, a Salter of London, and of being of good liking with his Master, and having served his Apprenticeship, did Trade in Cheshire Cheese, and Woollen Hoses, and divers other things, which were sent him by some of his Master's Chapmen, out of the Country, and with his Master's leave.

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

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

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 Christopher Robinson, of Barnaby Street, Southwark, a Fell Monger, for thirty pounds, for the proper Debt 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's Will, and there was present at Farmcote Manor House, the Defendant with the said George Stratford, and Henry and William, their brothers? In the Bill it also mentions with their Brethren, and their Children, and, after discussion, it was agreed to pay to his Brother'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 his hands, and, not used to Trading or Employing Monies to benefit, so it was agreed that George Stratford should have the money, (Henry's brother), and enter into a Bond, to pay Henry Stratford, an Annuity during his lifetime, and provide him with Board and Lodgings, in his House, at the earnest request of George Stratford, and it would enable him to pay off his Debts.

The Defendant, entered into Bond with him, and one George Stratford, now of Farmcote, (this was the grandson of Henry Stratford, and Mary De La Mere, the eldest son of John Stratford and Margaret Tracy, and therefore John Stratford the tobacco grower 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 Complainant Rouse Stratford, for the payment of the said Annuity, quarterly, on the condition that George Stratford, also enter into a Bond, to free the Deed Gift, or other Security, as soon 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, to save George Stratford of Farmcote, harmless from the said Bond, which Security was given to the Defendant, in London, by Deed of Gift accordingly.

so, when the first quarter of the Annuity became due, Henry Stratford, came to the Defendant for his Annuity, and the Defendant, to save the forfeiture of his Bond, and for that George Stratford, (Henry's brother) was indebted, and being so far indebted, that he doth not show his head, but has departed from his dwelling, and absented himself for that purpose, did only pay for a time, until, the said Henry Stratford, seemingly, to have very desirous' to travel, into the New Countries, having no Trade to live by in London, was earnest 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 might have in Her Majesties, (notice Her) where he should live like a Gentleman, which of course he was. (This means the incident afor mentioned must have been before the 24th of March 1602/3).

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

Before Henry Stratford shipped himself over, William Stratford, brother to the said Henry Stratford, (this now makes three brothers, George Henry and William,) dwelling in Bristol, and coming to London, perceiving his brother's purpose, (Henry) persuaded him to the contrary. Whereupon Henry Stratford declared unto William Stratford, the two years Annuity, received off of the Defendant. But, William Stratford, being of an obnoxious and unthrifty disposition, dissuaded Henry Stratford, from the intended journey, and got from him a Letter of Attorney, to Recovery of the said Defendant, his Annuity, and in fortune of the Bond, if the Defendant should fail to make payment thereof.

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

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

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

With Anthony Stratford's consent, John Stratford put a Suit in Chancery, that, Anthony Stratford, may bring in the Bond, and leave it in Chancery, until Henry Stratford, should come 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 as the 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, and the Defendant, not knowing of this was taken to the Sheriff's Office, in London, and put under arrest.

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

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

The Defendant says, not with standing his readiness to help his Kindred, he is like to lose by George Stratford, the brother of Henry and William Stratford, almost one hundred Marks, besides his loss of time, the neglect of his Trade, and the long vexation in Law Suits.

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.