Bushley. In a secluded village near Tewkesbury stands Payne's Place, the old Stratford Manor House, where time has stood still. it is very much the same today as it must have been when John Stratford and Margaret Tracy lived there, she being the daughter of Sir Robert Tracy of Toddington. At their death the house came to one of their numerous sons, Anthony, who, also inheriting a large amount of money, had the house adorned and to some extent improved. He succeeded his parents on the 22nd of April 1587, and married a Bushley girl, Margaret Hayward.
Queen Margaret stayed at Payne's Place whilst the Battle of Tewkesbury was being enacted on the 4th of May 1471, and previously had rode through the ranks of her troops, encouraging them in their forth coming task.
On internal inspection of the house , the original cross beams display some carved roses, and these were never completed all the way across. In fact one rose, the last in the line, is only half finished. I wonder why?
Behind a glass panelling preserved by the present occupant, is a mural which states ' To lyve as we shoulde always dye, it were a goody trade, to change lowe death for lyfe so hye no better change is made. For all our worldly thyngs are vayne, yn them ys ther no truste. Wee see all states awyle remayne, and then they turn to dust ' Anthony Stratford, Margaret Stratford.
Their son and heir, Thomas Stratford, married in 1619, another Bushley girl Joan Trigg, but both parents died soon after their son Anthony's birth, and he was raised by the Beesle Family of Twyning. He fought for King Charles during the Civil War, and had to pay Parliament £40 to prevent the sequestration of his property.
On the 17th of August 1676 he executed a Deed by which all his Bushley Estate was sold to Mr. Dowderswell of Pall Court. As late as 1827 there were still some relics of Anthony, the Cavalier, in the form of a helmet and other armour kept in a small room at the top of the house, but this has now been lost.
Another son of John Stratford and Margaret Tracy who died in about 1593, Gyles left issue of John Stratford, who married Anne Wright and died in 1631, when his wife was still alive.
It is my opinion through all the evidence to hand, that this John Stratford and Anne Wright were the progenitors of the Merevale Branch, and eventually the Stratford Earldom of Alborough, as it is on record that they had two sons, William living in 1621, and Edward who married Grace Partinger. He died in 1665 having purchased Hoarsham Grange from William Englefield in 1648 when he was residing at Nuneaton in Warwickshire.
I give here the Inventory of Thomas Stratford of Bushley taken the 26th of March 1629, which gives an indication of his possessions and contents of the house at that date. three steers, twelve cows with calves, three young steers, six heyfers, eight calves, four horse beast, thirteen boar pigs and one sow, corn in the barn, two corn waynes, two long waynes and one long driddle with four pair's of iron bound wheels. Two oxen harrows and two pairs of horse harrows. ( notice he was using Oxen for ploughing as well as horses. Four Yokes, four towes, two drays, bridles, one plough, two shares, three couldrens, two topperills, and old iron. One dray.
In the Cheese Chamber.
Cheese, butter, tallow, thirty bundles of Flaxen yarn, 80 bundles of hurden yarn, ten bundles of hurden cloth, twelve old bundles of hurden cloth, one folding table, frame, old trestle planned, three frames and one pair of stock boards. One hogge of bacon, wool, one whiteleather, salt, 24 bundles of malt, and one hoggs head of barley.
Over the Cheese Chamber.
In the room next through the Cheese Chamber.
In the North House.
Boards, feathers, lettuce, and other trumperys.
In the Mill House.
Other old boards.
In the Day House.
Several brass pots, and brass posnet, one pair weighing 160 pounds. Six brass kettles, two brass skillet's with iron bonds and hang lamps, and two brass pans waying 69 pounds. two dripping pans, two frying pans, two frymeners, one basting ladle, two iron sleeper and two pairs of pot hooks. One fowling piece, one press, one flaskett and two baskets, copperware, and one pair of weighs and stones, planks and boards.
In the next room there.
Two cheese presses, copper ware and others, three bags and four males.
In the Kitchen.
Six spits, one pair of casks and three cob irons. One fork, two fire shovels, two pairs of tongues, three pots, hooks, and little iron bars. two iron digges and grid irons.
In the Hall.
One clock, two table board, two forms, on chair and sofa and one carpet. One Caliver, one Bowman's piece, one sheaf of arrows and Armour. ( maybe this is the Armour found later.)
In the Parlour.
One standing bedstead, one press cupboard, one truckle bedstead, one press for writing, one great chest, and three coffers, one desk and two little joiner's boxes, six joiner's shelves, one chair, one cradle, one table board and frame, and on joiner's form. One cross bow, one tiller bow, two swords, two daggers, one lathe for a cross bow, one birding piece, two bows and arrows. ( it looks as though he was a keen archer.) Three coverlettes, four blankets, two feather beds, three bolsters, one flock bed, two new pillows, and one carpet. One little coffer, old hurding napkins and other odd linen. One coffer, seven pairs of flaxen sheets, three pairs of Hempen sheets, one diaper table cloth, two towel's and six diaper. Three flaxon table cloths and one hurden table cloth. Five pillow boards, two cupboards, clothes and six napkins. Several flaxon sheets, fourteen table napkins, two pairs of hurden sheets and two pieces of hurden cloth. One suite, one vice, three horse blocks and one pair of pliers.
In the Chamber over the Parlour.
Two coverlet's, four blankets, three feather beds, two flock bed, three pillows, four feather bolsters and curtains. Two standing bedsteads, one dozen and a half quills, two odd quills. One press for clothes, one joined chest, one little trinket flower coffer, on box and one chair.
In the room in the further end of the long house.
Timber, hooks and other trumperary.
In the lower room of the long house.
Planked boards and vessels.
It then gifts a long list of the contents of several out buildings, that is, The long House, The Towe, The Mill House, The Hay House, the Great Cellar, the House Cote, The Well Court, and The Wood Close.
In the Men's Chamber.
One feather bed and two flax beds, two pairs of sheets, four feather bolsters, one coverlets, two camersell's and three bed sheets.
In the Maid's Chamber.
One flock bed, one sheet, three bolsters, one coverlette, three blanket and one bedstead. Three pairs of hurden sheets and one board cloth.
In the Loft over the Parlour.
Pott brass, 28 pieces, 127 pieces of Pewter, one warming pan, nine brass caudle picks, one still.
In the Study.
Books and other things.
In the work House.
This gives a list of tools and other implements.
The total value being £232, 9s. 2d
So, the house contained 13 rooms, and the out building, quite substantial.
Margaret Stratford's inventory was taken on the 4th of December 1621, at Bushley and amounted to £162,15s
Wythall. The Manor House was built in 1565, by William Stratford and his second wife Anne Welwyn, and is a rare example of Tudor architecture, not only in the selection of original timbers and beams, but in the manner in which they have been assembled.
The main support, or what appears to be such, is encircled by a winding staircase and is still very much in its original state of construction.
William Stratford of Farmcote, settled the Wythall Estate on one of his sons, Ferdinando who married Ursula, the daughter of John Hereford, by Blanche, the daughter of Thomas Kyrie of Walford Court. Their son, John Stratford, a Barrister at Law, married Barbara, the daughter of Edmond Rouse, and died in 1685, aged 81 years. He was succeeded by his son Robert Stratford, another Barrister.
As seems to have been the usual Stratford practice, the male line died out and the Estates went to the Collins Family through heiresses. In the Parish Church of Walford are marble monuments to Ferdinando Stratford, Robert Stratford, and John Stratford of Walford successively, and a brass quartering the Arms of Stratford and Collins.
Sheffield. Walter Overbury Stratford of Farmcote and his second wife Frances Bapters, had issue of nine sons, the youngest of these was George Stratford. He resided at Wootten Warwen, and married a Catholic girl, Sarah Davis. Whether or not the Family disowned him, which I doubt, as his mother was Catholic, or died young, I have no evidence to hand. He certainly disappeared from the Deeds of Farmcote at an early stage as a witness.
Not with standing, he had two sons, John and Thomas, who found themselves apprenticeships in Birmingham.
Thomas Stratford was apprenticed to Matthew Boulton of Soho, Birmingham, and enlisted before his term of contract expired. he was discharged at the Peace after the American War of Independence in 1782, and married a lady named Kelsey, and coming to reside in Spring Street, Sheffield. The Records show that he was a very well built man of 5' 10", with red hair, and a ' gentleman in appearance, whilst his wife was described as a little stumpy thickset woman, and the darkest complection ever seen. Thomas Stratford was employed by Barber and Genn, fender Makers of Spring Street, Sheffield, and joined the Sheffield Volunteers when originally formed, finding his own uniform.
In 1797, on the Feast Day, Mr. Lindley was the Master Cutler, and omitted to invite Thomas Stratford to the said Feast. He is on record as saying I'm as good a man as any that will be there'
He was described as looking what he ought to be, a Gentleman. His pride kept him some what aloof from his fellow workmen. When Barber and genn, during a fall off in trade, discharged many of their workforce, Thomas Stratford was one of them. He sought other employment as a Mason's Assistant, but, not accustomed to the outside weather conditions and the heavy work he contracted Rheumatic Fever and died in 1808, aged 48 years and was buried in the Parish Churchyard, near to the then Girl's School, and left several issue.
William Stratford, the eldest son of the said Thomas, was brought up as a Silversmith, and actually served his time as a Candlestick Hand, but eventually became a Spinner. He married at Rotherham Parish Church, the daughter of William Grey, having issue of sons and a daughter.
Two of the sons of the above William Stratford, William and Henry, became Partners in a Silversmith business, being credited for the invention of Silver Plating, and were established on Church Street, and Bramall Lane, in Sheffield, but afterwards towards the end of his life, William resided at Mosborough, and died on the 18th of April 1859, aged 72 years, being interred at Eckington.
William Stratford, besides being married to the daughter of William Grey, married secondly Mary Withy, Aunt to Frederick Withy Horsefield, who married William Stratford's daughter by his first wife. ( another marriage and Family confusion).
Mary Withys father, a Quaker, became estranged from the Society, and was of the same Family as George Withy, a distinguished Minister of the Society of Friends of Melkstan, County Wiltshire. she claimed descent through her mother from Sir Richard Grevis of Mosley Hall, County Worcester, and her relatives claimed the Estate. She died on the 19th of August 1874.
There are still Branches of the Family living in the Sheffield area who are descended from the afar said Thomas Stratford.
Overstone. This Village is situated in the Speloe Hundred of Northants and the Manor was sold in 1672 to Edward Stratford of Hoarsham Grange and the Merevale Branch, whose son Henry, pulled down the old house, building a new one to replace it, in its own Park, which was sold in 1737, to Sir Thomas Drury, Bart.
There are, situated in the Parish Church, two very large Memorials on either side of the Altar, the workmanship being nearly identical to the Memorials found in Nuneaton Parish Church dedicated to the Stratford Family.
Facing the Attar on the left, a Memorial states:
In Memory of Edward Stratford of Overstone esquire, the second son of Edward Stratford of Hoarsham Grange in the County of Warwick, who was buried near this place with Mary his wife, the daughter of Edward Taylor of Ansty, in the County of Coventry. he died on September the 3rd 1721, aged 87 years, and she died March 6th 1720. Near this place lies also the body of Eleanor, the youngest daughter of the said Edward and Mary Stratford who died December 21st 1718.
Facing the Altar on the right a Memorial is inscribed:
Near this lyeth the body of Frances, the daughter of Thomas Pennruddock, who suffered the Royal Cause at Exeter. she was married to Henry Stratford of Overstone by whom she had two sons and one daughter, Francis, Edward and Arundel, the first of which, Francis died before them lies buried with her, departed this life 1717. Edward died 30th January 1718 in the ninth year of his life.