The Stratfords
By Gerald H. Stratford.

Chapter 9. The Cotswold Games, The Dovers and Stratford.

In May 1594, John Sandford of Lower Heyford married Sibella Cole, who came from a large Family, mostly who appeared to be Members of the Clergy. One of the daughters of this marriage, Abigail, married Henry Stratford of Hawling and this caused another complicated double relationship for her two nieces, and the daughter in law of Margaret, the daughter of William Combe, relatives of the Combe's of Stratford upon Avon, and William Shakespeare.

The two daughters, Abigail Dover, named after he Aunt, and Sibella Dover, named after her Mother, were born at Saintbury and in 1628, they married George and Anthony Stratford, eventually of Meesden in Hertfordshire, the two sons of Richard Stratford of Hawling, which is probably better explained by showing the following Pedigree.


  • Richard Stratford of Hawling = Margaret Combs.
    • Henry = Abigail Cole
    • Richard = Alice Churcham
      • Henry
      • Richard
      • Anthony=Abigail Dover
      • George=Sibella Dover
    • John = Biddell

In marrying the two brothers Anthony and George Stratford, Abigail and Sibella Dover, were intact, marrying the two nephews of their own Aunt Abigail, Robert Dover's sister in law, who had, married Henry Stratford in 1583.

The John Stratford mentioned in the Dubrensia printed in 1636, could be of Farmcote, but may have been the son of Richard who married Biddell. It is really now nearly impossible to tell for certain, but who ever he was he certainly had had a very good education, especially in Greek Mythology.

Robert Dover addresses him as ' Dear Cosen ' and the family relationship was substantial enough to make me think the John concerned was the third son of Richard Stratford of Hawling, as he must have been in the area to have attended the Dover Cotswold Games, arranged by Robert Dover, and it most unlikely he would be so far away in London, or elsewhere to be involved to such a degree as he was.

Clement Barksdale, a Cotswold Poet, writing about the Cotswold Games, along with Anthony A. Wood, describes Mr Henry and Mr Richard Stratford as The Hopes of Hawling ' the book previously mentioned called Annalia Dubrensia, upon the yearly celebration of Mr. Robert Dover's Olympia games, printed in 1636 conatins poems by several people already mentioned. These include Thomas Sandford and John Stratford, and when read can we imagine the great intelligence and education that John Stratford must have had to be able to output such knowledge and brilliancy of his submitted poem?

The two brothers Anthony and George Stratford, must have married in about the year 1628, but as yet their Marriage entry has not been forth coming or in any Parish records. The Herald's Visitations for Hertfordshire for 1634 show us that both were married and that Sibella had by then a daughter aged 4 years named after Richard's second wife Katherine, and the fact that the two sisters were daughters of Robert Dover of Childswickam County Gloucestershire.

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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.