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Stradling, Edward (DNB00)


STRADLING, Sir EDWARD (1529–1609), scholar and patron of literature, born in 1529, was the eldest son of Sir Thomas Stradling [q. v.] He studied at Oxford, but left without graduating, and travelled on the continent, spending some time at Rome. Owing to an old family connection with the Arundels, he was elected in April 1554 M.P. for Steyning, and in 1557–8 for Arundel. He succeeded to the estates in 1573, was knighted in 1575, was sheriff of Glamorganshire for 1573, 1581, and 1593, and was appointed in 1578 one of the county commissioners for the suppression of piracy (Cal. State Papers, Dom., under 19 Sept. 1578; cf. Clark, Cartæ de Glamorgan, ii. 347). Stradling and three other Glamorganshire gentlemen were deputy lieutenants of Pembrokeshire from 1590 to 1595, owing to the then disturbed state of that country (Cowen, Pembrokeshire, p. 167). According to Wood (Athenæ Oxon. ii. 50), Stradling was ‘at the charge of such Herculean works for the public good that no man in his time went beyond him for his singular knowledge in the British language and antiquities, for his eminent encouragement of learning and learned men, and for his great expense and indefatigable industry in collecting together several ancient manuscripts of learning and antiquity, all which, with other books, were reduc'd into a well-ordered library at St. Donat's.’

In 1572 he compiled an account of ‘The Winning of the Lordship of Glamorgan out of the Welshmen's Hands,’ a copy of which he sent by the hand of his kinswoman, Blanch Parry, who was maid of honour to Queen Elizabeth, to David Powell [q. v.] Powell incorporated it (at pp. 122–41) in his edition of Humphrey Llwyd's ‘Historie of Cambria’ (London, 1584, 4to). In the introduction Powell also says that he was ‘greatlie furthered’ in the compilation of the pedigrees by Stradling's ‘painefull and studious travell.’ Stradling is also mentioned by Lewys Dwnn (Her. Vis. i. 331, ii. 87) among those who had written on the history or genealogies of the whole of Britain, and his name is placed first among the ‘aristocracy,’ by whom he was permitted to see ‘old records and books from religious houses that had been written and their materials collected by abbots and priors’ (ib. i. 8). These must have included the register of Neath Abbey, which was in Stradling's possession in 1574, but is now lost (Merrick, Morganiæ Archaiographia, ed. 1887, p. iv). In 1645–6 Archbishop Ussher sojourned for almost a year at St. Donat's, where ‘he spent his time chiefly in the library, which had been collected by Sir Edward Stradling, a great antiquary and friend of Mr. Cambden's; and out of some of these MSS. the L. Primate made many choice collections of the British or Welch antiquity,’ which in 1686 were in the custody of Ussher's biographer, Richard Parr (Life of Ussher, p. 60).

Stradling's best known service to literature was that of bearing the whole expense of the publication of Dr. John Dafydd Rhys's Welsh grammar or ‘Cambrobrytannicæ Linguæ Institutiones’ (London, 1592, fol.) [see under Rhys, Ioan Dafydd]. Meurig Dafydd, a Glamorgan poet, addressed an ode or cywydd to Stradling and Rhys on the publication of the grammar, and refers to the former as a master of seven languages (Y Cymmrodor, iv. 221–4, where the cywydd is printed).

Stradling also spent large sums on public improvements. To check the encroachments of the sea on the Glamorganshire coast he built in 1606 a sea-wall at Aberthaw, which was, however, completely destroyed by a great storm a few months later. At Merthyrmawr he constructed an aqueduct, and seems to have attempted a harbour at the mouth of the Ogmore. He had also a vineyard on his estate. Death intervened before he had arranged the endowment of a grammar school which he established at Cowbridge, but his intentions were carried out by his heir (Arch. Cambr. 2nd ser. v. 182–6).

He died without issue on 15 May 1609, leaving his estate to his adopted son and great-nephew, Sir John Stradling [q. v.], who had married his wife's niece. He was buried in the private chapel at St. Donat's, where his heir and his widow Agnes, second daughter of Sir Edward Gage of Hengrave, Suffolk, whom he married in 1566, placed an inscription to his memory; she died 1 Feb. 1624, and was buried in the same chapel.

Many letters addressed to Stradling by Walsingham, Sir Henry Sidney, Oliver, first lord St. John of Bletsoe, and others were published in 1840, from transcripts preserved at Margam, under the title of ‘Stradling Correspondence,’ edited, by J. Montgomery Traherne (London, 8vo).

[In addition to the authorities cited, see Collins's Baronetage, ed. 1720, i. 32–4, which has also been closely followed in G. T. Clark's Limbus Patrum Morganiæ, p. 437. Many details are also gleaned from Sir John Stradling's Epigrams and the Stradling Correspondence. See also Williams's Eminent Welshmen, p. 474.]

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