John Stradling 1563 - 1637

From Book Owners Online

Sir John STRADLING 1st bart 1563-1637

Biographical Note

John Stradling was born at St Georges near Bristol, the son of Francis and Elizabeth Stradling. He was educated at Brasenose College Oxford, and then went to live with his cousin Sir Edward Stradling at St Donat's Castle, Glamorganshire. He married Elizabeth Gage in 1599, and became a baronet in 1611. John Stradling was a learned man with several publications to his name including scholarly translations and a volume of Latin epigrams. In 1608, he founded Cowbridge Grammar School and the following year, upon the death of his cousin, who was childless, he inherited the wealthy St Donat's estate. He was heavily involved in local politics, and became a Member of Parliament for Glamorgan in 1625. On his death, his eldest son, another Edward, inherited the estate and baronetcy. The line continued until the 6th baronet Thomas Stradling whereupon it became extinct on his death in 1738.


The Stradling Library at St Donat's was celebrated since Elizabethan times, being compared as even larger than that of Thomas Mansel 1667-1723 at neighbouring Margam Abbey. The magnificence of his manuscript and book collection was the subject of much contemporary praise evidenced in the Stradling Correspondence archive in the National Library of Wales and also later endorsed in the writings of Anthony Wood, the Oxford scholar and book collector. The Stradling Library was founded by Sir John's cousin, Sir Edward (1529 – 1609), who was considered a learned man of many virtues, and it is likely that John Stradling continued to build up the collection which was the subject of many requests for loans from his acquaintances. Sir Edward's will specifies that he bequeathed "all my librarie of bookes and writings wholly" to his cousin and heir.

There is no surviving catalogue, although the collection of printed books almost certainly included, as well as Sir John's own publications, the classical authors, Italian works, Welsh poetry and many works of history including at least one edition of Camden’s Britannia to which he contributed a Latin epigram. Specified in Sir Edward's will was an instruction to his heir to distribute copies of Sion Dafydd Rhys's Cambrobrytannicae Cymraecaeve linguae institutione (a British grammar), a title which received financial support from the Stradling family. No bookplate has been identified from this period. The library became depleted by the end of the seventeenth century and was probably dispersed after 1738, following the death of the last baronet and the sale of the estate.


  • Thomas, G.C.G. The Stradling Library at St. Donats, Glamorgan. National Library of Wales journal. 1986;24:402 - 19.