Sir James Strangways


Born: James Strangways or Strangeways was born in about 1410. His parents were James Strangways and Jan Orell of West Harlsey. His father was a lawyer.


Educated:  Not recorded.


Married: In 1431 James Strangways married Elizabeth Darcy (1417 – c.1460) the daughter of Philip Darcy and Eleanor Fitzhugh. Elizabeth’s family were connected with several leading Northern families. Elizabeth died in 1460 and a few years later James married Elizabeth Bulmer, the widow of William Bulmer. She was the daughter of Robert Eure of Bradley near Wolsingham.


Family: James Strangways’ eldest son was Sir Richard Strangways.


Home: The Strangways, family home was West Harlsey but as someone who was actively involved in politics and the doings of the Neville family he must have spent much of his time elsewhere.


Known for: James Strangways was appointed Sheriff of Yorkshire in 1445-6 and was knighted at around this time. In 1449 he entered parliament as a knight of the shire for Yorkshire. In the 15th century it was the norm for a man of his standing to become closely associated with one of the great landed families of the realm. James Strangways association with the Nevilles drew him into the Yorkist cause during the Wars of the Roses. He was involved on the Yorkist side in several battles, including Wakefield (1460) and Towton (1461). The Yorkist ascendancy that resulted from the Battle of Towton led to Sir James being appointed speaker of the House of Commons. There he made a speech calling for King Henry VI to be deposed and Edward to be crowned as King Edward IV.


Died: Sir James Strangways died in or before August 1480.


Further Information:  “Sir James Strangeways of West Harlsey and Whorlton” J.S.Roskell in the Yorkshire Archaeological Journal vol.39 (1965-58)  Dictionary of National Biography