Origins of the name

The surname of Strudwicke can be traced back many hundreds of years.

Whilst my own family uses the particular spelling above, the name occurs in a number of different variations.

The name seems to have originated near the Surrey and West Sussex border, and was associated with a place-name, being a derivative of two Old English words:

strod = marshy place and wic = farm or dwelling

The Penguin Dictionary provides the meaning as “dairy farm in marshy bushland”.

A place called “strod wic” appeared in an Anglo-Saxon Charter granting some land near Steyning in AD 965

By 1330, references appear where the place has become associated with individuals, such as the Kirdford, Sussex reference to ‘Boscus de Strodwike’.

Reference also start to appear around this time (1340) to ‘StrodewyKeswood in Kyrdeford’ . This woodland still exists (in part) near the properties in Kirdford called Crouchland farm and Foxbridge, and is now known as Strudgwick Wood

As a surname, very few early references exist, until the 15th century, when it becomes much more prevalent , with a Ric. Strodewyke, witness to a feoffment of a parcel of land, in Kirdford in 1437 . The name also becomes more common in Chiddingfold and in Hambledon a tax collector called John Strodewick is mentioned in 1430

The earliest person I have found with the clear surname is a John Stroudwyk, mentioned in the Sussex Feet of Fines dated 1362.

Early versions of the name of the form Strodewycke and Strodwyk use the ‘o’ reflecting its Old English origins of ‘strod’, however this spelling seems to disappear by the mid 16th century.

Later versions include Strydwyke, Strudgwick, Stradwick, Stredwick, Stridwick,Strudweek, Strudwyck and Strudwycke, most of these spellings disappearing by the mid 17th century

Many other variations occur, some appearing in only one generation, and probably the result of the ‘preferred spelling’ of the particular clerk who made the records, others being associated with many generations of a family.

The various variations of the name fit with the general expansion of the family across Sussex and Surrey and beyond.

Earliest versions of the name in the 15th century do vary in their spelling, but are generally consistent with the pronounciation STRODWICK, ie Strodewyke, Strodwicke,Strodewycke.

This appears to have evolved to STRUDWICK around the end of the 16th century. While variations in spelling are still apparent, the name at this time still follows a common pronounciation , ie Strudwycke, Strudwick, Strudwyke, Strudwicke.

In the early 17th century we start to see larger numbers of the greater Strudwick family appearing in other areas, and this is when we also see a sudden increase in the variety of significant variations.

These variations tend to occur on the first vowel, and so we see Stradwick, Stredwick, Strodwick, Streadwick, Strudwick,Stridwick, and lesser variations of those occurring. Given the range of variation in dialect in the areas these names occur it is likely that the spellings are a result of these different dialects and therefore the interpretation of the particular spelling by the clerk or scribe of the records.

So for instance, we see the name generally pronounced as Stredwick in Kent, whilst in Kirdford the Strudwick version is almost universally retained. As a result, we find a Strudwick from Wisborough Green, who moves to Rochester in Kent and marries, becomes recorded as Stredwick, and when he dies and his will is proved in London, the records show him again as a Strudwick.

These days the name is usually spelt Strudwick, with lesser occurrences of Strudwicke, Stradwick, Stridwick and Stredwick

Throughout the course of this website I generally use the term Strudwicke,(my own name), however, having spent much time researching the family, happily interchange the various spellings, as a particular variant is no guarantee that we are actually dealing with a different branch of the family (at least prior to 1800). Indeed I have several examples of at least four different spellings amongst known members of a single family (in one case three different spellings on one document, catalogued under a further variation of the name).

For a more detailed discourse on the origin of the name see the Sunstruck Forest website of Garry Strudwick

Apart from the evidence drawn from analysis of the origins of the name, it is clear from the many registers indexes and other records of the 16th and 17th century, that the Strudwicke name was most prominent around Kirdford and Wisborough Green in Sussex.

Almost all Strudwicke wills before 1600 were from one or other of these parishes. Also the 1641 Protestation returns, in which all males aged 18 and over were required to make a solemn promise, vow and protestation to defend the true reformed Protestant Religion, identifies that the name was most prominent in this part of Sussex. Of the 28 Strudwicke’s recorded in West Sussex, 12 Strudwick’s out of 304 people were from Kirdford, 4 out of 174 were from Wisborough Green, and 12 Strudwick’s out of 13100 people in the rest of West Sussex.

According to the Kirdford historian, G.H. Kenyon, the Strudwicke heyday was in the years 1550-1650. “Apart from judicious marriages they were skilled, vigorous, enterprising and fertile”.

Kenyon particularly mentioned three yeoman Strudwick families. In one of them, at Hills Green in 1614, there were 8 resident servants, including four StrudwicKs. Kenyon commented “the household had a decidedly patriarchal air”

Over this period, Strudwicks owned 1500 acres and were using 22 farms, about one third of the total number in the Parish.

Also, they had interests in glassmaking (c.1557-1614), in iron forging (c.1584-1662), and in timber. The family attained a position which no other Kirdford farming family has approached during the last 400 years.

They owned three main houses – Crouchlands, Hills Green and Idehurst – all of which they probably rebuilt between 1550 and 1650. Strudwicks owned Crouchlands until at least 1662, Hills Green till 1689, and Idehurst until 1707.

One may obtain some idea of their life style from the probate inventories of two yeoman Strudwicks, Robert of Crouchlands in 1616, and William of Hills Green in 1678.

The earliest Idehurst reference is to Henry Strudwycke of Idehurst yeoman, who owned a glassmaking furnace in Idehurst Copse, and bequeathed it to his two sons in 1557. This branch also owned an iron forge on their land, and Kenyon considered that they were “primarily farmers who worked the hammers when water was available, and the glass when there was no urgent farm call on their labour” .

Other Strudwicke families apart from these main farm strongholds include a William Strudwick who was Mayor of Chichester in 1626 (see Will here) and in Kent, a marriage of a John Strudwick at Canterbury in 1560, while in London, we have the proving of the will of Edmund Stredwick, citizen of the Parish of St Alphege in 1568.

Other Strudwick’s, who are of note, include these three from London. John Strudwick of ‘the sign of the Star’, Holborn Bridge,Holborn, in who’s house John Bunyan died 1688, and was then buried in the Strudwick vault, ( a copy of his Bill head or ‘receipt’ is on the images page) and in 1697 and 1699, two wealthy Strudwicks died – Thomas of Hampstead gent in 1697, and his son William of Cheapside, citizen and clothworker in 1699. Thomas Strudwick was married to Elizabeth Pepys, the cousin of Samuel Pepys, the noted diarist, and is mentioned several times in that tome. All three of these Strudwicke’s were descendants of the Kirdford Strudwicke’s and their wills can be accessed on the Wills & Probate pages.

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