Lancashire History Quarterly Vol. 3. No. 2 June 1999 (pp. 47-51)

The text remains virtually the same as when published, although a few minor changes have been made, e.g. titles of books are now in italics and some abbreviations are now given in full. This article was sent through to LHQ as hard copy, in pre-email days, and retyped by the editor, Phil Hudson. The occasional erratum made during this process has now been corrected; also silently corrected are errata and well meant but erroneous changes that somehow appeared during the transfer and reproduction of the digital version from LHQ to Peter Duxbury to A DUXBURY Family Website in 2000 and thence to Tony Christopher, webmaster of mylesstandish.info in 2007. Any minor additions to the original text are in bold, initialled HM; these are brief attempts to clarify one or two points retrospectively or refer to future clarifications which will appear asap on this website. The layout, originally in two columns in LHQ, has been adapted accordingly. The page numbers have also changed, and now appear as 1, 2, 3, etc., for ease in any possible future reference by others.

PILGRIM FATHER CAPTAIN MYLES STANDISH OF DUXBURY,

LANCASHIRE AND MASSACHUSETTS

(Part One)

Helen Moorwood

HIS ANCESTRY AND LOST LANDS IN LANCASHIRE


Most Myles Mysteries – Solved


Captain Myles Standish, Lancashire’s most famous American son, entered documented history when he stepped aboard the Mayflower in 1620 to serve as Military Governor of Plymouth, Massachusetts, the fledgling settlement that provided many of the religious and political tenets of the future U.S.A. He held many official positions including Assistant Governor of Plymouth and commander-in-chief of all New England companies until his death in 1656. His heroic exploits were related in several contemporary writings, and many family details were documented in Plymouth colony records. Largely as a result of Longfellow’s 1858 poem, “The Courtship of Myles Standish”, he joined the panoply of early American heroes, and is commemorated by the second highest monument in the U.S. to an individual (surpassed only by George Washington’s), a 14 foot statue atop a 110 foot (116’? - a discrepancy in various accounts in the 19th century. HM) column on Captain’s Hill in Duxbury, Massachusetts.

His name is a household word in New England, but he is barely known in Lancashire outside the Chorley (Duxbury) and Wigan (Standish) area, and even less in the rest of Old England. 

He is commemorated locally only by two unobtrusive memorials in St Wilfrid’s, Standish (a modern stained-glass figure in a crowd and some framed quotations in the vestry), and by an American flag over the Standish pew in St. Laurence’s, Chorley, donated by U.S. soldiers stationed nearby during the Second World War. He is commemorated nationally only by the inclusion of his name on a plaque in Plymouth Harbour, which records the departure of the Mayflower on 6 September, 1620. 

According to old and persistent New England tradition, Duxbury was named after Duxbury Hall, Myles’s ancestral home near Chorley, Lancashire, in honour of him. This tradition, together with details in Clause 9 of his Will (given below), have prompted many attempts to discover the identity of his great-grandfather Standish of Standish and the nature of his close connection to Standish of Duxbury. Three attempts in particular produced remarkable results. The first was in 1846, when Myles’s American descendants engaged I. W. R. Bromley, Esq. to search Chorley and Isle of Man Parish Registers for his baptism and his marriage to his first wife Rose (History of Duxbury, Justin Winsor, 1849), with a view to claiming Duxbury Hall after the male line had died out in 1812 and again in 1840. 

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