6.1. Alexander Standish[10A1]

6.1. (19) AS 1586: Gray’s Inn

Helen Moorwood 2013

N.B. By clicking on the coloured title you can return to the original articles written in early 2004 and placed by Peter Duxbury on A Duxbury Family Website in March 2004, where it still is, under:

Helen's Story: from Duxbury to Shakespeare. The story of William Shakespeare's Lancashire Ancestry, by Helen Moorwood

10. The Biography of Alexander Standish

N.B. Most of this still stands, but where appropriate the 2004 version is now updated below by interspersed commentary in square brackets and italics. Some reformatting was necessary, and the occasional typo – whether by Peter or myself - has been silently corrected. Asap a shorter narrative version of his biography will appear, based, of course, on all details and documents in this file. Meanwhile, this is part (19) of (1) to (45) AS. [2013 HM]


(19) 1586: Gray's Inn

1586, 1 November. AS was recorded as admitted at Gray’s Inn, London (see Venn above). As he was only 16, this might seem a little young, and it might have been the other Alexander, aged 19. [This discrepancy in 2004 in ages was clarified above. It hardly matters at exactly what age he was there. 2013] However, let us assume for the moment, along with Venn, that it was AS, who was laying down the family tradition of progression from Rivington Grammar School to Cambridge to Gray’s Inn, followed by AS’s sons Thomas and Alexander. A list of contemporaries at Gray’s Inn at relevant times might reveal a few interesting potential acquaintances. It has often been noted that this was the favourite Inn of Court for any Lancashire men studying law. It is also the one that appears most frequently in Shakespeare literature as later staging Shakespeare’s plays and was also the Inn attended by many young aristocrats, including Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, Shakespeare’s dedicatee of his two major poems in 1593 and 1594. Perhaps we can assume that AS stayed here for a couple of years or more, enjoying all the pleasures offered by London, as well as studying law?

As far as I am aware, no one has produced a list of all recorded as attending Gray’s Inn in 1586-88, who had arrived there from Queens’ College, Cambridge along with AS, but offer the following snippet for starters, buried deep in a myriad of entries in a much valued book:

Misfortunes of Arthur, The A tragedy by Thomas Hughes, first performed by the Gentlemen of Gray’s Inn for Elizabeth at Greenwich in 1588. It was published the previous year. The full title, The Misfortunes of Arthur (Uther Pendragon’s Son) Reduced into Tragical Notes, gives a hint of the form. It begins with the begetting of Arthur on Igerna by Uther and traces the story of King Arthur’s reign and death in five acts and an epilogue. Thomas Hughes of Gray’s Inn had been a fellow of Queens’ College, Cambridge.

(The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English, (Ed.) Ian Ousby, 1988, p. 670.)

One might presume that AS would have been aware of this publication and production, whether or not he took part. One might also presume that he took an interest in all the legends that associated Arthur with Lancashire.


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