6.1. Alexander Standish[10A1]

6.1. (23) AS 1590: Henry Butler and Lord Burghley

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 (23) of (1) to (45) AS. [2013 HM]


(23) 1590: Henry Butler and Lord Burghley

One can perhaps minimally assume that by this time AS had started to take an active interest in local events.

c. 1590. Around this time Thomas(2) had a dispute with Henry Butler. The dispute is not important, but Thomas’s contact to Henry Butler is.

Interrogatories relating to Copthurst in Heapey, in dispute between Thomas Standisshe esq. and Henry Butler, esq. c.1590. (Catalogue: DP397/13/14.)

Henry Butler, Esquire was of Outer Rawcliffe, between Preston and Lancaster, but obviously had lands in Heapey near Chorley. He was identified as potentially important in the ‘Shakespeare in Lancashire’ story by Honigmann, who gives a simplified pedigree chart of the family (Honigmann, 1985, p. 147.) The main importance for Honigmann was that John Weever claimed him as an uncle and dedicated an epigram to him in 1599. The main importance for Thomas Standish(2) was that they owned lands in the same place, which led to a dispute. The main importance in general is that they obviously met, which brings the Standishes of Duxbury yet again into the ‘Shakespeare in Lancashire’ story. The main ancestral connection, which had perhaps led to this dispute, was that AS’s grandfather James Standish of Duxbury had married one of four Butler of Rawcliffe co-heiresses in 1526, and the division of the estates involved many gentry families during the following generations. Farrer gives the basic details in VCH, vol. 8, p. 52, under his account of Ashton with Stodday, near Lancaster, where the four heiresses inherited some of their lands. The other daughters and their children married into all the usual families.

1590. In this year Sir William Cecil, Lord Burghley, Elizabeth’s chief minister, had a map of Lancashire drawn up, marking known recusants with an ominous cross. Stepfather Thomas(2) did not receive a cross, whereas his kinsman Edward Standish of Standish did. Confusingly, Thomas was also named Edward, although “of Duxbury” and firmly placed in Duxbury. Might one detect from this that Thomas was not as prominent locally as Edward, nor known nationally as a prominent recusant, and that he had already decided to conform? Or might one not? At the very least, this map has been detected by all exploring Lancashire history as vital in one way or another, has been reproduced in many places (Bagley, Maps and Enos, for starters), and the biographical notes in the first publication of it desperately need updating in some cases, certainly those on Thomas Standish. (Joseph Gillow, Lord Burghley’s Map of Lancashire, with notes on the Designated Manorial Lands, Biographical and General Brief Histories of their estates, Coligite Fragmenta ne Pereant, London, printed privately, 1907, 206 copies, 8s. Several of these 206 copies are in Lancashire libraries.)

1590 was also the year that saw AS aged nineteen turning twenty [or twenty-three, if born in 1567], with a solid education behind him, including a sojourn in London with many fellow students from Cambridge. He had relatives back in Lancashire split between staunch Catholic recusants, who sent their sons to be educated at Douai/ Rheims, others who were Church Papists, i.e. remained Catholic in their hearts but were prepared to attend Anglican services as required, and some who had espoused Protestantism and already moved several steps towards Puritanism. At the same time, he must have been under some pressure from his parents to marry as soon as possible and produce a son and heir.

1591. More severe anti-recusant laws, largely directed at Lancashire.

1591-2. Whichever of these were uppermost in AS’s mind, he returned to Lancashire and marriage.


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