Alexander Standish[10A1]

(27) A.S. 2004

(27) AS 1596: A Soldier?

Helen Moorwood 2013

N.B. By clicking on the coloured title you can return to the original article 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

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


(27) 1596: a soldier

1596. Alexander Standish was at the head of troops, “in command of a force to face potential Irish invasion” (Walker, Duxbury in Decline, p. 15). Was this AS from Family A or the other Alexander from Family B? It hardly seems to matter. At the very least it connects Standish of Duxbury with military activities and musterings by William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby, whose published history so far provides conflicting reports about being proposed for a command in The Netherlands and/ or Ireland, being forbidden to depart for either country, leaving the country again at some point in the company of John Donne in France, not leaving the country, busy writing plays in London in 1599, etc..

His very first dedicated biography is due to appear in 2004 in The New DNB. I have great faith that this will come as close as possible to whatever of the truth is still detectable today, written by Professor Leo Daugherty, who is a Shakespeare biography expert, has read widely about the proposal of William Stanley as an Alternative Authorship Candidate for some of Shakespeare’s works and has followed closely the ‘Shakespeare in Lancashire’ controversy. My faith comes from extended correspondence with him on several William Stanley matters and conundrums, which we have attempted to thrash out together. His conclusions will remain his, but at long last we will have the biography of another enigmatic figure who was so obviously an integral a part of Shakespeare's and AS’s lives.

Meanwhile, in 1596, we have AS (or his kinsman Alexander?) at the head of troops mustered by William Stanley, along with a few thousand more - Lancashire records show that the county could drum up about 7000 within a few days throughout the whole of the 16th century. (All surviving lists were published by Harland, J., ed., The Lancashire Lieutenancy under the Tudors and Stuarts, parts i and ii, Chetham Society Old Series, xlix and l, 1849.) The Standishes of Duxbury were always there with about 200 troops, and everyone else (gentry) in the ‘Duxbury to Shakespeare’ story was also there, with varying numbers that indicate the number of able-bodied tenants.

In 1595-9 Shakespeare was busy writing plays for performance in London (and dodging taxes in London and buying property in Stratford) and John Weever was busy studying in Cambridge and perhaps already writing some of his epigrams. AS was busy producing a few children, who died young, and he was all set to defend Lancashire from an Irish invasion. The Irish did not invade England, but the other way round.

[This is one section which now needs re-writing, for two reasons:

1)      Professor Daugherty’s biography of William Stanley duly appeared in the New/Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, digital 2004, print 2007.

2)      There is another strong contestant for the Alexander at the head of troops in 1596: Captain Myles’s father. We will remember that Myles’s son and heir was Alexander, which makes it more than likely that this was also the name of Myles’s father. Myles was also reported by a contemporary as “the son of a soldier”.

Full accounts will appear in appropriate places in the folder MYLES STANDISH.2013 HM]


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