6.1. Alexander Standish[10A1]

6.1. (32) AS 1604: Alice’s Death

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


(32) 1604: Alice's death

1604, ?c.17-20 October. AS’s last son Alexander was born, which left Alice on her deathbed. No baptismal record of Alexander has survived, perhaps lost in the gap in Chorley Parish records until 1611. “By October 1604 she (Alice) bore her tenth child, a son; she died on 21 October at eight o’clock in the morning. She was thirty years old.” (Walker, Duxbury in Decline, p. 13.) Porteus noted elsewhere:

There is a curious document which gives an account of her last moments by a doctor, who was probably a clergyman as well. It includes an acrostic poem on her virtues, and records her final request to her husband, “Love, God be with you. I pray you bring up my boys in the fear of God, and let them have learning I pray you. And marry whom you will, and when you please, but when you look on Ralph and Alexander, think on me”.

(Porteus, A Short History of Chorley Parish Church, c.1946, p. 35.)

AS never married again, despite Alice’s expectation that he would, but he did let his sons have learning. One wonders who wrote the acrostic poem. Might it have been AS himself, indulging in the same fashionable pursuit as Ben Jonson about Margaret Radcliffe and Sir John Salusbury about his sister-in-law Dorothy? And who was the doctor cum clergyman? Might it have been Rev. William Leigh? It seems likely that Porteus’s original source might be a manuscript buried somewhere in thirty boxes of Porteus MSS deposited by his son in the 1950s at the L.R.O.. Maybe these will be catalogued some day and reveal a few more gems?

[I have not yet been able to locate the MS giving this acrostic poem, referred to by Porteus. There is no duplicate in the Standish of Duxbury Muniments. The fact that only sons Ralph[11A3] and Alexander[11A4] are mentioned provides the strong implication that son Richard[11A2] had already died. This leaves us still wondering about the identity of the Richard buried at Chorley in 1628. One contestant is Richard[12A3], a grandson of AS, born in 1621.]

1604, 21 October. Alice was buried in the north chancel of St Laurence’s, Chorley, according to AS’s will of 1622, in which he expressed a desire to be buried near her.

As he did not take another wife, one automatically looks around his family to see who might have brought up his little sons and daughters, and the most obvious candidate is his sister Ellen, who never married. She was certainly remembered with affection by AS’s son Ralph[11A3] as Aunt Ellen when he wrote his will in 1637.


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