STANDISH OF DUXBURY

6. BIOGRAPHIES

6.1. Alexander Standish[10A1]

6.1. (43) AS Postscript

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

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(43) Postscript

One little secret that promises to be revealed is where Countess Alice lived in Anglezarke. On the assumption that she lived in one of the largest houses, which might have been designated at the time as Anglezarke Hall or the Manor House or something similar, I paid a visit to the modern Manor House in Anglezarke, labelled as such on my copy of the Ordnance Survey large-scale map (Pathfinder 700 [SD 61/71] Bolton (North) & Horwich, 2 1/2 in to 1 mile - 4 cm to 1 km, 1:25 000).

The house was obviously rather old in parts but extensively renovated. It was also rather remote, the last house on a road leading up onto Anglezarke Moor, with no road beyond, but providing a sweeping view over the plain below. The view, one presumes, would hardly have compensated for inaccessibility to AS, although she could have hung a sheet at a window as a signal to be seen from Duxbury. A brief chat to the current tenant farmer and a United Utilities van whizzing up and down the road revealed all. I was certainly not standing in front of Countess Alice’s abode, but I was looking down at the history of the Duxburys and Standishes of Duxbury from their beginnings through to Countess Alice’s residence in Anglezarke, and way beyond. Her former manor is now a Utility.

United Utilities is the latest name, since privatisation, of what for much of the 20th century was called the North Western Water Board, similarly to the North Western Electricity Board (Norweb) becoming Powergen and getting mixed up with the North Western Gas Board. (Having been direct debited with sums owed to all of these over the years, I was more than vaguely aware of this.) United Utilities inherited the ownership of Anglezarke with all its reservoirs, sold by the Standishes to Liverpool in the 19th century. Norweb had an interest in Duxbury on the site of The Pele, the main residence of the Standishes from c.1300 to c.1600, on which it built a training centre. The Gas Board also inherited (although these were not in view) all the gas-related properties managed by all my Duxbury Gas Managers in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The only qualification for this Manor House bearing this name today is the lintel above the front door, a huge piece of stone with Manor House chiselled into it and incorporated here during one renovation. This had come, I was informed, from the original Manor House, the site of which was pointed out in the region of a very large corrugated iron roof on a building at the south end of Healey Nab. This hill had been overrun and devastated by Scottish ‘marauders’ in the early 14th century, which led to Hugh de Standish (who owned it) building his Pele tower in north Duxbury in 1319 for some protection during any future raids. It was beyond the ancient boundaries of Anglezarke, so was presumably the Manor House in Healey (although Healey was not a manor but part of Heapey) and therefore not the house lived in by Countess Alice, although this cannot have been far away.

A re-perusal of the earliest estate maps of Anglezarke in the Lancashire Record Office might allow a future identification of her house, which I strongly suspect might have been on the site of The Cliffs, with the latest version still there today. Previous versions were owned by the Standishes long before AS bought the manor in the early 17th century, and used as a dower house for widows. In any case she must have lived in one of the 12 messuages with 12 gardens mentioned in AS’s Inquisition, and I was standing in front of another, with several surviving 16th century features. I had also just passed the site of the water-mill mentioned and through some of the “240 acres of land, 30 acres of meadow, 130 acres of pasture, 8 acres of wood, 500 acres of furze and heath, 200 acres of moor”, also mentioned. The “100 acres of marsh” were drained long ago and are now the reservoirs.

This happened so recently, with no time for follow up, but for me this day and the next encapsulated so many elements of previous and future research. This visit took place in the morning of Thursday, 4 September 2003 on my way from Darwen to Preston Station to catch a train to London, with the intention of spending an hour or so before closing time at 5 o’clock in the British Library (next door to King’s Cross-St Pancras) before meeting my daughter at The Globe for an evening performance of The Taming of the Shrew. The reason for the delay of this particular train and for all passengers being subjected to a security check, was that Queen Elizabeth II was hitched onto it, travelling from Glasgow to London. I never saw any trace of her or the Royal Coach (security precautions were obviously efficacious), but was equipped with a quip that I had travelled to London with the Queen. My main thoughts, however, were more with Elizabeth I rather than II. I made it to the British Library a little later than predicted, but in time to order several Elizabethan MS documents for perusal the next day, and The Globe to see a magical all-female performance of an Elizabethan play.

At Euston we had, of course, arrived at a normal platform, but it could well have been platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross, because it had been a rather Harry Potterish sort of day. The visit to Anglezarke had been preceded by a quick visit to Brinscall, mentioned above as the home for many years of Thomas Hoghton, killed during the ‘affray at Lea’ in 1589 and replete with secret tunnels.

The next day saw me poring over many manuscripts from his day that contained the names of so many of his and AS’s friends, which will appear under the name of Robert Glover, a herald at the College of Arms, who knew the Shakespeares, the Ardens and Ardernes (of Warwickshire and Cheshire) and the Earls of Derby - Glover visited the Ardernes of Cheshire in 1566 and 1580 and was with Henry the 4th Earl on his mission to France in 1585. I knew this already, but reading some of the original MSS was still quite a thrill, because he was obviously such a key figure for ‘Shakespeare in Lancashire’.

The real little thrill, however, came from one of their two copies of Sir William Stanley's Garland, the ballad about his travels, published c.1800 (BL 1078 e14). My main reason was to assess whether it was worth shelling out a lot of money for a photograph of the wood-block picture of him on the frontispiece, as the only known depiction of him apart from his portrait at Knowsley Hall. It wasn’t - it was so small, blurred and fudgy it could have been of anyone. So this William will remain known to us only from his portrait on a wall at Knowsley Hall where he is joined by Countess Alice, despite all their squabbles during their lives. The little thrill came when I saw the other ballads with which it had been bound, a motley assortment that increasingly read (to me, at least) as a not so random collection, but all associated somehow with this William Stanley and Shakespeare. The first was “The Northern Lord”, which included a Jew claiming a pound of flesh; the next “King Edward IV and the Tanner of Tamworth”, a place that very much enters Shakespeare’s story; then came “Sir William’s Garland”; two others were “The Liverpool Tragedy” (the Stanleys owned half of Liverpool) and “The Yorkshire Tragedy” (the title of one of the plays in the Shakespeare Apocrypha); and the last one the story of a young man born in Cheshire, who went to London as an apprentice and then on to have adventures in Turkey, a country where William Stanley also had a few adventures. Some day I will take another close look at this. That day I had a plane to catch.

[To my regret, I have never found time to follow up any of these stories. However, as soon as I have published - in books or on this website - everything that has been accumulating on my computer, I intend to pursue these various leads. 2013 HM]

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