6.1. Alexander Standish[10A1]

6.1. (11) AS The Hoghton Uncles

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


(11) The Hoghton uncles

AS’s mother Margaret Hoghton(1) was one of six illegitimate, but fully recognised and acknowledged daughters of Sir Richard (de) Hoghton (1498-1559). Two of these turned out to be crucial in bringing the Standishes to centre stage in the Hoghton and ‘Shakespeare in Lancashire’ stories: one was Margaret(1), AS’s mother, and another was one of the Elizabeths, who had married another Standish of Duxbury. This marriage was to Laurence[8C1], the uncle of AS’s stepfather Thomas(2), to confuse all these relationships even more. This, indeed, was one of the confusions that led to 19th century muddles, as it was not recognised that this was a marriage contracted when Laurence and Elizabeth were very young. They did consummate the marriage, but the male line died out when their only surviving son Laurence left no children. (Records in Chorley Parish Registers.)

Sir Richard had four wives: by his first wife Alice, daughter of Sir Thomas Assheton of Ashton there were two surviving sons, Thomas ‘The Exile’ and Alexander ‘of the 1581 will’. By his second wife Alice Morley there were also at least two sons: Thomas (TH, potential host of Shakespeare and later killed at the ‘affray at Lea’) and Rowland (who played no further part in the story). It seems there were no surviving sons by his third wife Elizabeth Gregson of Balderstone and that most of the illegitimate children were by his mistress Anne, daughter of Roger Browne (place of origin unknown but presumably local), who became his fourth wife when the third one died. At this point the illegitimate children were legitimised retrospectively.

The husbands of five illegitimate daughters of Sir Richard Hoghton are given as

 “Cuthbert Clifton of Lytham, Nicholas Skillicorne of Preese, Standish of Duxbury, William Haydock of Cottam and Robert Talbot, natural son of John Talbot of Salesbury”

(J. H. Lumby, A Calendar of the Deeds and Papers in the possession of Sir James de Hoghton, Bart. of Hoghton Tower , Lancashire (LCRS, 1926, vol. 88), Deed no. 45, note at the bottom of the page.)

Honigmann (1985, p. 146) gives “at least two” illegitimate daughters: Elizabeth, wife of Robert Talbot, a trustee of the fund in Alexander Hoghton’s will of 1581 that was to provide annuities to William Shakeshafte, etc., and another Elizabeth. This second Elizabeth also married a Standish of Duxbury - marriage settlement Laurence Standish and Elizabeth Hoghton 20 November 1531, Lumby, no. 1391 (also abstracted by Farrer under his account of the Standishes of Duxbury, VCH vol. 6).

The same document also gives details of six illegitimate sons of Sir Richard:

Richard Hoghton the elder, commonly called of the Cawsey; Leonard Hoghton of Grimsargh whose daughter Bridget married Stanley of the Moor Hall [Lumby adds: ? in Woodplumpton, but it was definitely Moor Hall in Aughton, according to Ormskirk Parish Registers, which gives baptisms of Edward Stanley’s children], who had Peter and Thomas; Richard Hoghton the younger who had issue William who had issue John now of the Parkhall; Arthur Hoghton of Grimsargh who hath issue male; Gilbert Hoghton of Stanworth who had issue Richard of the Red Lee (in Tockholes); and Edward of Smithybottom (in Ribchester) of both of whom there is issue remaining.

This information was given “in a volume of pedigrees now in the British Museum (BM Addl. MSS 32114, ff o 85d & 86), by Towneley on information supplied to him by William Hoghton of Grimsargh” (perhaps one of the “issue male” of Arthur of Grimsargh?).

One vital point is that this information was given by a close member of the Hoghton family of the next generation, who actually knew these families, and was almost certainly recorded by Christopher Towneley, whose reputation as a meticulous recorder was impeccable at the time and has been fairly impeccable ever since. His informant William Hoghton of Grimsargh seems to have had one slip of memory in his accounting for all of Sir Richard Hoghton’s illegitimate children. He gave only one daughter as marrying a Standish of Duxbury, when extant documents prove that two of them married into this family. A slight slip, and totally forgivable, as Laurence and Elizabeth’s family in Duxbury had died out by the end of the 16th century. Meanwhile, we can only be grateful for William Hoghton’s otherwise presumably sound personal knowledge, and Towneley’s recording of this.

Another vital point was that this provided a list of AS’s uncles and aunts from his mother’s side and among them were three extremely interesting names: Clifton, Talbot and Haydock. The Cliftons were the largest land-owning family in the Fylde and the Talbots of the Ribble Valley were the family that produced the Earls of Shrewsbury. The first one and his son had prominent roles in Henry VI Part 1, and the current one, married to Bess of Hardwick, was the guardian of Mary Queen of Scots at Chatsworth.


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