6.1. Alexander Standish[10A1]

6.1. (30) AS The Standish Pew

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


(30) The Standish pew

[There is a rather magnificent free-standing carved wooden Standish pew in St Laurence’s, which includes a coat-of-arms quartered by many other arms of previous heiresses. A photograph appears on; also a depiction and description of the coat-of-arms, repeated on this website under MISCELLANEOUS. It has long been generally accepted that the pew was commissioned by AS in c.1600. 2013 HM]

The Duxbury arms entered the shield of the Standishes of Duxbury after an ancestor had taken over the manor from the Duxburys c.1380. The Butler, Lawrence and Washington arms all entered when AS’s grandfather James married a Butler heiress in 1526. A simplified pedigree chart of this Butler family appears in Honigmann, 1985 (p. 147), who detected that this family was relevant in the ‘Shakespeare in Lancashire’ story. His main concern was an attempt to ascertain how the poet John Weever of Preston could have been the nephew of Henry Butler of Rawcliffe, to whom he dedicated an epigram in 1599 as his uncle. Honigmann gives three Butler daughters and heiresses, Elizabeth, Ellen and Isabel. Isabel’s daughter Ann married Sir Gilbert Gerard, Queen Elizabeth’s Master of the Rolls, who appeared in a document above. Honigmann did not perceive that Isabel’s sister Elizabeth Butler married James Standish of Duxbury in 1526, but it seems that this marriage brings AS yet again into ‘Shakespeare in Lancashire’ as one of the (so far) missing links.

Let us note a few more details pertaining to the Standish pew in Chorley. Any visitor today will be impressed by this, but may perhaps be perplexed by the Stars and Stripes above it. (This has moved about over the past half-century, following the movements of the Standish pew.) The reason for the flag is Myles Standish:

(i) During the Second World War many American troops were stationed in the vicinity of Chorley. Many of them visited Duxbury, ‘knowing’ that one of their founding fathers had come from here. Many also attended a Thanksgiving ceremony in Chorley Parish Church in 1942. As a result of this, a flag arrived in Chorley twenty-five years later, with the accompanying letter:


December 4, 1967

Honorable James R. Grover, Jr.

House of Representatives

Washington, D. C.

My dear Congressman Grover:

This is to certify that the

accompanying flag has flown over the

United States Capitol.

 Sincerely yours,


J. George Stewart

Architect of the Capitol

(The original letter is preserved at St Laurence’s, Chorley)


(ii) There was apparently an American flag hanging in Chorley before this:

Above the Standish pew there is hung an American flag, the gift of a U.S.A. contingent in acknowledgement of the kindness of the Rector in placing the church at their disposal for a service on thanksgiving Day, 1942.

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


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