6.4. Alexander Standish of Duxbury[11A4] (1604-1662>1664)

Helen Moorwood 2013

6.4. (6) A4 1642-1651: Civil Wars

The Blank Years of brother Thomas’s biography from 1638-1640 apply also to Alexander. Then came Thomas’s election as an MP for Preston in 1640 until the outbreak of Civil War two years later. The tragic family events of 1642 are told in more detail in brother Thomas the MP’s biography: nephew Captain Thomas[12A1], in the Royalist ‘trained band’ under James Stanley, Lord Strange, was killed by a sniper’s bullet during the Siege of Manchester in mid-September and the next month his “zealous Parliamentarian” father Thomas the MP died (buried 29 October 1642, “Thomas Standish de Duxbury Arr:”). During this month William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby had also died at Chester on 29th September, leaving son James as 7th Earl. William’s body stayed there until after the Civil Wars, when it was moved to the family Chapel at Ormskirk. At least Thomas Standish the MP and William Stanley the 6th Earl were spared the agony of the Civil Wars. Thomas had lost his eldest son by a gunshot wound at the outbreak of war; William’s eldest son was to lose his head under an axe at the very end of the war. We have no idea where Alexander[11A4] was at any time during the Civil Wars. All that we know is that he survived – and we know quite a lot about things that happened to his nearest and presumably dearest.

For quite a long time I presumed that it was his wife who was buried anonymously at Chorley as “___vx: Alexandri Standish de Dux.”  on 11 April 1644. However, having now discovered more about A4, it seems far more likely that this was the first wife of his nephew Colonel Alexander[12A2], meanwhile Lord of the Manor of Duxbury. According to one 19th century report, Colonel Alexander’s first wife was “Alice Farington of Shawe Hall, relict of Banastre of Bank”. According to a later report she was Elizabeth, daughter of William Farington of Worden, one of the local Royalist leaders, and widow of Henry Banastre of Bank, who had been killed fighting under Prince Rupert and the Earl of Derby at the Battle of Marston Moor in 1644 (Hunt, History of Leyland, 1990). This William Farington of Worden was the grandson of his namesake, Comptroller of the Household of the Earls of Derby, who had maintained the Derby Household Books 1587-90, which play such an important role in the ‘Shakespeare in Lancashire’ story (Shakespeare’s Stanley Epitaphs, Chapters XVI, XVII). William Farington Jr had also been an executor of father Alexander Standish[10A1]’s Will in 1622.

Some of these appear on the “Banaster of the Banke” Visitation Pedigree of 1664 (see below), presented in person to Sir William Dugdale by Henry, the son of the Henry Banaster who had died during the Civil War. One might believe that he knew who his own mother was, which means she was Elizabeth of Worden Hall, as above, and not Alice of Shawe Hall. Intriguingly, this VP also shows that Henry Banaster Sr was the nephew of Christopher Ban(n)aster, married to A4’s sister Joan, aunt of Colonel Alexander. It’s quite simple really: a Standish Aunt and Nephew married a Banaster Uncle and Niece! To complicate the situation, however, Christopher’s mother was a daughter of “Raphe Ashton of Leaver”. We will remember that A4 and Joan’s mother was Alice, daughter of Raphe Assheton of Gt Lever and Whalley. Heaven knows what relationships this gives them all to each other. Happy puzzling!

Sir William Dugdale obviously had a bit of trouble recording all the facts correctly. He had Henry’s date of death wrong (it was 1644, not “about 1640”), even though the Pedigree was presented by Henry’s son Henry, who was alive and well, aged 28 and at Ormskirk on 22 September 1664. He would have been a little boy of four, not eight, when his father was killed, so perhaps we can forgive him his mistake. As his widowed mother was Elizabeth, daughter of William Farington of Worden, who then married Colonel Alexander Standish of Duxbury, then he and his brother and sister were half-siblings of little Ann Standish over at Duxbury, A4’s niece. For good measure, Henry Sr’s mother was a Standish of Standish.

Macintosh HD:Users:Helen:OLD FAMILIES:WEBSITE FOLDERS:STANDISH OF DUXBURY:4. VISITATION PEDIGREES:Relevant VPs:VP 1664 Banaster of the Banke.tiffOne other fact worthy of mention is the site of the Banasters’ home “the Banke”. This was Bank Hall in Bretherton on the banks of the River Douglas and just a mile away, at the south end of Bretherton Eyes, stretching over the old course of the Yarrow, the boundary with Croston, lies Isle of Man Farm (all these names are on all modern large scale maps). Until drainage in the 18th century this was a real island during the winter floods, only reachable by boat. It was also (I claim, see PUBLICATIONS, LHQ) the Isle of Man named by Captain Myles Standish in his Will in 1656. The tenants of the Isle of Man during the Civil Wars would have been well known to the Royalist Banasters, and through them to the Royalist Standishes. It is very easy to imagine that when Puritan Pilgrim Father Myles Standish of Duxbury, Massachusetts, who had been spared all the ravages because he was over on the other side of the Atlantic, made enquiries after the end of the Civil Wars as to what had happened to his lands in “Ormskirk, Burscough, Wrightington, Mawdesley, Newburgh, Croston and in the Isle of Man”, his enquiries fell on deaf ears, and all around decided to keep their mouths closed. The current tenants (mostly with Royalist landlords) were still struggling to get back to normal after suffering from all the fighting in the area. They certainly wouldn’t have wanted to send any of what little money they had over the seas to an absentee landlord who had not been back there for twenty-five years.

Incidentally, Bank received its first mention in the Standish of Duxbury Muniments (DP397/23/2) in c.1300, when “John of the Bonke” appeared in a rental agreement with Adam of “Hocton” and Jordan of “Standis” about some land in “Quitil”. (Respectively Bank, Ho(u)ghton, Standish and Whittle.) Then in 1355 (DP397/13/1) “Hugh, son of William Banastre of the More of Bretherton, Richard, son of Hugh of Standisshe, Simon of Longtre, John of Longtre and Richard of Horscar” went to court about a dispute over their “free tenement in Bretherton and Croston”. This document is the subject of a section of its own in MYLES STANDISH. For the moment it serves as proof of centuries-old Standish interests in Banaster country in Bretherton.

I also thought for quite a while that Alexander[11A4] might have baptised a second daughter Ann at Chorley on 17 February, 1646, daughter of “Alexri: Standish Arr:”. However, the use of ‘armiger’ rather than ‘gent.’ almost certainly identifies this Alexander as his nephew, Alexander[12A2] and Lord of the Manor of Duxbury, rather than the uncle A4. We (think we might) know that Colonel Alexander was married twice, with a daughter from each marriage. Or it might be that with so many Alexander Standishes living at this time some of them have become hopelessly muddled. There were two in Family A in Duxbury, two in Family B of Duxbury, although meanwhile moved away, and at least one more over at Standish, with three of them serving as Colonel or Lieutenant-Colonel.

However, let us presume that the Ann baptised in February 1646 was born to the second wife of Colonel Alexander[12A2], Lord of the Manor of Duxbury (and thus the “little cousin Ann” mentioned above). Whether the identification of this Ann is correct or not, we know from events of 1647 that Colonel Alexander[12A2]’s second wife was Margaret, which makes it likely that the independent report was true of her being Margaret, the widow of Colonel Clifton. He was Colonel Cuthbert Clifton, who had been head of the Royalist garrison of Liverpool from the time when Prince Rupert was there until its final fall in late 1644, after which he was taken to Manchester, where he died during his incarceration (Bull, Civil Wars in Lancashire, 2009, pp. 234, 265). This left his widow, who was obligingly married (presumably in early-mid 1645) by recent widower Colonel Alexander Standish of Duxbury. It is interesting to note that neither he nor any other Standish apart from Captain Thomas finds his way into any account of the Civil Wars in Lancashire, including the most complete to date by Stephen Bull, The Civil Wars in Lancashire 1640-1660. This was published in 2009, after many more years of research since his first offering, The Civil War in Lancashire, 1991, and can thus probably be accepted as fairly definitive on all the campaigns.  

Whichever Alexander was the father of Ann in 1646, neither little Joan nor little Ann appears in any further family papers and Alexander[11A4] remained absent from sight and the records for a while. One wonders if he made any use of his brother’s sword? At this point, it is worth pausing to re-assess all the facts which point towards all the Standishes of Duxbury of Family A being on the Royalist side, apart from Thomas the MP, the “zealous Parliamentarian”. The latter attribution, among other statements, led to all historians in the 19th century making a blanket division of all the Standishes of Duxbury being Protestant and Parliamentarian, with all the Standishes of Standish being Catholic and Royalist. As we now see, this division was far from being so clear-cut. Apart from Thomas the MP, all the other males in Family A seem to have followed James Stanley, now 7th Earl of Derby, in being Protestant but Royalist. The Protestant branch that was Parliamentarian was Standish of Duxbury Family B in Manchester, who were now about to re-enter the scene in Duxbury with a loud bang.

The next main family event of importance was the death of nephew Colonel Alexander[12A2] in 1647 without a son and heir. One might have expected that the Lordship of the Manor would pass to Uncle Alexander[11A4] to hold as ‘guardian’ until another nephew Gilbert[12A4] came of age.  In 1647 Gilbert was only 16. In fact the other older brother of Gilbert, Richard[12A3], aged 26, was also still alive, but kept very quiet in 1647.

However, for whatever reason, and with or without the agreement of these three living close male relatives of her deceased husband, Colonel Alexander’s widow Margaret decided to award Duxbury Hall and all dependent estates to a distant ‘cousin’, Richard Standish, whose family still called themselves ‘of Duxbury’ (on their 1613 Visitation Pedigree), but who were meanwhile living in Manchester. One of his main qualifications seems to have been that he was a Parliamentarian, and although the outcome of the Civil War was by no means certain at this point, it did indeed prove to have been a wise choice. Richard became a Colonel of Foot in the victorious Parliamentarian army under Cromwell, which had won the Battle of Preston in 1648 and went on to win the Battle of Wigan Lane (not too far from Standish) and the final and conclusive Battle of Worcester in 1651. James Stanley, 7th Earl of Derby, on the losing side, was executed in Bolton in 1651. Colonel Richard (although no longer serving as a Colonel, we will keep this title for the purpose of identification) went on to serve as MP for Lancashire in 1656 and for Preston in 1659 & 1660 before dying in 1662. His biography is told at length in 6.3. Colonel Richard[11B1] (c.1597-1662).

During the final years of the Civil Wars, the three ‘disowned’ males in Family A continued to stay silent. Richard[12A3] appears in one document during this period (2N6. 1649 2 April), collecting rent in Whittle-le-Woods (and receiving at hen at Christmas), but with no further mention of him, and in the light of subsequent events, we might assumed that he died not too long afterwards. A4 continued to keep his head down after the Civil Wars were over, but by 1655 had prepared his own big surprise.


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