6.2. Thomas the MP[11A1] (1593-1642)

Helen Moorwood 2013

6.2. (6) TMP 1617-1623: Some Local Background Events

Between 1617 and 1623 various events occurred in Thomas’s family which must have had some effect on his own life, and almost certainly affected his decision to build or complete a new hall in the centre of Duxbury. His father Alexander[10A1] had continued to live as a widower at The Pele, the ancient home in the north of Duxbury. He had also, at some point after 1617, installed second-time widowed Dowager Countess Alice of Derby in one of his manor houses in neighbouring Anglezarke. Alexander wrote his Will on 31 March 1622 and was buried on 29 June 1622 in St Laurence’s, Chorley, one hopes next to his wife Alice. It is his Inquisition post mortem of 11 September1623 which reveals that Countess Alice was still living in his Manor of Anglezarke for life. As Thomas[11A1] was Alexander’s son and heir, and thus inherited all his estates, including Anglezarke, he must have been involved somehow in Countess Alice’s immediate future. This part of Countess Alice’s life has so far escaped all her biographers at Althorp, Northamptonshire, where she was born in 1559 as Alice Spencer, and at Harefield, Middlesex, where she died and was buried in 1637 with a splendid monument, still there today. Relevant documents for her ‘new’ biography (will) appear under STANLEYS EARLS OF DERBY, BIOGRAPHIES, Countess Alice.

Alice’s brother-in-law was Sir William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby(1561-1642), who was married to Elizabeth de Vere (1575-1627), eldest daughter of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. Between the death in 1594 of Alice’s husband Ferdinando Stanley, 5th Earl of Derbyand 1609/10 Alice and William had been involved in long drawn-out legal battles about the ownership of the Derby estates. Alice had wished to claim all in the right of her and Ferdinando’s eldest daughter Anne, who was officially in line to the throne; William, 6th Earl, had also wished to claim all to provide estates and an income commensurate to his position as the Earl of Derby. The final settlement had split all into more or less equal parts. This had been engineered in part by Alice’s second husband since 1601, Sir Thomas Egerton, 1st Viscount Brackley,Lord Ellesmere, Elizabeth’s Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal and later her and King James’s Lord Chancellor. (The story of the legal dispute is told in scholarly depth in Barry Coward, The Stanleys.) Egerton died in 1617, and it must have been shortly after this that his widow moved to Anglezarke, which was on the way toHoghton Tower, where Sir Richard de Hoghton (Thomas[11A1]’s cousin once removed) entertained King James royally in 1617. More information about Thomas’s other Hoghton relations, who almost certainly attended on this occasion, is given in father Alexander’s biography.

These Standish-Stanley-Hoghton events undoubtedly had some effect on Thomas[11A1]’s life, not least because he was soon to join James, Lord Strange in Parliament. James (born 1607) was the son and heir of William, 6th Earl of Derby. Whether James had any contact with his Aunt Dowager Countess Alice in court circles is not known.


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