2. DP397 The Standish of Duxbury Muniments  

Deeds Purchased (1965) by the Lancashire Record Office (now Lancashire Archives)

2I. 1550-1577: the Period of Muddles;

2 Thomases, 2 Christophers, 2 Margaret Hoghtons

[Commentaries by Helen Moorwood 2002-2013]

This period was the one which created many of the muddles of the 19th century. The documents in this section allowed the sorting out of these.

11/5.                                                   1550

Grant:   James Standyssh of Dukkesbury, esq. to Thomas Standyssh, his son and heir apparent – reversion of his lease of tythe corn in Hepay – after death of James Standyssh, in tail male, then to Rychard, son of James Standyssh in tail male, then to Christofer Standyssh, son of James Standyssh, in tail male, then to right heirs of James Standyssh, also grant to Thomas Standyssh of all his ‘harnes as jakkes, saletts, bylls and all other harnes’ in his house and 1 ceffron with all other heirlooms.

29 Oct. 4 Edw. VI.                                                                                                    1550.

(This establishes that James[8A1] had three surviving sons, Thomas[9A1], Richard[9A2] and Christopher[9A3]. This provision for “tail male” was fairly common, ensuring that all stayed within the family and did not go to any future sons-in-law.)

11/6.                                                   1550

Lease for life:   James Standysshe of Dukkesbury, kt. and John Pole, cousin and heir of Ranulph Pole, clerk, sole feoffee to use of James Standyssh to Richard Standyssh, son of James Standyssh – messuage and water-mill in Hepey and all other lands etc. in Heapey and Anlezargh, in tenure of William Totyll and Oliver Astley – remainder to James Standyssh in tail male.   Condition that Richard Standyssh is not to intermeddle with possession of premises or receive profits during life of James Standyssh.

29 Oct. 4 Edw. VI                                                                                                     1550.

(This is the only hint that James[8A1] might have been knighted, but I suspect it is a clerk’s error or mistranscription. His father had turned down a knighthood and there is no other mention of James being Sir.)


13/6.                                                   1552

Writ to Sheriff:   James Standyssh of Duckesbury, esq. v. Edward Standisshe of Standisshe, esq. – unjust holding of ‘colte stagge’.

Witness:-  Edmund Molyneux, kt.                                                           26 Aug. 1552.

(So the Standishes of Standish and Duxbury didn’t always get on! This time it was just over a “colte stagge”; other disagreements would have a religious base. This Edward Standish, meanwhile Lord of the Manor of Standish, was later to be a supervisor, in 1581, for the will of Alexander Hoghton, who named William Shakeshafte in his will.)

[Add. It is assumed by many Shakespeare scholars (although by no means all, and particularly not some at Stratford) that this William Shakeshafte was one and the same as young William Shakespeare. It is difficult, in this context of a disagreement over a “colte stagge”, not to be reminded of the apocryphal story of young William Shakespeare poaching a deer from Sir Thomas Lucy’s estate, which led him to write a poem, nailed to an appropriate door, which indirectly led to his future career as an actor, poet and playwright. There is no hint in this Standish document that anything so dramatic happened as a result of the incident with the “colte stagge”, but it nevertheless shows that poaching was probably a pretty common occurrence in the 16th century at which the aggrieved landlord took umbrage. The Standish dispute going to court might even be taken as vague corroboration of the seriousness of young William Shakespeare’s alleged offence? In this case, one Lord of the Manor was accusing a kinsman, another Lord of the Manor, of the offence, even calling in a knight of rather high standing as a witness.]

13/7.                                                   1554

Warrant:   issued by John Fletewood, John Wrightington, Hugh Anderton, all esquires – for good behaviour of George Townley of Hagh, threatening James Standissh of Duckesbury, esq.                                                                     22 Dec. 1554.

[Add.One can only wonder at the reason behind and the nature of this threat, but it must have been serious enough to produce a warrant, issued by three esquires of high standing in the county.]

14/1.                                                   1555

Assignment:   Gervas Tatlow of Manchester, draper, to Thomas Chatherton of the Lighes, co. Lancs., gent. – right and title in certain burgages and lands in Manchester, leased by Lawrens Tetlow of the Chambre, gent. to Gervas Tetlow on 20 Jan. 1555 – in view of bond of Thomas Chatherton in £45 to Cristoffer Waring of Coventre, draper on behalf of Gervas Tetlow.

1 May 1 & 2 Phil. & Mary.                                                                                      1555.

(This is the first mention of Manchester, and might lie behind the move to there of Family B, Colonel Richard’s family. It also demonstrates the close connection between the textile and clothing industries in Lancashire and Warwickshire, which provides some of the background to ‘Shakespeare in Lancashire’.)

1/5.                                                     1555

Receipt:   for 40s. William Brers of Walton in Derbyshire (Walton-on-the-Hill) to James Standyshe of Duckysbury, esq. – debts between William Brers of Chorley, father of William Brers and William Brers

11 Nov. 2  & 3 Phil. & Mar.                                                                                   1555.

[Add. 2013. Derbyshire here means the Hundred of West Derby, one of the six hundreds in Lancashire. This was the south-west corner. It was also the reason why it was so convenient to create Thomas Stanley 1st Earl of Derby, because his main seats of Lathom and Knowsley were also in West Derby.]

21/6.                                                   1556

Grant:   Jamys Standisshe of Duckesbury, esq. to John Langtree, esq. and John Gelibrounde, gent. – chattel estates – to use of his son Christofer.

20 Aug. 1556.

[Add. James[8A1] had three sons, Thomas[9A1], Richard[9A2] and Christopher[9A3]. Richard[9A2] seems to have disappeared by this time, last mentioned in 1550, aged in his twenties, and not to be mentioned again. It is assumed that he had already died osp, but in any case died or disappeared by 1565. Christopher[9A3] was still around and appears in later documents as “of Chorley”.]

4/18.                                                   1556

Bond:   in £100:   Elizabeth, wife of James Standyshe of Duckysburie, esq. and Richard Shireburne of Baylaie Hall, to James StandysheElizabeth Standyshe to perform covenants, grants etc. which ought to be kept on her behalf, as specified in award made by Peter Anderton, John Langetre, esqs., Hugh Anderton and John Gelybrand gents. Beween Elizabeth Standyshe and James Standyshe her husband, 24 July, 1552.

27 Sep. 3 & 4 Phil. & Mary.                                                                                    1556.

[Add.James[8A1]’s wife Elizabeth was still heiress Elizabeth née Butler of Rawcliffe, mother of their three sons and two daughters. Her mother was Ann, daughter of Sir Richard Shireburne, which presumably explains one of this family appearing in this document, still looking after the inheritance of the Butler heiresses in 1552-1556. Meanwhile, young Edward VI had come and gone as King, followed by his Catholic sister Mary, married to Philip II, King of Spain. There is no echo of these national events in the Standish of Duxbury papers.]

11/7.                                                   1567

Assignment:   Olyver Gerstan of (Whittle) le Wodes, husb., to Thomas Gerstan, his eldest son and heir apparent – all interest in 2 leases from James Standyssh esq. of 3 parcels of land,  viz, to Olyver Gerstan and one of his sons (?) of a parcel of land in (cut), containing 6 ac., at (cut) rent yearly, made in (cut) 35 Hen. VIII (1543/4) and another lease to Olyver Gerstan and his assigns of 2 parcels of land in Hepay in the Great Intacke made 3 Mar. 7 Edw. VI (1552/3) (2 inches or so cut off right hand edge)

4 Feb. 3 & 4 Phil. & Mary                                                                                   1556/7. 

8/28.                                                   1557

Grant:   James Standisshe of Duckesbure, esq. to Thomas Gelybrand, son of John Gelybrand of Chorley – annuity of 4d. yearly from messuage and tenement in Duckesbury, in tenure of Richard Maudesley – in performance of award by William Chorley, Laurence Standissshe and John Gelybrand made between Laurence Standisshe and John Gelybrand made between James Standisshe and Thomas Gelybrand, dated 1 Feb. 1557.

Given at Duckesbury, 8 Apr. 3 & 4 Phil. & Mary.                                            1557.

[Add. 2013. Of interest here is the first mention in a document of “Laurence Standish”. This could have been Laurence[8C1] (born c.1510), his son Laurence[9C1] (b. c.1540) still being rather young. Laurence Senior, who stayed in Duxbury, was a first cousin of James[8A1]. He was married to Elizabeth, a daughter of Sir Richard Hoghton. However, there was another Standish family at Burgh in Duxbury, descended from “Thurston Standish, a younger brother of Standish of Standish”, and most of what we know about them (including this identification of their ancestor) comes from the Visitation Pedigree presented to Richard St. George in 1613 by the current incumbent. This was copied (not quite verbatim, but nearly) by Sir William Dugdale at Ormskirk in 1664. The first Thurston, who must have been living around 1500, was followed by son Laurence, his son Thurston, his son Laurence, his son Thurston and his son Laurence, aged 10 in 1613. So the “Laurence Standisshe” in this document of 1557 might have been the first Laurence son of the first Thurstan. It hardly matters which one it was, but it is interesting to note that at this time a younger brother of Standish of Standish had an estate at Burgh in Duxbury, and the Standishes of Duxbury still an estate at Bradley near Standish. This has given cause for much confusion on previous occasions!]

1l/8.                                                    1558

Grant:   James Standysshe of Duckesburye, esq. to Alexander Rigbye of Erly in Blakerode – rent of 20s. Yearly for life from messuage and tenement in Heapey, in tenure of John Wygan –

1 Feb. 4 & 5 Phil. & Mary                                                                               1557/8.

4/19.                                                   1558

Bond:   in £100:  James Standisshe of Duckesbury, esq. to John Holcroft, sen., kt. – James Standisshe to keep award of Richard Gerrard, clerk, parson of Wygan, John Wrightyngton, John Fletewood and Hugh Anderton, esqs. re. all actions between the parties.

- Aug. 4 & 5 Phil. & Mary                                                                                   1558. 

4/20.                                                   1558

Bond:   in £40:   Roger Haidock, co. Lancs., Laurence Nyghtingale, same county, husbandman, to Cudbert, Bishop of Chester – Roger Haidock and Laurence Nyghtingale to execute a letter of administration with colligendum and pay to Raufe, Isabell and John Gillor, children of Richard Gillor, £7 at 18 yrs. of age.

Witnesss:   Edward Coltherst, Raufe Wodcocke, Sir William Cowper, etc.

21 Oct. 5 & 6 Phil & Mary                                                                                   1558.

11/9-16.                                              1558-1681

Leases, 1558-1681.  One of 1581 also includes Anglezarke property.

4/21.                                                   1563

Bond:   in £1000:   Christofer Standisshe of Chorley, gent. to Thomas Standisshe, his brotherChristofer Standisshe to keep covenants contained in 2 indentures made between Christofer Standisshe and Thomas Standisshe on date hereof.                                                                                                   10 Dec. 1563.

[Add.Here are brothers Thomas[9A1] and Christopher[9A3] again. It seems that from now on we can call him Christopher of Chorley. There is no record of any marriage or children.

21/7.                                                   1565

Agreement:   Christopher Standish, younger son of James Standish, esq. and James Standish – to allow his father for life £6. 13s. (4d.?) out of his annuity of £10 for life, in view of the small living; debts and (expense) of servants of his father. (Badly torn)                                                                        . . . Oct, 1565.

 (It seems as though James[8A1] had already made over most of his estates to his sons. His wife Elizabeth was buried at Chorley on 9 November 1565.)

[Add.James[8A1] lived on as a widower until at least 1566 when he wrote his will/settlement. The other James Standish[8C2/8D1] was his cousin, presumed younger son of James[7A2/7C1], because this is the only logical place to place him in the family. These three contemporary James Standishes of Duxbury were at the heart of previous muddles by 19th century historians, who had no access to the family papers. It was presumably James[7A2/7C1] who was buried at Chorley on 1 May 1560, because this document makes it clear that James[8A1] was still alive in 1565. Further muddles arose because both Jameses in Generation 8 had a son and heir Thomas and both of them had a younger son Christopher. We will meet all of these in later documents.]

21/8.                                                   1565

Fine:   Anglezarghe and Hyndley.                                                                1565.

21/9.                                                   1566

Settlement:   manors, etc. in Duckesbury, Heypey, Lancaster, Scotforthe, Burroo, Standyshe, Langtree, Worthington, Chorley, Heath Charnocke, Anglezarghe, Hindley, Crosseby.    20 Apr. 1566.

 (The lands in “Lancaster, Scotforthe and Burroo” had come into the family on the Butler marriage.)

15/2.                                                   17th c.

Genealogical notes on Standish family of Duxbury, 28 Edw. I – 18 Hen VIII.

17th cent.

(These were two family versions of the descent of Family A, down to Thomas[9A1], d. 1577, which agree completely with the Visitation Pedigree of 1567 4. VP2 1567 Family A. They might well have been the notes prepared to hand over to the herald.)

[Add.It seems that the librarian at the Lancashire Record Office, who abstracted and catalogued the Standish of Duxbury Muniments some time after their purchase in 1965, was mistaken in ascribing them to the 17th rather than the 16th century. They had been drawn up by Thomas[9A1] himself, or someone who knew the ancestry of the family very well.

 12/1.                                                  1569

Lease, with provision for repairing hedges. (Heath Charnock)                      1569.

21/10.                                     1570

Grant of annuity to annul limitation contained in settlement of estates named in 21/9, dated 20 Oct. 1566.                                                                                                 1570.


Another, as 21/10, attached.

8/29-45.                                              1570-1743

Leases, 1569/70 – 1742/43, and letter of attorney, 1651/2.

Inc.  note of war service, 1569/70,

Bowling green, 1700,

Yarrow bridge smith (ref. to Hermit’s well) 1708,

Water corn mill, malt mill, kiln, suit of all tenants and undertenants of Duxbury and Heath Charnock, and toll, with most detailed agreements concerning maintenance, 1727,

Another, but less detailed, 1742/3.

[Add.The later leases are of no interest in the context of Myles. The letter of attorney of 1651/2 and the note of war service 1569/70 (the time of the Northern Rebellion) gave hope that they might provide interesting details. I obtained copies of them in March 2010 from the Lancashire Record Office and deciphered them. Unfortunately, they provided no startling new details, but were concerned purely with local land transactions.]


4/22.                                                   1571

Bond:   in £100:   Thomas Standysshe of Duckesbury, gent. to John Aynsworth of Staple Inn, co. Middx., gent. – Thomas Standysshe to pay John Aynsworth £50. As follows: - on 20 Sep. £20, at St. Stephens’ day, £10, and 1 Sep. 1572, £20, in (‘the porche of the parishe church of Chorley’ erased) ‘ the mancion house’ of Thomas Standysshe called Duxbury Hall.                                        15 May 1571.

 (This Thomas Standish, gent.[9D1] wasson of James[8C2/8D1] son of James[7A2/7C1] son of Sir Christopher[6A1] and almost certainly living at this time at Duxbury [Old] Hall.)

[Add. 2010/2013.N.B.1. For quite a while I was very confused about this Thomas, gent. When finally sorted out, the various details fell into place, like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle. There were two Thomases of the same generation (one “esq.” and this one “gent”; one living at the “Pele” in the north of Duxbury and one at Duxbury (Old) Hall in the south); both with a father James (but different Jameses, one “esq.” and one “gent.”); both were married to a Margaret Hoghton (but each with a different father, one Sir Richard Hoghton of Hoghton Tower and the other Thomas Hoghton [named elsewhere as] of Pendleton); both with a younger brother Christopher (one at certain times “of Chorley” and one “of Heath Charnock”); and both apparently with a son and heir Alexander. The last named, Alexander, turned out to be one and the same, the son and heir of Thomas, esq., Lord of the Manor, but ‘adopted’ as son and heir by “Thomas gent.” when, as a widower, he married the widow of “Thomas esq.”. This is not to mention a third contemporary Thomas[9B1], who named himself Thomas Standish of Duxbury, married to a daughter of Sir Alexander Radcliffe of Ordsall, who had sons Thomas[10B1], Alexander[10B2], Richard[10B3]. The last little group of confusions were all of Family B, who presented a VP in 1613 4. VP5. 1613 Family B, and were apparently living in Manchester. To their contemporaries these Thomases were presumably readily distinguishable, not least because they looked different, their origins in the different families was presumably well known locally, and their status and dwelling-place was presumably also known. To anyone confronted with these just as names and 300-400 years later, they wrought havoc on explanations of the descent of Duxbury Manor. Regardless of however they have appeared in the past, these now, in the days of PIN numbers, invariably appear with their own non-secret PIN: Thomas[9A1], Thomas[9D1] and Thomas[9B1]. Alternatively, when just talking about the two adult Thomases in Duxbury, they are also referred to as Thomas (1) and Thomas (2).

N.B. 2.On the Family Tree of Standish of Duxbury, which I produced in 1999 for the articles in Lancashire History Quarterly, Thomas (1) and Thomas (2) had not yet been sorted out. Thus Alexander[10A1] appears there erroneously as (10D1) and his sons and grandsons also as Family D. Although corrected by the biography of Alexander[10A1], in which he was usually referred to as A.S., online since 2004, this change has yet not been recognised in some quarters. There is little I can do about this apart from keep repeating the new PIN numbers. For a while, having discovered the true identity of this Alexander, and that he had four (or certainly three, depending on whether two baby Thomases were two or one and the same, with dates slightly confused/confusing) brothers older than himself, I called him [10A5]. I had already decided – albeit reluctantly – not to give PIN numbers to any daughters, as this seemed to confuse rather than clarify the situation. It also seemed superfluous to give PINs to the four sons who had died soon after birth, and Alexander thus, finally and definitively, became [10A1] as the eldest (surviving) son and heir, even though he was actually the eighth or ninth child in the family. On the Family Tree I have grouped together all the daughters and all the sons who died soon after birth. The tenth and final child, a son, born in 1573, was thus given the PIN Leonard[10A2].

N.B. 3. Alexander[10A1]’s date of birth is now given definitively as 1567. On previous charts it was given as 1570/71. This was before I had sorted out Family B, and for a while I assumed – erroneously – that the Alexander baptised at Chorley in 1567 was Alexander[10B1], son of Thomas[9B1], because this must have been about the year when he was born. This Alexander from Manchester has since been excluded as a possible candidate for the 1567 baptism at Chorley.]

4/23.                                                   1572

Bond:   in 100 marks:   Christofer Standishe of Heathe Charnocke, gent. to Thomas Standyshe of Duckesburie, esq.Christofer Standishe not to expel or fine Oliver Totehill and Katherin, late wife of William Totehill, mother of Oliver Totehill, tenants of a tenement in Anlazarghe and Hepaye or George Asteley, tenant of another tenement in Hepaye (both tenements held by Christofer Standish for life by gift of James Standish, esq., decd, his father, conveyed to John Aynesworth (see 4/ 21 above), who mortgaged them to Thomas Standysshe) if redeemed from Thomas Standish, without consent of Thomas Standysshe, William Chorley, sen., and James Anderton, esqs.         8 Aug. 1572.

(This was a different Christopher from the one living in Chorley. He had a large family and at least one of them was at [Rivington Grammar] school with Alexander [10A1] in 1575.)

[Add. 2010/2013.This document was one that allowed the sorting out of some of the muddles. It was very clear that “Christopher Standishe of Heath Charnock, gent” was not the same as Christopher Standish of Chorley (the latter established above as Christopher[9A3] son of James[8A1], this father James writing his will in 1566. The abstractor of this document in DP397 in the 1960s faithfully recorded all the Christophers and Thomases, but made no further attempt to distinguish between and among them all. On the basis of this document, and a combination of hindsight and foresight from later documents, we can now state with near certainty the following:

(1) “James Standish esq. decd.” in this document must have been the Lord of the Manor, father of Christopher[9A3]. He died soon after writing his Will and was buried at Chorley on 1 May 1566.

(2) “Thomas Standish esq.” in this document of 1572 must have been Thomas[9A1], who had inherited the Manor a few years before on his father’s death. By this time he had been married for many years to Margaret Hoghton, daughter of Sir Richard Hoghton. We know this from the VP of 1567 and genealogical notes by the family. Although the date of marriage is not known, the baptisms and/or burials of 10 children of this marriage are recorded in the Chorley Parish Registers from 1558-73. These reveal sons James, bap. 6 Jan. 1561, bur. 15 Jan. 1561; Richard, bap. 4 July 1563, bur. 59 Sep. 1563; Thomas (1), no bap., bur. 7 Nov. 1565; Thomas (2), bap. 30 July 1566, no bur.. Alexander [10A1] bap. 8 Nov. 1567, was thus the fifth son, but the first one to survive. We know that little Thomas (2) died within a year of his birth because only four daughters were recorded on the VP in mid-1567. With the death very young of the first four sons Alexander[10A1] was thus the eldest son and heir, who survived and continued the line.

(3) The other Thomas in this document in 1572 was presumably Thomas Standish, Gent.[9D1], already identified above and almost certainly living at Duxbury (Old) Hall.

(4) The “Christopher Standish of Heath Charnock” in this document was Christopher[9D2]. The two most likely houses (still there today) as candidates for his residence were the moated Bretters Farm and Hall o’th Hill.  We do not know the name of his wife, but by this time they had several children: Joan (1), bur. 1565; James[10D1], bap. 1559; Alice, bap. 1560; Thomas[10D2], bap. 1561; John[10D3], bap. 1562; William[10D4], bap. 1565; Joan (2), bap. 1567. There is no further record of any of these children in DP397, so this family remains a mystery. The only clue is that a James Standish of Duxbury was on the pupils list at Rivington Grammar School in 1575, and the only candidate is James[10D1], who would have been 15/16. Also on this list was Alexander Standish of Duxbury, who can only have been Alexander[10A1], who would have been 7/8 in this year. We know that he proceeded to university and Gray’s Inn, London. One explanation for James[10D1] staying on longer than normal as a pupil might be that by 1575 he had actually taken over some teaching responsibilities, and with these skills later obtained employment elsewhere. So far, at least, neither he nor his brothers Thomas, John and William have turned up in any records examined. There was a stray Sir Thomas Standish knighted in 1603 (and if my memory serves me correctly, this was reported many years ago by Ray Aspden). Maybe he was Thomas[10D2]? One other line of speculation is whether or not one of these sons might have been the ancestor of the Standishes of Dublin? We know about these from Margaret Lewis, a descendant, who attended the Myles Standish Festival in Chorley in 2005. She had never been able to find a direct connection. Since then a large section on the Standishes of Ireland has appeared]

21/11.                                                 1572

Grant of annuity to annul limitation contained in settlement of manors etc. in Whitle-in-le-Woodes, Frekleton, Claughton in Amounderness, Longton, Gosenarghe and Threlfall, dated 22 Oct. 1572.                                                 

 (These were the lands owned by the descendants of James[7A2/7C1] son of Sir Christopher[6A1].)

[Add.It seems, therefore, that at least until this date the lands and affairs of Families C and D, offshoots of Family A, still living in Duxbury or the near vicinity, were still of interest to Family A.]


Another, as 21/11, attached.


4/24.                                                   1574

Bond:   in £200:   William Gerrarde of Ince, esq., and Thomas Standishe of Duckesbury, esq. to William Sherington citizen and haberdasher, of London – William Gerrarde and Thomas Standishe to pay to William Sherington £110 on 4 May next at his house in ‘Fanchurche strete.’                                    25 May 1574.

(This seems to prove that some of the Standishes went to London on occasion.)

[Add.The Gerards of Ince were a family with increasing influence, one of their contemporary members being Sir Gilbert Gerard, Attorney-General at this time. He enters the story of ‘Lancastrian Shakespeare’ at least via his sons-in-law, who all received dedications in John Weever’s Epigrammes(1599). See Honigmann, Shakespeare: the ‘lost years’(1985, 1998) and Weever(1987).]

4/25.                                                   1577

Bond:   in £200:   Robert Woorsley of Boothes, co. Lancs. esq., and Thomas Standisshe of the Pyle of Duckesberie, esq., to James Prescott, gent. – Robert Woorsley and Thomas Standisshe to pay to James Prescott, gent. – Robert Woorsley and Thomas Standisshe to pay to James Prescott £100 in hall of the house of Edward Standisshe of Standisshe, esq. on Lady day next. 27 Mar. 1577.

[Add.This mention of “the Pyle of Duckesberie” establishes beyond all doubt that this was still the main seat of Family A. It had been named for the first time as this (in a surviving document) in 1506. It was named “Pele” on Saxton’s map of 1577 and Speed’s map of 1611. Its origins were in the Peel Tower built by founding ancestor Hugh[1A1] in the early 14th century.]


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