3. Introduction & Previous Pedigree Charts

Helen Moorwood 2013

The following introductory section between the wiggly lines was written several years ago and appeared first in 2002/3 (placed by Peter Duxbury) on the DUXBURY FamilyWebsiteunder Helen's Story: from Duxbury to Shakespeare. The story of William Shakespeare's Lancashire Ancestry, by Helen Moorwood, subsection 16. Standish of Duxbury Wills and Pedigree Charts.

It was then placed in c.2007 by webmaster Tony Christopher on the new Myles Standishwebsite, under 3. The Research of Helen Moorwood.subsectionStandish of Duxbury Visitation Pedigrees and Wills.

Everything written then still stands and appears yet again below, with the occasional silent correction and necessary reformatting. I have taken the liberty of retaining the name of ‘Pedigree Charts’ for all previous attempts, and now use ‘Family Trees’ for those produced for this new website. The only motive behind this is clarity, to clearly distinguish before ‘before’ and ‘now’. The following introductory section about Pedigree Charts was written, of course, with the interest in ‘Shakespeare’s Lancashire Links’ and Myles Standish’s ancestry at the forefront. The later Standish of Duxbury Family Trees by HM were produced mainly from a desire to sort out the various branches of this family in their own right, with the benefit of close scrutiny of the Standish of Duxbury Muniments. How these all connect to Shakespeare and Myles Standish will be dealt with in appropriate folders on this website.


Standish of Duxbury 
Previous Pedigree Charts

By Pedigree Chart I mean an early honest attempt by others to reconstruct the descent of a particular family from earliest times until the present day, mainly on the basis of documents rediscovered by that time. Should anyone wish to repeat my process of head scratching, I give a list of those charts on my shelves that provided the initial outlines, and which proved the most useful. I must emphasise that I do not denigrate these in any way, but have total praise for their magnificent efforts. Many of the details presented were absolutely correct (of course), and I stand on their shoulders. However, none of these early compilers had access to the Standish of Duxbury Muniments, for which I express the greatest sympathy. On the other hand, the family papers on their own would never have revealed what they did without the pioneering work and publications of the following. Ultimately, the story that has emerged and is presented here was a joint effort over two centuries of a very small number of people just interested in the ‘truth’ about many fascinating Standishes of Duxbury.   

Pedigree charts appear in:

1.    The History of the County Palatine and Duchy of Lancaster, Vol. III, by Edward Baines, Esq., M.P., Pedigree Chart by W. R. Whatton, Esq., F.S.A., published by Foster, Son & Co, London, Paris, New York, 1836. Baines and Whatton deserve all praise for being the first. Baines was a rather remarkable man, as revealed by his biography in the DNB.

2.   The same, but revised and with a new Pedigree Chart by Croston (various editions and dates from the 1870s onwards). I confess that I have still not worked all these out, as every library I have visited seems to have a different version, and a different number of volumes; some of the later editions include pedigree charts and some do not. The pedigree chart sent to me several years ago is a three-page one by Croston, on which the last date mentioned is 1878, which provides a pretty obvious clue and details of what ‘new’ documentation had been discovered by then about the early Standishes of Duxbury. The answer was not much, and what had been discovered was more muddling than clarifying, simply because the Standish of Duxbury Muniments were lost. Some vital progress had, however, been made, because of the work of 3.

3.    MSS chart by Rev. G. J. Piccope in the Piccope MSS (c.1840s or 1850s) (Chetham’s Library, i, p. 167). The occasional family dangling in the middle of nowhere on his chart indicates that he did quite as much head scratching as I did. The praise for Piccope lies in his energetic transcriptions for publications of so many documents (including so many Lancashire and Cheshire wills, including Alexander Hoghton’s of 1581, mentioning William Shakeshafte, published in 1860), and his sheer dedication. He produced his Standish of Duxbury chart before the publication of most of the Visitation Pedigrees, which makes his work even more remarkable.  

4.   John Wilson Verses and Notes (Hill, 1903), Appendix V. By far and away the most complete, including (for the first time) many precise dates from Chorley Parish Registers and a valiant attempt to incorporate everyone somewhere. His efforts are even more impressive, as he was the local postman, with a bent for history and genealogy (his brief story is told by Heyes). He had access to all the latest publications (when not delivering post), partly because Chorley Public Library had been set up in the meantime, with an extremely enlightened librarian, Edward McKnight. His main problem was that he was the first to attempt a complete reconstruction after the final disappearance of the Standish of Duxbury family in the 19th century, and still with no signs of the reappearance of their family papers.

There are others from the 19th century, e.g. Burke, Foster, but they all copy from the others and regurgitate all the muddles. The four above are the best attempts, in my opinion, and with the undoubted advantage that they were based on original local research. In the middle of the dates of 1-4, the Visitation Pedigrees started to be published. 

Just to set the record straight about Porteus’s first inklings in 1912/1914 that Myles might have come from the Isle of Man, he never produced a Family Tree of the Standishes of Duxbury, never even attempted to write a complete history of them, and died in the 1948, obviously still perplexed about them. Everything he wrote is still well worth reading, but he never succeeding in cracking the Standish of Duxbury mysteries, particularly those concerning Myles Standish, and, I repeat, never attempted to produce a Family Tree. 

5.  The first one I am aware about after Porteus’s death was produced by Eleanor Johnson, published by the Standish Historical Society (since defunct) in 1974. She wrote a valuable booklet about the Standishes of Standish and Duxbury, accompanied by a large hand-written family tree. I value everything she wrote, admire her attempt to make sense of all the details, but am afraid, at the end of the day, that many of her details about the Standishes of Duxbury did not make sense. She based most of these on the Standish of Standish family papers and was obviously not aware that the Standish of Duxbury Muniments had reappeared in Lancashire in 1965. [Her Standish Pedigree Chart/ Family Tree is reproduced on]

6.    The next person to attempt Standish of Standish and Standish of Duxbury was Lawrence Hill in his book Men of Courage, Forward (1984). His main contribution to Standish of Standish was potentially identifying the younger son whose lands finally descended to Hugh Standish of Ormskirk. If Hill was correct, this places such an enormous distance between Hugh of Ormkirk’s and Myles’s ancestry, so that from this alone it becomes difficult to accept that the lands they claimed were identical. His ancestry for Standish of Duxbury basically followed Porteus’s account.

7.  A final one deserves a mention. In Chorley Reference library is a hand written “Standish Pedigree” claiming the descent of Tom the Weaver from Ralph of Duxbury Hall, through which he tried to claim Duxbury Hall. Recently a similar tree appeared on the market, dutifully bought by the Lancashire Record Office. These two go back to the world of muddles. The 1655 settlement of the ‘large inheritance’ apparently lived on in family memories in various confused forms, which included Myles’s son Alexander’s persistent attempts until his will in 1702 to claim the ‘small inheritance’. After this there was silence from New England, but obviously still some contact between Duxbury in Lancashire and Duxbury in Massachusetts, when the news from Lancashire arrived in America that the last male of the (latest) line of Duxbury Hall, Sir Frank Standish, had died in 1812. His biography is told in brief by Farrer  (Victoria County History) and in full by Walker (Duxbury in Decline).

Soon after Sir Frank’s death without a son and heir, all hell broke loose in Duxbury as to who should inherit Duxbury Hall and dependent estates. Again, I refer to Walker for this story, and he gives an excellent brief summary of all the contestants for the ownership of Duxbury Hall, and detailed biographies of those who actually gained ownership at various times during the 19th century until its final sale to Chorley Borough in 1932.

Porteus (1920) gives the story of Myles’s descendants’ claim to Duxbury Hall in the 1820s and the despatch of Mr Bromley from America in the late 1840s to investigate Myles’s baptism in Parish Registers in Chorley and his marriage in the Isle of Man, both of which were doomed in advance to failure (with hindsight), but resulted in all the subsequent dramas, melodramas, misunderstandings, erroneous conclusions, a ‘Manx Myles’, a short story by Dickens, a severe rupture in British/ American relations and heaven knows what else.

The ‘Pedigree Charts’ presented by Tom the Weaver and his son need therefore to be seen against this rather colourful background. Any recent claims that this family tree might solve the mysteries of Myles Standish are, I am afraid, wrong; they only confuse the situation even more. The judges at the time threw out their claims and Captain Ralph’s 1637 will (given in full in the section on him) proves that he was not the ancestor of anyone, as he left no children.



The titles of these FTs speak for themselves. More may be added in future, but these are the most important at the moment in 2013. I would be delighted if any reader finds any documentation which allows the refinement of any date on any of these FTs.

3. FT1. Family A 1300-1500

3. FT2. Family A 1500-1647

3. FT3. Family B 1346-1756

3. FT4. Descent of Duxbury Manor 1471-1756

3. FT5. Thomas the MP’s in-laws

3. FT6. Colonel Richard’s in-laws: Legh

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