8.1. Coat of Arms 1

Helen Moorwood 2013


S of D arms on pew


This shield is still to be seen today on the splendid Standish pew in St Laurence’s, Chorley. This drawing and the explanatory heraldry were produced (in the 1980s?) by Jock Smith (deceased) of the Lancashire Family History and Heraldry Society.


S of D coat of arms heraldry


This is the shield of Alexander[10A1], who married Alice Assheton on 30 May 1592 at Bolton-le-Moors, the bride’s Parish Church. It tells much of the story of the two families. Alexander’s arms are, of course, those on the left, with his wife’s impaled on the right.


Standish. This is identical to that of Standish of Standish except that this is azure (blue) and that of Standish of Standish is sable (black). The ‘standishes’ or ‘standing dishes’ are a pun on the name. The arms are rather ancient and, one assumes, were those carried by all the Standish soldiers fighting in various battles and wars, who can be seen on the Family Trees.


Duxbury. This is in first place next to Standish because of the takeover of the Manor of Duxbury from the Duxbury family through marriage alliances and purchase of property. A query to the College of Arms many years ago established that the Duxbury arms pre-dated all records of official granting of arms, and originated therefore before the 14th century. This was the century when the Standish takeover began, with the first Standish-Duxbury marriage in c.1350, when Agatha Standish, daughter of Richard[2A2] married joint-Lord of the Manor Henry de Duxbury.


Butler, Lawrence and Washington all came into the Standish shield as the arms of a Butler heiress. She was Elizabeth, one of four daughters and co-heiresses of John Butler of Rawcliffe (between Lancaster and Preston), who married James[8A1] in 1526. (This marriage, with all the in-laws, can be seen on Family Tree 3. FT 5. Thomas the MP’s in-laws.) The Butler family had long been influential locally and nationally, with one Butler serving under John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster. Along the way one had married a Lawrence of Ashton (just south of Lancaster) heiress, one of her ancestors having previously married a Washington heiress from a junior branch in Warton (north of Lancaster, the original branch being from Washington in Co. Durham). This does mean, totally coincidentally, that the Washington of Washington (Warton) arms appear in Alexander Standish’s shield, and also formed the basis for the flag of the United States of America. Pleasant as it would be to imagine a further connection, this does not involve Captain Myles Standish. Whatever his ancestry, his branch had separated from the main Standish of Duxbury branch well before the relevant Butler marriage. George Washington did, however, have his ancestry in the Washingtons in North Lancashire. The main memorial in England, however, is in Washington, Co. Durham.

The Butler connection is worth dwelling on for a little longer, however, because it was this which provided me with one of my first inklings that Alexander Standish might somehow have been involved in the ‘Lancastrian Shakespeare’ story. Reading the page reproduced here when visiting Hoghton Tower in the autumn of 1999 provided me with the connection of Butler to Alexander Hoghton, when I already knew that Alexander[10A1] had received his name from this same Uncle Alexander Hoghton. This was in E. A. J. Honigmann, Shakespeare: the ‘lost years’ (2nd ed. 1998). Several of these relatives can be seen on Family Tree 3. FT5. Thomas the MP’s in-laws. The rest of this story in covered in the folder LANCASTRIAN SHAKESPEARE.    


Butler, Weever, Honigmann


            Weever, Butler, Honigmann

Alice Assheton’s heraldic history is on the right of the shield.


Ashton/Asshetonhas always had many spellings, throughout history and still today. This family originated in Ashton-under-Lyne, and all branches subsequently bore the arms as in 1 and 6.


Barton, Hopwood and Cunliffe can all be traced back to marriages on Visitation Pedigrees of this family. The most significant arms for Alice are those of Lever of Lever, because it was this marriage that brought Great Lever near Bolton into the family. How they acquired Whalley Abbey and Downham (still home of the Asshetons today in the person of the umpteenth Ralph, Lord Clitheroe) is told succinctly in the Victoria County History, courtesy of British History Online.


After the confiscation of the abbey’s estates in 1537 the Crown held the manor till 1553, when it was purchased for £2,132 by Richard Assheton, younger son of Ralph Assheton of Great Lever, and John Braddyll of Brockhall in Billington. (fn. 16)

Richard Assheton, later in the service of William Lord Burghley, acquired great wealth, and purchased also the manor of Downham and other estates (fn. 17) ; on his death in 1579 without issue, his property was divided among relatives, the manor or moiety of Whalley being given to his nephew Ralph Assheton of Great Lever, with remainder to Ralph his eldest son. The manor was said to be held of the queen in chief by the fortieth part of a knight's fee. (fn. 18) Ralph Assheton the elder died in 1587 holding the ‘manor or house and site,’ and was succeeded by his son Ralph. (fn. 19) This Ralph died in 1616 holding Whalley by the above tenure, and leaving a son Ralph, (fn. 20) who was created a baronet in 1620, (fn. 21) and made Whalley his principal residence, selling Great Lever in 1629.


Coat of Arms 1


Assheton of Great Lever and Whalley, baronet. Argent a mullet sable pierced of the field, a canton . . . for difference.

The difference in the ‘difference’ is because of the relationship of the bearer to the previous or original bearer of these arms. A brisk trip through any book on heraldry will reveal these well-established rules.


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