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William Stanley, 6st Earl Derby

William Stanley, 6st Earl Derby[1, 2]

Male Abt 1561 - 1642  (~ 81 years)

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  • Name William Stanley 
    Suffix 6st Earl Derby 
    Born Abt 1561  Westminster Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 29 Sep 1642 
    • Second surviving of four sons, to Sir Henry Stanley, 4th Earl of Derby, a nd Lady Margaret Clifford, the Countess of Derby. Born ABT 1561, this Ea rl married the Lady Elizabeth, daughter to Edward, Earl of Oxford, by wh om he had two sons, James and Robert; and three daughters: first, Elizabet h, who died young; second, Anne, who married Sir Henry Portman of Orcha rd in the county of Somerset, and after his death Sir Robert Carr, Knig ht and Earl of Ancram, in Scotland ; the third daughter, another Elizabet h, who died young. Robert, his second son, married a daughter of Lord With erington, by whom he had issue, which are all long since extinct; as herea fter appears.

      On the death of his brother, Ferdinando, fifth Earl of Derby, a serious di fficulty arose in reference to the succession, in consequence of a defau lt of male issue, and the absence of his brother William, who had not be en heard of for years. During the lifetime of his father, William display ed an ungovernable love for travel, and the Earl consented to his going ab road.

      He remained three years in France, where he took laurels in many of the ch ief tournaments, and subsequently proceeded to Spain, where he was challen ged by a Spanish nobleman to single combat. In the first encounter the Spa niard succeeded in wounding Sir William on his right arm, and causing h im to fall to the ground, but he was soon upon his feet again. In the seco nd round the Spaniard aimed three deadly blows at the wounded Englishma n, but they were all skillfully averted, and Sir William gave his adversa ry a thrust on the right breast, inflicting a severe wound, and causing h im to reel to the ground. Blood flowed freely, and the friends of the Span ish nobleman counselled his withdrawal from the contest, but he was too en raged to heed their advice, and in the third encounter rushed at Sir Willi am with the force of desperation, but the blows were successfully parrie d, and the representative of the house of Stanley once more secured the cr own of victory by inflicting a second wound on the breast of the Spaniar d, and thus effectually disabling him.

      Sir William next visited Italy, where he assumed the garb of a mendicant f riar for the purpose of gaining information and the more readily getting t hrough the country. Afterwards he proceeded to Egypt, and with the assista nce of a native guide, went to reconnoitre the River Nile. Whilst on the ir journey, a large male tiger suddenly appeared from behind a thicket, a nd with a hideous howl came rushing towards them. Sir William had two pist ols, and discharged one as the tiger was making a spring at them. Unfortun ately he missed his aim, and it was only by dexterously stepping aside th at he eluded the grasp of the ferocious brute. BEF the animal had ti me to take another spring, Sir William drew a second pistol, discharged t he contents into the tiger's breast, and as it reeled drew his sword and k illed it. After paying a visit to Palestine, he journeyed to Turkey, and h ad a narrow escape of becoming a victim to the bigotry of the followe rs of Mahommed. In a discussion with one of the Paschas he defended Christ ianity and the Bible, and denounced the religion propounded in the Kor an as false and deceptive. He was arrested for "blasphemy against the reli gion of Mahommed", and after being kept a long time in a filthy and dism al prison, a date was fixed for his execution, but a lady interceded on h is behalf, and three days before the appointed time he was liberated. Havi ng remained some time at Constantinople, he visited Russia, and it is sa id that whilst at Moscow he was informed by an English physician of the de ath of his father and brother, and that he thereupon returned to his nati ve land with all speed.

      On Sir William reaching England, he found that all the estates of the earl dom had been settled upon his brother's daughters, under the guardiansh ip of four bishops and four temporal lords, who possessed every bran ch of it to their ward's uses, and refused to admit his right to any sha re of it. Having few friends and less money, and having powerful adversari es to contend against, his case was somewhat distressing; but some of t he old tenants in and about Latham, Dalton, Newburgh, etc., who knew him f rom a child to be their natural and rightful lord, supplied him with mon ey to recover his title and so much of the estates as properly belong ed to him. A law suit, therefore followed, in reference to all the late Ea rl's estates in England and also in the Isle of Man. During the dispute t he real title of the Stanley family to the Isle of Man was called in quest ion, on the ground that when Henry IV granted it for life to Sir John Stan ley, the Earl of Northumberland (the former possessor) had not been attain ted by Parliament nor his possessions adjudged to be confiscated, and th at the subsequent gift of it to Sir John, being founded upon the grant f or life, was invalidated. Ultimately it was decided by the law lords th at the right to the Isle of Man belonged solely to Queen Elizabeth; but H er Majesty, in consideration of the "many eminent services performed to he rself and to her royal predecessors by the honourable and noble House of S tanley", withdrew her right and referred the contending claimants to the d ecision of the courts. The law proceedings were continued with vigour on b oth sides for six or seven years, and would have extended over a still lon ger period, but the Queen proposed a reference, and this being accepted, t he whole matter was considered by Lord Burleigh, Lord Buckhurst, the Ea rl of Cumberland, Lord Hunsdon, and Robert Cecil, who appointed and yield ed to the Right Honourable William, Earl of Derby, the ancient seats of La thom and Knowsley, with all the houses, lands, castles, and appurtenanc es in Lancashire, Cumberland, Yorkshire, Cheshire, and many in Wales ; al so the manor of Meriden, in the County of Warwick, with the old seat in Ca nnon Row, Westminster (afterwards called Derby Court), and also the advows on of the Parish Church of the Holy Trinity, in the city of Chester. To t he daughters of Ferdinando, the arbitrators granted the Baronies of Stran ge of Knokyn, Mohun, Barnwell, Basset and Lacy; with all the houses, castl es, manors, and lands thereto belonging, with several other manors and lar ge estates lying in most counties of England, and many in Wales. With rega rd to the Isle of Man, Ferdinando's daughters claimed possessi on of it as heirs general to their father, and the judges in the law cour ts decided in their favour; whereupon Earl William agreed to purchase the ir several shares and interests, and afterwards got a new grant of the isl and from James 1st.

      In 1594, Earl William was married at Greenwich to Elizabeth, the eldest da ughter of Edward Vere, the seventh Earl of Oxford, by whom he had three so ns and three daughters. Queen Elizabeth conferred upon him the noble Ord er of the Garter, and James I appointed him Lord Chamberlain of Chester f or life, and on the christening of his first son, James, Lord Strange, pre sented him with a costly piece of plate. The Countess died in 1626, a nd a few years afterwards the Earl, being "old and infirm, and desiro us of withdrawing himself from the hurry and fatigue of life, in whi ch he had been very largely engaged and greatly encumbered", assigned a nd surrendered all his estates to James, Lords Stanley and Strange, his el dest son, reserving to himself only £1,000 per annum during his life. T he Earl purchased a convenient house on the side of the River Dee, near Ch ester, whither we are told he retired and passed the evening of his li fe in quiet, peace, and pleasing enjoyment of ease, rest, and freedom of b ody as well as mind. He died on the 29 Sep 1642; was conveyed to Ormskir k, and there deposited with his noble ancestors.

      THE Stanley house is a very beautiful specimen of English City Architectur e, and was the Town residence of the Stanley family, at one time. There ar e, both in Shrewsbury and Chester, a number of family residences that se em strangely at variance with what the present requirements of their desce ndants might be ; but the journey from Chester to London, in those time s, would occupy some days, and be accompanied with more inconvenience, a nd probably greater danger, than a voyage at present is to New York.
      (Drawing of house see photos)
      Near this old residence were the Town houses of the Warburtons of Arley, t he Brookes of Norton, the Booths, the Mainwarings, and many others. Chest er had its seasons of gaiety and its county assemblies, more exclusive th an anything in our day in London; and the honour of the Mayoralty of the c ity seems to have been sought by the representatives of such families as t he Grosvenors, the Stanleys, the Alderseys, the Winnes, the Breretons, a nd many others. It is difficult to reproduce even in fancy an approxima te picture of Chester as it actually was a couple of centuries ago. On t he south side of Watergate street, between the "God's Providence house" a nd the Stanley mansion are the remains of five residences of consideratio n: and yet this distance is not more than about two hundred yards.

      The tastes and requirements of those days were much more simple than our o wn, and indeed the representatives of many county families were butts f or the jests of metropolitan wit on the score of their rusticity, whenev er they ventured to the metropolis.

      Stanley house, though its details may have an Italian character, is in a ll respects English in its composition; and no city more forcibly than Che ster shews us what our own architecture at its best has been. The cruel ex igencies of Pseudo-Italian art that required all apartments to fit themsel ves to a formal row of windows was not felt, and no one with the slighte st knowledge of English architecture can contemplate Hollar's old map of C hester, of 1653, without being struck by the former picturesqueness of t he city.

      Knight of The Garter°%20E.%20Derby)

      «u»See his Biography <>«/u»
    Person ID I2683  Glenn Cook Family
    Last Modified 26 Jan 2015 

    Father Henry Stanley, 4th Earl of Derby,   b. Sep 1531,   d. 25 Sep 1593, Lathom, Lancashire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 62 years) 
    Mother Margaret Clifford,   b. 1540, Brougham Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 29 Sep 1596, Cleveland Row, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 56 years) 
    Married 7 Feb 1555  Royal Chapel, Whitehall, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F8794  Group Sheet

    Family Elizabeth de Vere, Countess Derby,   b. 2 Jul 1575,   d. 10 Mar 1627  (Age 51 years) 
    Married 26 Jun 1594  Court At Greenwich Find all individuals with events at this location 
     1. James Stanley, 7th Earl of Derby,   b. 31 Jan 1607, Knowsley, Lancaster Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 15 Oct 1651, Bolton, Lancashire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 44 years)
     2. Elizabeth Stanley,   d. Yes, date unknown
     3. Robert Stanley, Knight of The Bath,   b. Abt 1600, Hackney, Middlesex Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1632  (Age ~ 32 years)
     4. Anne Stanley,   b. Abt 1600, Hackney, Middlesex Find all individuals with events at this location,   bur. 15 Feb 1657, Westminster Abbey, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 57 years)
    Last Modified 12 Mar 2007 
    Family ID F727  Group Sheet

  • Photos
    William STANLEY 6th Earl of Derby
    William STANLEY 6th Earl of Derby

  • Sources 
    1. [S36] Directory of Royal Genealogical Data, Brian Tompsett, Dept of Computer Science, University of Hull, England([email protected]), (This work is Copyright b 1994-2002 Brian C Tompsett).

    2. [S27]