[From Seacombe, History of House of Stanley] -
Beginning first with John Stanley, Esq;, eldest son of Sir John Stanley by Isabel de Latham, who was at his father's death (whom he succeeded) of the age of twenty-three or twenty-four years. He was a youth of great genius and vivacity of spirit, being early taken notice of at court, and made steward of the household to King Henry Vl. and was in the sixth year of that King, by the name of John Stanley,. Esq; made constable of Carnarvon-castle, in Wales; a post of great trust as well as hazard in those remote parts, and unsettled times; but by his prudence and good conduct, he kept the people in peace, and preserved his majesty's interest, though with much care and watchfulness.
For the Welsh were at time (as it were) but young subjects to England, uneasy in temper, and on every change of government frequently in tumults and insurrections, occasioned by the late rebellion of Owen Glendour aforesaid, many of whole party and factious principles still surviving, failed not to stir up new commotions, as occasion offered.
Insomuch that King Henry, in the seventeenth year of his Reign, (Mr. Stanley, being then groom of the Bed-chamber to that Prince) gave him, in reward of his loyalty, and faithful services, a grant of all the lands late Nichol's and Saxon's, in the counties of Carnarvon and Flint; also by a new commission appointed him Governor of Carnarvon, and Constable of the castle there for life, with the fee of 401, per annum; and also constituted him Sheriff of Anglesea for life, with the fee of 201. per annum, and honoured him with knighthood, by which character we shall treat of him hereafter.
And, in the mean time inform the reader, that by his vigilance and prudent management he not only suppressed all insurrections, but reduced the country to full obedient and tranquility.
In which he was greatly assisted by one John Dumbill, a valiant captain, who had served under his father when governor of the Castle of Roxburgh, in Scotland, and was. for his good and faithful service in Wales retained the King's servant, with a pension of 51. per annum, for life, payable out of the King's Exchequer at Chester.
This Dumbill was the son of one Dumbill, of Oxton, in Wirral, in the county of Chester, and the original ancestor of the Dumbills of Lime, in that 1 county; and, (as far as I can collect) was appointed by Sir John Stanley, his Lieutenant in that government during his absence.
Thus Sir John, having made all very peaceable in Wales, resolved to visit the Isle of Man, where affairs were in some disorder ; leaving the conservation and care of the people under his government, to his trusty friend, Captain Dumbill.
And on his arrival in the Isle of Man, we find him stiled in their earliest records (for before his time there were none extant) Anno quarto regalitatis nostra, which was the ancient stile of their court rolls, and continued down to the time of Thomas the second EARL of DERBY ; who, for great and wise reasons, shewn when we come to treat of him, declined the title of King, and only used that of Lord of Man, and the Isles.
Sir John, now of mature age, and great experience in life, wisely considered, that a just regulation of the laws were a lasting happiness to the people, and the best security to the prince, in result whereof he consulted the judges, and others well skilled in the ancient government; laws, and customs of that island.
And by their advice convened the whole body of the people to a certain place in the centre of the country, (since called the Tinwald) where their grand annual court hath ever since been held on the twenty-fourth of June, for the promulgation of the laws and statutes made for the future government and observance, some of which remain to this time, which we shall treat more fully of when we come to describe the government of that isle, and the several officers necessarily employed therein.
Sir John having adjusted and completed his system of government there to his own and his subjects security and satisfaction, put the same in motion by proper officers, over whom he appointed John Letherland, Esq ; (a neighbouring gentleman of Lancashire) his lieutenant, a gentleman well used to, and (as a justice of the peace) well acquainted with the distribution of justice ; and then returned to England.
On his arrival at court, he was by commission appointed one of the judges itinerant for the county of Chester, but died soon after.
He married Isabel, the only daughter of Sir John, and sister to Sir William Harrington, who dying without issue, she became heiress to her brother, and mistress of the fine seat of Hornby-Castle, near Lancaster, with its appurtenances; and by her Sir John had issue two children, a son named Thomas, and a daughter named Alice, who married Sir Thomas Dutton, of Dutton, in Cheshire.
The character given this gentleman by the learned of that age, assures us that he was a man truly great, of a masterly genius, beloved by his prince, and an honour to his country; a kind husband, a tender parent, and a true friend.
And was succeeded in honour and estate, by his only son Sir Thomas Stanley, (who had been knighted some time before his father's death) and was in the same year he died, made lieutenant of Ireland for six years, as his grandfather had been: he called a Parliament in that kingdom, for redress of many grievances, in the year 1432; but being called to England by his majesty's command, left Sir Christopher Plunket, his deputy, and on his coming to court was comptroller of his majesty's household, but by his absence, the King's minority, and the absence of the military men in France, the Irish were grown very insolent, insomuch that he was obliged to return to that kingdom, which, he did in the year 1435; and with the power of Meath, and other assistance, he took Moyle O'Neal, prisoner, and slew great numbers of the Irish ; and about Michaelmas after he came to England again, and left Richard Talbot, Archbishop of Dublin, and brother to the Earl of Shrewsbury, his deputy; and the eleventh of Henry VI. he was upon an inquisition post Mortem, his father found to hold (as heir to Sir Robert, de Latham, of Latham) of the Lord of the Manor of Widnes, in the county of Lancaster, in the time of Edward II. in the following words, viz.
Thomas Stanley Milite, Comptroller, Dominus Robertus de Latham, Tenet et Dom. de Widness, Maneria de Knowsley, Huyton, Roby et Torbuck, pro una faeda Militis etat de relievo, cum accederit five pounds.
This Foedary is extracted out of the records of Halton, tempe Edward II. et Henry VI. And the eighteenth of Henry VI. he was appointed by William de la Poole, Earl of Suffolk and sole judge of Chester for life, to be his deputy. Quam Diu fibi placuerit.
And the year following, (the nineteenth of Henry VI.) it appears by record, that whereas William de la Poole, was made judge of Chester for life, he now maketh Sir Thomas Stanley, and William Ruckley, of Eaton his Lieutenant Justices, and that they shall receive 401. per annum, per manus camerary ; dated the eve of the Annunciation of the blessed Virgin Mary, the nineteenth of Henry VI.
And in the twenty-fifth of Henry VI. being then comptroller of the king's household, he with others, obtained a grant of all the goods and chattles of Humphrey, Duke of Lancaster, with power to dispose of them without account.
And the next year he with John, Lord k, Viscount Beaumont, and others, were commissioned to treat with the Scots, for a truce betwixt both realms, and he was the year after appointed one of the conservators of the same for the King of England.
And in the twenty-eighth of Henry VI. he was put in commission, with the Earl of Wiltshire, and others for the custody and defence of the town and castle of Calais, and the marches adjacent, with the tower of Reisbank, for the term of five years.
And the next year he was again made one of the conservators of the truce with Scotland, which was to hold good from the fifteenth of August, 1451, for three years, and of the continuance of the same to the twenty-first of May, 1457,
And in the same year, he was made sole judge of Chester, and continued therein to the thirtieth of that king's reign ; and that year was again commissioned to treat with James, Earl Douglas, of a new truce with Scotland, which was to hold to the fourteenth of July, 1458.
And in the thirty-fourth of that king's reign, he was created Baron Stanley, and made Lord Chamberlain of the King's household.
In the thirty-fifth of Henry VI he was, by the King's appointment, made one of the council to Edward, Prince of Wales.
And in the thirty-seventh of Henry VI, the King sent orders to Sir John Manwaring, to deliver certain state prisoners then in his custody, and particularly named to this Lord Stanley, for their greater security, which was accordingly done.
In the year 1460, he was again appointed one of the ambassadors to treat with those of Scotland, on affairs of the greatest moment ; but dying the latter end of the year, the nation was deprived of this very great and valuable person, and the King of one of his best subjects.
A character of this noble Lord seems :needless ; his brave and worthy actions, and the high trusts reposed in him through the hole course of his life, have fully manifested his perfections, beyond what we can posssibly say of him ; yet, that we may not be wanting to do justice to his merit, nor deficient in the commendations, as given him by his contemporaries, of so eminent a patriot; they inform us, that he inherited all the amiable qualities of his father and grand-father; that he was brave in the field, wise in the senate, just, to his prince, an honour to his country, and an ornament to his family; being the first ennobled by royal favour, from their original, to his time.
He married Joan, the only daughter and heiress of Sir Robert Goushill, by whom he had issue three sons, Thomas, William and John; and three daughters. Margaret, the eldest, married to Sir William Troutback, of Cheshire ; Elizabeth, the second, to Sir Richard Molyneux, of Sefton, in Lancashire; and Catharine, the youngest, to Sir John Savage, of Clifton, in Cheshire ; all sisters to Thomas, first EARL of DERBY, who, in the second of Edward VI. was made judge of Chester, and continued therein to the first of Henry VII. when departing this life, he was succeeded in honour and estate, by Thomas, his eldest son, who was first summoned to Parliament, the twenty-fourth of May, the first of Edward IV. by the stile and title of Baron Stanley, of Latham, and was made Steward of the King's Household that year.
And in the fourteenth of that king's reign, being then Steward of his Majesty's Houshold, he was retained by indenture to serve his Majesty in his wars with France, for one year, with forty men at arms, and three hundred archers.
At this time John, Lord Scroop, whose ancestors had formerly been Lords of Man, made complaint to the King, that this Lord Stanley bore the arms of that island. No decision could be made therein at that time, for the reasons hereafter recited, by the King's letter, under his sign manual, dated the first of May, 1475,
" EDWAR , by the grace of God, King of England and France, and Lord of Ireland; remembring the pretence and claim of John Lord Scroop, shewed unto us, for the bearing of the Arms of the We of !I n, which now our right trusty and right well-beloved Thomas, Lord Stanley, steward of our houlhold beareth, for brief-rneis of time, having no convenient season to know the determination of the same, and providing so, no variance therefore be had now in our voyage, have willed and desired that for the times and seasons, that the said Lords shall continue in our service in our realm of France, Dutchy of Normandy, or elsewhere beyond the sea ; and also unto our and their returning next to this our realm of England, or either of them, that the said Lords shall abstain and sorbear the use and wearing of the said Arms of the Isle of Man ; whereunto for the Paid desire, it is agreed, alway foreseen, that the said will, desire, abstinence and forbearing; be not prejudicial in that behalf unto the said Scroop nor to his heirs, nor be of none effect, strength or virtue, but for the time above expressed."
And in the twenty-second of Edward VI. Richard, Duke of Gloucester, being sent with an army against the Scots, this Lord Stanley, commanded the right wing, consisting of four thousand, and took Berwick by assault, though with the loss of a great many men.
As he stood firm to Edward I.V. so after his death he was no less faithful to his son, Edward V. which the Duke of Gloucester (then protector to the young King) took so ill, that he had a design to murder him, and the young King his nephew, as is clear by his taking the Lord Hastings from the council-board, in the Tower of London, and causing his head to be struck off.
For at the same time, one of the soldiers struck at the Lord Stanley, with a halbert ; and had he not suddenly stooped under the table to avoid the blow, it had certainly cleft his head, and as it was, he lost much blood : all which might have been prevented, in case the Lord Hastings had given heed to a prophetic dream of this Lord Stanley, the night before; which was, that a Boar, with his tusks, had so gored and raised them both, that the blood ran about their shoulders, of which he gave the Lord Hastings speedy notice, with an invitation to come away, and with him to ride as far as they could that night; but he was not so fortunate to regard the warning given him, and so lost his head.
And, although the Lord Stanley had the good luck to save his, yet he was committed to prison ; but as soon as that barbarous Duke got possession of the crown, by the murder of his two nephews, in the Tower of London, the Lord. Stanley was released and set at liberty ; King Richard fearing that, his son George, Lord Strange (a valiant captain) might cause an insurrection, to set him at liberty, and put in danger his possession of the crown.
Therefore the King, to ingratiate himself with this Lord, and, is possible to bring him over to his interest, on the sixteenth of December, in the first: year of his reign, made him Constable of England, for life, with the see of 100l. per annum, payable out of the King's revenue, in the county of Lancaster, with power to make a deputy; and also had him installed a Knight Companion of the most noble Order of the Garter.
But the Lord Stanley having married.to his, second wife, Margaret, the Countess of Richmond, and widow of Edmund, Earl of Richmond, by whom he had one son, named Henry, Earl of Richmond, who, in right of his mother, claimed a title to the Crown; of which, notice being taken by King Richard, and that he was then in France, soliciting assistance from that King, to recover his right ; which, together with what asistance he might reasonable expect from the great power of his father-in-law, the Lord Stanley, might render his possession of the crown precarious, and greatly disturb his peace.
Therefore this noble Lord began to be suspected as a well-wisher to the interest of Prince Henry, and the Countess his mother, was commanded to put away all her old servants, and forbid to send any messages to, or receive any from, the Earl her son.
But the Lord Stanley wisely concealed all his sentiments in this critical conjuncture; and the better to cover and secure himself rom the suspicions and jealousies of that tyrannical King, requested leave to retire into the country on his private affairs, and to raise forces for his Majesty's service.
But the King knowing his great interest, and fearing that under that pretence, he might give aid to his rival, the Earl of Richmond, refused his consent, until he gave up George, Lord Strange, his son and heir, as a hostage for his loyalty.
However, on the Earl of Richmond's landing, he failed not to meet him on the day of battle, with what forces he had collected ; but he himself had a private meeting with the Earl, the day before, at Atherston, about six miles short of Bosworth ; coming thither with great privacy, and the next day approaching the field of battle, he openly appeared with his forces in favour of the Earl ; upon which the King sent him the following message: That unless he did forthwith repair to his pretence, he would put his son, the Lord Strange, to death, (who marched with him in the rear of all his forces, guarded by one troop of horse and some foot.) To which the Lord Stanley answered, That the King might do his pleasure ; and is he did put lim to death, he had more sons alive, and was determined not to come to him at that time ; upon which he had resolved to put him to death, but was told by his Lords, and others about him, that his Majesty had a greater work in hand ; and that it was not a time to think of executions, but of defence, upon which the Lord Strange was spared.
The battle speedily ensued; and remained Doubtful for some time, until Sir William Stanley, of Holt-castle, and brother to the Lord Stanley, came with three thousand fresh men, who turned the whole action in favour the Earl of Richmond, and gave him a comeplete victory, wherein King Richard was slain, with a great number of his followers.
Amongst the spoils of the field was found;(what 2 Lord Bacon calls) an ornamental crown, which Richard used to wear on particular occasions ; and some say, Lord Stanley (but this great author, and others of great authority say, Sir William Stanley) put it upon the head of Henry, Earl of Richmond, and proclaimed him King, by the name of Henry VII. all crying aloud, King Henry! King Henry!
This memorable and glorious battle, (if any may be allowed that epithet) where so many lives were lost, was attended with most extraordinary consequences to the nation ; for by it they were delivered from the most wicked, arbitrary, inhuman and tyrannical prince, that ever sat on the throne of England ; and, as an additional blessng, it laid the foundation of friendship, regulation and union between the two ancient houses of York and Lancaster ; betwixt whom, more blood had been shed, than in all the wars with France.
The same 3 year, on the twenty-feventh of October, Kng Henry created Lord Stanley, EARL of DERBY, and constituted him one of the Lords Commissioners for executing the office of Lord High Steward of England, upon his own coronation, the thirtieth day of the same month.
On the fifth of March following, he had a grant of the high office of Constable of England for life; with a fee of 100l. per annum; payable out of the King's revenues in Lancashire, as before.
In the second of Henry VII. he was one of the godfathers to Prince Arthur, the King's first-born son ; and in the third of` Henry VII. one of the Commissoners for executing the office of Lord High-steward of England, on the coronation of Queen Elizabeth, consort to that King.
In the sixth of Henry VII. he was commissoned, with George, his son, to borrow money in the county of Lancaster, for the support of the King's expedition into France.
The eleventh of said King's reign, he was one of the guarantees of that peace, made between that King, and the Archduke of Austria ; and same year, was one of the Lords that at attended to the peace made with France, at the Staples on the Sea, near Bologne, in 1492, but died in the year 1504, the nineteenth of Henry VII. as appears by his will, dated the twenty-eighth of July that year, and the probate thereof on the ninth of November following.
Wherein he, by the title of Thomas, EARL of DERBY, Lord Stanley, Lord of Man, and Great Constable of England, bequeathed his body to be buried in the midd of the chapel, on the North aisle of the church of Burscough, near Latham, in the county of Lancaster, of his ancestors' foundation; where the body of his father and mother, and others of his ancestors lay buried; having moulded a tomb to be there placed, with the personages of himself, and both his wives, for a perpetual remembrance to be prayed for.
And likewife appointing, that the personages he had causd to be made for his father and mother, his grand-father and grand and great grand-fathers, should be set upon the arches of the chancel within that priory, in the places provided for thesame.
And though he had formerly given to the prior and convent of that house, large gifts in money, jewels and ornaments, and likewise made great reparation there, he further bequeaths unto them twenty pounds, to the intent that they should be obliged by their deed, under their convent seal, to cause one of the canons of that house, daily to lay Mass, in the before-mentioned chapel, for his soul; also, for the soul of his lady (then living) after her decease ; likewise; for the soul of Eleanor, his former wife; and for the souls of his father, mother, ancestors, children, brethren and sisters; also, for the soul of William, then late Marquis of Berkley, and for the souls of all those who died in his, or his father's service ; and every Mass before the Lavatory, audibly to be said for the said souls appointed by name; and all others in.general, de profundis clamavi, and such other orisons and collects as are used to be said therewith.
And furthermore he willed, that his son, Sir Edward Stanley, should have and enjoy the castle of Hornby, so long as he lived ; but departed this life the ninth of November next ensuing.
This noble Earl married to his first wife, Eleanor, the fourth daughter of Richard Nevill, Earl of Salisbury, and by her had issue six sons and four daughters, of all which in their order.
Thomas and Richard, his two first sons, died young; and George, his third son, married Joan, the only daughter and heiress of John, Lord Strange, of Knocking, near Shrewsbury, and was summoned to Parliament by the title of Baron Strange, the twenty-second of Edward IV. Place as in Strange, the twenty-ninth of December, twenty-eight of Edward I. and afterwards to the twelfth. of Henry VII. inclusive.
And before his said marriage, he was one of those noble persons who received the honour of Knighthood, by bathing with Prince Edward, the King's eldest son, the eighth of April, and fifteenth of Edward IV. and in the first of Henry VII. he was made one of the Lords of the Privy-council ; and in the second of Henry VII. he was appointed one of the principal commanders of the King's army, at the battle of Stoke, near Newark, and shared greatly in the honour of that victory, then obtained against the Earl of Lincoln, and his adherents, patrons, and supporters of one Lambert Simnel, who pretended to be the eldest son of Edward IV. and thereby claimed a right to the crown, prior to, and exclusive of King Henry VII. and his Queen, and eldest daughter of King Edward IV.
In the seventh of Henry VII. he was retained by indenture, to ferve the King in France, with ten men at arms, five demy-lances, twenty-four archers on horseback, and two hundred and forty-seven archers on foot; each man of arms to have his cuflrel and page, for one year, from the day of his first multer, and so long after as it shall pleafe the King; and to muster the fame at Guildford, in Surry, on the first of June ; and after such muster, on his arrival at Portsmouth, to receive of the treasurer of war, the conduct, money; for bringing his said forces to Portsmouth, viz. sixpence for every one of them, for as many twenty miles as are between the hoiifes from whence any of them departed, and the said town of Portsmouth ; and also to receive for each of the said men at arms, garnished with his cuflrel and page, eighteen-pence per day ; and for every of the said demy lances, ninepence per day; and for every of the said archers on horseback, or on foot, sixpence, &c.
Soon after the above action, he was made one of the Knights Companions of the most, noble Order of the Garter, and in the ninth of Henry VII. upon the liege of Norharn-caflle, by the Scots, he advanced with the Earl of Surry; and many others of the no-bility, against those bold invaders ; but the enemy being retreated before they came up, nothing of note was performed.
He was at the Staples on the Sea, near Bologne, in France, the third of November, 1492. And on the fifth of December, in the thirteenth of Henry VII. He departed this life, at Derby-House, now the college of arms, on St. Kennet's-hill, London; (his father then living,) and was buried in the parish-church of St. James, Garlick-hithe, London, near to Eleanor, the Countess of Derby, his mother.
He lest Issue, by Joan, his Wife, two sons, Thomas and James; and two daughters ; Jane and Elizabeth. Jane married Robert Sheffield, Esq ; and Elizabeth died young ; and of his two sons, more hereafter. In the interim, I cannot well omit an inscription I met with in the church of Malingdon, in the county of Middlesex ; as it relates to him, though I suppose occassioned by some encomiums on his father, who had to estate there; but is so defaced with time, that I could not fully take it off; however,as far as I could make it out with certainty, it is as follows.
" He married his first son George, to no farm nor grange,
But honourably to the heir of the Lord Strange ;
Who lived insuch, love, as no man else had,
For at the death of him, divers went almost mad;
At an ungodly banquet, alas! he was poisoned,
And at London, in St. James's, Garlick-hithe, lies buried."
William his brother, and fourth son of Thomas, EARL of DERBY, died young and, unmarried.
Edward, his sixth son, stiled Sir Edward Stanley, was a gentleman of the sword, by which he acquired both honour and fortune, as afterwards will appear.
James, the sixth son of this noble Lord, was Dean of St. Martin's, in London, and made Bishop of Ely, the twenty-second of Henry VII. also Warden of the Collegiate Church at Manchester, in the county of Lancaster ; and lieth buried in the chapel of St. John Baptist, by him built, on the North-side of that church, with the following inscription on his tomb, viz. " Of your charity, pray for the soul of James Stanley ; sometime Bishop of Ely, and Warden of Manchester ; who deceased out of this transitory world, the twenty-second of March, in the year of our Lord, 1525. upon whose soul, and all Christian souls; Jesus have mercy."
His four daughters before-mentioned were Joan, Catherine and Anne, who all died young and unmarried; but Margaret, his fourth daughter, married Sir John Osbaldeston, of Lancashire.
This Lord married to his second wife, the most noble Margaret, daughter and heiress to John, Duke of Somerset ; and widow of Edmund, Earl of Richmond; and the happy mother of King Henry VII. but by her had no issue.
This great and noble Lord, died in the year 1504, the nineteenth of Henry VII. as aboyve ; and was succeeded by Thomas, his grandson, eldest son of George, Lord Strange, and his next heir; of whom before I proceed further, I have some curious, remarks, and events, to relate of the late very eminent Lord; which I doubt will be acceptable to the reader, but I conceive they will not so properly fall in order, nor be so well put as in this place.
Therefore, as they have relation to his brother, Sir William Stanley, I request leave, by a short digression, to give you the history of that brave and gallant gentleman; who, to the great surprize of the world, suffered death, by Henry VII. and then return to a further description of the great EARL OF DERBY'S posterity and successors, as before promised.
The first notice I meet with in the history of Sir William Stanley is, that he was second son of Thomas, Lord Stanley, and brother to the aforefaid EARL of DERBY ;that his seat was at the Castle of Holt, in the County . of Flint, and that the fourteenth of July, and the ninth of Henry V. a writ was issued out to him and others, to call to an account John Leigh, of Booths, for an arrear of one hundred and forty pounds, due from him, as late sheriff of the county of Chester, to the King, and then unsatisfied.
But the King dying that year a new writ was issued to the same persons, against the said John Leigh, dated the sixth of Henry VI. to bring him to account for the very great arrears then due from him to the King, and yet unsatisfied
And as the world at this time, were great strangers to the office of a sheriff in those days, and as this proceeding against that gentleman, may appear novel to many readers, give me leave to observe, from the information I have met with on that subject, that the sheriffs of this county, were at that time receivers of the King's rents, forfeitures, amercements, &c. and were looked upon as officers of high trust.
The next office of note, I find Sir William for his good services advanced to, was Chamberlain of the city and county of Chester, by patent, bearing date the first of Edward IV. and continued therein, to the tenth of Henry VII. (though Sir Peter Leicester, thinks this Sir William, was of Hooton, but speaks doubtfully of it) saying, as he conceives, but I take it for granted, that. Sir William Stanley, here spoken of, was brother to Thomas EARL of DERBY ; for I find upon search, that Sir William Stanley, of Hooton, his contemporary, and one of the King's carvers, was by patent of the twenty-fixth of February, in the fifth of Edward IV. nnnade sheriff of Cheshire for life: and this appears to me, to have confused Sir Peter, by the affinity of the name, and long continuance in office, not rightly distinguishing the men, nor the offices they severally executed.
From hence we come next to meet Sir William Stanley, at Bosworth-field, where he found King Richard and the Earl of Richmond, hotly engaged in battle. for the crown of England, and the victory doubtful, until he, with fresh forces, gave the honour of the day to the Earl, and proclaimed him King, as aforefaid.
Soon after this victory, King Henry took his journey to London, where he was met and welcomed by the Lord-mayor and Sheriffs, and many other of the principal citizens; by whom being attended, he went in great state to St. Paul's church, and there made an offering of three standards.
The service of the church being over, he went to the Bishop's palace; from whence after some time, he went by water to Westminster, and there with great solemnity, was anointed and declared King, by the stile and title of King Henry VII. and remained in profound peace for fosne time ; but these days were not of long duration. For one Lambert Simnel, by the persuasion and encouragement of his school-master, Richard Simon, a priest, set up his. title to the crown against King Henry; taking upon him, and pretending to be Edward, Earl of Warwick, eldest son of King Edward IV. and lately escaped out of the Tower of London, where he had been imprisoned.
He gained great credit with many of the nobility and gentry affected to the House of York, who were ready to take his part, many even saluted him King.
But, especially the Earl of Lincoln and the Lord Lovell, with many others, raised an army in his favour, which, in a little time was defeated at Stoke, near Newark, by George, Lord Strange, and others, as above.
Young Lambert and his tutor, Simon the priest, were taken prisoners, but both their lives spared ; Lambert, because but a child, and Simnel, because a priest, but kept prisoner for his life. Lambert was taken into the King's kitchen to turn the spit, and afterwards made one of the King's falconers. This imposter and his adherents being thus defeated, King Henry remained in peace till the year 1493 ; when the Dutchess of Burgundy, sister to King Edward IV. and an. inveterate enemy to King Henry, and the House of Lancaster, disturbed his peace, by setting up one Perkin Warbeck, to personate and take upon him to be Richard, the younger son of Edward IV.
This Perkin made a great noise in the world, and stood longer, being better supported, and more powerful, than Simnel ; having been sent by the Dutchess to Portugal, and from thence to Ireland, and to the Court of France, where he was entertained as a prince, and had a guard assigned him. He at last returned to the Dutchess of Burgundy, his pretended aunt, who received him as such, and professed openly that he was her true nephew, and not only assigned him a guard of thirty persons, but clothed them in murrey and blue, and called him the White Rose of England, which in time proved his overthrow, and it is probable, gave that future distinction used betwixt the white and the red rose, the former being made use of in favour of a spurious pretender; for on which report, many in England resorted to him, and amongst the rest, Sir Robert Clifford (an old acquaintance of Sir William Stanley) was sent by the party to acquaint the Dutchess, with the great respect the people of England had for Perkin ; and upon conferring with him, Sir Robert wrote to his friends in England, that he knew him to be the true son of King Edward IV.
Upon this, King Henry, agreeable to his usual prudence, sent spies into Flanders, to uncover the conspirators, and their designs ; and being known by their countrymen there, were all taken and put to death, except Sir Robert Clifford, who made his escape ; and returning to England, submitted himself to the King's mercy; hoping, from the secrets he knew, and the discovery he was able to make, of the open and private abettors of that conspiracy, to merit the King's pardon and favour.
And, the better to ingratiate himself, hc accused his old friend, Sir William Stanley, then Lord Chamberlain; affirming, that in a conference betwixt them, touching the pretended son of Edward IV. Sir William should say, "That if he certainly knew the young man called Perkin, to be really the son of Edward IV. he would never draw his sword or bear arms against him."
These words being considered of by the judges, seemed to express a very fickle loyalty to King Henry, (for who could tell hows oon he might be perfuaded that he did know it) besides that, the uttering of such an expresson, was in itself, found to be disloyal to the King; and withal struck upon a string which always sounded harsh in the King's ears, as preferring the title of York to that of Lancaster.
Be that as it may, Sir William was arraigned, brought to the bar, and tried; and, when trusting to the greatness of his service, the King's favour, his own innocency, or the lightess of his crime, his pleading was very trifling, denying little of what he was charged with ; and thereby, as it were, confessing himself guilty, was adjudged to die.
Accordingly, on the sixteenth day of February, 1495, he was brought to Tower-hill, London, and there beheaded; and all his estate, real and personal (which was very great) was confiscated to the King. And there are not wanting some who believe, that this was a greater motive to forward his death, than any thing he either said or did; avarice being, on many occasions, too visible in this King's administration, and to have had a large share in the prosecution of the above unfortunate gentleman.
For there were found in his castle of Holt, in the county of Flint, in Wales, forty thousand marks of money ; besides plate, jewels, houshold-goods and stock of cattle of great value; and also, a yearly income of old rents on land of 30001. per annum. By Joyce, his wife, daughter of Edward, Lord Powis, he had issue one son, named William, of whom more hereafter; also one daughter, named Jane, who married Sir John Warburton, of Arles, in the county of Chester, one of the Knights' of the body to King Henry VII.
This was that great Sir William Stanley, who of his own power and interest, raised and brought three thousand horse and foot to the rescue of that prince, when his life, honour, and hopes of a throne, were all in visible danger; gave him victory, and crowned him King in the field.
How could it then enter into his head or heart to put him to death, who had done for him all that mortality could posisibly do ? saved his life, vanquished his enemies, and gave him a crown ; and all his crime founded upon a doubtful and unguarded expression, reported by a treacherous friend, a rebel, and a traitor to his King, by his own confession, to save his own life; and therefore should have been the less regarded, where the duty, loyalty, and most worthy actions of so deserving a subject, were in competition with it.
From this unhappy event, mankind may learn how cautious they ought to be in opening their mind too freely, even to the most intimate friend, where the discovery may either touch or concern their life, reputation, liberty, interest, or peace of mind, when he shall think fit to disclose and aggravate their most innocent words and meanings, by a malicious and invidious construction.
But it may be said it was not the Earl of Richmond that did this, but the King of England; and I think it is a maxim, that the King in many cases is not at liberty to shew mercy as a private person may.
But be that as it will, beheaded he was, from the pinacle of honour, on a sudden brought to the block. A shocking thought! that nothing less than loss of life could attone for words, without action, or even evil meaning, without a forced construction. And I think on this occasion I may observe with a learned poet, that our God and soldier are alike. adored, just at the brink of danger; and the danger over, they are often both alike requited;, our God is forgotten, and our soldier slighted: Loss of favour, exile from court, and all public employments might have been born with; but death gave a short period to all his glory and most renowned performances for the public good, and the service of his King and country.
And I think it is allowed by the best philosophers, that death is the same thing to a coward, as to the valiant man; but with this remarkable difference in point of honour and everlasting fame, that the brave and gallant man falls in vindication of his prince, religion, laws, liberties, and country ; and the scoundrel abandons all in fear of loosing a life that he neither deserves, nor can save.
However, in deference to royal authority, give me leave to observe, what has been offered in mitigation of his Majesty's proceedings in this extraordinary and critical case, herein it is said he underwent many struggles and conflicts of mind, before Sir William was brought to trial.
But it is probable other substantial reasons might be assigned for his Majesty's concern nd uneasiness in this point; as knowing the very great power of his brother the EARL of DERBY, who, had married his mother,, and ad been eminently serviceable to him, and who on this melancholy occasion, had retired to his country seat, and that the grief and affliction that noble person must naturally lie under, for the untimely loss of so worthy and near a relation (and seemingly on so slight an occasion) might produce a resentment prejudicial to his own safety and peaceable possession ; and the King's future conduct seems a confirm the aforesaid reasons.
For his Majesty appearing desirous to justify himself to the world, and especially to this great Lord, his Brother, upon what ground, and for what reasons, he had taken off so valuable and eminent a person as Sir William Stanley, and to keep well with the said Earl, resolved the ensuing summer to pay him and his Mother a visit, at their seat of Latham, in Lancashire.
Os which, LORD DERBY being apprized, made suitable preparation for the reception and better accommodation of his Majesty and his retinue, by enlarging his house at Knowsley, by the stone building, and repairing and beautifying the other part; and also that of Latham.
And considering that there was no certain or constant passage over the river Mersey, to Old Warrington, but by Latchford, or Orford, and those very precarious, as well as dangerous; his Lordship determined to build a bridge over that river, that his Majesty might pursue his progress without stop or hazard.
To effect which, he purchased a road, from the cross ways leading from Sankey and Winwick, (now called Market-gate) to the river, through the field, now called Bridge-street ; and at the bottom thereof, erected a spacious stone bridge, and threw up a cause-way cross the marshes to the rising ground on the Cheshire side, and kept the same in repair all his life, and his successors after him, to the time of William, EARL OF DERBY, brother and successor to Earl Ferdinand, who refused to repair or amend the same; of which more hereafter.
In the interim, the King arrived at Knowsley, on or about the twenty-fourth of June, 1495, and from thence went to Latham, where having spent about a Month with his Mother and Father-in Law, he returned to London, well satisfied with his reception.
1 Sir Peter Leicester, in Cheshire.
2 Lord Bacon's History
3 History of Henry VII, 1485.