IN this proposed sketch of the history of the House of Stanley it will be our aim to present such particulars as may be both interesting and instructive.
The Family of the Stanleys may well be described, as it has been by all who have attempted to narrate its history, as one of the most illustrious in the whole range of the British peerage, not only on account of its great antiquity, but also on account of the important and interesting character of the events with which it is historically associated. Since the time of the Conquest, the members of this ancient and noble family have been found more or less prominently taking their part in those movements which have given an interest to the events which form the subject matter of the history of our country; having, as an old historian and biographer observes, "in their several ages been distinguished and promoted by royal favour to the highest posts of honour and trust under sovereign princes, and always advancing in the front ranks of our British heroes :" so that it may fairly be said the history of the Stanley family is inextricably interwoven. with, and forms no small part of the history of Englands chivalry, patriotism, and constitutional institutions ; and the ancient House of Derby could not have wished for, as the inheritors of its honours and illustrious name, worthier representatives than the present Earl of Derby1 and his son, Lord Stanley..; M.P., who, true to the antecedents of their ancestors and the motto of the family" Sans changer "are loyally, patriotically, and nobly devoted to the honour and interest of their country.
Of the history of the House of Stanley prior to the Conquest, there is little to interest the general reader ; but there is good reason for believing that, long before the landing of William the Conqueror, the maternal branch of the house was a family of considerable note, and possessed large estates in the county of Stafford.
As to the origin and lineal descent of this ancient house, Mr. Camden seems to think they are of the same family as the barons of Audley, who built Healey Castle, in the county of Stafford, upon lands given to them by Harvey de Stafford, as also Aldeleigh, by Theobald de Verdon ; and from these, he contends, sprang the family of the Stanleys and the Earls of Derby. Other writers, however, are of opinion that the Stanley family is of greater antiquity than the barons of Audley, and that Mr. Camden might have said, with far more reason, that the barons of Audley sprang from the same family as the Earls of Derby. .
According to Mr. Camden, the family of Stanley was seated at Audley, or Stoneley, in Staffordshire, about a mile from the head of the river Trent, from which place, the land being craggy or stony, it is supposed the family received its appellation, as was the custom in those days for families to take their names from trades, professions, or estates ; hence we have Stoneley or Stanley, a name beyond all doubt of Saxon origin, and which shows, as already stated, that the Stanleys were a family of note prior to the Conquest. Bishop Rutter in his manuscripts (l066 [sic 1660 ?]), agrees with Mr. Camden as to the location of the family at Stoneley, in Staffordshire, and observes that the family was of Saxon extraction, as are all families in England whose surnames end in " ley," just as all names ending in " by " are of Danish origin.
How long the Stanleys were seated at Audley, or Stoneley, before the Conquest is not known, but Bishop Rutter assures us that they resided there long before the landing of William Duke of Normandy and that the Conqueror was attended in his expedition to England by Adam de Aldithley or Audithley, who was accompanied from Audithley, in Normandy, by histwo sons, Lydulph and Adam de Audithley. On William obtaining the crown of England, he conferred upon Adam de Audithley the elder, large and valuable possessions and other favours, as he did to all his followers. Adam de Audithley appears th have been a great favourite with King William and his Queen for we are informed that Queen Matilda, the wife of the Conqueror, and the daughter of Baldwin, Earl of Flanders, and commonly. mentioned as Maud the Stranger, gave to Adam de Audithley, the elder, the seat of Red Castle, in the county of Salop or Shropshire, with all the lands and tenements appertithng thereto, where the family seems to have resided until the completion of the building of Healey Castle, in the county of Stafford, whence they derived the title of Barons of Healey, but which member f the family built the castle, or which of them first took possession of it, we are not informed.
The first Lord of Stoneley, styled Henry Stanley de Stoneley, lived about forty or fifty years before the Conquest, and sometime after and had an only daughter, named Mabella, whom he gave in marriage to Adam, son of Lyduiph and grandson of Adam de Audithley, who, as already mentioned, accompanied William the Conqueror into England. The issue of this marriage was a son, named Henry,2 after his grand-father, the first Lord de Stoneley, at whose death, his son-in-law, Adam de Audithley, in the right of his wife Mabella, became Lord of Stoneley and Balterley, in the county of Stafford, and wa ancestor of the Barons Audley of H.ealey. Castle, in the same county
Adam de Audithley, the second son of Adam de Audithley, was the father of William de Audithley, to whom Thomas Stanley, Esq, of Stafford, uncle of Henry Stanley of Stoneley, gave his only daughter and heiress, Joan or Joanna, in marriage, and with her, as a marriage portion, the manor of Thalk.
Adam de Audithley, the son of Lydulph, exchanged the manor of Stoneley and half the manor of Balterley with his cousin, William de Audithley, for the manor of Thalk3 and tine William de Audithley, in honour of his lady and the great antiquity of her family, made choice of Stoneley for his seat, and called himself Stanley and thus became the founder & thç family of the Stanleys.
Here we must now take some further notice of the descendants of Adam, ie son of Lyduiph de Audithley, who married Mabella, the daughter of the first Lord of Stoneley The first son of this marriage, as already mentioned, was Henry,who is said to have been the founder of Hilton Abbey, on