[From Draper The House of Stanley]
was the eighth son of Earl Charles, being named after his grandfather who was beheaded at Bolton, and succeeded to the earldom on the death of his brother, Earl William-Richard-George, in 1702. The early predilections of Earl James were of a military cast, and appear to have been fully gratified, for, we are told, he was bred up in martial discipline by William Prince of Orange, afterwards King William IlL of England, " of glorious and immortal memory with whom he servedseveralcampaigns in Flanders,and experienced active service in Ireland. In the several battles in which he was engaged, Brigadier Stanley (this being the name by which he was then familiarly known) prominently distinguished him-self for courage and military ability, and was graced with a full share of military honours, having received many serious wounds, and being twice carried off the field supposed to be in a dying state. For his many distinguished services he enjoyed the esteem and special favour of William III., who appointed him a groom of the bedchamber, and he was almost constant-ly in attendance at Court during the reign of that illustrious monarch. He served in the Convention Parliament at the revolution in 1688, as member for Preston ; and from 1695, until his succession to the peerage, he was M.P. for Lancashire. On the 10th of June, 1706, the noble and gallant Earl was constituted, by Queen Anne, chancellor of the Duchy of Lan-caster, which office he resigned in 1710 ; and he was also appointed lord-lieutenant of the county of Lancaster, and chamberlain of the city and county palatine of Chester. On the 23rd of September, 1715, he was appointed, by King George I., captain of the Yeomanry of the Guards, which office he resigned in 1710 ; and he was also appointed lord-lieutenant of the county of Lancaster, and chamberlain of the city and county palatine of Chester.. In 1734 he was elected mayor of Liverpool, on which occasion he gave a splendid entertainment at his Castle in Water-street, and in 1735, during his mayoralty, with the consent of the bailiffs, he called the burgesses together and opened a common hail, for the purpose of affording to the burgesses an opportunity of asserting their rights and putting their will in force, as expressed in bye-laws enacted at previous common halls, and intended as a check upon the select body or common-council, or corporation. Earl James was the last mayor of Liverpool of the Stanley family ; and it is worthy of remark that James, Lord Strange, afterwards the seventh Earl of Derby, was the first mayor of Liverpool, under the charter granted in the second year of the reign of Charles I, on the 4th July (1626), making the burgesses of Liverpool a corporate body under the designation of " the Mayor, Bailiffs, and Burgesses of Liverpool"
Earl James, besides being an accomplished soldier and politician, was a liberal patron of the fine arts ; and it was at his cost that Knowsley Hall can boast of its choice collection of paintings from the Italian and Flemish schools, selected abroad by Hamlet Winstanley, a native artist, who was commissioned by the Earl of Derby to collect the same. On succeeding to the earldom, Earl James commenced to rebuild Knowsley Hall, which he completed in a becoming style of grandeur and extent, and adopted it as his principal seat, the chief portion of which, as it now stands, having been erected by him, as the interesting historical inscription (which will be subsequently noticed) on the south front testifies, as well as perpetuates the remembrance of the ingratitude of Charles II towards the Derby family.
The Countess of Earl James was Mary, daughter and heiress of Sir William Morley, K.B., of Halnaker, in the county of Sussex, born 8th September. By his marriage the Earl of Derby succeeded to an ample estate ; and had issue an only son, William, Lord Strange, born 31st January, 1709, but died 4th March following, from inoculation for small-pox.
Earl James died at Knowsley, on the 1st of February, 1735-6, in the seventy-second year of his age, and was buried in the family vault at Ormskirk. His Countess survived him till the year 1752, when she died at Chichester on the 20th of February, and was interred at Boxgrove.
On the death of Earl James without male issue, the male descendants of Thomas, the second Earl of Derby, eldest son of George Lord Stanley and Strange, eldest son of Thomas, the second Lord Stanley and first Earl of Derby of his family (created earl by Henry VII., the son of Margaret of Lancaster, Countess of Richmond and Derby) became extinct; and the barony of Strange and the sovereignty of the Isle of Man* being claimed by, now passed to the heir general, James Murray, second Duke of Athol, the maternal great grandson of James, seventh Earl of Derby, his grandmother being the Lady Amelia-Anna-Sophia Stanley, the fourth and youngest daughter of James the seventh Earl, who married John Murray, second Earl of Athol, whose descendant, James Murray, second Duke of Athol, now became, by the extinction of the descendants of all the other children, the sole heir of his great grandfather, James, seventh Earl of Derby ; but the title and honours of the earidom of Derby devolved upon the next male heir, Sir Edward Stanley, Bart., of Bickerstaffe.
In 1765, an act of Parliament was passed for the purchasing of the Isleof Man by a contract between the Lords of the Admiralty and the third Duke and Duchess of Athol ; and the sum of £70,000 was paid for all the interest and privileges of the island ; reserving, however, to the Athol family the landed property, with all their"rights in and over the soil, with courts baron, rents, services, and other privileges, together with the patronage of the bishopric,f and other ecclesiastical benefices in the island, on payment of £101 15s. 11d. per annum, and rendering two falcons to the succeeding kings and queens of England, on the days of their respective coronations; but, in 1806, the sovereignty of the island was sold by John, the fourth Duke of Athol, to the English government for the British Crown ; and, in 1826, on receiving from the English government the further sum of £416,000, all remaining reserved privileges were surrendered by the Duke of Athol.
1 The Ashburnhams (so denominated from the town of that name in Sussex, formerly written Esseburnham) are, according to Fuller, " a family of stupendous antiquity, wherein the eminence hath equalled the antiquity, having been barons temp. Henry III. ;" and Francis Thynn, Esq., in his catalogue of Lord Wardens of the Cinque Ports, and Constables of Dover Castle, thus mentions one of the early progenitors : " Bertram Ashburnham, a baron of Kent, was constable of Dover Castle, A.D. 1066 ; which Bertram was beheaded by William the Conqueror because he did so valiantly defend the same against the Duke of Normandy."
2 At page 22, it will be found that the acquisition of the Isle of Man by the Stanleys dates from Henry IV., who, according to an ancient historical Manx ballad, said to Sir John Stanley
" Because thou hast served me well.
And gained booty for me and thyself,
Take to thy portion the Isle of Man,
To be for thee and thine for ever."