[taken from Chapter 9 Manx Worthies, A.W.Moore, 1901]


ROSE and BARBARA STANDISH, wives of the famous Myles Standish (b. 1586, d. 1656), the military leader of the Puritans who left England for America in the " Mayflower " in 1620. They are said to have come from Lezayre, and it is probable that their maiden, as well as their married, name was STANDISH. A branch of the Standishes, of Standish Hall,* in Lancashire, had settled in the Isle of Man, first at Pulrose, in Braddan, and then at Ellanbane, in Lezayre, since the beginning of the sixteenth century ; and one of them, John, perhaps ROSE, and BARBARA'S father, was a member of the House of Keys in 1593. William Standish of Ellanbane,1 who was perhaps his son, was a member of the House of Keys from 1629 to 1656, and was concerned in the rising against the Stanleys in 1651. He was evidently a leading Manxman, since he war, one of those who went on board Colonel Duckenfield's ship to arrange terms with him in October, 1651. Between 1661 and 1665, John Standish, probably William's son, was an M.H.K., and was one of those who tried Illiam Dhone.

These Standishes held a quantity of intack property in Lezayre besides Ellanbane, and, though the family has long since disappeared, there is to this day a curragh called Standishes' Curragh in that parish. Whether this property, or any part of it, belonged to Myles in his own right, or through his Manx wives, we do not know, since, though he left certain estates both in Lancashire and the Isle of Man to his son Alexander on his death in 1656, and though Alexander by his will, dated 1702, also claimed these estates, a diligent search in the Manx manorial records has failed to discover the names of either ROSE, BARBARA, Myles, or Alexander. As regards the two latter, however, it may be accounted for by the remark in Myles' will that these estates had been " surreptitiously detained"3 from him, so that it is possible that his son never obtained possession. Myles had been engaged in the war of independence in Holland, after which, when he was one of the garrison at Leyden, he became intimate with some of the Puritan emigrants from England, though he was never a member of their Church. He is said to have paid a visit to the Isle of Man shortly before 1619 and to have married2 ROSE when there. On returning to Holland with her, he was elected military leader of the emigrants, and left England with them in the autumn of 1620, in the " Mayflower, " arriving in New England at the end of the year. ROSE was one of the first to succumb to the privations and diseases which almost overwhelmed the new community, dying three months after the first landing at New Plymouth. In 1623, BARBARA, who is said to have been ROSE'S sister, and to have been " left an orphan in England when the " Mayflower " sailed, went out in the ship " Ann " to Myles, and soon afterwards married him. They had six children4 and lived happily together for thirty years. In 1871, a monument was erected to Captain Myles Standish, and at the dinner, which took place after it was unveiled, a tribute was paid to ROSE STANDISH, she being designated as " the type of womanly sacrifice." " It was a graceful act," writes Mr. Johnson, " thus to remember the woman who had thrown in her lot with the captain, and shrunk not at crossing the seas to a strange land ... and who was one of the first of the gallant company to drop from the ranks a victim to privation and hardship."5

1 Myles belonged to the same branch of this family; so that he and his manx wives were probably cousins.
2 Another William Standish was Vicar of Lezayre in 1630.
3 "I give unto my son and heir apparent Alexander Standish all my lands as heir apparent in lawful descent in Ormskirk, Boscough, Wrightington, Maudsley, Newbury, Croxton, and in the isle of Man, and given to me as right heir by lawful descent, but surreptitiously detained from me, my grandfather being q second or younger brother from the house of Standish of Standish."
4 Unfortunately there are no church registers in the island of sufficiently early date to contain her marriage. The Ballaugh register, the earliest, begins in 1598, but, at first, contains only births and deaths, and there is neither a Rose nor a Barbara mentioned under the first category.
5 Abbott in "The Puritan Captain."
6 information from Belknap (orig. ed. Boston, 1794), per Mr. Frowde; Carlyle in Dict. of Nat. Biog.; and the Rev. W. Ball Wright.
7 "The Exploits of Miles Standish." Henry Johnson (London, 1897).

An excellent article giving much of the benefit of recent research is that by Rex Kissack The Standish family of the Isle of Man. Much of Moore's conjectures have proved wrong.


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