James Stanley, Bishop of Ely

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James Stanley, Bishop of Ely

Birthplace: Hutton, Lancashire, England
Death: Died in Manchester, Lancashire, England
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby and Eleanor Neville, Countess of Derby
Husband of unknown mistress
Father of John Stanley, Knight
Brother of Edward Stanley, 1st Baron Monteagle; William Stanley; Richard Stanley; Alice Stanley; Agnes Stanley and 1 other
Half brother of Richard Stanley; Jane Stanley; George Stanley, 9th Baron Strange of Knockin; Katherine Stanley; Margaret Stanley and 2 others

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About James Stanley, Bishop of Ely

James Stanley, Bishop of Ely, Deacon of Cheshire was born circa 1466 at of Lathom & Knowsley, Lancashire, England; Age 16 in 1482.3,4 He died on 22 March 1515 at Manchester, Lancashire, England; Buried in Ely Chapel on the north side of the Collegiate Church. By his housekeeper at Somersham manor, he had 1 illegitimate son (Sir John).3,4



From http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/GEN-MEDIEVAL/2013-04/1366634959

There has clearly been confusion in the past between James Stanley Bishop of Ely, and James Stanley the Archdeacon of Chester. One problem may be that both were Wardens of Manchester. See Samuel Hibbert, etal; History of the foundations in Manchester of Chirst's College ..., Volume 1; page 50 @ books.google.com/books?id=a-EHAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA50. The Archdeacon was warden 1481-85, his nephew was warden 1486-1509, and was not named Bishop of Ely until 1506. The two are sometimes conflated. The ODNB statement that the Bishop was b. 1465 may be somewhat late since he is often linked to the person called 'Magistrum Stanley' and said to be a scholar as well as tutor in 1482 [books.google.com/books?id=y389AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA484] - but one suspects this might have been the archdeacon who was then warden of the College of Manchester, not the younger James Stanley.

From VCH: 'Parishes: Somersham', A History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume 2 (1932), pp. 223-230. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=42487&strquery=Stanley Date accessed: 07 October 2013.

Nothing remains of SOMERSHAM PALACE, the ancient house of the Bishops of Ely, the site of which is now occupied by the modern house known as Somersham Park surrounded by an oval-shaped moat. All that survive of the episcopal palace are the abutments of the bridge over the north arm of the moat and the 16th-century brick wall on the north and east sides of the garden. Somersham was no doubt used by the Abbots of Ely as a residence before the foundation of the bishopric in 1109, but immediately after the manor had been assigned for the endowment of the bishopric it became an episcopal residence. The bishops had to travel frequently from Ely to London, and Somersham was the first stage in the journey, which was apparently made by water. (fn. 35) In 1279 the house and garden covered 4 acres, and the fishponds, the remains of which still exist, covered 2 acres, while the park included 200 acres. (fn. 36) The Bishops of Ely were frequently at Somersham; John de Hotham died there in 1337, and it was visited by kings. Edward III was there in 1334. The palace was enlarged, it is said, by that 'lewd and luxurious' bishop James Stanley, who had brought up a family in it. (fn. 37) Bishop Nicholas West in 1520 speaks of his 'poor house at Somersham' (fn. 38) and in a letter to Wolsey said that he was so surrounded with water that he could not leave and no one could go to him without great danger except by boat. The banks, he wrote, were in great danger and 500 men were working on them to prevent the low country there from being drowned, and 100 men watched at night, in case the water should break through, in order to stop it and to warn the country by the ringing of bells, which they had done several times. (fn. 39)


  1. [S74] Brent Ruesch's Research Notes.
  2. [S11581] Burke's Dormant & Extinct Peerages, p. 503.
  3. [S5] Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, p. 680.
  4. [S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. IV, p. 93.
  5. [S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. IV, p. 91-92.
  6. 37 Brit. (Ed. Gough) ii, 399; Cole MSS. Add. 5847, p. 56.


  1. East Cheshire: Past and Present: Or, A History of the Hundred of Macclesfield, in the County Palatine of Chester. From Original Records, Volume 1 (Google eBook) John Parsons Earwaker The author, 1877 - Cheshire.  Page 253.  "Handforth-Cum-Bosden"
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James Stanley, Bishop of Ely's Timeline

Hutton, Lancashire, England
Age 29
March 22, 1525
Age 54
Manchester, Lancashire, England