Sir William Stanley, Kt.

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William Stanley

Birthplace: Probably Latham, Lancashire, England
Death: Died in Holt, Denbighshire, Wales
Place of Burial: Chapel Royal of Saint Peter Ad Vincula, the Tower of London, London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas de Stanley, 1st Lord Stanley and Joan Goushill, Baroness of Stanley
Husband of Joan de Beaumont, Baroness Lovell and Elizabeth Stanley
Father of William Stanley, Jr; Catherine Stanley; Anne Cheyney and Jane Stanley
Brother of Elizabeth Stanley; Sir John Stanley of Weever & Over Alderly; Joan Stanley; Catherine Savage; Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby and 3 others

Occupation: Knight
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About William Stanley

Sir William Stanley (c. 1435[1] – 10 February 1495) was an English soldier and the younger brother of Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby. Stanley fought with his troops in several battles of the Wars of the Roses.

He was born at Lytham, Lancashire, the younger son of Thomas Stanley, 1st Lord Stanley. In 1465 he married Joan, daughter of the first Viscount Beaumont, and widow of John, Lord Lovel. He married secondly, c.1471, Elizabeth Hopton, daughter of Thomas Hopton with whom he had a daughter, Jane Stanley. They lived at Holt, Norfolk.[2]

A noble who originally supported the Yorkist faction, he was a celebrated military commander. He fought on the Yorkist side at Battle of Blore Heath in 1459. In 1465 he was granted the Skipton lands and castle of the dispossessed Lancastrian Cliffords. After the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471, it was he who captured Queen Margaret of Anjou, who led the Lancastrian faction, and he was made a Knight Banneret by the king. In 1483 he was made Chief Justice of North Wales. After Richard III came to the throne he was awarded more land in North Wales for his loyal services.[3]

However, by 1485 he had decided to change sides and support the Lancastrian Henry Tudor's bid for the throne. Stanley is best known for his action at the Battle of Bosworth Field, where he decisively attacked the Yorkists under Richard III, helping to secure Henry VII's victory. In gratitude for his timely intervention, the new king bestowed many favours on him, including the new post of Lord Chamberlain.

However, in 1495 Stanley was convicted of treason and executed for his support of the pretender Perkin Warbeck. He readily admitted to the crime despite circumstantial evidence as he thought that through a full confession he would escape execution.[4] Indeed the King might have granted this, partly through mercy and partly to avoid upsetting Thomas, Earl of Derby. Since the King feared that by doing this he would be putting himself in danger by encouraging others to undertake a similar act of folly William was condemned to death and a few days later beheaded.

Episode 6 of the 1972 BBC drama series The Shadow of the Tower portrays the circumstances of Stanley's downfall. Interestingly, if – as stated above – he was in possession of the former Clifford estates, it shows Sir Robert Clifford, who had been acting as Henry VII's spy in the camp of Perkin Warbeck, as the one to accuse Stanley of treason. Stanley is portrayed as a vain but careful man who, while keeping his options open, had never committed to active support of the pretender. Detained in the Tower while the other conspirators are on trial, he holds his tongue – apparently convinced that the affair is a ruse by Henry to extort a large fine. He reminds Henry that it was Stanley who took Richard's crown at Bosworth and placed it on Henry's head. Henry's perception is that this was only after Stanley saw which way the battle was going. Nevertheless Henry intends to pardon him. One of the conspirators, a young squire, placed as Stanley's servant in the Tower, convinces Stanley to meet with a fellow prisoner – the garrulous Earl of Kildare. A frustrated Stanley is soon drawn out to give a treasonous tirade. The squire reports this, and is spared the death sentence handed out to his fellows. Henry, under pressure from his mother Margaret Beaufort, Stanley's sister-in-law, was about to pardon Stanley but, on hearing the news, instead has him committed to trial. Stanley is found guilty, sentenced to the forfeit of his estates and a painful death, which the King soon commutes to beheading. Stanley always expects to be pardoned and is shown losing his mind on the scaffold.


  • 1.^ ODNB
  • 2.^ "". Retrieved 23 July 2010.
  • 3.^ "William Stanley – A Yorkist". Retrieved 23 July 2010.
  • 4.^ Seaacome, John. The History of the House of Stanley. p. 55. Retrieved 2011-12-04.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

  • ___________

THOMAS Stanley of Lathom and Knowsley, Lancashire, son of JOHN de Stanley & his wife Isabel de Haryngton (1405 or before-11 Feb 1459). He was summoned to parliament 15 Jan 1456, whereby he is held to have become Lord Stanley.

m JOAN, daughter and co-heiress of Sir ROBERT Goushill of Hoveringham, Nottinghamshire & his wife Elizabeth FitzAlan of Arundel (-after 1459).

Thomas & his wife had two children:

1. THOMAS Stanley ([1435]-Lathom 29 Jul 1504, bur Burscough Priory, Lancashire). He succeeded his father in 1459 as Lord Stanley and Sovereign Lord of the Isle of Man. Steward of the household of Kings Edward IV and Richard III 1471-1485. Constable of England for life 16 Dec 1483. He betrayed King Richard III at the battle of Bosworth Field, and was said to have placed the crown on the head of Henry Tudor [286]. He was created Earl of Derby 27 Oct 1485 by his stepson King Henry VII. A manuscript calendar records the death “IV Kal Aug” in 1504 of “Tho´s lord Stanley and erle of Derby” [287]. m firstly (after 10 May 1457) ELEANOR Neville, daughter of RICHARD Neville Earl of Salisbury & his wife Alice Montagu Ctss of Salisbury (-before Oct 1473, bur London, St James Garlickhithe). m secondly (before Oct 1473) as her third husband, MARGARET Beaufort, widow firstly of EDMUND Tudor and secondly of Sir HENRY Stafford, daughter of JOHN Beaufort Duke of Somerset & his wife Margaret de Beauchamp (Bletsoe Castle, Bedfordshire 31 May 1443-Abbot’s House, Cheyney Gates, Westminster Abbey 29 Jun 1509, bur Westminster Abbey). Earl Thomas & his first wife had one child: .....

'2. Sir WILLIAM Stanley (-executed Tower Hill 16 Feb 1495). He was beheaded for participating in the Perkin Warbeck plot [291]. m firstly ---. m secondly (before 7 Dec 1471) as her third husband, ELIZABETH Hopton, widow firstly of Sir ROGER Corbet of Moreton Corbet, Shropshire and secondly of JOHN Tiptoft Earl of Worcester, daughter of THOMAS Hopton of Hopton, Shropshire & his wife Eleanor Lucy of Newington, Kent and Richard's Castle, Herefordshire (-22 Jun 1498).

3. JOHN Stanley . Ancestor of the Barons STANLEY of Alderley [292]. m ELISABETH Weever, daughter of Sir THOMAS Weever of Weever, Cheshire & his wife ---.


  • ___________________________

world connect project bio with LDS reference

  1. ID: I21725
  2. Name: William STANLEY
  3. Surname: Stanley
  4. Given Name: William
  5. Sex: M
  6. Birth: ABT 1437 in Lathom, Lancashire, England
  7. Ancestral File #: 8XKP-KR
  8. _UID: 922000C5369D3547BD2C49C5E277C4482241 1
  9. Change Date: 9 Oct 2000 at 01:00:00

Father: Thomas STANLEY b: ABT 1405 in of Lathom, And Knowsley, Lancashire, England

Mother: Joan GOUSHILL b: ABT 1409 in of, Hoveringham, Nottinghamshire, England

Marriage 1 Elizabeth HOPTON b: ABT 1427 in of, Hopton Castle, Shropshire, England

   * Married: BEF Nov 1482 in of, Moreton Corbet, Shropshire, England


  1. William STANLEY b: ABT 1470 in , Holt, Cheshire, England
  2. Jane STANLEY b: ABT 1463 in of, Holt Castle, Flint, Wls & of Weever, Cheshire, England


  1. Repository:
           Name: Family History Library
           Salt Lake City, UT 84150 USA
     Title: Ancestral File (R)
     Author: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
     Publication: Copyright (c) 1987, June 1998, data as of 5 January 1998 

suzysclanadded this on 30 Jul 2010

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Sir William Stanley, Kt.'s Timeline

Probably Latham, Lancashire, England
Age 7
Holt Castle, Denbigh, Wales
Age 10
Holt Castle, Denbigh, Wales
Age 19
Prescot, Merseyside, UK
Age 26
Of, Holt Castle, Flint, Wls & Of Weever, Cheshire, England
Age 28
November 1482
Age 45
Moreton Corbet, Shropshire, England
February 16, 1495
Age 58
Holt, Denbighshire, Wales
Lord Chamberlain
London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom