Sir William Stanley, Kt.

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William Stanley

Birthplace: Probably, Latham, Lancashire, England (United Kingdom)
Death: February 16, 1495 (62-63)
Holt Castle, Holt, Denbighshire, Wales (United Kingdom) (Beheaded)
Place of Burial: London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Stanley, 1st Baron 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; Jane Warburton (Stanley); Edward Tiptoft Stanley and 1 other
Brother of Elizabeth Stanley; Sir John Stanley of Weever & Over Alderly; Joan Stanley; Margaret Grey; Katherine Savage and 3 others
Half brother of Jane Saville

Occupation: Knight
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Sir William Stanley, Kt.

William Stanley (Battle of Bosworth)

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:


  • Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 54
  • STANLEY, Sir WILLIAM (d. 1495), lord chamberlain to Henry VII, was the second son of Thomas Stanley, first lord Stanley, by Joan, daughter of Sir Robert Goushill of Hoveringham, Nottinghamshire, and his wife, Elizabeth Fitzalan, dowager duchess of Norfolk. Thomas Stanley, first Earl of Derby [q. v.], was his elder brother. Stanley was born after 1435, and made his first known public appearance while still a squire in 1459 as a Yorkist partisan, taking part in ‘the distressing of King Henry's true liege people at Bloreheath,’ where two of his brothers-in-law, Sir William Troutbeck and Sir Richard Molyneux [q. v.] of Sefton, fell on the opposite side. In the ensuing parliament Stanley was attainted with other Yorkists (Rot. Parl. v. 348, 369). As he did not fall into the hands of the government, we may perhaps assume that he escaped abroad, like the rest, after the rout of Ludford. The accession of Edward IV brought him his reward; the office of chamberlain of Chester was at once conferred upon him, and he apparently retained it until his death (Ormerod, i. 60). At York, after the battle of Hexham in 1464, the king made him a further grant under the great seal, and in November 1465 bestowed upon him the castle and lordship of Skipton and other lands in Craven forfeited by Lord Clifford, who fell on the Lancastrian side at Towton (Rot. Parl. v. 530, 582). When Edward returned from his temporary exile in 1471, Stanley joined him with three hundred men at Nottingham (Warkworth, p. 14, but cf. Arrival of Edward IV, p. 7). He was subsequently steward of the Prince of Wales's household (Ramsay, ii. 482). Richard III did his best to retain Stanley's support; he gave him Buckingham's forfeited office of justiciar of North Wales (the ‘Croyland Continuator’ says chamberlain) and a great landed position there by the grant of the castle and lordship of ‘Lione otherwise called the Holte,’ i.e. Holt Castle on the Dee, with a moiety of Bromfield, Yale, and four other marcher lordships, three whole manors, and a moiety of seventeen others, among them Wrexham and Ruabon (Rot. Parl. vi. 316). He seems also to have had an interest in the lordship of Chirk, whose castle he repaired (Leland, Itinerary, v. 36; Gairdner, p. 402). These lands, which comprised a great part of what is now East Denbighshire, he claimed in the next reign to have obtained by exchange for others of ‘great value.’ This vagueness and the obvious motive for such a statement render it rather doubtful, but he may possibly have surrendered Skipton in return for these Welsh grants. Henry VII, as soon as he gained the throne, certainly restored Skipton to Lord Clifford, ‘the shepherd lord.’ At Ridley, a few miles north, under the shadow of the Peckforton Hills, Stanley built himself ‘the fairest gentleman's house in al Chestreshyre’ (Leland, v. 81, vol. vii. pt. i. p. 43). From here one September he wrote to his ‘cousin’ Piers Warburton of Arley, excusing himself from a promise to kill a buck in his park, ‘beyng so besy with olde Dyk I can have no layf thereunto’ (Ormerod, ii. 301). He did not hesitate to betray ‘olde Dyk’ when the time came. Early in August 1485 Henry of Richmond crossed a corner of North Wales unmolested, and at Stafford Stanley, who had three thousand ‘red coats’ with his livery of the hart's head not far away, came to an understanding with the invader. Henry had a further interview with him and his brother, Lord Stanley, at Atherstone two days before the decisive battle of Bosworth (Polydore Vergil, p. 224; Gairdner, p. 414). Though already denounced to Richard by his nephew, Lord Strange, and proclaimed a traitor at Coventry and elsewhere, Stanley would not unite his force with Richmond's, and on 22 Aug. pitched his camp on Hanging Hill, between Bosworth and Shenton, some distance from both the main bodies (Hutton, App. p. 245; cf. Hall, p. 414). Yet he can hardly have hoped to recover Richard's favour had the day gone against Henry, and it was when the king's desperate charge seemed to make this likely that Stanley brought his three thousand men into action and so decided the battle (ib. pp. 418–19). If his real object was to place Henry more clearly and deeply in his debt, it was certainly attained. He became lord chamber- lain and knight of the Garter, and was confirmed in possession of his Welsh estates.
  • Stanley's fall ten years after came no doubt as a surprise to most people, but Henry long before entertained suspicions of the man who had in turn betrayed Lancaster and York (Brewer, Letters and Papers, iii. 490). It is a curious coincidence, if no more, that the informer who denounced him at the end of 1494 as an accomplice of Perkin Warbeck should have been Sir Robert Clifford, uncle of the young lord whose property at Skipton he had for a time usurped (Dugdale, i. 342). How deeply he involved himself with Warbeck we do not know; he must surely have done more than declare that ‘if he knew certainly that the young man [Warbeck] was the undoubted heir of King Edward IV, he would never fight or bear armour against him.’ On 6 Feb. 1495 he was ‘found guilty of treason by a quest of divers knights and worshipful gentlemen,’ and on the 16th beheaded on Tower Hill (Cott. MS. Vitellius, A. xvi. 152–3; Fabyan, p. 685; Polydore Vergil; Hall, p. 469; Busch, p. 95). The more cruel part of an execution for treason was dispensed with. Henry defrayed the cost of his burial at Sion (Excerpta Historica, pp. 101–2). It was afterwards believed that forty thousand marks in ready money, plate, and jewels were found in Holt Castle, and Bacon, in his ‘Life of Henry VII,’ estimates Stanley's income at three thousand a year.
  • Stanley was at least twice married. In 1465 he married Joan, daughter of the first Viscount Beaumont, and widow of John, lord Lovel (Rot. Parl. v. 582; Complete Peerage, v. 165). He subsequently (after 1470) married Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Hopton of Hopton, Shropshire, who had already survived two husbands, Sir Roger Corbet of Moreton-Corbet, Shropshire, and John Tiptoft, earl of Worcester [q. v.] (ib. vii. 402). The pedigrees following Sir Peter Leycester are in error respecting his marriage (cf. Baines, Hist. of Lancashire, iv. 10; Ormerod, i. 442). Stanley left three children—a son and two daughters. The son, Sir William Stanley, married Joan, heiress of the Masseys of Tatton in Cheshire, and died in or about 1498; one daughter, Joan, married Sir John Warburton of Arley, and the other, Catherine, Thomas Cocat of Holt.
  • A three-quarter-length portrait of Stanley in richly ornamented armour is preserved at Wentworth House, Yorkshire, and was engraved in Baines's ‘Lancashire’ (iv. 19). He is represented with a thinnish face and short beard.
  • .... etc.
  • From:,_William_(d.1495)_(DNB00) ______________________
  • Sir William Stanley, Sheriff of Flintshire, Constable of Beaumaris, Caernafon, Bromffield & Rhuddlan Castles, Steward of Denbigh, Chamberlain of Chester1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9
  • M, #44647, d. 16 February 1495
  • Father Sir Thomas Stanley, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Lord of Latham and Knowsley, 1st Lord Stanley, Constable & Justice of Chester1,3,10,6,11 b. c 1405, d. 11 Feb 1459
  • Mother Joan Goushill1,3,10,6,11 b. c 1401, d. c 27 Apr 1466
  • Sir William Stanley, Sheriff of Flintshire, Constable of Beaumaris, Caernafon, Bromffield & Rhuddlan Castles, Steward of Denbigh, Chamberlain of Chester married Elizabeth Hopton, daughter of Sir Thomas Hopton and Eleanor Lucy, before 7 December 1471; They supposedly had 1 son (Sir William) and 2 daughters (Joan, wife of Sir John Warburton; & Katherine, wife of Thomas Cocat).1,12,2,4,13,5,6,7,8,9 Sir William Stanley, Sheriff of Flintshire, Constable of Beaumaris, Caernafon, Bromffield & Rhuddlan Castles, Steward of Denbigh, Chamberlain of Chester died on 16 February 1495 at Tower Hill, London, Middlesex, England; Beheaded for supporting Perkin Warbeck. Buried at Sion. He also had an illegitimate son (Thomas).1,12,2,4,13,6,7
  • Family Elizabeth Hopton b. c 1427, d. 22 Jun 1498
  • Child
    • Jane Stanley+14,2 b. c 1472
  • Citations
  • 1.[S11568] The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom, by George Edward Cokayne, Vol. XII/2, p. 846.
  • 2.[S5] Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, p. 472-473.
  • 3.[S5] Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, p. 679.
  • 4.[S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. II, p. 451.
  • 5.[S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. IV, p. 91.
  • 6.[S4] Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Vol. II, p. 292-293.
  • 7.[S4] Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Vol. III, p. 391.
  • 8.[S4] Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Vol. III, p. 660.
  • 9.[S4] Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Vol. V, p. 28.
  • 10.[S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. IV, p. 90.
  • 11.[S4] Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Vol. V, p. 27.
  • 12.[S5] Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, p. 200.
  • 13.[S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. III, p. 67-68.
  • 14.[S10297] Unknown author, History of the County Palatine and City of Chester, by George Omerod, 1819., p. 430.
  • From: ____________________
  • Sir William Stanley1
  • M, #14627, b. 1437, d. 16 February 1494/95
  • Last Edited=6 Mar 2011
  • Sir William Stanley was born in 1437 at Lytham, Lancashire, England.2 He was the son of Sir Thomas Stanley, 1st Lord Stanley and Joan Goushill.3 He married, firstly, Joan Beaumont, daughter of John de Beaumont, 1st Viscount Beaumont and Elizabeth Phelip, in 1465.4 He married, secondly, Elizabeth Hopton, daughter of Thomas Hopton and Eleanor Lucy, before 7 December 1471.1 He died on 16 February 1494/95 at Tower Hill, The City, London, England, beheaded.1
  • He was invested as a Knight, Order of the Garter (K.G.).1 He fought in the Battle of Bosworth on 22 August 1485, where he played a decisive role in King Henry VII's victory.3 He lived at Holt, Norfolk, England.3 In 1494 He was found guilty of treason for his support of Perkin Warbeck.1
  • Child of Sir William Stanley
    • 1.Jane Stanley+2 b. c 1463, d. 1525
  • Citations
  • 1.[S6] G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume XII/2, page 846. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.
  • 2.[S1916] Tim Boyle, "re: Boyle Family," e-mail message to Darryl Roger Lundy, 16 September 2006. Hereinafter cited as "re: Boyle Family."
  • 3.[S37] BP2003 volume 1, page 1101. See link for full details for this source. Hereinafter cited as. [S37]
  • 4.[S8] BP1999 volume 1, page 228. See link for full details for this source. Hereinafter cited as. [S8]
  • From: ___________
  • 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 ---.
  • From: ______________________
  • William STANLEY (Sir)
  • Born: ABT 1436, Holt, Denbighshire, England
  • Died: 16 Feb 1494/5, executed
  • Notes: Knight of the Garter. The Complete Peerage vol.IV,p.206,note c. Second son, Sir William supported the house of York in the Battle of Blore Heath in 1459. In 1461, Edward IV made Sir William Stanley the Chamberlain of Chester and Sheriff of Flintshire. He fought for the Yorkists at Hexham in 1466 and was given the Lordship and Castle of Skipton in Yorkshire which he subsequently exchanged for Chirk. He obtained additional land following the battle of Towton. After the battle of Tewkesbury in 1471 he took the news to Queen Margaret of her son's death and then took her to Coventry.
  • Edward IV's successor, Richard III, courted Sir William's support by various grants of manors and by appointing him Chief Justice for North Wales and Chief Commissioner for Shropshire. Sir William was suspicious of Richard because of the disappearance of the two princes and changed his allegiance to Henry Tudor. At the Battle of Bosworth Field, Stanley rescued Henry at a critical moment in the battle, struck down the King and is said to have found his crown in a thorn bush. He handed the crown to his elder brother Thomas who put it on the head of Henry Tudor. Henry VII appointed Sir William Stanley the Lord Chamberlain and Knight of the Garter and granted him additional lands that made him the richest commoner in England. Sir William's wealth and power inevitably attracted enemies and he was disappointed that his services had not led to a peerage. In 1489 he became Constable of Caernarvon and Beaumaris, and in 1490 Henry VII gave him the Lordships of Bromfield, Chirk and the castles of Dinas Bran, Holt and Chirk in confirmation ofearlier grants of the latter two by Richard III.

Sir William as Lord Chancellor was arbitrator in the dispute between Sir John Stanley of Elford and his half-brother Sir Humphrey, mentioned above. He then bought the manors of Aldford and Nether Alderley in Cheshire from Sir John. Sir William was arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1494, on suspicion of being involved in the rebellion of Perkin Warbeck, who claimed to be the younger of the "princes in the tower" and therefore heir to Edward IV. At that time it was not known that the sons of Edward IV had both been murdered. Although Sir William had helped put Henry VII on the throne he was known to have been a strong supporter of Edward IV. He was quoted as saying that if Perkin Warbeck was the son of Edward IV he would not fight against him. This, and his unwillingness to confirm or deny his guilt, was sufficient to see him executed at the Tower on 16 Feb 1495.

  • Father: Thomas STANLEY (Knight Lord of Lathom)
  • Mother: Joan GOUSHILL
  • Married 1: Joan BEAUMONT (dau. of Sir John de Beaumont, 1º V. Beaumont and Elizabeth Phelip) 1465
  • Married 2: Elizabeth HOPTON (C. Worcester) (dau. of Thomas Hopton and Eleanor Lucy) (w.1 of Roger Corbet - w.2 of John Tiptoft, E. Worcester) 1471, Moreton Corbet, Shropshire, England
  • Children:
    • 1. Jane STANLEY
    • 2. William STANLEY (b. 1470 - d. 1498)
  • Married 3: Joyce CHARLTON
  • From: STANLEY (Sir)1 ___________________________

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


In the early years of the Wars of the Roses, William gave his support
to the Yorkists., fighting in the Battle of Blore in September 1459, When the
Yorkists were victorious The following year he fled England as did other
Yorkists leaders. On 11 June 1460 he was Declaared a traitor, with his
given as "squier"

His adherence to the Yorkists cause was rewarded in 1461, when
Edward IV gained the throne. William was made Chamberlain of Cheter,
Constable of the Castle of Flint, and Sheriff of Flintshire. He was Knighted
in July 1461. He helped secure Nort Wales and the North of England , and
took part in the 1462 siege of Ainwick, Northumberland, suppling 400
archers. In 1464 he fought in the Battle of Hexham, Afterward he was
granted the lordship of Skipton, Yorkshire, which had previously been held
by John Clifford, along with other Clifford lands.

view all 12

Sir William Stanley, Kt.'s Timeline

Probably, Latham, Lancashire, England (United Kingdom)
Holt Castle, Denbigh, Wales
Holt Castle, Denbigh, Wales
Prescot, Merseyside, UK
Wrexham, Denbighshire, Wales
February 16, 1495
Age 63
Holt Castle, Holt, Denbighshire, Wales (United Kingdom)