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Colonel Richard Standish of Duxbury (c. 1597-1662): (the very first attempt at his  biography)

Civil War Part 1 and the takeover of Duxbury Part 1
An outline biography Civil War Part 2 and the takeover of Duxbury Part 2
Ancestry Second marriage
Immediate family Coat of arms
Family in his youth and later Standish of Duxbury impaling Legh of Adlington
First marriage Disaster from America in 1655 – and the beginning of the end



  Colonel Richard emerged from published Lancashire documents and as yet unpublished family papers in the Lancashire Record Office (Standish of Duxbury Munimennts: LRO DP397) as a fascinating character with an eventful life, to say the least. He was not commissioned as a Colonel before 1650 (Colonel of foot for Parliament during the final stages of the Civil War) and after 1651 he was always named “Richard Standish (of Duxbury) Esquire”, but ‘Colonel' is a useful way to distinguish him from other Richard Standishes of Duxbury in the early 17th century, including his own father and a close kinsman at Duxbury Hall. His story is essential as an explanation of so many anomalies presented by events in Duxbury in the 19th century and in 19th and 20th century published accounts of the Standishes of Duxbury (and Standish) in the 16th and 17th centuries. He even enters the story of ‘Shakespeare in Lancashire' via his parents and grandparents.  

Events in Duxbury in the 19th century included the various claims on the Duxbury Hall estates by an extraordinary number of people, ranging from the descendants of Myles Standish in America to Tom Standish the weaver from Bolton (and others), which resulted in a few rather spectacular events – particularly two ‘sieges' of Duxbury Hall. These events have been related many times in the local press and reported by later historians (start with various publications by Rev. T. C. Porteus, summarised in W. Walker, Duxbury in Decline) but without a solution of their origins.  

The most intriguing story of the 20th century was the attempt to remove Myles Standish from Duxbury and place him in the Isle of Man.  

The explanations behind the ‘true' story lie, hardly surprisingly, mainly in the family papers: the Standish of Duxbury Muniments, from the earliest c. 1220 until c. 1700. None of these are more interesting than those relevant to Colonel Richard. Sooner or later these should all be fully transcribed and published. Any expectation of publication of a full transcription by me of all documents in the near future is unrealistic: this would require several years of effort and would delay the following story of Colonel Richard. I meanwhile provide all references and the documents are there, available to any visitor to the LRO.  

Until recently (writing this in March/April 2004) I was resigned to accepting the fact that I was the first person in the 20th/ 21st centuries to have read any of these documents in full since the day they were written and that only a handful of people in the Chorley area was interested. My main motivation was that I was fascinated by the history of the township of Duxbury, which had produced all my Duxbury ancestors, and an exploration of the history of Duxbury led inevitably to the Standishes of Duxbury, which included Myles Standish and Colonel Richard, amongst many others.   

Suddenly (early 2004), interest in Chorley exploded via the initiative of Rev. Dr John Cree, Rector of St Laurence's, whose ambitious plans appear on the web site of St Laurence's: It seemed that the time had come to try to draw together all discovered so far about Colonel Richard.  Full accounts of the catalogue of the Standish of Duxbury Muniments, a list of all Standish of Duxbury wills, admons, inquisitions post mortem, Visitation Pedigrees, other pedigree charts and biographies of all the males of the family at Duxbury Hall (will) appear on linked sites. The main contribution so far is the biography of Alexander Standish of Duxbury (1570/1-1622), father and grandfather of several mentioned below, in the family at Duxbury Hall.  

The first and only biography of Colonel Richard to have appeared until now was by William Farrer in his section on Duxbury in the Victoria County History (Vol. 6, p. 210). He identified Richard wrongly as the third son of Thomas the M.P. and wrote the following:  

Richard Standish was a colonel in the Parliamentary army; Civil War Tracts, 252; Cal. Com. for Comp. I, 392, where there is a curious story of him. His will, made in 1657 (codicil 1662) and proved at York, recites the settlement of Duxbury and other manors in favour of his eldest son Richard, &c. The fine of 1655 probably relates to this settlement; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle, 155, m. 165.  

He was relying entirely on public documents and never saw the family papers, which had disappeared from Duxbury in the 1830s and did not reappear in Lancashire until 1965.


An outline biography  

He almost certainly grew up in Manchester, where he was living when the Civil War broke out. This placed him in a town firmly on the Parliamentarian side, which Royalist James, Lord Strange (later 7th Earl of Derby) besieged in the autumn of 1642 as the first major military event in the North West.  

The first casualty during the siege was his close kinsman Captain Thomas Standish of Duxbury, son and heir of Lord of the Manor Thomas M.P., a “zealous Parliamentarian”. Royalist Captain Thomas was shot while he was washing his hands in a trough by a marksman in a local church tower and his Parliamentary father died within the month. This was followed by the deaths of all remaining adult males in Captain Thomas's family, all of whom (although Protestant) adopted the Royalist cause under the Earl of Derby (also Protestant), along with their Catholic Standish kinsmen of Standish. The last Lord of the Manor at Duxbury Hall to die was Colonel Alexander in early 1647 (younger brother of Captain Thomas), soon after which his widow handed over all the estates to Colonel Richard and departed, never to be seen in the family papers again. The Lancashire Parliamentary army finally won locally, defeating the Scottish and local Royalist army at the Battle of Wigan Lane, before the final defeat at Worcester. By this time all the older members of Colonel Richard's family had also died, the last being his uncle Lieutenant Colonel Alexander, who had died after (during?) the Battle of Preston in August 1648, leaving Colonel Richard as his heir.  

The result in mid 1651 was that James, 7th Earl of Derby had lost his head, the Standishes of Standish were desperately trying to retain as many lands as possible, and Colonel Richard was the acknowledged owner of the lands of all Standish of Duxbury families - the large estates dependent on Duxbury Hall as well as the much smaller estates owned by his own family. At the end of the war he was therefore one of the largest local landowners and one of relatively few on the winning side. Presumably mainly because of this he became M.P. for the county and then for Preston.    

 He had not escaped other personal tragedies. During the war his first wife (Ellen Lees of Middleton) and the last of the children from this marriage died, although he did marry again (Elizabeth Legh of Adlington) and had a second large family. There is documentary evidence that he was a forceful and at the same time compassionate character, who tried to heal some of the wounds left behind after the fighting. He reestablished local ‘poor funds', helped to refound Chorley Grammar School by sacrificing wages due to him and looked after the surviving females from the Duxbury Hall family. He also supported St Laurence's Chorley by at least commissioning a stained glass window with his coat of arms impaled by Legh of Adlington, still there today.  By 1654 at the latest he was, therefore, thoroughly established as the local squire and magnate, the county M.P. and a local benefactor, with a growing second family. In that year, one can only presume, life must have seemed a little rosier than a few years previously.  

Then in 1655 and 1657 he had a nasty surprise: two distant ‘cousins' turned up to reclaim the main Standish of Duxbury estates, took him to the Assize court in Lancaster via a lawyer – and won! The first was Alexander, son and heir of Myles Standish, who had departed on the Mayflower in 1620 and had since founded Duxbury, Massachusetts. His claim was that he was the last surviving descendant of Sir Christopher Standish of Duxbury, and therefore had a more legitimate entitlement to Duxbury Hall and the main estates than Colonel Richard, from a collateral family. The second was Gilbert, the youngest brother of Captain Thomas, a little boy at the outbreak of war, who had fled from Duxbury with his widowed mother and had so far not returned to claim any inheritance. He now claimed (via the same lawyer) all the estates that Alexander son of Myles had not already claimed. Financial settlements were agreed upon and Colonel Richard retained all the estates, but much impoverished - as revealed by his will of 1657.  

After the Restoration (in his early sixties) he retired from public life. He and his wife died within a few months of each other in early 1662 and were buried in St Laurence's, leaving their young family in the care of surviving relatives. His son and heir Richard followed in his father's footsteps as head of the local militia and an M.P., and was rewarded by his loyalty to Charles II with a baronetcy. After this the family fortunes improved and judicious marriages increased the family estates. One ironic twist in the later story is that one Standish of Duxbury widow became Countess of Derby.



The 1613 Visitation Pedigree of his family shows a descent from Sir Hugh Standish de Duxbury, who was knighted at Agincourt (Baines) and whose descendants had stayed in Duxbury alongside the family at Duxbury Hall. Long ago I dubbed the family at Duxbury Hall as Family A and Colonel Richard's as Family B. They married into the same families, appear in many documents together, used largely the same names (both had lots of confusing Alexanders, Thomases, Jameses and Richards and lots of confusing wives named Elizabeth, Alice and Anne) and obviously regarded each other as close kinsmen over the centuries. The presence of these two distinct families (and the lack of detection of these until now) was the main reason for all the genealogical muddles in the 19th century.  

An extremely simplistic version of the two lines of descent and the heads of the family that inherited the estates is given below. This was established almost entirely from the family papers.  

These two families exemplify admirably the validity of a genealogical ‘rule of thumb', namely that over a considerable period of time (a minimum of one century and preferably two or more centuries), thirty years per generation is extremely realistic when assessing relationships and ancestry when no dates of birth are recorded.   

Simplistic version of the descent of heads of family of
Standish of Duxbury Families A and B
(Where no relationship is given, it was always the 1st  [surviving] son.)

(Dates without c. are definite, because recorded. Dates with c. have been calculated from surrounding documents and in no case can be too far out, simply because of the dates of documents in which they are named.)

Hugh de Standish (c. 1280-c. 1325)
(arrived in Duxbury  c. 1300, built a Pele tower c. 1319)  

Family A, Lords of the Manor

Family B



Richard (2nd son of Hugh) (c. 1307-1356)

(A Duxbury was still Lord of the Manor)

John (?3rd son of Hugh) (c. 1310-c. 1360)

 (1346 Battle of Neville's Cross)



Hugh (c. 1332-1427/8) (d. in his 90s!)

(1381 Lord of the Manor)

“Dux” Hugh (?late son of John) (c. 1350-1415) (d. Siege of Harfleur)



Christopher (c. 1360-1437)

(1421 in France)

Sir Hugh (c. 1380-1441/2)

(1415 knighted at Agincourt; 1418 Siege of Rouen)



James (3rd son of Christopher) (c. 1400-1471)

(2nd  son Sir Rowland killed in France 1434)

James (c. 1420-c. 1470)



Sir Christopher (c. 1445-1495)

(1482 knighted at Berwick)

Hugh (c. 1445-c. 1500)



Thomas (1480/1-1517/18)

James (c. 1480-c. 1530)



James (c. 1500- c. 1570)

Alexander (c. 1510-?)
(1536 helped to suppress the Pilgrimage of Grace)



Thomas (c. 1530-c. 1576)

Thomas (c. 1545-?)



Alexander (4th son of Thomas) (1570/1-1622)

(His biography is on this web site)

Alexander (1567-1648) (2nd son)

(Lt- Colonel in Civil War)



Thomas (1593-1642)

(1625 M.P. for Liverpool, 1640 M.P. for Preston)

Richard (c. 1597-1662) (nephew of Alexander)

(Colonel in the Parliamentary army)



Alexander (1617-47) (2nd son of Thomas)

(Colonel in the Royalist army)

The last of the line at Duxbury Hall

Richard, Baronet (1651-93)

His line continued at Duxbury Hall



Immediate Family  

Colonel Richard, the eldest son of a younger Standish of Duxbury son, was born around 1600 (probably a few years earlier, therefore c. 1597). This date can be calculated from the fact that his father had nine children from two wives by 1613 (see Visitation Pedigree  1613 below). By this date Father Richard had three sons by his first wife Elizabeth Legh, a granddaughter of Sir Piers Legh of Lyme near Stockport, and three sons and three daughters by his second wife (identity unknown, and presumably not named as she was not the mother of the son and heir). Father Richard's two older brothers were baptised at Chorley, Thomas on 30 July 1566 and Alexander on 8 November 1567; father Richard left no baptismal record, but it can safely be assumed that he was born within a few years after Alexander, therefore c. 1570, but no later than 1580, or it would have been extremely difficult to fit in nine children before 1613.  

The Visitation Pedigree of 1613
(the only one presented by this family and the only Standish of Duxbury VP presented in this year)
 gives the following descent from Thomas (b. c. 1545)  

Thomas = (1) dau. Sir Alexander Radcliffe of Ordsall
                    |        = (2) Ann Whitingham, dau. Christopher W., Esq. of London

       |                                    |                   |                                                      | |

Thomas                      Alexander     Richard = (1) Elizabeth Leigh,                Ann
= Elizabeth Vaulx,   = dau. of Sir                 |        dau.  of  L. of Lyme      Ratcliffe 
   dau. George V.        Tho. Ireland              |        co. Cheshire, son &    
                                       of The Hutt,          |       heir of Sir Piers L.
                                      widow of               |       of Lyme     
                                      Clifton                   |
                                                                   |       = (2)
                                                                   |          |
            (1st wife)                                                                (2nd wife)

     |              |            |                  |         |          |            |           |                 |                

Richard Peter Alexander       Ralph Gilbert Henry Catherine Margaret Dorothy    

Colonel Richard is the Richard bottom left, in his teens in 1613. His mother, uncle Thomas and grandfather Thomas bring him, intriguingly, into Shakespeare circles. His mother Elizabeth Leigh/Legh was sister of Sir Piers Legh, who received an epigram from Preston poet John Weever in 1599 (Honigmann, Weever, 1987), who enters the story of ‘Shakespeare in Lancashire' (Honigmann, Shakespeare: the ‘lost years', 1985). His paternal grandmother was a daughter of Catholic Sir Alexander Radcliffe of Ordsall in Salford, who also appears in the Shakespeare story, not least because his close kinsmen were the Earls of Sussex, whose 'Sussex Players' performed some of Shakespeare's early plays. Sir Alexander Radcliffe also provided several other daughters as brides for many local families. Some details of this family are given in the biography of Alexander Standish of Duxbury (1570/1-1622) (on this web site); also details of Weever's Epigrammmes (1599); also details of Guy Fawkes's traditional visit to Ordsall Hall.  

Colonel Richard's uncle Thomas was married to Elizabeth ‘Vaulx' (pronounced Vawkes), a name and family which is interesting for several reasons: (1) a later Thomas son of Thomas Standish of Duxbury (Captain Thomas, shot during the siege of Manchester, son and heir of Thomas the M.P.) was contracted in marriage in 1641 (DP 397/21/14 + 15) to another Elizabeth daughter of George ‘Vaux'; (2) the Catholic Vaux family of Lancashire included the priest Laurence Vaux, joint spiritual head of English Catholics; (3) the name was the same as Fawkes (as in Guy), with the former the Lancashire spelling and the latter the Yorkshire spelling); (4) Uncle Thomas was born in 1566 and was presumably still married to Elizabeth nee Vaux at the time of the Gunpowder Plot; (5) she was buried, according to Standish Parish Records, as ‘Elizabeth uxor Thomas de Duxbury, armig.' on 5 March 1623, and as she was ‘wife' and not ‘widow', he was presumably still living; (6) the very fact that her burial appears in Standish rather than Chorley Parish Records makes her interesting, when put together with other Standish of Duxbury events in Standish. It seems the family did not approve of the vicar at Chorley.


Family in his youth and later  

Richard's uncle Alexander (1567-1648) was married to an Ireland of The Hutt, widow of Clifton, both old gentry families, but neither of which has occurred (as yet) as significant other than to prove, if more proof were needed, that the Standishes of Duxbury married into the top drawer.  

Aunt Ratcliffe is interesting for two reasons: (1) this is the first instance in any Standish of Duxbury families of the use of a surname as a Christian name, aping a habit recently established by the aristocracy, it seems, and (2) she has been previously confused with Ratcliffe, a daughter of Thomas the M.P., thus compounding other muddles. As this Ratcliffe was presumably born within a decade or two of her brothers, this places her birth well before the end of the 16th century. The other one was born in the 1620s.  

Richard's mother was Elizabeth Legh, a granddaughter of Sir Piers Legh of Lyme, daughter of his son and heir Piers/ Peter. This was obviously significant when Richard was looking for a second wife, who was to be a Legh of Adlington. We will meet her later.     

The following family tree gives Colonel Richard's most immediate relations, repeating the Visitation Pedigree above, but adding dates easily established by appearances in Parish Registers, the admon of Alexander (d. 1648) and the wills of Anne (1651, whom Richard seems to have 'adopted' as a sister) and Colonel Richard's own will (1657). The most striking fact is that none of Richard's siblings married, apart from a possible final and tenth child born after 1613, named in Anne's will in January 1651 as ‘sister Whalley'. This Anne is a bit of a mystery. She has been placed here with a question mark for her parents, but it is difficult to see where else she might have fitted into the family picture. A previous Pedigree Chart (Wilson, 1903) gives Thomas and Elizabeth née Vaux a daughter Ann who died at Dotchet in Devon, but this one definitely died in Duxbury and the one in Devon was almost certainly the young daughter of Captain Thomas, killed at the siege of Manchester, who also very confusingly married Elizabeth née Vaux, daughter of George. Anne of the will (certainly daughter of Thomas, because she says so in her will) was obviously the life and soul of the family and local community, naming dozens of people in her will as she distributed her goods, chattels – and money. She didn't mention a dog, but she left money for a horse for baby Richard (Colonel Richard's son and heir), who had just been born.  

Descent of Family B from Grandfather Thomas with dates


Thomas             = (1) dau. of Sir Alexander Radcliffe of Ordsall
(?c. 1545-1614)   |      = (2) Ann, dau. of Christopher Whitingam, Esq. of
                             |                 London

       |                                                  |                                                       |

Thomas     = Elizabeth,          Alexander = dau. of Sir         Richard      = (1) Eliz.
(b. 1566,          Vaux        (1567-1648)   Tho. Ireland     (b. ?c. 1570) |      Legh         liv. 1623)       (d. 1623)                                                                                      |    =  (2) ?
                    |?                                                                                                     |    |
                    |?                                                                                                     |    |
               Anne (<1600-1651) o.s.p.                                                                    |    |
                                                                                                                            |    |

     |  |  |                                                        | | |                                         | | | |

Children from the 1st marriage           Children from the 2nd marriage
Col. Richard (d. 1662)                             Ralph                                        Catherine
Peter  (d. <1651)                                       Gilbert                                       Margaret
Alexander (d. <1651)                               Henry                                       Dorothy                                      (both o.s.p.)                                            (all liv 1657)                           ?dau.=Whalley
                                                                  (all o.s.p.)                                 (all liv. 1651)
                                                                                                                       (all o.s.p.)                    


First marriage  

Richard married Ellen Lees of Middleton near Oldham on 12 December 1625 at Middleton, with seven children baptised at Manchester Collegiate Church (M/c) between 1627 and 1639. All seven died young and Ellen herself died in 1649 (burial at Chorley on 6 April 1649). Burials of some of the children might be recorded elsewhere; only burial records of Manchester and Chorley have been checked. The 1651 date comes from the will of Richard's ‘sister' Ann, who mentioned everybody in the family, but none of those named below. The most important fact revealed by this list (and Ellen's burial in Chorley in 1649) is that it already places Richard's move from Manchester to Duxbury between 1645 and 1649, which is borne out by other facts related below.   








23 Feb



d. before 1651



18 Mar



1627, 12 April



28 Feb



d. before 1651



15 Jly



d. before 1651



12 Oct



1645, 24 Aug



22 Jan



1650, 24 Aug



10 Nov



1640, 16 Nov


 If Richard was born c. 1597, then he was in his late 20s when he married. What was he doing before this? No record has been found during these years, but his (much) later career as an M.P. suggests that he had a good education and there were certainly enough local grammar schools to have provided this. Where did he spend his childhood and early adulthood? We will probably never know, but the facts that he found a bride near Manchester, that they baptised all their children there, that he was definitely living there in early 1642 and that he buried daughters Esther and Mary there in 1627 and 1645 implies that he spent much of his early life in Manchester. The obvious school for his education would have been Manchester Grammar School. The absence of burial records at Manchester or Chorley of three of their children may or may not imply that the family lived elsewhere for certain periods.  

Within a year of Ellen's death he married Elizabeth Legh of Adlington (Cheshire), daughter of yet another Peter Legh, and had another large family, starting with another Richard, baptised 21 January 1651 (Chorley P.R.). This Legh family was a cadet branch of the one at Lyme, and both were among the leading gentry families just over the border from Lancashire. We will meet them all later.  

After the death of his grandfather Thomas, his father Richard, his two uncles, Thomas and Alexander (death and place of burial of all unknown, but the last died in 1648, with no son and heir, and therefore named Richard Jr as his heir), Richard Jr was thus the oldest male left in the family. He therefore inherited all the family estates based on Duxbury in 1648, moved from Manchester to Duxbury at the latest in this year and lived there permanently until his death in 1662.


Civil War Part 1 and the takeover of Duxbury Part 1

  Meanwhile the country had gone to war. In the spring of 1642 he was still in Manchester, where he swore the Protestation Oath, ostensibly swearing faith to King Charles, but in reality to Parliament. Manchester was a Parliamentary stronghold, which was the main reason why Lord Strange besieged it with an army of 2000 or so, as his first military act in support of the King at the end of September. Richard must have been very much aware of the death of his kinsman Captain Thomas during the siege, and that of his father Thomas the M.P. soon afterwards.  

Colonel Alexander of Duxbury Hall (younger brother of Captain Thomas) died in early 1647, the last Lord of the Manor from Family A in this position after a continuous line since 1381. Whatever the background story to his widow Margaret granting away all her estates, Richard was now the legal owner of all the estates based on Duxbury Hall.  

Between Margaret Standish widdower late wife of Alexander Standish late of Duxbury Esquire and Richard Standish of Duxbury Esquire that the said Margaret for the good of affection she beareth unto the said Richard Standish, Anne Standish, Dorothy Standish, Margaret Standish, Katherine Standish, Henry Standish, younger brothers and sisters of the said Richard and for a better enabling of the said Richard Standish for the settling of our debts to Thomas Standish Esquire, his late father, or of the said Alexander Standish . . . All her dower right to Duxbury, Heapey, Anglezarke, Whittle, Charnock, Standish, Langtree, Worthington, Heapey and Chorley . . . all demesne lands. 15 June, 23 Charles (1647). (L.R.O. DP397/21/16.)  

This document finally made it clear, at one fell swoop, how Colonel Richard acquired the estates based on Duxbury Hall. He did not 'steal' or buy them cheaply in the turmoils and sequestrations of the Civil War, but was given them lock, stock and barrel by Margaret, widow of Colonel Alexander, a few months after her husband's death. We have no idea who Margaret was; Alexander was buried at Chorley on 15 March 1647 as “Alexrus Coll: Standish de Duxbury”. They might have had a daughter but certainly no son and heir; Margaret disappeared at this point from family records. The “debts” she refers to echo Thomas the M.P.'s will of October 1642, in which he was desperately trying to call in various debts to him, leaving the distinct impression that he was rather short of money at that time. If Colonel Richard had helped him out before the Civil War, as widow Margaret stated, the implication is that he had considerable money of his own, with the implication in turn that he might have been a successful businessman.  

This document also shows that Richard had acquired a new younger ‘sister' Anne (named as the eldest), who must have been his cousin, or an ‘adopted' sister from the Duxbury Hall family. Experience with documents of the period indicates that once someone had joined the family no distinction was made between sister, half-sister, step-sister, sister-in-law or cousin. She must have been the Anne who left such a useful and comprehensive will in 1651, naming everyone in the family. Richard was certainly supporting a large family at this time, as brother Henry was also still living at home. They must have provided some consolation during the years when he kept burying his children. The last one was buried in 1650 at Chorley.


Civil War Part 2 and the takeover of Duxbury Part 2

On 16 August 1648 a Scottish army under the Duke of Hamilton in support of King Charles reached Preston at the same time as Cromwell's New Model army arrived from the east, supplemented by local regiments. The battle was fierce and Cromwell's victory ultimately sealed the fate of Charles I.  

In September 1648 his uncle Alexander died and Richard inherited all the estates of his own family, in Duxbury and elsewhere. For the first time since before 1400 all the Standish of Duxbury estates were united under one person. Alexander's Admon just a couple of weeks after the Battle of Preston leads one to suspect that he was killed there or died of wounds soon afterwards. He was almost certainly the Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Standish fighting for Parliament. He had previously been lumped together with two other Alexander Standishes of Duxbury, but both of these were on the Royalist side (Colonel Alexander, whom we met above, and his uncle Alexander). Richard's uncle Alexander was the only one of this name in Family B at this time existing. It seems certain that Richard also fought at the Battle of Preston.  

In 1648 the officers and men of Major General Ashton's Lancashire brigade, all veterans of Cromwell's forces, were due to receive some arrears of pay following their decisive defeat of the Scots at Preston. Local tradition maintains that the brigade had been quartered in Chorley; consequently in gratitude for hospitality afforded to them they agreed to a request from Richard Standish and Edward Robinson to make over their pay to the parish for the use of the grammar school. The arrears came to £86 3s 3d, a high sum of money by modern standards and giving this was a remarkable act of generosity. (Jim Heyes, A History of Chorley, p. 39.)  

Richard was promoted to colonel in 1650, before the next Scottish army descended on Lancashire.  

Commission: "Councell of State appointed by Authoritie of Parliament" to Col. Richard Standish - colonel of Regiment of Foot in Lancashire. Signed by John Bradshawe, president. 16 August 1650 (L.R.O. Catalogue DP397/16/7).  

John Bradshaw's biography is in the DNB and the first sentence in the EB (1984) is: 'Bradshaw, John (b. 1602, Stockport, Cheshire, Eng. - d. Oct. 31, 1659. London), president of the court that condemned King Charles I of England to death.' Bradshaw is very much a Lancashire name, from Bradshaw near Bolton, producing later the Bradshaws of Haigh near Wigan, with many members from this family appearing in the Duxbury to Shakespeare story. This John Bradshaw was born in Stockport when the Rev. Richard Gerard was Rector there, married to Ursula Arderne, the closest female relative of Mary Arderne, Shakespeare's step-mother. He must have grown up knowing many families in Arderne circles and a lot about Shakespeare.  

The main encounter was on 25 August 1651 in Wigan and known today as the Battle of Wigan Lane. The main monument commemorating this battle, still there in Wigan, is to Royalist Sir Thomas Tyldesley, who was killed during the battle. It was erected by a Rigby of Burgh in Duxbury, and the chiselled inscription gives all relevant details of Sir Thomas's military career. The Rigbys of Burgh in Duxbury were Catholic, and closely connected with the Catholic Standishes (of Standish) of Burgh in Duxbury, both families neighbours of Colonel Richard. Sir Thomas Tyldesley, incidentally, was married to a Standish of Standish and has been adopted as the name of one the societies that re-enact events of the Civil War.   

Although the Scottish Royalist army in 1651 (reinforced by English troops under the Earl of Derby) was routed, some (including the Earl of Derby) escaped and joined the main Royalist force at Worcester, where they were finally defeated, after which Charles II hid in a tree, and Derby's head shared the same fate in Bolton in 1651 as King Charles's in London in 1649.


Second marriage  

Between these battles in Lancashire in 1648 and 1651 Colonel Richard had lost his first wife (buried at Chorley 6 April 1649 “Mrs Ellen Standish de Duxbury”), the last of their seven children (buried 24 February 1650) and married again. With a new wife, the war over and as the largest local landowner, a happier life must have seemed to be on the horizon. He helped the local poor (DP397/5/1-2) and in September 1654 became one of the two M.P.s for Lancashire. The “curious story” noted by Farrer (VCH vol. 6, p. 210, n. 9, referring to Cal. Com. for Comp. i, 392), concerned payments due for sequestered lands, in which he comes across as a tough character. He put the money due on a table, then swept most of it up again, insisting that these were debts owed to him, and stomped out. Which lands these might have been is not known.  

His second wife was Elizabeth Legh of Adlington in Cheshire, a junior branch of the Leghs of Lyme near Stockport, one of the leading gentry families just over the border in Cheshire, also with lands in Lancashire. Both halls are still there today. Richard's mother was a Legh of Lyme, granddaughter of Sir Piers Legh, so Elizabeth was a cousin of some degree. Intriguingly, this ancestry ties her to many families who appear in the 'Shakespeare in Lancashire' story, not least to a whole series of eminent Sir Piers Leghs of Lyme (in North Cheshire) and Winwick (in Lancashire), one of whom was at Bosworth, with others popping up regularly in the Shakespeare and Arderne stories. Incidentally, and yet highly significantly, one of the executors of the will of yet another Sir Piers was Robert Arderne, who left his own will of 1540. This was picked up as a potentially significant clue relating the Ardernes to the Leghs and Hoghtons by Enos, who gives a facsimile transcription in her Appendix I, pp. 162-3 (from Lancashire and Cheshire Wills, Chetham Society Old Series, Vol. 51, pp. 138-141). Yet another Sir Piers Legh was a dedicatee of an epigram by Lancashire poet John Weever in Epigrammes 1599, which ties him fairly directly to Shakespeare. 

The baptisms of the children from this marriage were all at St Laurence's Chorley:  


21 Jan

Richard sonne & heir


18 Apl



6 May



8 Sep



12 Oct



8 Jan



4 Aug



2 Nov



4 Dec

Francesca Margarata


Another child was buried in January 1662 before it had been given a name. It is easy to see where the first few names came from: Richard from his father and grandfather, Dorothy from Auntie Dorothy, Peter from various Legh relatives named Peter/ Piers, Ann was Elizabeth's mother and uncle Alexander had bequeathed his Duxbury estates to Richard. We can presume that Elizabeth was much younger than Richard, who was in his 50s and early 60s when he became the father of his second family. This marriage is commemorated in a stained glass window in St Laurence's.


Coat of arms  

Colonel Richard's coat of arms appears in a stained glass window in the North wall of the chancel of St Laurence's Parish Church, Chorley - or does it? Although not labelled as Colonel Richard's arms as such, they have long been assumed to be his, as there is no record of any other Standish of Duxbury marrying a Legh of Adlington, whose arms are impaled. However, there must remain some doubt, as the Standish arms presented here are those of the family of Duxbury Hall, Family A, and not Richard's Family B. Either he adopted them after he had acquired Duxbury Hall and all dependent estates in 1647, or this was a later and very public declaration that he was now the owner of Duxbury Hall and therefore inheritor of all dependent estates. In any  case, if it was Richard's coat of arms, it must have appeared some time after 1650, on his marriage to Elizabeth Legh of Adlington, and before his and Elizabeth's deaths in 1662.  

It is unlikely that this was commissioned shortly after his marriage to Elizabeth during the Civil War, a period when Cromwell's soldiers were still smashing stained glass windows and monuments in churches. It is unlikely that it was commissioned during the Commonwealth period, when Puritans still regarded heraldry and coats of arms as superstitious and outward signs of 'papist' loyalties. The most likely date for the commissioning and execution is therefore in the short period between the Restoration in 1660 and Richard and Elizabeth's deaths in 1662.  

Later Standish arms in the church restrict themselves to the three standing dishes of the Standish coat of arms, which silently implies that the right to impale many quarterings was denied by later Kings of Arms. Maybe Sir William Dugdale was the one to deny them the right to the arms of Family A when he was making his local enquiries in 1664/5? The only other possibility is that they were the arms of Colonel Alexander, the last of the line (who died in 1647), or his uncle Royalist Alexander, the only two from Family A whose wives' identities remain unknown. In this case, one of them must have married a Legh of Adlington, although this is not recorded in any document discovered in Cheshire by Ormerod about this family, whereas Colonel Richard's marriage to Elizabeth is recorded on the Legh of Adlington Visitation Pedigree. A puzzle.  

The facts remain, however, that these arms (Standish of Duxbury impaling Legh of Adlington) and those of Alexander Standish of Duxbury (on the Standish pew, impaling Assheton of Whalley), are the only two to survive that include many quarterings in the Standish of Duxbury arms, and many quarterings from their wives' arms.


Standish of Duxbury impaling Legh of Adlington  

1. Standish. Azure, 3 standishes argent.
2. Duxbury. Argent, a cross voided gules.
3. Butler of Rawcliffe. Azure, a chevron between 3 covered cups or.
4. Lawrence of Ashton. Argent, a cross raguly gules.
5. Washington of Washington. Gules, 2 bars argent in chief 3 mullets of the last.
6. Standish. As 1.  

Commentary on this Standish of Duxbury coat of arms  

1. The Standish of Duxbury arms are identical to the Standish of Standish arms apart from the background colour. The Standish of Standish background was black, 'sable', and the Standish of Duxbury background was blue, 'azure'. The first record of its use was by Sir Hugh Standish de Duxbury at the Siege of Rouen in 1418.  

2. The Duxbury arms were presumably quartered by the Standishes of Duxbury ever since the final 'take over' of the Manor of Duxbury at the end of the 14th century.   

3-5 entered the Standish arms of Family A when James Standish of Duxbury married Elizabeth Butler of Rawcliffe in 1526. She was one of four Butler heiresses, themselves heiresses of Lawrence of Ashton and Washington of Warton near Lancaster, and descendants of all four displayed these arms in many other Lancashire families. The descent of the four daughters is given by Farrer under Ashton with Stodday (VCH vol. 8, p. 52).  It might be that one of Colonel Richard's ancestors married a daughter of one of the four heiresses and so in some way he was entitled to these arms, but no record has been found.  

A comment on the Washington arms appears under the coat of arms of Alexander Standish of Duxbury on the Standish Pew. The claim often made that the Standishes married into the Washington family is not true other than as given above.  

Legh of Adlington  

1. Legh of Adlington (Cheshire). Azure 2 bars argent over a bend compony or & gules.
2. Legh of West Hall. Or, a lion rampant gules.
3. Legh of Swineyall. Per pale, argent & sable, 3 swine counterchanged.
4. Baggelegh. Or, 3 lozenges azure.
5. Chedle. Argent, a fess dancette gules.
6. gone (replaced by fragment with acorn and oak leaf.)
7.                   Gules, a cross or.
8. Coronce of Adlington. Azure, a chevron between 3 ducal coronets or.
9. Legh of Lyme. Gules, a cross engrailed argent.
10.  gone.           Azure field.
11. Danyers. Argent, a pale fusilly sable.
12. Boyde. Vert, a cross patonce or.
13. Lancelyn of Pulton. Argent, on a fess sable 3 mullets of the field.
14. Haydock. Argent, a cross sable, in dexter chief a fleur-de-lis of the second.
15. Croft of Dalton. Lozengy argent & sable.
16. Boydell of Palcroft. Vert, a chevron between 3 crosses patonce or.
17. Ashton. Argent, a mullet sable between 2 annulets of the second, in bend.  

Ormerod, The History of Cheshire, gives the complete descent of the Legh family with various branches in North Cheshire, which would allow the tracing of the entry of various heiresses' arms into those of the Leghs of Adlington. The most striking point is how many Legh arms are included, a sure sign that families stuck together when choosing spouses, particularly heiresses. As Colonel Richard's mother was a Legh of Lyme, we can only assume that this was one reason for his finding his second wife in a cadet branch of this family.  

Three other names in the list above are of immediate interest: Baggelegh (Bagueley, etc.) was a place that saw another Legh family of Baguely in the 16th century, into which family the Ardernes, contemporaries of Mary (Shakespeare's stepmother), married (Ormerod, Earwaker, Rylands); Haydock is a name that crops up regularly in Standish documents and the ‘Shakespeare in Lancashire' story; and Ashton, originally from Ashton-under-Lyne, but by Colonel Richard's time mainly represented by the Ashetons of Middleton (we met Colonel Ashton above in the Civil War) and the Asshetons of Whalley, who provided Alexander Standish (1570-1622)'s wife. Another name of early interest is Boydell, as a widow of this family was the second wife of Hugh Standish de Duxbury early in the 14th century.


Disaster from America in 1655 – and the beginning of the end  

Disaster struck Colonel Richard when lawyer Edward May turned up in Lancashire in early 1655 to claim all the Duxbury Hall lands on behalf of Pilgrim Father Captain Myles Standish's son Alexander - and won. This is such a horribly long story that it is banished from Colonel Richard's biography into a file of its own. Because it is the main reason today why Colonel Richard is of any interest to anyone it is necessary to go through the whole story in minute detail. The Mayflower Descendants Society, in the person of ex-chair Caroline Lewis Kardell, has recognised that the 1655 document is potentially the most important piece of evidence ever to emerge to prove that (1) Myles's family's belief that they might somehow have been entitled to claim Duxbury Hall in the early 19th century might have been based on the truth and that therefore (2) Myles was actually much more closely related to the Standish family in Duxbury rather than the Standish of Standish family in the Isle of Man.  

Two years later Edward May turned up again on behalf of Gilbert Standish – and won again. Both cases were settled financially and led Richard to write a rather premature and extremely long will on 29th September 1657, fearing that he would not be able to provide for his family. However, after this he seemed to prosper, had three more children and became M.P. for Preston until 1660. This date may or may not be significant as an indication of his approval or not of the Restoration of Charles II. It does, however, signal his retirement from public service.  

He was buried at Chorley on 14 March 1662, just eight days after burying his wife Elizabeth and two months after burying his last child, who did not live long enough to be given a name. One might suspect that the birth was not unconnected to Elizabeth's death, after ten children in twelve years. He left six young sons and three young daughters, who were presumably brought up by some of Richard's younger unmarried brothers and sisters. The children at least had an able tutor in Henry Welch, former Presbyterian curate of Chorley, expelled from his position for refusing to agree to the Act of Uniformity in 1662:  

A very humble, mortified man. Tho' he did not excel in gifts, it was made up in grace. . . he was of so blameless a conversation that most gentlemen had a good word for him; and was esteemed so faithful, that Mr Standish of Duxbury (a person of great estate) left the tuition of his children to him, after his own and his wife's death. And he discharged his civil as well as his ministerial trust so faithfully that the most critical adversary had nothing to say to his charge. (Jim Heyes, A History of Chorley, p. 60, quoting from E. Calamy, The Nonconformist's Memorial: Being an Account of the Ministers Who Were Ejected or Silenced After the Restoration . . ., vol 2 (Harris, 175), p. 88.)  

His son and heir Richard (born in 1651) was created a baronet in 1677, served as Lieutenant-Colonel and M.P. for Wigan 1590-93 (Walker). Baronet Richard was buried at Chorley on 6 December 1693, and his widow Margaret née Holcroft subsequently married Sir Thomas Stanley of Bickerstaffe, who became the 11th Earl of Derby when the male line at Knowsley died out. Baronet Richard was succeeded by his son Sir Thomas (1675-1726), grandson Sir Thomas (1703-1756) and great-grandson Sir Frank (1745-1812), the last of the direct line and the last baronet. It is with Sir Frank's life that Bill Walker takes up the story in Duxbury in Decline.  

It is doubtful whether (m)any more details about Colonel Richard will emerge in Lancashire, but even on the above meagre facts, he deserves a rather large footnote in the story of Myles Standish and his family might yet prove to have been involved in events of national importance. Who, for example, was the Thomas Standish knighted in 1603? (Metcalfe's Book of Knights.) He was given no county of origin, which is unusual, but we have Richard's uncle Thomas, who presents a few mysteries not yet mentioned, and who may have been the knight in question. And what kind of parliamentary record did Colonel Richard leave behind? Did he achieve anything in Parliament?  

It might also be worth pursuing all documents in the Standish of Duxbury Muniments during the lifetime of Sir Richard, where a few more secrets may still be lurking; also the Probate will and codicil to Colonel Richard's will at York (now at the Borthwick Institute, I presume), mentioned by Farrer.