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The Webmasters Notes.

The reverend Thomas Cruddas Porteus was an outstanding local historian the author of a number of invaluable local history books that made a significant historical assessment and evaluation of the localities of Standish –Duxbury – Chorley –Wigan in Lancashire England including the Gentry of those locations. Myles Standish by the Reverend Porteus is a book filled with factual documentation and a relevant appraisal of elements of that documentation, which argues well in favour of his proposition that Myles Standish was descended from the Ormskirk – Lancashire - England branch of the Standish Family who at the time of the birth of Myles (1584) resided on the Island of Man within the Irish Sea.


The Reverend Porteus had many critics who considered his appraisal to be fatally flawed. Amongst his critics was another outstanding author the Reverend Bernard Nightingale who made the following comments -:

1. This traditional view, at least so far as it relates to Myles's connection with Duxbury Hall, has been ac­cepted without question until quite recently; but a few months ago it was challenged in a book published by Rev. T. C. Porteus, vicar of Coppull, on " Myles Standish, his lost lands and Lancashire Connections." This writer maintains that the tradition is quite at fault; and that if Myles is related to any branch of the Standish family in Lancashire it must be the Ormskirk branch. No one can read the book without being greatly impressed with its value as a bit of earnest and serious research-work; but in reference to the main point in the problem, the relation of Myles Stan­dish to Duxbury Hall, the matter is left unsettled. It is not difficult to detect a too great eagerness to upset the traditional view—a temptation to which the re­searcher is always exposed, while the arguments never advance beyond the stage of possibility, and probability. The parentage and birthplace of Myles Standish still remain a perfect riddle. - Reverend Bernard Nightingale.


2. I have examined the registers of Eccleston, Croston, Ormskirk, Standish, Chorley, and elsewhere in this district, and have not been able to find a single Myles in the Standish family of that or any other period. What research may do it is impossible to say I but I confess to some hankering after the traditional view. At any rate that view bv no means stands discredited, and is as much entitled to respect as any other. Mr, Porteus's explanation of the defect in the Chorley Parish Register in the years 1584 and 1585 is not in the least satisfactory. The defect is there, and it is a very real one; and, coupled with the fact that no trace of the name can be found in any other register, there is some significance in the occurrence of the defect in the very register and at the very period where, if there were a disposition to destroy the birth entry, we might expect it to be. Then it is not with­out significance that, when Myles Standish removed to the other side of Plymouth harbour, the name of Duxbury was given to his new abode. - Reverend Bernard Nightingale.


Article from Chorley Guardian Lancashire England - 1924


The Chorley & District Historical Society held the first meeting of the present session in the Council Chamber at the Chorley Town Hall on Monday evening when Sir Henry F Hibbert Bart. C.A. presided over a fair attendance.

The Rev.P.J. Kirkby Rector of Chorley, produced the Parish Register of the last century for the inspection of the members, who might thus see the page from which it had been alleged that the name of Myles Standish had been erased. Cllr. C. Ashton apologised for the absence of Rev. T.C. Porteus, who, had he been present would have given some particulars of Myles Standish. Cllr. Ashton, however, explained that Myles Standish was the Captain of the 'Mayflower' which conveyed the pilgrims from this country to America where they founded the first colony. It had been stated that he had been born at Duxbury Hall, but Mr. Porteus declared that he came from another branch of the family who lived at Ormskirk. This was a very debatable point. Much had been written about page 39 in the Chorley Parish Register, which had it been intact, was said would have settled the question of the birthplace of Standish. As it was very little was known of the first 36 years of his life. One historian had remarked that the absence of the name from the page in the register might be due to the ravages of time, but most likely to the blundering fingers of persons, who had in their possession many broad acres, to which descendants of the family were entitled. It was thought that as late as the early part of the last century they went to work using pumice stone to erase the name of Myles Standish from the list of Baptisms and thus effectively preventing his heirs from claiming the estate. If that were true, the heirs were robbed of an estate of the value of £109,000.




Myles Standish by the Reverend Porteus is unique as it contains documentation to prove that Myles Standish was descended from the Standish Family of Ormskirk and documentation to prove that he was not descended from the Standish Family of Ormskirk? The Reverend Porteus in his usual thoroughness included all the documentation and gave the reader the job of total appraisal. Thus the Reverend Porteus limited his own appraisal to those documents that indicated a family link for Myles Standish to the Standish family of Ormskirk.

Two important points that are vital to the theory that “a family link for Myles Standish to the Standish family of Ormskirk was proven” are listed below.

Point 1. The land and property listed in the rental of Margaret Standish 1529 must be the same land and property listed in the will of Myles Standish in 1656?


1529. Rental of Margaret Standysshe, widow, for a whole year, Ormskirk, Borscoghe, Croston, Mawdisley, Wryghtington, Newburghe:


     1656 The Will of Myles Standish -:

"I give unto my son & heire apparent Allexander Standish all my lands as heire apparent by lawful Decent in Ormistick Borsconge Wrightington  Maudsley  Newburrow  Craston and the Isle of man".

* Six places listed in the 1529 Rental match with six places listed in the 1656 Will of Myles Standish.



Point 2. Did the alleged divorce proceedings in 1539 have a legal effect on the OWNERSHIP of title to the property listed in both the rental of Margaret Standish 1529 and the will of Myles Standish in 1656?


1539 The alleged Divorce Proceedings

Thomas must have returned to Ormskirk from the Isle of Man before 1539 as he started divorce proceedings to dissolve his child marriage with Jane (Joanna) Stanley on the 18th December 1539 on the ground that, at the time of the marriage, his bride was only 10 and, according to the depositions, after the marriage, Thomas returned to the Isle of Man and his bride returned to Lathom. Thomas, however, seems to have had a daughter Anne in 1539 as he mentioned her in his 1540 Deed of Trust which was made on the 7th July 1540, and in view of the lapse of less than seven months, that she was conceived after the divorce proceedings. No decree appears to have been granted as a result of these proceedings. It should be pointed out that, in the 16th century, the only form of divorce (as opposed to separation) was by nullity proceedings - one of the grounds for which was marriage under age. The fact that nullity proceed­ings bastardized the children of the nullified marriage did not appear to matter. An example of this from that period was the divorce, on grounds of nullity, of Catherine of Aragon by King Henry



There was a doubt about the date of the divorce between Thomas Standish and Joan Stanley alias Standish ; and it now transpires that the proceedings leading to the divorce took place in 1539. Depositions were entered on 18 December of that year and various local witnesses were called. After the child-marriage, Thomas Standish went into Man and there dwelt with his father (Robert Standish), while the " woman " (10 years old) dwelt with her mother in Lathom. 

- T C Porteus



The Church investigation into the Child marriage was conducted in 1539 in accordance with Canon Law. The question to be to be resolved was “ did the act of consummation take place whilst the children were under lawful age?

The evidence given to the church court by several witnesses was that on completion of the marriage contract Thomas Standish returned to the Isle of Man with his parents and the bride Joan Stanley returned to Lathom with her parents and the marriage was not consummated until the children became of age. Thus the marriage was lawful under canon law and the Church could not divorce Thomas Standish and his wife Joan Stanley. Their son Hugh Standish was thus the lawful and legitimate heir of his parents. Nullity proceed­ings that bastardized the children require evidence that the marriage was consummated while the parentsof the children were under age.

* Hugh Standish was thus the lawful and legal heir of his father Thomas and the owner of title to his

father’s lands and the 1529 rental lands of his grandmother Margaret.  - Webmaster




Court Documentation -: did the courts recognise Hugh Standish as the lawful owner of title to the lands of his father Thomas and grandmother Margaret?


Document 18. COURT RECORD 1569.

18. Final Concord made at Lancaster on Monday, 4th week in Lent, 12 Elizabeth [March 6, 1569-70], between William Stopford, gentleman, and Roger Sonkey, plaintiffs, and Hugh Standish, gentleman, deforciant, of 3 messuages, 4 cottages, 4 orchards, 26 acres of land, 5 acres of pasture, 4 acres of meadow, 40 acres of moor, and 8 acres of turbary in Wright-ington, Newburgh, Ormskirk, and Burscough. Plea of covenant. Hugh granted them to William and Roger and the heirs of William. Plaintiffs paid to Hugh Standish £40. (Pal. of Lane. Feet of Fines, bundle 32, m. 112. Towneley MSS., GG. 1402, RR. 942.) – T. C. Porteus



22. On the Monday after St. Batholomew, 13 Elizabeth [August 27, 1571], a final concord was made at Lancaster between Hugh Standish, gentleman, and William Stopford concerning 6 messuages, 4 cottages, 10 tofts, 6 gardens, 6 orchards, 12 acres of land, 4 acres of meadow, 10 acres of meadow, 1 acre of wood, and 5 acres of moor in Ormskirk. Hugh granted them to William, but the latter regranted to Hugh Standish for life 4 messuages, 2 tofts, 3 gardens, 3 orchards, 6 acres of land, 2 acres of meadow, and 4 acres of pasture, part of the said tenements. (Pal. of Lane. Feet of Fines, bundle 33, m. 25. Towneley MSS., DD. 219. Kuerden, Vol. 2, fo. 144*.)

– T. C. Porteus



Documents 18 and 22 are from the Court at Lancaster England.

* The Court documentation above clearly indicates that the courts in 1569 and1571 did recognised Hugh Standish as the lawful heir of his father Thomas and grandmother Margaret with full legal title to the lands and property brought within the courts jurisdiction. Thus the sale of the lands by Hugh Standish to William Stopford could not be fraudulent.

- Webmaster



Who was therefore lawful owner of the title to the lands listed in the

Rental/Will between 1529 and 1656?


Documents: 1529 rental of Margaret Standish to 1656 the Will of Myles Standish.

Rental of Margaret Standysshe, widow, for a whole year, a.d. 1529, Ormskirk, Borscoghe, Croston, Mawdisley, Wryghtington, Newburghe: total, except free rents - £3 12s. lOd. (Piccope MSS., Vol. 3, p. 42, No. 114.)

*** Rental above was discovered by Porteus who then founded the Isle of Man theory defining theIsland as the birthplace of Myles Standish.

Note the date 1529 -: 55yearsbefore Myles was born and 127 years before he died


1656 The Will of Myles Standish -:

“I give unto my son & heire apparent Allexander Standish all my lands as heire apparent by lawful Decent in Ormistick Borsconge Wright-ington Maudsley Newburrow Craston and the Isle of man”



1529. Rental of Margaret Standish – the rental passes to her Son Thomas

1540. Thomas Standish  - on the death of Thomas the rental passes to his Son Hugh.

1556. Hugh Standish sells part of the rental to William Stopford

1569. William Stopford is the owner of the rental of 1529.

1576. Ownership of the lands in the 1529 rental confirmed – title with William Stopford.

1584. William Stopford dies – Myles Standish is born.

1598. Title to the lands in the 1529 rental are in the ownership of the Hesketh family of Rufford in Lancashire England and NOT in the ownership of the Standish family of Ormskirk or the Isle of Man.

1656. Myles Standish makes his will in America and claims land and property in similar locations to those in the rental dated 1529. The lawful ownership and title to the lands claimed by Myles Standish in 1656 had been invested in the Hesketh family from 1598.


Supporting Documentation


Lancashire County Archives DDHE 59/26.

FILE  [no title] - ref.  DDHE 59/26  - date: 23 Jun. 1569
hit[from Scope and ContentBond: for £200: Hugh Standyshe late of Wigan, gent. to William Stopford
of Bispham, gent. -- H.S. to keep covenants of deed of 22 Jun. 1569 concerning 2 burgages in Ormeskirk, a cottage in Burscogh, and properties in Wrightyngton and Newburghe. H.S. to commence actions for W.S. concerning Robbecrofte in Parbalte, properties in Croston and Mawdysley. Witn: Willm. Gerard, Rycharde Woodfall, Arthur Fynche. Seal.

* Six places listed in the 1529 Rental match with six places listed in the above sale of 1569.


Lancashire County Archives DDHE 59/46.


date: 3 May 1576
FILE  [no title] - ref.  DDHE 59/46  - date:
3 May 1576
hit[from Scope and Content] Bond: for £50: parties as DDHE 59/45 –
William Stopford to have peaceable possession of all the properties late of Thomas Standish
and Hugh his son, except for 22/- from a close called the Rydyng.


DDHE 59/26 and DDHE 59/46 above are from The Hesketh family of Rufford papers.


Lancashire County Archives

23 June 1598  A division of the lands and tenimentes which lately were belonginge to William Stopford of Bispham, gent. dec'd"


Catalogue Ref. DDHE

Hesketh, Fermor -, family, Barons Hesketh
Fermer-Hesketh family, Barons Hesketh


FILE  [no title] - ref.  DDHE 113/16  - date:
23 June 1598
[from Scope and Content"A division made by William Ashurst, gent. of the lands and tenimentes which lately were belonginge to William Stopford of Bispham, gent. dec'd" -- MADISLEY, ECCLESTON, WRIGHTINGTON, APPLEY, SHEVENTON, PARBOLD, NEWBRUGH -- Endorsed "This is the parte of Robert Hesketh".

FILE  [no title] - ref.  DDHE 113/17  - date: 4 Mar. 1597/8
hit[from Scope and ContentAgreement: Robert Hesketh of Rufforthe, esq., and William Ashehurst of Ashehurst, gent. for the division of the property of
William Stopford (as DDHE 113/16): mention of W.S. grandfather and W.S. son, Blanche, wife of R.H., and widow of W.S. father; and Thomas Hesketh, esq. Her Majesty's Attorney of the Court of Wards and Liveries -- BISPHAM HALL and its appurtenances in BISPHAM and MAUDISLEY; with property there in tenure of James Bretherton, Henry Maudisley, John Stopforde, Thomas Stopforde, Roger Draper, Edwarde Dronninge (?), Richard Draper. Johne Draper, Thomas Bowker, Thomas Patricke, John Patricke and Elizabeth Arlton; Raw Scolles meadow in tenure of Thomas and John Patricke; free turbary in Maudisley; common of pasture in Bispham and Maudisley; a third part of manor of WRIGHTINGTON and all property of W.S. there, including 6 ac. in tenure of Geffray Wrenall and 1 ac. on Turnecliffe Hill near house of G.R. in tenure of wife of Robert Heskine; Hindley's lands in p. of Eccleston; property in SHEVINGTON, APLEY, PARBOLD, ORMESKIRKE and NEWBROUGH; parcel called Wethine Half Acre part of parcel called Kayscrockes in Parbold; and close in Maudisley called Corn Hey -- Witn: Thos. Hesketh, Ry. Fletwud, Tho. Gerard, Wylliam Dickonson, Robt. Parker, Thomas Lydeat, clerk.


Did the Reverend Thomas Cruddas Porteus have an alternative reason for suggesting Myles Standish was descended from the Ormskirk Branch of the Standish Family and not the then accepted Duxbury Branch of the Standish Family?


In 1846 allegations of fraud made by Mr Bromley in the USA caused a major rift in Anglo – American relations the biggest strain since the War of Independence. The accusation regarding the “hand of fraud” was never investigated or resolved.

Many American citizens considered this an insult to their founding father and the American nation.

The Reverend T C Porteus resolved the dispute by providing evidence to the American nation that Myles Standish was a descendant of the Ormskirk branch of the Standish family who were resident on the Isle of Man in 1584 when Myles was born. Thus the accusation of “the hand of fraud” was a complete misunderstanding as this evidence proved that Myles Standish was not descended from the Standish family of Duxbury Lancashire England - thus no persons in old England could be guilty of defrauding the founding father and his descendants of their lawful inheritance; "the Squires of Duxbury and the Rectors of Chorley are cleared of the charges often brought against them"?

This diplomatic attempt by the Reverend Porteus to diffuse a serious accusation was a stated objective set out in the forward of his book Myles Standish –

-         Reverend T C Porteus.


Finally the Webmaster must take the opportunity to express his indebtedness to the Reverend Thomas Cruddas Porteus for the inspiration his works gave me as a student and a life long interest in local history/family history, that inspiration has remained with me right into my twilight years. - Webmaster