Sir John de Stanley King & Lord of the Isle of Man and the Isles, K.G.
Elizabeth Harington
(Abt 1390-1437)
Sir Robert Goushill of Hoveringham, Lord of Hault Hucknall Manor
(Abt 1363-Bef 1414)
Elizabeth FitzAlan d'Arundelle
Sir Thomas de Stanley K.G., 1st Baron Stanley, Lord Lt. of Ireland
Joan Goushill
(Abt 1402-After 1460)

Sir William Stanley of Holt, K.G.
(Abt 1435-1495)


Family Links

1. Joan Beaumont
2. Elizabeth Hopton

Sir William Stanley of Holt, K.G. 1 2 3 4 5

  • Born: Abt 1435, Lathom, Ormskirk, Lancashire, England
  • Marriage (1): Joan Beaumont before 1466
  • Marriage (2): Elizabeth Hopton in 1471 in <Moreton Corbet, Shropshire>, England
  • Died: 16 Feb 1495 about age 60

  Research Notes:

Knight of the Garter 1487. Beheaded for an alleged share in the Perkin Warbeck conspiracy in 1495.

Sir William Stanley ( ? - 1495) was the younger brother of Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby . Stanley fought with his troops in several battles of the Wars of the Roses .
From Wikipedia - William Stanley :

"He is best known for actions in the Battle of Bosworth Field , where he changed sides, securing Henry VII's victory and crown.After the Battle of Tewkesbury, it was he who captured Queen Margaret(Margaret of Anjou ). For his intervention, the new king bestowed many favors on him. However, in 1495 Stanley was convicted of treason and executed for his support of the pretender Perkin Warbeck .He readily admitted to the crime as he thought that through a full confession he would escape execution. Indeed the King might have granted this, partly through mercy and partly to avoid upsetting Thomas Earl of Derby. However, 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 and a few days later beheaded."
From :
Since 1200 the Stanleys had become important landowners and administrators in north-west England (especially Cheshire and Lancashire), and in 1485 the two brothers Sir Thomas Stanley and Sir William Stanley played a decisive role in winning the Battle of Bosworth for Henry Tudor and therefore in establishing the Tudor dynasty - a feat for which Thomas was created 1st Earl of Derby in 1485. Thereafter, the Earls of Derby were a prominent political force in north-west England for the next four centuries, with the 14th earl becoming Prime Minister three times, in 1852, 1858 and 1866.
From Archæologia Cambrensis, Vol. VII, 6th Series, 1907, p. 18:

"On the fourth day of the Parliament of 17 Edward IV (1477), it was declared that Richard, the King's second son, was to be Duke of York and Norfolk, Earl Marshal, Warrenne, and Nottingham, and to marry Anne, daughter and heir to John late Duke of Norfolk, the said Anne being then but six years old; and if she should die without issue, the said Richard, Duke of Norfolk, should have, by consent of Elizabeth, Duchess of Norfolk (widow of the said John, Duke of Norfolk), 'for the terme of his life, the halvendale (that is, the moiety) of the Castell, Towne, Lordship and Maners of Dynesbran [of the] Castell, Lordshipp, and Towne of Lyons [and of] the Lordship, Maners, and Londes of Heulyngton, Bromefield, Yale, Wraxham, and Almore, with their appurtenaunces, in the Marche of Wales,' etc.

"This Richard, Duke of York, was one of the two young princes afterwards murdered in the Tower. His marriage was never consummated, and one of the above-named moieties, or 'halvendales,' of Bromfield and Yale became vested in the Crown. At a date which I cannot specify with precision, the other moiety--that of the Nevilles--became vested in the Crown also.

"Certain it is that on the 10th December, 1484, the whole of Bromfield and Yale, 'late of John, Duke of Norfolk, and Sir George Neville, knight,' was granted by Richard III to Sir William Stanley (see the grant set out in Arch. Camb., 1882, pp. 150 and 151). Nevertheless, in the fourth year of Henry VII (1488), Sir William Stanley only petitioned to continue to enjoy what was practically the moiety of the lordship, although he seems to have been allowed to retain the whole."
From Archæologia Cambrensis, 1907, p. 22 :

"This splendid knight, as is well known, decided the issue of the battle of Bosworth, placing the crown upon the head of Henry, Earl of Richmond, and practically making him Henry VII of England. Many of his followers, or brothers-in-arms, were doubtless men from this neighbourhood. John ap Elis Eyton, whose tomb still stands in Ruabon church, was certainly at Bosworth. The Chevalier Lloyd and others assert that the new king granted Bromfield, Yale, and Chirland, to Sir William for his achievement, or (must we say?) treachery at the famous battle above-names; but the knight of Holt had, as we have seen, Bromfield and Yale, at any rate, before. He enriched Holt Castle, it is said, with the spoils of Bosworth field; but, however that may be, he was one of the richest subjects in the kingdom, and thus excited the envy and suspicion of the King, whose meanness saw in the splendour of Sir William a pretext for getting rid of one to whom he stood under such inconvenient obligations; so he was charged with being in active sympathy with Perkin Warbeck, was convicted, and executed on Tower Hill, 16th February, 1494/5, all his possessions escheating to the king...

"The arms borne by Sir William Stanley, of Holt, were these:--1, argent, on a bend azure, three bucks' heads caboshed or (Stanley); 2 or on a chief indented azure, three plates (Lathom); barry of six or and azure, a canton ermine (Goushill); and 4 gules, a lion rampant or (Fitzalan)."

From (by Craig Thornber) :

Sir William Stanley of Holt in Denbighshire was the second son of Thomas the 1st Baron Stanley (1405-59). His elder brother was Thomas (1432-1504) who became the 2nd Baron Stanley and then the 1st Earl of Derby in 1485. 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, Sir William Stanley rescued Henry Tudor 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 of earlier 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 February 1495. Below we look briefly at Sir William's heirs as they involve some other well-known families in Cheshire as indicated in the emboldening in the chart below.
1. Sir William Stanley died 1495
+ 1st wife, Joan, dau of 1st Viscount Beaumont. She died in August 1466
+ 2nd wife, Elizabeth, dau of Sir Thomas Hopton of Hopton in Cheshire, married in 1471. Sir William was her third husband, her second had been the Earl of Worcester and she had by him a son, of whom Sir William Stanley became guardian but the boy died in 1485. Elizabeth died in 1498.
2. William, 1472-1498. Following his father's execution in 1495, he lost his lands and also some offices such as Sheriff of Chester and Chamberlain of Chester which he had from his father.
+ Joan, the only daughter and heiress of Sir Geoffrey Massey of Tatton, Cheshire and Worsley near Salford in Lancashire. (After William Stanley's death in 1498 she married secondly in 1500 to Sir Edward Pickering and after his death in 1503 she married Sir John Brereton. She died in 1511, having only her daughter Joan Stanley as heiress.)
3. Joan Stanley, sole daughter, born in 1493, inherited her mother's Tatton estate. She died 5 April 1570.
+ 1st husband was John Ashton, son and heir of John Ashton of Ashton on Mersey. He died in 1513, with no issue.
+ 2nd husband was Richard Brereton, younger son of Sir Randle Brereton of Malpas in Cheshire.
4. Richard Brereton, died without issue.
4. Geoffrey Brereton
+ Alice dau of Piers Leycester of Nether Tabley in 1551.
5. Richard Brereton, only son, inherited Tatton estate in 1568 but died without issue on 18 December 1598.
+ Dorothy, daughter of Sir Richard Egerton of Ridley.
2. Jane, married Sir John Warburton, a Knight of the Body of Henry VII, son and heir of Piers Warburton of Arley in Cheshire, who had taken service with Sir William Stanley in 1461 and was a long standing friend. Married in 1487.
2. Catherine, married Thomas Cocat of Holt in Denbighshire.
An Introduction to Aldford and Its Church, a pamphlet available in the church for 25 pence in 2002.
The History of the County Palatine and City of Chester, incorporated with a republication of King's Vale Royal and Leycester's Cheshire Antiquities, 2nd Ed., revised and enlarged by Thomas Helsby, Esq., published by George Routledge and sons, Ludgate Hill, London, 1882. This is now available from the Family History Society of Cheshire on CD ROM. A reprint of the work was published by Eric Morten of Didsbury.
The House of Stanley from the 12th Century, by Peter Edmund Stanley, published by Pentland Press in 1998.

  Death Notes:

Executed on Tower Hill, 16 February 1494/5.

Per Wikipedia, beheaded for an alleged share in the Perkin Warbeck conspiracy in 1495.

Per Reifsnyder-Gilliam Ancestry, beheaded in 1494.

  Noted events in his life were:

• Steward: to household of the Prince of Wales [Edward V], 1473.

• Lord of Ridley, Cheshire.

• Chamberlain of Chester.

• Constable of North Wales.

• Appointed: Chief Justice of North Wales by Richard III, 12 Nov 1483.

• Granted: the whole of Bromfield and Yale by Richard III, 10 Dec 1484.

• Battle: of Bosworth Field, 1485.

William married Joan Beaumont before 1466. (Joan Beaumont died in Aug 1466.)

William next married Elizabeth Hopton, daughter of Sir Thomas Hopton of Hopton and Unknown, in 1471 in <Moreton Corbet, Shropshire>, England. (Elizabeth Hopton was born about 1427 in Hopton Castle, Shropshire, England and died on 22 Jun 1498.)

  Marriage Notes:

According to, they were married before 1463.



2, William Stanley; William Stanley [Battle of Bosworth].

3 Glenn, Thomas Allen, ed, Reifsnyder-Gillam Ancestry. (Philadelphia: (Privately Printed), 1902.), p. 53.

4 Website:,

5 Cambrian Archæological Association, Archæologia Cambrensis, the Journal of the Cambrian Archæological Association. (Vol. 7, 6th series. London: Chas. J. Clark, 1907.), pp. 18-19.

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