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17th Century Consequences for the Stanley Family

‘Charles I exhibited an almost pathological distrust of the Stanleys, despite the instinctive loyalty shown by the earl to his king…The reasons for the king’s distrust are rooted deep in his own complex character, but it is certain that part of that distrust was based on the behaviour of Thomas, the first Earl of Derby, at Bosworth. The battle might have been nearly two hundred years in the past, but to Charles’s mind it proved that the Stanleys were not to be trusted on the battlefield. He is also said to be afraid that Stanley had aspirations to royalty, as was shown by his marriage to a lady with so many royal connections…’

To Play the Man, The story of Lady Derby and the siege of Lathom House, 1643-1645, by Colin Pilkington pp.32-33. Carnegie Publishing 1991.

How ironic, given that Charles I would not have been king, or indeed even have existed, but for that Stanley treachery at Bosworth.

James Stanley, Earl of Derby, remained a loyal if somewhat ineffective supporter of the royalist cause. He was eventually executed in 1651 because of his involvement in the massacre at Bolton in 1644 – a massacre which (unlike certain others in the Civil War) is now largely and conveniently forgotten. The Stanleys’ principal home Lathom House, was destroyed after its eventual capture, and never rebuilt.

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