صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

King by whom Richard was dethroned and replaced. Under Richard he had been merely Lord Deputy of Ireland ; under Henry IV. he became Lord Lieutenant. The unsuccessful revolt of the Percies brought Sir John Stanley the Lordship of the Isle of Man, transferred to him by the King from the old Earls of Northumberland, with such absolute ownership of the soil and jurisdiction over the islanders as to make the position of the Lords of Man little less than regal. A steady shower of royal benefactions descended on him during the reign of Henry IV., to whom he was Treasurer of the Household, and who permitted him-a rare favour, it seems, in those days—to “fortify, with embattled walls," a house (“of stone and lime,” says the Royal Warrant) which he had built at Liverpool to "facilitate his communications with the Isle of Man.” Its front abutted on the Mersey, at the foot of what is now Water street. It was long the chief civic residence of the Stanleys, and known as the Tower; after having served as an assembly room and a prison successively, it was taken down in 1819, and the place that knew it knows it no more. Henry V. gave Sir John the Garter and reappointed him Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. He died in 1413, a few months after his resumption of the latter dignity, “having during his long life raised his family from simple country gentlemen to the head of the lesser baron

With his son John, the greatness of the new house of Stanley did not dwindle ; with his grandson Thomas it increased. This Thomas became, as his grandfather had been, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and was distinguished

age.” 1

1 Round Sir John Stanley there gathered a mass of legendary matter, one fragment of which must be reproduced, if only in a note. The crest of the Stanleys who descend from him, unlike that of the Stanleys of Hooton, exhibits, with the three bucks' heads, an eagle looking at a child in a cradle. Two principal versions of the origin of this crest of the eagle and child have been retailed, with great gravity, by chroni


both as a warrior and a negotiator. In his person took place the elevation of the Stanleys to the peerage, so to speak. He was summoned to parliament as Lord Stanley, in the January of 1456, the year after that in which the Wars of the Roses opened with the battle of St Alban's.

He died in 1459, and was succeeded by his son Thomas, second Lord Stanley, afterwards first Earl of Derby, who carried the fortunes of the house to heights unknown before. The first Stanley Earl of Derby lived in a chaotic and turbulent age, an age, too,

in which the old spirit of chivalry was being superseded by modern craft and subtlety. The courage and skill of the warrior had still their value, but strength of arm and hosts of retainers were insufficient without astuteness of head, without a watchful dexterity in remaining neuter when neutrality was the safest course, or in shifting from this cause to that, so as to be on the winning side in times when clers of the Stanley family. According to one version a Sir Thomas Latham, represented as the grandfather of the Isabel whom Sir John Stanley married, finds in an eagle's nest in Tarlestone wood an infant “ swaddled and clad in a mantle of red.” Being both issueless and four score," Sir Thomas adopts the child, names it Oskell, and to him bequeaths all his estates. “Sir” Oskell has an only daughter, Isabel, with whom Sir John Stanley elopes, and in right of whom, after forgiveness by the father, he inherits the Latham property. In the other version of the legend, it is a Sir Thomas de Latham, father of Isabel, who has an illegitimate son, the mother being a certain Mary Oskatell. By a stratagem of the father, the infant Oskatell, so called after the mother, is deposited in an eagle's nest. Then Sir Thomas pretends to find him as if dropped from the skies, and, concealing the bantling's parentage, easily induces his wife to adopt the child of mystery, “Sir” Oskatell is brought up as his heir by Sir Thomas, who, however, growing penitent in old age, leaves him only a few manors, and bequeaths the bulk of his estates to his legitimate daughter, Isabel, and her husband, Sir John Stanley. The genuine history of the crest of the eagle and child, with a good deal of curious information respecting the Lathams, will be found in a paper contributed by Dr Ormerod, the historian of Cheshire, to Nichols's Collectanea, and in the Miscellanea Palatina (London, 1851) of the former eminent antiquary.

the vanquished of yesterday might become the victor of today. The first Stanley Earl of Derby, pursued this policy with consummate skill, reaping as a reward large additional domains and a peerage, in our age as in his own one of the foremost in England.

His choice of a first, as afterwards of a second wife, was a very prudent one at the time, and his earliest appearance on the stage of public affairs is curiously characteristic of him. He began by marrying Eleanor, daughter of Richard Neville Earl of Salisbury, and sister to the stalwart Earl of Warwick, the famous king-maker, the most powerful noble of the day. But while ready to profit by this alliance the wary Stanley did not allow it to commit him to any very decided, much less to any dangerous course. On his father's death in 1459, Lord Stanley found himself at the head of the retainers of his house and of those whom his connections placed at his disposal. In the September of 1459 civil war broke out afresh.

No lasting peace had been the result of the grand reconciliation-scene of the preceding year, which displayed Somerset walking hand-inhand with Salisbury, Exeter with Warwick, while after them came the feeble and innocent Lancastrian King, Henry VI., in royal habit and crown, followed by the two great enemies, the Duke of York (father of Edward IV.) conducting the resolute Queen, Margaret of Anjou, "with great seeming familiarity;" all wending their way in solemnly-joyful procession to St Paul's. A chance fray between a servant of the royal household and one of Warwick's retainers rekindled the Queen's old feud with the king-maker, and in the autumn a War of the Roses was raging again. On the 23rd of September 1459, at Bloreheath in Staffordshire, Warwick's father and Lord Stanley's father-in-law, the Earl of Salisbury, with 5,000 men, routed a force commanded by the King's friend, Lord Audley, of the family from which the Stanleys

were originally an offshoot. Of Lord Stanley's conduct before, during, and just after this engagement there is extant a significant record in a petition of the Commons, complaining of it and of him, and presented to the King during the sitting of the staunchly Lancastrian parliament held in the ensuing November at Coventry. "To the King our Sovereign Lord,” begins this document, of which the spelling is here modernised—“show the Commons in this present Parliament assembled : That where[as] it pleased your Highness to send to the Lord Stanley, by the servant of the same Lord from Nottingham, charging him that upon his faith and [al]legiance, he should come to your Highness in all haste, with such fellowship”—following—"as he might make, the said Lord Stanley, notwithstanding the said commandment, came not to you, but William Stanley, his brother, went with many of the said Lord's servants and tenants, [a] great number of people, to the Earl of Salisbury, which were with the same Earl at the distressing of your true liege people at Bloreheath." This was the Sir William Stanley of Bosworth Field celebrity, and the conduct of the two brothers in this Bloreheath affair, curiously prefigures that which they pursued a quarter of a century afterwards on a much more famous occasion. “Also," the petition of the indignant Commons continues, “where[as] your said Highness gave in commandment to your first begotten son, Edward, Prince of Wales”-murdered, eleven years later, after the battle of Tewkesbury—“to assemble your people and his tenants, to resist the malice of your rebels, and thereupon the same noble Prince sent to the said Lord Stanley to come to him in all haste possible, with such fellowship as he might make-the said Lord Stanley, putting the said matter in delay, faintly excused him[self], saying he was not then ready : Howbeit, of his own confession, he had before a commandment from your Highness to be ready

to come to the same with his said fellowship, upon a day's warning ; which delay and absence was a great cause of the loss and distress of your said people at Bloreheath. Also where[as] the said Lord had sent his servant to our Sovereign Lady the Queen ”—Margaret of Anjou—"and to the said noble Prince of Wales and Chester, saying that he should come to them in all haste; and after that he sent to them Richard Hokesley, his servant, to Eggleshall, certifying them that he would come to them in all haste; and desired, for as much as he understood that he was had in jealousy,” therefore “ that he might have the vanward against the Earl of Salisbury and his fellowship : And the said noble Prince" of Wales, “ by the advice of his council, considering that the fellowship of the said Lord Stanley was fewer in number than the fellowship of the said Earl, willed and desired him to come to the said noble Prince and his fellowship, that they being all together might come to have assisted your Highness, which was promised faithfully by his said servant should be performed in all haste : Which, notwithstanding, was not performed, but in default thereof, your people were distressed at Bloreheath aforesaid, as is well known : Howbeit that the said Lord Stanley was within six miles of the said heath” at “the same time, accompanied with 2000 men, and rested him with the same fellowship, by the space of three days after, at Newcastle” under Lyne, " but six miles out of Eggleshall, where the Queen and Prince then were ; and the said Lord Stanley, on the morning next after the distress at Bloreheath, sent a letter for his excuse to our Sovereign Lady the Queen and the said noble Prince, which said letter your said Highness had sent to him, commanding him by the same to have come to your said Highness with his fellowship in all haste, which”—that is Lord Stanley and his fellowship—"came neither to your Highness, to the Queen, nor to the said Prince, but so departed home again.

[ocr errors]
« السابقةمتابعة »