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1 January

At the time that Alexander became Lord of the Manor his grandmother, Constance, and his mother, Margery, were still living and provision had to be made for them. At the same time Alexander’s uncles, his father’s brothers, received some benefits. A year later his mother married again, this time to Thomas Radcliffe who was probably related to her. Soon after, she and her new husband sued her brothers-in-law, Oliver, Hugh, Robert, Laurence and Peter Standish, for debt. A family dispute between the young Lord of the Manor and these same uncles must have continued. The five brothers of Ralph claimed some messuages and tenements which they said had been willed to them for life by their father, Alexander, and by Ralph. Evidently Alexander disputed the claim and Roger Standish, parson of Standish Church and Richard Standish were called in to settle the contention and make an award.

In 1477 a dispute is recorded between Alexander Standish and Laurence Langtree concerning the waste lands of Standish and Langtree. Laurence had encroached on land in Kirk Toun and had witheld a piece of land known as the Chapon Toft (or Croft) on Standish Moor from the Chantry. That is, the Chantry at Standish Church should have had the benefit of the income from this piece of land. This was a case for arbitration and Sir Thomas Gerard, Kt. Thomas Gerard of Ince and Henry Berkheud were called in to give an award. The disputants agreed to obey the decision which was that each was to ask permission of the other for the encroachments made and Laurence Langtree was to allow Chapon Toft to belong to Standish Chantry, the title to which, in writing, had been shown to the arbitrators.

Alexander Standish had a large family, of either ten or eleven children, one of whom, Katherine, married Thomas Standish of Duxbury, thus uniting the two branches of the family. Another daughter, Joan, married James, son of William Bradshaigh of Haigh. Alice married Richard Worthington and Isabel married Thomas Lathom, while of the sons the only one whose wife is named was Ralph, who married Alice, daughter and co-heir of Sir James Harrington of Wolfage in Northamptonshire. This marriage, in 1497, brought in the manor of Brixworth to add to the Standish estates.

During Alexander’s lifetime he seems to have figured in many transactions, either as a principle or as a witness. He granted some of his land in Wallgate, Wigan to Alexander Bradshaigh at 10s a year and Alexander Bradshaigh agreed to “edifie and make to be made a sufficient and able Wonnyng (dwelling) house of three pair of crokkes and two pair of cuttes like to the makyng of the house of the said Jonny Orrell in the which Rauf Slader now dwelles, with all manner wright note thatche, daube and al other necessarys and labores” at his own costs, to be reqady before Michaelmas, 1479. Alexander Standish was to give him the timber of which the house was to be made and 16s. or allow it in the first two years of his first term. He also acted as arbitrator in a partition of lands in Standish, Langtree and Shevington.

See also The Standishes and the Langtrees versus the Gerards of Bryn  (1479)See also: The Standishes and the Langtrees versus the Gerards of Bryn (1479)>

In 1480, Alexander Standish granted to the Radcliffes of Ordsall and of Chadderton his manor of Standish with advowson of the Church, all lands burgages etc., in Standish, Wigan, Langtree, Shevington, Billinge, and Winstanley. Shortly after he granted lands in Lancaster, Bare and Cartmel to the same feoffes. The seal attached to the deed had the newer coat of arms of the Standishes, i.e. three dishes quarterly with the older seal of a saltire within a border engrailed. Alexander was knighted in 1482 by Lord Stanley on Hutton Field and received an annuity of twenty marks for life in 1486 – “for his good and faithful service”. Sir James Harrington received his Knighthood about the same time. Alexander demised some land in Shevington to be held for the life of Alice Harrington, wife of his son Ralph. In 1507, Alexander died and was succeeded in the manor by Ralph.

27 December

The most eminent service Ralph de Standish performed was his defence of the young King against the attack made upon him by Wat Tyler. The chroniclers differ as to the name of the esquire who took part in this incident; but an examination of the records leaves no doubt that it was Ralph de Standish.

According to one authority, giving an account of the meeting of Richard II with the rioters, the mayor of London attempted to arrest Wat Tyler. In the struggle which ensued a valet of the King’s household drew his sword and mortally wounded the insurgent, who rode forward a little way calling on the commons to avenge him, and then fell from his horse almost dead.

Some give the name of the King’s esquire as Canvendish, an error apparently due to the similarity of the sound. The Continuator of Knighton, and Froissart, both state the surname to be Standish, but differ as to the Christian name.

The former, who identifies Wat Tyler with Jack Straw, stating that he changed his name, says that when the insurgent threatened the King and seized his bridle, Walworth, a burgess of London, fearing the King’s death, thrust his weapon through the rebel’s throat. Seeing this, another esquire whose name was Ralph Standish, ran him through the sides with a short sword. He fell flat on his back, and, after beating with his hands and feet to and fro for a while, perished. A great shout arose, “Our leader is dead.” His body was dragged into St. Bartholomew’s Church hard by. Ralph Standish with others was invested by the King with the girdle of knighthood.

Froissart states that in the struggle with Walworth, Tyler was wounded by the mayor; whereupon one of the King’s esquires called John Standish drew a handsome sword which he carried and thrust Tyler through the body so that he died. He adds that Standish was one of three who were knighted by the King.

One writer represents the King’s esquire as the dealer of the first blow. The mayor ordered the insurgent to uncover in the King’s presence. He made a retort; whereupon an esquire stabbed him; then the mayor and another burgess stabbed him also so that he died.

Contemporary references in the Patent Rolls confirm the accuracy of Knighton’s Continuator, in giving the name of the esquire who defended the King and was knighted for his services as Ralph de Standish. No wonder the chroniclers disagree as to his Christian name, when they could not be sure of that of the lord mayor of London, or even the rebel’s name.

The affray with Tyler occurred in June, 1381. In August of the same year Ralph de Standish, formerly addressed as our dear esquire, is now referred to as the King’s knight, and in terms which suggest that the promotion to knighthood is recent. On August 14th, the King granted to his knight, Ralph de Standish, for the better maintenance of his knightly rank, the wardship of Scarborough Castle, with 40 marks yearly and 20 marks from the manor of Drakelow in Cheshire. The grant was confirmed and explained in October of the same year. The fact that a document relating to one of Sir Ralph’s annuities is found among the deeds of the Standish family of Standish (who afterwards acquired some of the Sir Ralph’s estate), is additional confirmation that the esquire who dispatched Wat Tyler was Ralph the son of John Standish of Standish.

4 November

It would be pleasant to think that this mill was named after the pleasing disposition of a past lessee. The truth is that it gained its name from the jolly family who were associated with it throughout the eighteenth century and possibly for many years earlier.

The establishment of the mill can be fairly accurately dated in a 1347/1348 deed which grants “John de Standish and his heirs liberty to make a mill or mills on the bank of the Dogles, and the pools and attachments, and to draw the course of the water at their will to the said mills, wheresoever they may be situated on the bank of the said water, namely from the water mill at Worthington as far as the mill of Haigh…”

The first building was probably stone built and one storey high with an outside wheel.

The 1776 register of all Leasehold Estate of Ralph Standish states that in 1690 a “mess mill and kiln” was leased by William Standish to Seth Jolley. (“Mess” is probably a shortened form of “messuage” which means a dwelling house with the associated appurtenances.) The total holding was 15 acres 2 roods (Lord’s measure). The three “lives” listed in association with the lease are “the lessee, John his son, Ellen his daughter.” The rent payable was £1 12s. There is also a list of customary “boons” which, by this time, were probably commuted to extra rent payments.

Kellys Directory of 1918 gives the name of the miller as William Bentley, who lived in a nearby house called “The Woodlands”. He was the last miller at Jolley Mill. The mill was sold, with the rest of the Standish Estate, in 1921. It was described as “Mill, Mill Race and land situate at Chorley Lane and known as Jolly Mill containing 7 acres 0 roods 31 perches. All that disused.”

18 January

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Sir William Bradshaw of Haigh.
A knight of some renown.
Wed a young wench fer Blackrod & Haigh.
On the outskirts of old Wiggin Town.

Sir William, He a’t go away.
Fo’t feight in some ere waar.
It met er bin Bakkle er Bannockburn.
Or it could er bin further afar.

Neaw, it’s said he wuz tak’n pris’ner.
But what we don’t know is, eaw lung.
Aw we know is he ney’er come wom.
Abeawt that thi cor’nt be far wrung.

Anyroad, Ten ear went past.
Un William ney’er come wom.
Un Mabel think’in him dee’ud.
Startid knock’in abeawt wi this mon.

Apparently. There’d bin a rebellion.
Agen Edward the second, no deawt.
Un this ere welsh mon cawed Osmund.
Wuz in his good books,for help’in him eawt.

He reakoned he’d bin granted possession.
Of Haigh Hall. Well that’s worr he said.
Un Mabel her at fot move eawt.
Unless her accepted fot wed.

Neaw, fot save her’sel and her childer.
From beggery un financial ruin.
Her at use her noggin un feminine whiles.
In short, just waatch worr hers doin.

Her wuz forced into marryin welshmon.
Lady Osmund Nevill, her title.
Her could’nt do nowt abeawt it.
Safety er’t fam’ly were vital.

At theend er ten year or so.
Her were dolin eawt bread, one fine day.
When one mon approached for his shive of bread.
Un revealed, he was William of Haigh.

Neaw, Mabel her recognised William.
In shock, her lerr eawt a scream.
Un Osmund when he heard abeawt it.
He grabbed her and smacked her reawnd th’een.

Neaw, William abided his time.
His bite, wuz wuss than his bark.
Un then he waylaid welshmon, Osmund.
Un kil’t him eawtside Newton Park.

The troubles of William and Mabel.
Were nor ore, one as’t for say.
For slay’in the welsh knight at Newton.
William was outlawed a year and a day.

Neaw, Mabel for unwitted bigamy.
Even in spite of her loss.
Aa’t walk barefoot from Haigh Hall to Wiggin.
Each wik, to a place cawd Mab’s Cross.

When his outlawry was ended.
William went back to his kin.
Un when he dee’d, Mabel ordered.
A chantry building for him.

Eventually, her dee’d an aw.
Un in that chantry, both lay.
Yo con still see it….. if yo go’t Wiggin.
Cos theyre tombs are still thee’r today.

Sir William Bradshaw of Haigh.
A knight of some renown.
Married a young girl from Blackrod and Haigh.
On the outskirts of old Wigan town.

Sir William, he had to go away.
To fight in some war.
It may have been Bannockburn.
Or it could have been further afar.

Now, it’s said he was taken prisoner.
But what we don’t know is, how long.
All that we know is, he never came home.
About that they can’t be far wrong.

Anyway, ten years went past.
And William never came home.
And Mabel, thinking him dead.
Started seeing this other man.

Apparently, there had been a rebellion.
Against Edward the second, no doubt.
And this welshman called Osmund.
Was in his good books for helping him out.

He reakoned he’d been granted possession.
Of Haigh Hall, Well, that’s what he said.
And Mabel, she had to move out.
Unless she accepted to wed.

Now, to save herself and her children.
From beggery and financial ruin.
She had to use her head and feminine whiles.
In short, just watch what she’s doing.

She was forced to marry the welshman.
Lady Osmund Nevill…her title.
She could’nt do anything about it.
Safety of the family was vital.

At the end of ten years or so.
She was giving out bread, one fine day.
When one man approached,for his piece of bread.
And revealed he was William of Haigh.

Now, Mabel she recognised William.
In shock, she let out a cry.
And Osmund, when he heard about it.
He grabbed her and smacked her in the eye.

Now William he bided his time.
His bite was worse than his bark.
And then he waylaid this Osmund.
And killed him outside Newton Park.

The troubles of William and Mabel.
Were not over, one has to say.
For slaying the welsh knight at Newton.
He was outlawed a year and a day.

Now, Mabel for unwitted bigamy.
Even in spite of her loss.
Had to walk barefoot from Haigh Hall to Wigan.
Each week to a place called Mab’s Cross.

When his outlawry was ended.
William went back to his kin.
And when he died Mabel ordered.
A chantry building for him.

Eventually she died as well.
And in that chantry, both lay.
You can see it if you go to Wigan.
For theyre tombs are still there today.

3 February

Lawrence had three sons, Alexander, the eldest and heir to the manor, who later became a knight, Roger, who was by now Rector of Standish, and Oliver. It was Lawrence who made the agreement with Henry de Berkheud for Eleanor, his sister, to marry Henry’s son, John and he contracted to pay Henry “forty marks on certain days as agreed.”

Lawrence also revived the ancient Standish claim to an advowson of Wigan Church, and this time it led to violence between the Standishes and the Langtons. As a result an indenture was drawn up and both sides were to appoint arbitrators with the Bishop of Durham acting as umpire. But even this did not finally settle the quarrel. A few years later it broke out again and this time, Alice, wife of John Gerard of Bryn, was called upon as arbitrator. Although this lady was connected by marriage with the Standish family, for in 1421 Lawrence de Standish had arranged a marriage between his son, Alexander, and Constance, her daughter, yet Alice Gerard must have been a person having the confidence and respect of both parties. Among the deeds there is an indenture written in English, and of interest in its archaic wording and spelling, of which the following is an extract:

“Whereas debate and variaunce is and has been had between Thomas, Bishop of Durham (Duresme), Rauf de Langeton, knyght, Henry of Kyghley, Will of Langeton, parson of the Kirke of Wygan, and James Langeton on the one parte and Laurence de Standisshe, esquire; Alexander his son and heir apparent on the other parte; and also great debate and variaunce and heviness has been hade ymong their ancesteres of the said Rauf and Laurence for divers maters, and one ymonges other as for advowson of the Kirke of Wygan, the quiche the said Rauf and Laurence callen the chappell of Wygan; and for the quiche debate variaunce and hevinesse divers persons of their negh kyn and blode have ben sume woundet and sume slayn, to gret soro and hevinesse to the kyn and frendes of ye said Rauf and Laurence.”
They were to abide by the award of Alice Gerard and were bound in large sums to keep the award. After hearing all the evidence she found that Ralph de Langeton and his ancestors had had the presentation and advowson of the said church of “full olde tyme”; that it was a parish “kirke” and no chapel and that there was not enough proof shown to her that Laurence of Standish or his ancestors had ever presented any clerk to the church nor proof that Laurence had any title to the advowson or any part therein. There was a number of other clauses, dealing with the release of lands to provide rent to pay Laurence on the understanding that he did not pursue his claim. In the clauses are named Gilbert, Robert, James, Dakyn, John and Thurstan, all de Standishes. By 1432 Laurence and Alexander had remitted all their rights as far as the advowson of Wigan Church was concerned.

9 December

by T. C. Porteus

In 1497 Ralph Standish married Alice, daughter and co-heir of Sir James Harrington of Wolfage in Northamptonshire. The marriage brought Brixworth Manor into the Standish estates. Amongst the Standish papers is a letter written by Alice (or “Alys”) to her husband Ralph:

“Ryght Worshypfull and most hertely belovyd Bedfellow I command me unto you praying God I hear of your welfare and hyf hyt lyke you to hereof myn I was in gud healthe at the making of thys sympele byll, thankyd be God, praying you to remember when you be at Manchest’ to speke wt your coparcener for the monie to my Lord of St. Andrews in Northampton ye wiche send unto me for hys thynking that he shuld have been payed afor now wiche is now II yeres rent behynd, and also to speyke of ye monie which most be payd at Mychealmasse next enying for apparens in Barton Court. Thankyd be god I and all your householdare in gud health and in the towne ther is no nuse syethyns you went thence but ay yong wenche of keyburs and she is mendyt agayne and thus God preserve you.
Youre bedfelow
Alys Standysshe”

30 May

by Eleanor Johnson
In 1479 there was a quarrel between the Gerard family of Bryn and the Standish and Langtree families. The trouble seems to have flared up in Wigan on Easter Monday between members of these families backed by their retainers. There were some broken heads, but by May 10th Sir Thomas Gerard of Bryn had given a bond to Alexander Standish that, on penalty of , he, Sir Thomas Gerard of Bryn “together with Thomas Gerard of Ince, William Gerard of Ince, Seth Gerard, brother to the said Thomas of Ince, Hugh Hyndeley, Robert son of the said Hugh and John Molyneux of Haukeley” undertook that they would “no bodile harme do ner procur to be done by theym to the said Alexander, Gilbert Longetre, Laurence and Hugh Standish in their matter against the said Thomas Gerard, Kt”.

However, the affair was not settled and three weeks later Alexander had got the Abbott of Norton and others friends to support him and to affirm that he had sworn on oath that he was innocent of any intention to start an affray. In the words of the Abbot in his declaration, dated1st June 1779, “forasmuch as it is medefull and meretory to ber wyttenys in treuth wher a man is deffamed unrightfully to restor hym to his good name – we John , Abbot of Norton, Richard Ashton Kt, Thomas Danyell, Laurence Longetre Esqs: John Botler, Perys Danyell and many others declare for truth that Alexander Standyssh Esq: by virtue of an official letter, excusit hym apon a boke and cursit hym if he were glty that he not come to Wigan on Blake monday to th’intent to make no fray to be made on none of the Kyng’s pepull, and a steven (uproar) made on Ester evyn in Wigan between the said Alexander and Thomas Gerard of Ynce to mete on the said Moday in Wygan to sporte hym and drynke with the said Thomas and his frendes” (Black Monday or Easter Moday was said to be so called from Easter Moday 14th April 1360 when Edward III was outside Paris with his army and the day became so dark with mist and hail and was so bitterly cold and windy that many men and horses perished.)

Evidently the affray could not lightly be forgotten and the affair must have been brought before Thomas, Lord Stanley for a decision as to the culpability and liability for damages, for a year after the event, in 1480, a deed was drawn up recording his judgement. He decided that “greater offence and hurt” had been done to the Standish and Langtree partythan by them and he ordered that Sir Thomas Gerard should pay the fellowship of Alexander Standish .10s.8d. to be distributed proportionately to those who had had “blody strokys” at the feast of St. Martin in Winter; or in four payments, the first 54s.2d. to be paid within twelve days of the feast of St. Martin, a like sum at the Nativity of St. John Baptist, and the same sums at the same feasts next ensuing. Also Sir Thomas was to pay 40s. to Laurence Standish for such hurt as he had of the fellowship of the said Sir Thomas; and to Gilbert Langtree  for his own hurts and 10s. for his tenants and servants who had “blody stroks”

23 June

In 1415 a John de Standysshe is recorded as being present at Agincourt. He was probably the brother of Ralph Standish, who held the Manor between 1396 and 1418. Others Standishes concerned in the French Wars were: Thomas, who fell sick at Harfleur, Sir Hugh and Christopher, both of the Duxbury branch, and Sir Rowland of Duxbury, who with his wife, Dame Jane, brought home to Chorley Parish Church some relics of St. Lawrence. There is an account which relates that Sir Rowland and Hugh Standish, each with six footmen behind him, fought at Agincourt.

31 March

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There is not a great deal of documentary evidence about how Alexander carried out his tenure of the manor, just a deed or two recording legal squabbles. In 1440 he accused several men of trying to murder him at Langtree. We do not know the outcome. His father evidently married twice for in 1441 he sued his stepmother, Joan, for the recovery of a sealed chest. Then, in 1445, the old quarrel between Standish and Langeton flared up again. James Langton sued Alexander de Standish for the return of a bond. This was a bond given by Laurence, Alexander’s father, to James Langeton in which he bound himself in £1,000 to James, to abide by the award of Alice Gerard. James Langeton had given the bond to Alice Gerard, who acted as arbitrator in the dispute. Alice, however, had died and the bond had come into the possession of her daughter, Constance, and so into the hands of Alexander de Standish, for, it will be recalled, Constance was his wife. James lost the case.

Alexander de Standish died in 1445, leaving his son, Ralph, to succeed him in the manor and to his other possessions, including land in Shevington and a tenure in Ormskirk.

Among the Standish deeds of the period is a rent roll of Ughtred de Dokesbury, dated 1444/1445, which is of interest as typifying the kind of rents paid, although we do not know here the size of the holdings. It was itemised:

“The holding of Hugh Cowper 29s 6d and services of three days shearing.
The holding of Roger Holynce 17s Service 4 capons and 4 days shearing.
The holder of Alexander Grene 15s Service of 4 capons and 4 days shearing.
The holding of Nicholas Cowper 17s 6d, Service 3 capons, 3 days shearing and 4d of silver.
The holding of Ralph Gayrstand 6s 8d.
(endorsed) Thomas Duxbry”


5 July

by Eleanor Johnson

Ralph Standish was nine and his brother Edward six years old when their father died. When Ralph was twelve, his guardian, the Earl of Derby, arranged a marriage between him and Mary, the daughter of Thurstan Tyldesley of Wardley, but Ralph was only seventeen when he died in 1547. He was succeeded by his brother, Edward, who was then fourteen and a ward