William Stanley KG
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William Stanley KG (abt. 1435 - 1495)

Sir William Stanley KG
Born about in Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 1465 in Englandmap
Husband of — married before 7 Dec 1471 (to Feb 1495) in Englandmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Tower Hill, Londonmap
Profile last modified | Created 21 Feb 2011
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William Stanley is in a trail badged by the Magna Carta Project to surety baron Saher de Quincy (see text below).



Birth and Parents

William Stanley was the son of Thomas Stanley, K.G., 1st Lord Stanley and Joan Goushill.[1][2][3] His birth date is uncertain: his older brother Thomas was said to be 24 when he succeeded to his father's estates in 1458/9,[4] so William may have been born in about 1435 or soon after.

Early Years of the Wars of the Roses

In the early years of the Wars of the Roses, William gave his support to the Yorkists, fighting in the Battle of Blore Heath in September 1459, when the Yorkists were victorious.[3][5] The following year he probably fled from England, like other Yorkist leaders.[3] On 11 June 1460 he was one of the Yorkists declared a traitor, with his rank given as "squier".[6]

William's adherence to the Yorkist cause was rewarded in 1461, when Edward IV gained the throne. He was made Chamberlain of Chester, Constable of the Castle of Flint, and Sheriff of Flintshire.[3] He was knighted in July 1461.[3] He helped to secure North Wales and the North of England, and took part in the 1462 siege of Alnwick, Northumberland, supplying 400 archers.[3] In 1464 he fought in the Battle of Hexham.[3] Afterwards he was granted the lordship of Skipton, Yorkshire, which had previously been held by John Clifford, along with other Clifford lands.[3]

First Marriage

William married Joan Beaumont, widow of John Lovell, Knt.[3] soon after 12 November 1465.[7][8] The marriage brought him lands in Cheshire.[3] Joan died on 5 August 1466.[5][7]

Second Marriage

Before 7 December 1471 William married again, his second wife being Elizabeth Hopton, widow of John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester, who had been beheaded by the Lancastrians the previous year.[1][2][9][10] The marriage to the widow of such a prominent Yorkist was probably facilitated by the continuing adherence William had shown to Edward IV: when Edward returned from exile in 1471, William was one of the first to come to his support with troops.[3] On 7 December 1471, William and Elizabeth were granted the custody of John Tiptoft's lands and of his heir Edward, Elizabeth's son by her marriage to him, during Edward's minority.[9][11]

Later Reign of Edward IV

When Edward IV's oldest son, the future Edward V, was made Prince of Wales in the summer of 1471, William was appointed Steward of the Prince's household.[3]

In 1475 William exchanged the lordship of Skipton for that of Chirk, Denbighshire.[3] That year he led a small group of lancers and archers in Edward IV's brief invasion of the Calais region of France.[3]

Reign of Richard III

In 1483 William helped to suppress the rebellion of Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham against Richard III.[3] He was rewarded with the position of Chief Justice of North Wales, and the manor of Thornbury, Gloucestershire, both of which had been held by Stafford.[3] The following year he was granted Holt Castle, Denbighshire and acquired the lordship of Bromford and Yale (surrendering the manor of Thornbury as part of the transaction).[3]

On 18 February 1485 William was cited as owing 2000 marks to Richard III, to be paid at Easter that year.[12]

William's support for Richard III was not whole-hearted, and he seems to have been in contact with Henry Tudor, the future Henry VII, while Henry was in exile. When Henry invaded, William ordered the town of Shrewsbury to admit his forces, though he did not openly declare for the invader at this stage. During the Battle of Bosworth, on 12 August 1485, William and his brother Thomas at first held their forces back, but at a critical moment William committed his troops to Henry's cause.[3]

Last Decade

William was made Chamberlain to Henry VII.[1][2][3] In 1487 he was made a Knight of the Garter.[13] In 1489 he helped put down a rebellion in Yorkshire.[3] He became one of the wealthiest people in England below the peerage.[3]

In early 1495 he fell from grace. He was arrested on suspicion of treason, being accused of having given encouragement and at least verbal support to the pretender Perkin Warbeck in 1493. In February his brother Thomas presided over his trial. William confessed, was found guilty, and was sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered. The sentence was commuted to mere beheading,[3] which took place at Tower Hill, London, on 16 February.[1][2][3] William was buried at Syon Abbey, Middlesex,[1][2] with the cost coming out of royal funds. His lands were seized by the Crown.[3]


William had at least three legitimate children, but it is not certain which of his wives was their mother:[1][2]

William also had an illegitimate son called Thomas, who was alive in 1517.[1][2][5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Douglas Richardson. Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 5 vols, ed. Kimball G. Everingham (Salt Lake City: the author, 2013), pp. 292-294, CORBET 9
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 Douglas Richardson. Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 4 vols, ed. Kimball G. Everingham, 2nd edition (Salt Lake City: the author, 2011), pp. 67-69, LUCY 10
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 3.21 3.22 3.23 Michael J Bennett. 'Stanley, Sir William (c. 1435–1495)' in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, print and online 2004, revised online 2008. Online with subscription at ODNB.
  4. G E Cokayne. Complete Peerage, revised edition, Vol. IV, St Catherine Press, 1916, pp. 205-207, DERBY X. Online at Archive.org.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Douglas Richardson. 2013 post in soc.genealogy.medieval in thread Hatton of Maryland, accessed 28 June 2020
  6. 'Close Rolls, Henry VI: June 1460', in Calendar of Close Rolls, Henry VI: Volume 6, 1454-1461, ed. C T Flower (London, 1947), pp. 414-417, British History Online, entry for 11 June 1460, accessed 15 July 2020
  7. 7.0 7.1 G E Cokayne, Complete Peerage, revised edition, Vol. VIII, St Catherine Press, 1932, p. 223, LOVEL VIII. Online at FamilySearch.
  8. NOTE: Richardson in SGM states they married before 12 Nov 1465 (date of grant)
  9. 9.0 9.1 G E Cokayne. Complete Peerage, revised edition, Vol. XIIB, St Catherine Press, 1959, p. 846, WORCESTER IV. Online at FamilySearch.
  10. G E Cokayne, Complete Peerage, revised edition, Vol. VIII, St Catherine Press, 1932, p. 263, LUCY. Online at FamilySearch.
  11. Calendar of the Patent Rolls preserved in the Public Record Office, prepared under the superintendence of the deputy keeper of the records, 1467-1477, London: His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1891, page 297, Hathi Trust
  12. 'Close Rolls, Richard III: 1484-1485', in Calendar of Close Rolls, Edward IV, Edward V, Richard III 1476-1485, ed. K H Ledward (London, 1954), pp. 374-391, British History Online, entry for 15 October 1485, accessed 15 July 2020
  13. W A Shaw. The Knights of England, Vol. I, Sherratt and Hughes, 1906, p. 17. Online at Archve.org.
  • Bennett, Michael J. 'Stanley, Sir William (c. 1435–1495)' in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, print and online 2004, revised online 2008, available online on subscription and via some libraries
  • Tait, James. 'Stanley, William (d.1495)' in Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Vol. 54, pp. 81-82, Wikisource
  • Richardson, Douglas. 2013 post in soc.genealogy.medieval in thread Hatton of Maryland, accessed 28 June 2020
  • Richardson, Douglas. Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 4 vols, ed. Kimball G. Everingham. 2nd edition. Salt Lake City: the author, 2011. See also WikiTree's source page for "Magna Carta Ancestry". Vol. III, pp. 67-69, LUCY 10
  • Richardson, Douglas. Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 5 vols, ed. Kimball G. Everingham. Salt Lake City: the author, 2013. See also WikiTree's source page for ‘’Royal Ancestry’’. Vo. II, pp. 292-294, CORBET 9
  • Wikipedia: William Stanley (Battle of Bosworth)


Magna Carta Project

This profile was reviewed and revised for the Magna Carta project by Michael Cayley on 15 July 2020.
William Stanley KG does not appear in a Magna Carta trail in Douglas Richardson's 2011 Magna Carta Ancestry but Richardson has established subsequently that he is descended from Thomas Stanley and hence from Magna Carta Surety Baron Saher de Quincy, and is on a trail to Gateway Ancestor Margaret Domville. See Richardson's post in this thread in soc.genealogy.medieval. He will also be descended from other Surety Barons. This trail was developed in June/July 2020 by Michael Cayley and badged 16 Jul 2020 by Thiessen-117. Details of this trail are in the Magna Carta Trails section of Margaret Domville's profile.
See Base Camp for more information about identified Magna Carta trails and their status. See the project's glossary for project-specific terms, such as a "badged trail".

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Comments: 6

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I am reviewing this profile on behalf of the Magna Carta Project. Please bear with untidiness as I do so. Any questions, please get in touch. Thank you :-)
posted by Michael Cayley
I have now finished the main work I currently intend on this profile. If anyone spots any typos etc, please either correct them or message me. thanks!
posted by Michael Cayley
William is on a prospective new Magna Carta Project trail from Gateway Ancestor Margaret Domville to Surety Baron Saher de Quincy. In accordance with Magna Carta Project and WikiTree policies, I have adopted the profile on behalf of the Magna Carta Project and added the Project as one of the profile managers. Rights of existing profile managers are unaffected.
posted by Michael Cayley
There is no attribution for the portrait on this profile, or indication that its use on WikiTree is permissible. Unless any one has information to demonstrate that it can safely be used, I propose to replace it with a public domain image of an engraving that is used on Wikipedia.
posted by Michael Cayley
I have now replaced the image with one definitely in the public domain.
posted by Michael Cayley
edited by Michael Cayley
Stanley-1007 and Stanley-490 appear to represent the same person because: Same name, same dates, same info in the biography