- Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby
He was the son of
Thomas Stanley, 1st Baron Stanley, and Joan Goushill, daughter of Sir Robert Goushill and Elizabeth FitzAlan, daughter of Richard Fitzalan, 11th Earl of Arundel-a descendant of King Henry III of England. After the death of his father in 1459, Stanley inherited his father's titles, including that of King of Mannand Baron Stanley. Stanley owned what is now Tatton Parkin Cheshire. Stanley remained in favour with successive kings throughout the Wars of the Rosesuntil his death in 1504. His marriage to Eleanor, sister of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, did him no harm, even after Warwick was toppled from power, and he took as his second wife Margaret Beaufort, whose son, Henry Tudor, was the leading Lancastrian claimant to the throne.
King Richard III unwisely continued to trust Thomas Stanley and his brother, William, even after he had briefly imprisoned Thomas in 1483 on suspicion of conspiracy. At the
Battle of Bosworth Field, the Stanleys betrayed him, coming in on the side of the Lancastrians at a crucial moment. Thomas is alleged to have retrieved Richard's lost crown from the battlefield and placed it on the head of his own stepson. In recognition, Henry created him Earl of Derbyon October 27, 1485, and his fortunes continued to flourish. His brother, William, made the mistake of supporting the pretender Perkin Warbeck, and was executed for treason in 1495.
Thomas was the last to use the style
King of Mann, his successors opting instead for Lord of Mann.
Descendants of Thomas Stanley and Eleanor (or Alainor) Neville included George Stanley, Edward Stanley, Frederick Stanley (of
Stanley Cupfame) and James Stanley, all of whom were also descended from the same Beauforts and John of Gauntas was the stepson who became King Henry VII.The lineage of his eldest grandson Thomas Stanley, 2nd Earl of Derbydied out with the 1736 death of James Stanley, 10th Earl of Derby. The Earls of Derby lineage continue from the Stanleys Baronets of Bickerstaffe-descended from a younger brother of the 2nd Earl of Derby. A descendant of this line was Prime Minister Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derbyfather of Edward Stanley, 15th Earl of Derbywas a well known statesman and Frederick Stanley, 16th Earl of Derbywhose wife's lineage traced back to King Edward III of England-as had their ancestor Eleanor (Neville) Stanley. A brother of Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby was the ancestor of the Baron Stanley of Alderley.
* [http://link.library.utoronto.ca/reed/patron.cfm?PeopleListID=447 Stanley's patronage of theater and/or music: "Patrons and Performances Web Site"]
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