STANDISH, Thomas (c.1594-1642), of Duxbury, Lancs.
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Family and Education
b. c.1594,1 1st s. of Alexander Standish of Duxbury, Lancs., and Margaret, da. of Ralph Assheton of Great Lever, Lancs.2 educ. Queens’ Camb. 1608, G. Inn 1614.3 m. (1) Anne (d.1622), da. of Sir Thomas Wingfield, of Letheringham, Suff., 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 2da.;4 (2) Anne, da. of Christopher Whittingham, of London and Suff., 3s. 3da.5 suc. fa. 18 June 1622.6 bur. 29 Oct. 1642.7 sig. Tho[mas] Standish.
Prothonotary clerk of Common Bench, duchy of Lancaster 1608-35.8
Standish of Duxbury was a cadet branch of the old Lancashire gentry family Standish of Standish, which traced its origins back to the fourteenth century.14 Standish himself was sent to Cambridge in 1608 at the age of 14. At the point of commencing his studies he was included in a grant of the post of prothonotary clerk of the Common Bench at Lancaster to his uncle, Radcliffe Assheton. On his father’s death in 1622, he inherited four manors including Duxbury, as well as various other estates. He obtained a permit to travel abroad in the following year.15
Like many of his family, Standish was a puritan. Indeed, he was distantly related to the puritan lawyer Nicholas Fuller*, whose mother, Elizabeth Castlemaine alias Standish, was an aunt of Standish’s grandfather. Standish’s puritanical outlook earned him the hostility of his Catholic neighbours, among them Sir Thomas Gerrard, 2nd bt.*, who was arrested in 1625 on charges of treason, including one of threatening to have Standish’s throat cut.16 Standish also quarrelled at great length with William Charnock, allegedly ‘a dangerous recusant’, over the positioning of their respective burial plots in Chorley Chapel. The case eventually came before the Privy Council in around 1630.17
Standish owed his election at Liverpool in 1626 to his local standing and possibly his connections with the duchy of Lancaster. As a Lancashire burgess he was appointed to two committees for private bills relating to Lord Morley (14 Mar.) and Lady Bulkeley (10 June).18 He narrowly avoided being fined for absenteeism on 5 June, having missed a call of the House on the preceding Friday, but ‘being present on Saturday morning was spared’.19 He sat again for Preston in 1640-2, and kept a diary of the Commons’ proceedings which reveals his sympathy for the parliamentarian cause at the onset of the Civil War.20 His eldest son, Thomas, was killed at Manchester on 29 Sept. 1642, having enlisted as a captain in the royalist army in defiance of his father and brothers.21 Standish himself died a month later, and was buried in Chorley chapel ‘in my burying place there’. In his will, dated 4 Oct., he left the Duxbury estates to his second son, Alexander; an inventory of his goods valued his possessions at £454 18s. 5d. in total.22 Alexander went on to serve as a roundhead colonel and deputy lieutenant of Lancashire; Standish’s younger son Richard sat for Lancashire and Preston in the 1650s.