STANLEY, Hon. William (1640-70), of Knowsley, Lancs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1661 - 25 Oct. 1670

Family and Education

b. 18 Oct. 1640, 5th but 3rd surv. s. of James Stanley, 7th Earl of Derby, and bro. of Edward Stanley. educ. privately. unm.1

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, Lancs. Aug. 1660-9; dep. lt. Lancs. and Cheshire 1661-d.; commr. for corporations, Lancs. 1662-31 loyal and indigent officers 1662; freeman, Preston 1662; mayor, Liverpool 1662-3; j.p. Lancs. 1663-d.2

Capt. Ld. Gerard’s Horse 1662-3; cornet, King’s (1) Gds. 1663-d.3


Stanley appears to have lived with his mother during the Interregnum. She described him as clever and intelligent; ‘he learns well and conducts himself with discretion’. His name appears on the list of Royalist sympathizers compiled by Roger Whitley, and in 1659 his horses were seized by the military authorities. Despite the Long Parliament ordinance against the candidature of Cavaliers’ sons, he was returned at the general election of 1660 under age for both Thirsk and Liverpool, two constituencies where the family interest was traditionally strong, though in both cases with much opposition. He is not known to have spoken or to have sat on any committees in the Convention, not even in support of the Earl of Derby’s estate bill, which was thrown out on 13 Dec. His name appears on the list of Knights of the Royal Oak with an estate of £1,000 p.a.4

Stanley was re-elected to the Cavalier Parliament, after another contest. He was not active, with a maximum of 28 committees, and some of these references up to 1664 may be to his brother. He probably acted as teller against the committal of the corporations bill on 20 June 1661, and served on the committees for that measure and the uniformity bill. ‘Mr Stanley’ also took part in the examination of the charge that James Philipps had sat in judgment on John Gerard, executed in 1654 for conspiracy to assassinate Oliver Cromwell. On 17 Mar. 1662 he carried Derby’s estate bill to the Lords, where it likewise passed, only to be vetoed by the King. When he received a commission in the King’s troop of guards, ‘his Majesty did him the honour of assuring him that this was only a beginning’; but he received no promotion. His name appears on the list of court dependants in 1664, when he acted as teller for expediting the repeal of the Triennial Act.5

Stanley defaulted in December 1666, but he appears to have attended most sessions till his death. In 1667 he took part in the consideration of the bill against restraints on juries. Sir Thomas Osborne listed him among the court dependants in 1669. On 8 Apr. 1670 he was desired to deliver to the patentees a copy of the petition of the Liverpool merchants against lighthouses. On the death of the King’s sister, he was sent with a message of condolence to her husband, the Duke of Orleans. He died ‘after a long distemper’ on 25 Oct. 1670, and was buried at Ormskirk two months later.6

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / Irene Cassidy


  • 1. Stanley Pprs. (Chetham Soc. lxx), 4.
  • 2. Preston Guild Rolls (Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. ix), 150; J. A. Picton, Liverpool Mun. Recs. 307; Lancs. RO, QSC 63-67; SP29/80/13.
  • 3. CSP Dom. 1661-2, p. 577; 1633-4, p. 11.
  • 4. G. de Witt, Lady of Lathom, 209, 219, 234, 241.
  • 5. Ibid. 294; CJ, viii. 536.
  • 6. CJ, ix. 156; CSP Dom. 1670, p. 407; Bulstrode Pprs. 156; Ormskirk Reg. (Lancs. Par. Reg. Soc. xcviii), 19.