STANLEY, William (c.1610-78), of High Street, Southampton, Hants.

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



Family and Education

b. c.1610, 5th s. of Henry Stanley (d.1613), merchant of Chichester, Suss. by Anne, da. of William Madgweke of Hants. m. 8 Oct. 1632. Averne Ticheon of Hursley, Hants. 3s. 2da.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Southampton 1630, steward 1641-2, bailiff 1643-5, mayor 1645-6, 1661-2, alderman 1646-55, 1662-d.; commr. for assessment, Southampton 1647-50, 1663-d., Hants Aug. 1660-3, 1673-d., militia, Southampton! Mar. 1660, corporations, Hants 1662-3; sheriff, Southampton 1669-70.2


Stanley claimed descent through a series of younger sons from a Northamptonshire family. His father sat on the Chichester corporation, and two of his brothers became eminent in their professions. The eldest was headmaster of Winchester from 1628 to 1642 and a prebendary of the cathedral, and another, Henry, was a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. Stanley himself was apprenticed to a Southampton grocer in 1623, and became a pawnbroker, a shipowner, and a merchant in the Newfoundland trade. His eldest brother was alleged to have assisted the Cavaliers during the Civil War, but he himself held municipal office and must have been reckoned a supporter of Parliament. He acquired the manor of Paultons in Eling in 1646 and other landed property during the Interregnum. But he was removed from office in 1655 as disaffected to the regime, and replaced by an alderman of greater piety and integrity.3

Stanley was returned at the general election of 1660, together with Robert Richbell, then or later his business partner, and doubtless supported the Restoration, though listed by Lord Wharton as a friend. An inactive Member of the Convention, he probably acted as teller for the motion to instruct the committee on the Marquess of Winchester’s bill to meet forthwith, and served on the committee to consider a petition from the surveyor-general of customs.4

Stanley probably did not stand again. He was restored to the corporation in 1662 by the commissioners, of whom he was one, and supplied the dockyards with oil, balks and rosin. In 1669, during the royal visit to Southampton, the Duke of York stayed at Stanley’s house. He was buried at Holy Rood church on 7 Aug. 1678. In his will he described himself as a faithful member of the Church of England, to which he desired his children and grandchildren to remain constant. He left £200 to the corporation, in spite of their failure to take up his offer to settle his brewhouse on them for a term of years. Most of his land went to his eldest son George, who founded a county family, and his business interests to his second son William ‘having been always educated in the management thereof’. He had purchased two livings for his youngest son, who however died before he could take them up. He claimed to be a creditor of the London customs for £5,000, which he ordered to be divided among his twelve grandchildren. A descendant, Hans Stanley, sat for Southampton as a Whig from 1754 till his suicide in 1780.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / John. P. Ferris


  • 1. Vis. Mdx. ed. Foster, 89; Add. 5699, f. 183v; Soc. of Genealogists, Hursley par. reg.; PCC 48 Reeve.
  • 2. Eg. 868, ff. 14-18, 48, 55; J. S. Davies, Hist. Southampton, 178, 490, 494; CSP Dom. 1678, p. 342.
  • 3. Al. Ox. 1409-10; Wood, Athenae, iii. 590; J. L. Kirby, Winchester Scholars, 172; Cal. Southampton Apprenticeship Reg. (Southampton Rec. Ser. xii) 19; A. G. Matthews, Walker Revised, 190; CSP Dom. 1648-9, p. 394; 1655, pp. 222, 243, 285, 290; 1666-7, p. 333; VCH Hants, iii. 293; iv. 552; PC2/55/265.
  • 4. CJ, viii. 140, 186.
  • 5. Davies, 500; CSP Dom. 1663-4, pp. 7, 47, 476; 1676-7, p. 191; information from Mr A. L. Merson; PCC 48 Reeve.