STANLEY, Sir Edward, 5th Bt. (1689-1776), of Bickerstaffe, Lancs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1727 - 13 Apr. 1736

Family and Education

b. 17 Sept. 1689, 1st s. of Sir Thomas Stanley, 4th Bt. M.P., of Bickerstaffe by his 1st w. Elizabeth, da. and h. of Thomas Patten, M.P., of Preston, Lancs. educ. Macclesfield sch. Cheshire; Sidney Sussex, Camb. 1707. m. 14 Sept. 1714, Elizabeth, da. and h. of Robert Hesketh of Rufford, Lancs., 3s. d.v.p. 6da. suc. fa. 7 May 1714; his distant cos. James Stanley, M.P., 10th Earl of Derby, as 11th Earl, 1 Feb. 1736.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Lancs. 1722-4; mayor, Preston 1731-2; ld. lt. Lancs. 1742-57, 1771-d.


Returned unopposed for Lancashire as an opposition Whig, Stanley voted consistently against the Government. Three speeches of his are recorded: for a pension bill, 31 Jan. 1733, moving for a committee to inquire into frauds in the customs, 19 Apr. 1733, and for the repeal of the Septennial Act, 13 Mar. 1734.1 After succeeding to the earldom, he took little part in national politics. During the Forty-five, as lord lieutenant, he complained that he was sent no advice or information by the Government:

That I should be forgot is no wonder, having never had any interest, and very little acquaintance among the great ones, however what I can do for the service of my king and country shall never be wanting.2

On receiving orders from the Government to call out the militia he wrote to Newcastle, 15 Nov. 1745:

I wish our militia could be made of use ... but as our 14 days’ pay (which being known not to be strictly legal was unwillingly paid by some towns) will expire on the 25th, which I fear is sooner than the King’s troops can arrive among us, I hope, if it be the opinion of the Council, that the other 14 days be ordered.

Although an Act of Parliament was passed to meet this difficulty, he disbanded the militia, explaining, 24 Nov.:

I think it can scarce be expected by anybody that a raw undisciplined militia, consisting of foot, without any one that knows how to command, would be able to prevent the advance of an army seven or eight times their number, and this not only the opinion of me, but of several deputy lieutenants and officers who happen to be with me. Liverpool is certainly not tenable, nor is there any place of strength for us to have retired to ... As for myself, I am going to Manchester, my present purpose being to proceed to London, not seeing how it is in any way in my power or any of the friends of the Government, to be longer serviceable to the country in which my fortune lies, or the nation in general, and therefore I think I am at liberty to save myself from the hands of those whose religion of course makes them enemies to the constitution, under which they live, with which sort of person this country does but too much abound.3

His political attitude is shown in a letter he wrote to Thomas Bootle in 1747:

You judge right in imagining a Whig Parliament would be my choice, and much to my satisfaction, could such a number of independents as would fill the House be found in Britain, but I have seen enough to observe that such a blessing is not to be hoped for, and am therefore pretty indifferent who are our representatives, so long as there is no danger of a Tory Parliament, and so long as the only contest is who shall hold their places, or who shall undermine them, which seems to have been the sole aim of our great men for many years past.4

He retained the lord lieutenancy until 1757, when he resigned it to his son, Lord Strange, on whose death in 1771 he resumed it till his own, 22 Feb. 1776.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. HMC Egmont Diary, i. 365; ii. 55.
  • 2. To Ld. Cholmondeley, 29 Sept. 1745, mss at Lancs. RO.
  • 3. Add. 32705, ff. 314, 372.
  • 4. 14 June 1747, Bootle mss, Royal archives, Windsor.