STANLEY, Robert (c.1608-1633), of Ormskirk, Lancs. and Chelsea, Mdx.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



Family and Education

b. c.1608, 2nd s. of William Stanley, 6th earl of Derby (d.1642) and Elizabeth, da. of Edward de Vere, 17th earl of Oxford; bro. of James, Lord Strange*.1 educ. privately; travelled abroad (France, Italy, Low Countries) 1623-5.2 m. 1627, Elizabeth, da. of Sir Arthur Gorges† of Chelsea, 3s. (1 d.v.p.);3 cr. KB 1 Feb. 1626.4 d. 3 Jan. 1633.5

Offices Held

Freeman, Preston, Lancs. by 1622,6 Liverpool, Lancs. 1625.7

?Gent. of privy chamber, extraordinary.8


As the second son of the 6th earl of Derby, Stanley shared the private education and tour of Europe provided for his elder brother, James, Lord Strange. For both boys the final stage of their upbringing included entry to the Commons while they were still minors. Stanley was returned for Lancashire on his father’s interest in 1626. A week before the Parliament opened, both Stanley and his brother were dubbed knights of the Bath at Charles I’s coronation. In the Commons Stanley made no speeches and was named to only one committee, for the adultery bill on 4 March.9

Stanley’s marriage in 1627 to one of Henrietta Maria’s maids of honour was reportedly arranged by the king. The countess of Derby, Stanley’s mother, greatly disapproved, and though Charles sent ‘letters to pacify her’, she died ‘of grief’ a few weeks later. Nevertheless, before she expired she saw both Stanley and his wife, ‘prayed God to forgive them, and left him £400 land per annum’, including Ormskirk’s tithes and the lease of Alston manor in Lancashire.10 Stanley’s main residence after his marriage seems to have been in Chelsea.11 The couple retained the blessing of the king, who sent 50oz. of plate for the christening of their first son in January 1629.12 Unlike his elder brother, who eschewed Court life, Stanley may have occasionally served as a gentleman of the Privy Chamber, although he only appears as such on a list compiled almost a decade after his death.13

Stanley died intestate on 3 Jan. 1633, leaving two infant sons. He was buried at St. Luke’s, Chelsea, under an ornate alabaster and marble monument.14 A bitter struggle ensued between his widow and Lord Strange over the inheritance to various estates. The case, which was left unresolved by the Court of Wards, finally came before the Privy Council in 1635. Strange, who had paid many of his brother’s debts, complained bitterly of ‘the misinformation of a most unconscionable woman’ and ‘these unjust pressings of my sister Stanley’, but at Charles’s insistence he agreed to contribute a further £450 towards her maintenance.15 Lady Stanley, who later married Theophilus, 4th earl of Lincoln, eventually granted the disputed lands to Strange in return for an annuity of £600 for her sons.16 The boys, Charles and James, were still minors when their uncle’s estates were sequestered, whereupon they lost both their inheritance and their annuity. Neither of them ever sat in Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. Vis. Lancs. (Chetham Soc. lxxxviii), 283.
  • 2. APC, 1623-5, p. 124.
  • 3. Vis. Lancs. 283.
  • 4. Shaw, Knights of Eng. i. 161.
  • 5. LMA, microfilm X026/012, f. 40.
  • 6. Preston Guild Rolls ed. W.A. Abram (Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. ix), 75.
  • 7. G. Chandler, Liverpool under Jas. I, 298.
  • 8. LC3/1, unfol.
  • 9. CJ, i. 830b.
  • 10. T. Birch, Ct. and Times of Chas. I, i. 184, 206.
  • 11. PROB 11/211, f. 121v; B. Coward, The Stanleys, Lords Stanley and Earls of Derby (Chetham Soc. ser. 3. xxx), 58.
  • 12. LC5/132, p. 84.
  • 13. LC3/1, unfol.
  • 14. Add. 36370, f. 60; Stanley Pprs. ed. F.R. Raines (Chetham Soc. lxvii), pp. ccclxxxvi-vii.
  • 15. Harl. 2095, f. 220; SP16/286/37; 16/287/17; Stanley Pprs. (Chetham Soc. lxvi), pp. li-lv.
  • 16. C54/3629/1; J. Seacome, Hist. of House of Stanley, 389; Coward, 58.