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Page last updated 04 March 2015

May 2014 - Henry Stanley, 1528, Hillingdon, Middlesex      



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Copyright: Jon Bayliss

This month’s brass is one of several seen during  the MBS meeting at Hillingdon last month.


Henry Stanley was, as the lost inscription of his brass declared, the second son of Thomas, 2nd earl of Derby and his wife Anne and brother of Edward, 3rd earl of Derby. Unfortunately that information and the date of his death, 29th June 1528, also from the lost inscription, represent the sum total of our knowledge of him. Considering the crucial role that the 1st earl of Derby played in establishing the Tudor dynasty in 1485, it is at first sight surprising that so little is known about Henry that his very existence has escaped the vast majority of genealogists. Looking at the brass, representing him in armour, the impression is that he should be better known but appearances are deceptive. Had he been shown as the teenage boy he was at the time of his death, we would understand why he is so now obscure. His father, Thomas Stanley, was the grandson of the 1st earl and was born before 1485 and his mother, Anne, was daughter of Sir Edward Hastings, 2nd Lord Hastings, and Mary Hungerford. His father was Sir George Stanley, who became Lord Strange by virtue of his marriage to Joan, only daughter and heir of John, Lord Strange, and Jacquetta Woodville, sister of Edward IV's queen. Joan placed a brass at Hillingdon to her parents in 1509. She died on 20th March 1513/14 and was presumably still alive when her grandson Henry Stanley was born, although we do not know his date of birth. His elder brother Edward was born on 10th May 1509 and succeeded to the title Lord Strange following his father's death in late 1503 and became earl of Derby in 1521, when his grandfather died. Edward Stanley was himself under age and until 1530 the responsibility of Henry VIII and similar arrangements may have been in place for Henry Stanley's upbringing. His commemoration at Hillingdon suggests that Colham Manor, the Strange manor in Hillingdon, was his home. His mother, Anne, lived until 1550 but Colham Manor was not among the properties she held.


The two remaining shields on Henry Stanley's brass bear identical charges, the first and fourth quarters themselves quartered:

(I) Quarterly,  (1) & (4) On a bend three bucks' heads caboshed (STANLEY)

  (2) On a chief dancetty three roundels (LATHAM)

  (3) Checky (WARENNE)


(II) a (III) Three legs conjoined at the thigh (ISLE OF MAN)


(IV) Quarterly, (1) & (4) Two lions passant (LE STRANGE)

   (2) A fess and a canton (WOODVILLE)

   (3) A cross engrailed (MOHUN?)

  In pretence: A lion rampant (MONHAULT?)


The inscription read:

 Here lies Henry Stanley, esquire, son of Thomas, late Earl of Derby and Anne, Countess of  Derby, brother to Edward, Earl of Derby, which Henry deceased 29th day of Jun AD 1528.


The brass is a product of the London F workshop but represents how far the style had declined from its artistic peak in the late fifteenth-century. The slab was presumably truncated during the rebuilding of the chancel in 1847-48, as Haines had rubbed the entire slab earlier in the century. He illustrated the figure from a line-engraving in his Manuual of Monumental Brasses. Comparisons with the brass itself show that the engraving, while giving a reasonable impression of the way it looks, was less than wholly accurate. Haines drew attention to the Tau cross worn on a chain around Henry Stanley’s neck  


The heraldry is taken from: the Middlesex Heraldry Society’s description