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Hartford Stanley 

     In England, the Stanley family operated a sort of clan system (like the Scottish model), and distant cousins who may have wandered off owning lands in distant parts of the country still kept in touch with the centre, and were available, if required, to help in the "Stanley private army".
     For instance when Lord Stanley, the Earl of Derby was called in to help Henry Tudor at Bosworth, Lord Stanley was able to call upon a sizeable army that swayed the result of the battle. A lot of these people would have been relations or people working for relations. I think this tradition continued and the Stanley families far and wide remembered their origins mainly because they probably had to in case they got "called up".
      I don't know how much truth there is in this but it explains how Lord Stanley was able to call upon so many people in his militia at Bosworth, and why there are so many Stanley families in key positions across the country, including the South-East.*

     We find the general character of the Stanley Families of England thus pithily summed up:
"They are a strange race, these Stanleys, and not precisely the men that the popular opinion formed during the agitation for the Reform Bill would make them out to be.  Strong, brave, and efficient, with marvelous luck in marriage and at Court, they have owed their prosperity in no slight degree to a less winning power, so often and so successfully exerted that we may call it a 'political divination.'
     They have almost always forseen before other men the side which was going to win, and on that side at its moment of supreme triumph, the Stanley has usually appeared. The house, now perhaps the greatest among our Parlimentary families, the only one which in modern days has seated father and son at the same time in the Cabinet, now comprehends one baronetcy (Stanley, now Errington), of Hooton in Chesire, representing the eldest branch, and two peerages, the earldom of Derby, of Knowsley in Lancashire, and the barony of Stanley, of Alderley in Cheshire, besides inferior branches at Dalgarth, in Cumberland, in Staffordshire, Sussex, Kent, and Hertfordshire." -- "Governing Families of England", by Sanford and Townsend.

*Courtesy of Ian Stanley.

Ian Stanley's Family History Page


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