John I Stanley of the Isle of Man

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Arms of Sir John Stanley, KG

Sir John Stanley I, KG (c. 1350–1414) was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and titular King of Mann, the first of that name. The Stanley family later became the Earls of Derby and remained prominent in English history into modern times.

Early years[edit]

John Stanley was the second son of Sir William de Stanley of Stourton and Alice Massey of Timperley, Cheshire, and grandson of John de Stanley and Emma Lathom of Lathom, Lancashire.[1]

Stanley's father was Master-Forester of the Forest of Wirral, notorious for his repressive activities. Both Stanley and his older brother, William (who succeeded their father as Master-Forester), were involved in criminal cases which charged them with a forced entry in 1369 and in the murder of Thomas Clotton in 1376.[1]

Conviction for the murder of Clotton resulted in Stanley being declared an outlaw. However, he was already distinguishing himself in military service in the French wars, and he was pardoned in 1378 at the insistence of his commander, Sir Thomas Trivet.[1]

Marriage and rise to prominence[edit]

In 1385 he married Isabel Lathom, heir to the extensive lands of Sir Thomas Lathom (great-great-grandson of Humphrey VI de Bohun, 3rd Earl of Hereford) in south-west Lancashire. The marriage took place despite the opposition of John of Gaunt and gave Stanley the sort of wealth and financial security he could never have hoped to have had as the younger son in his own family.[1] Stanley had four sons, John, Henry, Thomas and Ralph as well as two daughters.[2]

The year 1386 saw his first appointment in Ireland as deputy to Robert de Vere, Duke of Ireland. This occurred because of the insurrection created by the friction between Sir Philip de Courtenay, the then English Lieutenant of Ireland, and his appointed governor James Butler, 3rd Earl of Ormond. Stanley led an expedition to Ireland on behalf of de Vere and King Richard II to quell it. He was accompanied by Bishop Alexander de Balscot of Meath and Sir Robert Crull.[3] Butler joined them upon their arrival in Ireland. Because of the success of the expedition, Stanley was appointed to the position of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Alexander to chancellor, Crull to treasurer, and Butler to his old position as governor.[4] In 1389, Richard II appointed him justiciar of Ireland, a post he held until 1391. He was heavily involved in Richard's first expedition to Ireland in 1394–1395.[1]

Throughout the 1390s he was involved in placating possible rebellion in Cheshire.[1] Between 1396 and 1398 he served as captain of Roxburgh. Stanley took part in Richard II's expedition to Ireland in 1399. However, on his return to England, Stanley, who had long proved adept at political manoeuvring, turned his back on Richard and submitted to Henry IV of England.[1]

Under the Lancastrians[edit]

Stanley's fortunes were equally good under the Lancastrians. He was granted lordships in the Welsh marches, and served a term as lieutenant of Ireland. In 1403 he was made steward of the household of Henry, Prince of Wales, (later Henry V). Unlike many of the Cheshire gentry, he took the side of the king in the rebellion of the Percys. He was wounded in the throat at the Battle of Shrewsbury.[1]

In 1405 he was granted the tenure of the Isle of Man,which had been confiscated from the rebellious Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland.[1] In this period he also became steward of the king's household, and was elected a Knight of the Garter. In 1413 King Henry V of England sent him to serve once more as lieutenant of Ireland. He died at Ardee, County Louth, in 1414, after being satirised by the O'Higgins of Meath for despoiling the lands and raiding the cows of Niall O'Higgins. He lasted but five weeks, according to the Four Masters, before succumbing "to the virulence of the lampoons". His body was returned to Lathom and buried at Burscough Priory near Ormskirk.[1] This was the second such Poet's Miracle performed by the O'Higgins.


During his career Stanley held the following offices:-

  • Lord Lieutenant of Ireland between 1386 and 1388.
  • Justiciary Ireland between 1389 and 1391.
  • Justice of Chester in 1394
  • Controller of the Royal Household in 1399
  • Lieutenant of Ireland between 1399 and 1401
  • Steward of the Household to the Prince of Wales circa 1403, later King Henry V
  • Surveyor of the Forests of Macclesfield, Mare and Mondrem, Cheshire in 1403
  • Governor of the City and County of Cheshire in 1403
  • He was invested as a Knight, Order of the Garter (K.G.) circa 1405
  • Steward of Macclesfield in 1406

He was granted the Isle, Castle, Peel and Lordship of Mann, by King Henry IV of England

  • Sovereign Lord of the Isle of Man in 1406
  • Constable of Windsor Castle in 1409
  • Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (second term) from 1413 until his death in 1414.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j John Stanley, Dictionary of National Biography
  2. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "p. 24749 § 247484". The Peerage. [unreliable source]
  3. ^ Rolls of 9 Richard II – Part II. Membrane 1, cont. 18 June 1386 Westminister {as before Membrane 6, 163
  4. ^ Patent Roll 10 Richard II "34" (18 September 1386) RCH 131/31 – see Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin. CIRCLE A Calendar of Irish Chancery Letters c. 1244–1509:
Head of State of the Isle of Man
Preceded by
Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland
King of Mann
Succeeded by
John II Stanley
Government offices
Preceded by
Alexander de Balscot, Bishop of Meath
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
Succeeded by
James Butler, 3rd Earl of Ormond
Preceded by
Thomas Holland, 1st Duke of Surrey
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
Succeeded by
Thomas of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Clarence
Preceded by
Thomas of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Clarence
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
Succeeded by
Thomas Cranley, Archbishop of Dublin