STANLEY, Sir Thomas, 4th Bt. (1670-1714), of Bickerstaffe, Lancs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1695 - 1698

Family and Education

b. 27 Sept. 1670, 1st s. of Sir Edward Stanley, 3rd Bt., by Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Thomas Bosvile of Warmsworth, Yorks.  m. (1) 16 Aug. 1688, Elizabeth (d. 1695), da. and coh. of Thomas Patten† of Preston, Lancs. 4s. (2 d.v.p.); (2) 1695, Margaret, da. of Thomas Holcroft of Holcroft, Lancs., wid. of Sir Richard Standish, 1st Bt.*, s.psuc. fa. as 4th Bt. 16 Oct. 1671.1

Offices Held


The Stanleys of Bickerstaffe were a junior branch of the Stanleys of Knowsley, both families being descended from Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby. By his first marriage Stanley had acquired considerable property around Preston, including Patten House in Church Street, one of the town’s finest mansions. In 1694 he made preparations to stand at the Lancashire by-election, but despite reports that he was ready to spend ‘several £1,000’ he withdrew before the poll. In October the same year he was named to the special commission appointed at Manchester to try those implicated in the Lancashire Plot, one of whom was his namesake Sir Thomas Stanley, 3rd Bt., of Aldersey, Cheshire. Stanley topped the poll at Preston in 1695. An unknown quantity at the beginning of the Parliament, he was initially forecast in January 1696 as doubtful in relation to the proposed council of trade, but before the vote was taken his political views appear to have become more widely known, and he was predicted as a likely opponent of the government on this issue and duly voted against the imposition of an abjuration oath for members of the new body. However, he was among those who signed the Association immediately. His parliamentary attendance was irregular. On 26 Feb. he was given leave of absence for three weeks, and on 9 Nov. was noted as absent without leave. He was absent from the division on the attainder of Sir John Fenwick† later that month, and on 14 Dec. the House granted him leave of absence due to ‘his lady and family being very ill’. Further leave of absence was granted him on 24 Feb. 1698, and he was once again absent without leave from a call of the House on 4 Apr. He did not stand at the general election of 1698, and in a comparison of the old and new Houses drawn up in about September he was classed as a member of the Country party ‘out’ of Parliament. A sympathy with Country causes is also indicated by his subscription of £3,000 to the proposed land bank in the mid-1690s. In 1701 Stanley obtained an estate Act in order to allow him to pay the portions of his siblings. Stanley died on 7 May 1714 and was succeeded by his son Edward. Sir Edward, 5th Bt., represented Lancashire as an independent Whig from 1727 until he succeeded his distant cousin Hon. James Stanley* as 11th Earl of Derby in 1736.2

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Richard Harrison


  • 1. J. J. Bagley, Earls of Derby, 131–3; HMC Kenyon, 377.
  • 2. Bagley, 131; HMC Kenyon, 284, 384, 398–9, 402–3; Jacobite Trials Manchester 1694 (Chetham Soc. ser. 1, xxviii) 49–50; Lancs. RO, Kenyon mss DDKe 9/68/74, Thomas Hodgkinson to Roger Kenyon*, 19 Sept. 1695; NLS, Advocates’ mss, Bank of Eng. pprs. 31.1.7, f. 97.