Stanley, James (1465?-1515) (DNB00)

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STANLEY, JAMES (1465?–1515), bishop of Ely, born probably about 1465, was sixth son of Thomas Stanley, first earl Derby [q. v.], by his first wife, Eleanor, daughter of Richard Neville, earl of Salisbury [q. v.] Edward Stanley, first baron Monteagle [q. v.], was his brother. He is said to have studied both at Oxford and Cambridge, and to have graduated at the latter university, but he was certainly M.A. of Oxford (Reg. Univ. Oxon. i. 46). He has been confused by Newcourt, Le Neve, and Cooper with his uncle James, who became prebendary of Holywell, London, on 26 Aug. 1458, prebendary of Driffield on 11 Nov. 1460, archdeacon of Chester in 1478, prebendary of Dunham in Southwell Cathedral, warden of the collegiate church of Manchester in 1481, and died in 1485 or 1486. The nephew's first preferment was the deanery of St. Martin-le-Grand, London, which he was given on 20 Sept. 1485, probably through the influence of his father's second wife, Margaret Beaufort, countess of Richmond and Derby [q. v.], the mother of Henry VII (Campbell, Materials, i. 19, 125–6). In the same year he succeeded his uncle as warden of the collegiate church of Manchester, the buildings of which were considerably extended during his tenure of office (Hibbert-Ware, Hist. Collegiate Church Manchester, i. 48–55). In June 1492 he received a dispensation from the pope to study at Oxford, although he held a benefice with cure of souls. In 1496 he was at Paris, and is stated to have been the rich young priest who had declined a bishopric and was living in Erasmus's house at Paris. He made tempting offers to Erasmus to induce him to become his tutor, but Erasmus refused (Knight, Erasmus, p. 19; Budinzsky, Die Universität Paris, p. 85). On 19 Nov. 1500 he became archdeacon of Richmond, and on 10 Sept. 1505 he was collated to a prebend in Salisbury Cathedral (Le Neve, ii. 643). Early in the following year he was appointed by papal bull to the bishopric of Ely, and the temporalities were restored to him on 5 Nov. following. On 18 June in the same year the university of Oxford conferred on him the degree of D.Can.L. During his tenure of the see he took part in his stepmother's foundation of St. John's and Christ's colleges, Cambridge (Baker, Hist. St. John's College, i. 66, 68, 71; Willis and Clark, Architectural Hist. of Cambridge, ii. 194, iii. 301, 516). He also compiled statutes for Jesus College, Cambridge, to which he appropriated the rectory of Great Shelford, and improved his episcopal residence at Somersham. He resigned the wardenship of Manchester in 1509, and died on 22 March 1514–15. He was buried in the collegiate church at Manchester, where there is an inscription to his memory. His will, dated 20 March and proved 23 May 1515, is printed in Nicolas's ‘Testamenta Vetusta,’ ii. 535–6. Stanley's loose morals afforded an easy mark for protestant invective (cf. Godwin, De Præsulibus, ed. Richardson, p. 271). By a lady who shared his episcopal residence at Somersham he had at least two sons, John and Thomas, and a daughter, Margaret, who married Sir Henry Halsall of Halsall. The elder son, John, fought at Flodden Field on 9 Sept. 1513, was knighted, and founded the family of Stanleys of Hanford, Cheshire.

[Authorities quoted; Campbell's Materials for the Reign of Henry VII (Rolls Ser.); Andreas's Historia, pp. 108, 125 (Rolls Ser.); Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, ed. Brewer, vols. i. and ii.; Rymer's Fœdera; Le Neve's Fasti, ed. Hardy, passim; Collins's Peerage, iii. 48; Fuller's Worthies; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ii. 704–5; Dodd's Church Hist.; Hibbert-Ware's Collegiate Church of Manchester, i. 48–64; Warden and Fellows of the Collegiate Church of Manchester (Chetham Soc. new ser.); Hollingworth's Mancuniensis; Churton's Lives of W. Smyth, &c., pp. 13, 548–9; Seacome's Memoirs of the House of Stanley, edit. 1840, pp. 70–1; Ormerod's Cheshire; Bentham's Ely; Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. i. 16, 525; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Chambers's Book of Days.]

A. F. P.