Richard III Langton and Stanley

By David Langton

25 April 2011

Staffordshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire. Sir John Stanley from a Cheshire family was Governor of Ireland 1399-1401 and 1413-1414. His older brother William married Margaret Arderne. Sir John Stanley acquired a lot of property through his wife Isabel Lathom. They had four sons and two daughters one of which was Katherine who married Ralph Arderne. The four sons were John, Henry, Thomas and Ralph. The third of these sons Thomas of Elford Staffordshire married firstly Maud Arderne and secondly Elizabeth Langton in about 1424. It is possible that if Maud Arderne/Stanley died young that any of her children were brought up by her successor Elizabeth Langton/Stanley. The children from the Langton and Arderne marriages with Stanley were stepchildren. Maud Arderne's mother was Katherine Stafford daughter of Sir Thomas Stafford Lord of Clifton in Staffordshire. Both Elford and Clifton Campville are near Lichfield a historic town just north of Birmingham in the English Midland.

. Heading towards one of the sleepy corners of England, in Exeter Cathedral South West England is a large brass plate of Canon William Langton who died in 1414. In his will recorded in the Register of Bishop Edmund Stafford William writes that he wants to be buried next to the Bishop. The two are supposed to be relatives and it's unlikely that William could leave such instructions if they were not. He leaves the Cathedral five books given to him by Thomas Stafford. He leaves a gift to a church in Lichfield diocese. He leaves to John Arderne a silver cup with the testators arms engraved on the top of the cover. To Margaret wife of John Arderne he leaves a scarlet robe with its fur. He leaves provision for the education of one William Portour (filiolo meo). Portour may mean porter, carrier, erand boy. His Executor is John Arderne esquire. His property amounts to 211 11s 6d. Whilst it is reasonably clear that William was related to these Stanleys, Staffords and Ardernes in the Lichfield area it is more difficult to be certain of the exact identity of John Arderne Esq. The best candidate seems to be John Arderne b1367 the son of John Aderne and Katherine Stafford. He married Margaret Pilkington the daughter of John Pilkington and Margaret Verdon. Their daughter Matild/Maud married Thomas Stanley before Elizabeth Langton.

Another question relates to William's relationship to Ralph Langton of Elford, father of Elizabeth Langton who married Thomas Stanley. They could have been brothers or cousins but it looks as if both of them were born about 1370. This would make Ralph about 34 when he fathered Elizabeth and John about 44 when he died. Ralph we know about from a record of his shield. The description that fits datewise is Sir Rauf Langeton Elford 1419 Gu an orle argent a bend gu. This Rauf Langton is often confused with Ralph Langton Baron of Walton Lancashire who took his three red chevron shield into the bloody battle of Shrewsbury on the losing side in 1403. Baron Ralph was executed with his son in law Venables and one of the Verdons, their bodies displayed in London. His grandson Ralph was heir in 1419 and died in 1431. It is possible that it was he or his father Henry who adopted for the orle shield and his living into the reign of Edward III may support this. Another description of the orle shield is Gu an orle argent a bend sa Raffe Temp Edward III 1327-77. On balance the new shield is more likely to be the junior line who didn't want to be associated with the treason and beheading of the senior line. The probability is that Rauf was from the Lancashire family of Langtons given the complex connections between these same families. The alternative is that the same prominent families were marrying into two unrelated groups of Langtons. One can understand why when the connections no longer worked favourably Ralph thought it was time for a new shield design.

However there is a further shield attributed to Raulf De Langton which is Per Pale Or and Vert, a cross Moline gules overall a bend sable. It may or may not have belonged to Rauf Langton of Elford. It is a Langton design that crops up in half a dozen other places and pre dates the Battle of Shrewsbury. The families carried on their intermarrying Elizabeth Langton's step son John Stanley (mother Maud Arderne) married his cousin Cecily daughter of Ralph Arderne and Katherine Stanley, this despite the fact that John Stanley was only five at the time.

Young John Stanley's uncle John Stanley, son of the Governor of Ireland actually became King of the Isle of Man. His Son Sir Thomas Stanley was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland between 1431-6. In turn his eldest son Thomas married secondly Margaret Beaufort, an interesting girl descended from a doubly illegitimate royal line barred from the throne by act of parliament. She had been a widow at 12 having been forced to marry by Henry VI and she gave birth to her deceased husband's child, a baby named Henry Tudor at 13 years of age. However in 1482 things seemed relatively calm under the Yorkist King Edward IV (himself obviously not the son of his father Richard of York) .

In 1482 the English invaded Scotland with the army in two parts under the Duke of Gloucester, the future Richard III and Thomas Stanley. The campaign was little more than posturing with Richard going into Scotland and Stanley taking Berwick. Stanley had authority to make Richard Langton Baron of Walton a knight Banneret at Hutton Field. Sir Richard's wife's mother was Margaret Stanley but I'm sure that family connection was just coincidence. When the homeward bound English army reached Salford in Lancashire a quarrel broke out between Lord Stanley's men and the Duke of Gloucesters men. It seems that central to this trouble were the Langtons. The banner of the Duke of Gloucester was taken, which was doubtless a great insult. No doubt nobody would admit to taking it but it eventually surfaced some years later in Wigan Church which was controlled by the Langtons.

Shortly after this Edward IV suddenly died and Duke Richard seized the throne becoming Richard III. He had not been king for long when Henry Tudor invaded and met Richard's larger force at Bosworth Field. Lord Stanley waited on the sidelines with his own army no doubt containing Sir Richard Langton and the rest of the Langton boys. Late in the day Stanley switched sides and sent his brother to attack the king who according to Shakespeare uttered the lines, 'A horse, A horse, my kingdom for a horse.' Stanley is supposed to have plucked the crown from a thorn bush and put it on his step son Henry Tudor's head. He was created Earl of Derby for his trouble. No doubt the Langtons had a party that night and the banner was suddenly rediscovered. The event is recorded as 'Jack Morris of Wigan brought the Duke's banner to Wiggan kirke, it served there 40 year.'

Lord Stanley had a son George who had a son Thomas who had a son Edward who was commander of the English army at the Battle of Flodden. Edward had an illegitmate daughter Elizabeth and married her off to his ward Thomas Langton Baron of Newton and Walton and this proved to be the last Langton Stanley marriage. Finally to conclude this rambling article these families continued to be related. Putting down the 1549 uprising in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire we find none other than Rafe Langton esquire and John Arderne esquire. I wonder which shield Rafe was carrying. If you are a Langton or a Laynton from Staffordshire, Oxfordshire or Buckinghamshire you may well be descended from these guys. Have a look at the Langton DNA project.