The Audley-Stanley family is a family with many notable members including the Earls of Derby who are descended from the early holders of Audley, Staffordshire, England.


The first mention of Audley is in the Domesday book of 1086, when it was called Aldidelege (Aldithley), when the lands were held by an English thegn called Gamel. The descent of the Audley and Stanley families can be traced back as far as an Englishman named Ligulf of Aldithley, who held the estate not long after the Domesday survey but whose relationship, if any, to Gamel is unknown. The family later fabricated a Norman origin, at that time more prestigious than an English one, by presenting Ligulf, despite his non-Norman name and the English etymology of Aldithley, as the lord of a fictitious 'Aldithley in Normandy', and his son Adam as a follower of William the Conqueror.

The extended Audley family, originally of Audley Castle but who later built (or re-built) Heighley Castle, Madeley, Staffordshire in 1226, had several additional households including Red Castle at Hawkstone in Shropshire, Buglawton Manor in Congleton, Newhall Tower at Newhall, Cheshire [1] and a home in Nantwich.[2] In the early 12th century Adam's grandson William married Joan de Stanley heiress of Stoneleigh, Staffordshire thereby becoming William de Stanley of Stoneleigh. This branch of the Audley thus took the name Stanley and Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby was a direct descendant.

The main line of the Audley family, who had become Baron Audley in 1313, failed in 1391 when Nicholas Audley, 3rd Baron Audley died without a male heir. His sister Joanne married Sir John Tuchet (b 1327) for whose descendant John Tuchet (b 1371) the title of 4th Baron Audley was granted in 1408. He was succeeded by his son James Touchet, 5th Baron Audley. Later generations of the Tuchets became Earl of Castlehaven.

Another branch of the Audley family was created by Hugh Audley of Stratton Audley, Baron Audley from 1317, whose son became 1st Earl of Gloucester.

The Audley and Stanley families and their descendants remained prominent throughout the history of England and Ireland into modern times. The Stanleys were, at one time, one of the richest landowning families in England.

Latham family and "Eagle and child" Coat of Arms

In 1385, Isabella de Lathom, the eldest daughter of parents who had no male heir, married Sir John Stanley and the Latham family (originally Lathom or Lothe Hom - "Brick house" from Lathom, Lancashire) and Stanley families became linked.[3] Following this marriage, the Stanley family adopted the 'eagle and child' crest of the Lathom family and continue to use it to this day.[4]

Conservative Party

Several successive generations of the Stanley Earls, along with other members of the family, have been prominent members of the Conservative Party, and at least one historian has suggested that this family rivals the Cecils (Marquesses of Salisbury) as the single most important family in the party's history.

See also


External links

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Audley-Stanley family. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.