3rd Earl of Derby (1521-1572)
Born 1508 Died 1572
Edward Stanley, 3rd Earl of Derby, was a son of Thomas Stanley, 2nd earl and grandson of the 1st earl, and succeeded to the earldom on his father's death in May 1521. During his minority Cardinal Wolsey was his guardian, and as soon as he came of age he began to take part in public life, being often in the company of Henry VIII. He helped to quell the rising in the north of England known as the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536; but remaining true to the Roman Catholic faith he disliked and opposed the religious changes made under Edward VI. During Mary's reign the earl was more at ease, but under Elizabeth his younger sons, Sir Thomas (d. 1576) and Sir Edward Stanley (d. 1609), were concerned in a plot to free Mary, Queen of Scots, and he himself was suspected of disloyalty. However, he kept his numerous dignities until his death at Lathom House, near Ormskirk, on the 24th of October 1572.
Derby's first wife was Katherine, daughter of Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, by whom he had, with other issue, a son Henry, the 4th earl (c.1531-1593), who was a member of the Council of the North, and like his father was Lord-Lieutenant of Lancashire. Henry was one of the commissioners who tried Mary, Queen of Scots, and was employed by Elizabeth on other high undertakings both at home and abroad. He died on the 25th of September 1593. His wife Margaret (d. 1596), daughter of Henry Clifford, 2nd Earl of Cumberland, was descended through the Brandons from King Henry VII. Two of his sons, Ferdinando (c. 1559-1594), and William (c. 1561-1642), became in turn the 5th and 6th earls of Derby. Ferdinando, the 5th Earl (d. 1594), wrote verses, and is eulogised by the poet Spenser under the name of Amyntas. (A. W. H.)
Extracted from the entry for DERBY, EARLS OF in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, the text of which lies within the public domain.