The story

Stanley Spencer

Stanley Spencer


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Stanley Spencer, the son of William Spencer, a teacher of music, was born in Cookham, Berkshire, on 30th June 1891. He was the seventh son in a family of eleven children, of whom two died in infancy. The family lived in Fernlea, a semi-detached villa in Cookham High Street, that had been built by Stanley's grandfather, a local master builder.

When Spencer was seventeen he entered the Slade School of Fine Art at University College. Other students at the Slade at that time included Christopher Nevinson, Paul Nash, David Bomberg, William Roberts, Mark Gertler, Dora Carrington and Edward Wadsworth.

Spencer's skill as a artist is evident in early works such as The Fairy on the Waterlily Leaf (1910). One of his tutors, Henry Tonks argued that Spencer had the most original mind of any student he had the pleasure of teaching. At the Slade he won the Composition Prize with his painting The Nativity (1912). However, as his biographer, Fiona MacCarthy, points out: "His four years at the Slade were not altogether happy. He was marked out as a misfit by his physical appearance: his diminutiveness (he was only 5 feet 2 inches), his heavy fringe, and pudding-basin haircut. His aura of other-worldliness was enhanced by the fact that he commuted daily by train from Berkshire. He was known jeeringly as Cookham, and terrified by being put upside-down in a sack."

On the outbreak of the First World War, Spencer joined the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC). He worked at Beaufort Hospital in Bristol where he helped to nurse soldiers wounded on the Western Front. On 15th December 1915 he wrote to his friend, Henry Lamb: "Two hundred patients or more would arrive in the middle of the night - this was disquieting and disturbing. One had just got used to the patients one had; had mentally and imaginatively visualized them. I have to move patients with their beds from one ward to another or perhaps to the theatre."

In August 1916 he was sent as part of the 68th Field Ambulance unit to Salonika, a port being defended by General Maurice Sarrail and 150,000, British and French soldiers. In August 1917 he volunteered for the infantry, joining the 7th battalion, the Royal Berkshires, and spending several months in the front line. He later recalled: "Our activities consisted of outpost duty and patrolling the wire at night and during the daytime doing odd fatigues, just outside our dugouts. In the evening just before sunset, the Bulgars started a barrage. The shells dropped uncomfortably near and I was glad when getting into the outposts, we were able to take cover in a communication trench."

On one occasion he went out on patrol with one of the officers: "I went out with a captain and he was hit and sank to the ground. His hand went up to his neck and I saw a gaping bullet wound in it. I bandaged the wound the best I could and called for stretcher-bearers. I helped to support the captain, who was paralyzed." Spencer was devastated when he heard him whisper to another officer: "Understand, Spencer is not a fool; he is a damned good man." Spencer was shocked by what he heard: "What's all this? Who has been saying otherwise?"

In May, 1918, Spencer was asked to contribute to the government's planned Hall of Remembrance. The letter asked him to to paint a picture about his experiences in Salonika. However, it was not until after the Armistice that Spencer painted Travoys Arriving with Wounded at a Dressing Station at Smol, Macedonia, September 1916.

After the war Stanley Spencer was commissioned by Louis and Mary Behrend in memory of Mrs Behrend's brother Lieutenant Henry Willoughby Sandham to paint a decorative mural of army life during the First World War. Sandham had died in 1919 after an illness contracted in in Salonika. The nineteen paintings appeared in the Sandham Memorial Chapel in Burghclere, Hampshire. The work was painted as a modern parallel to Giotto's Arena Chapel in Padua. The cycle of scenes from everyday military life culminates in the altarpiece, Resurrection of the Soldiers.

Stanley Spencer painted The Resurrection, between 1924 and 1926 in a studio in Hampstead borrowed from Henry Lamb. When it was showed for the first time in February 1927 The Times critic described it as "the most important picture painted by any English artist in the present century… It is as if a Pre-Raphaelite had shaken hands with a Cubist". The painting was purchased by Joseph Duveen who then gave it to the Tate Gallery.

One critic argued that "Spencer believed that the divine rested in all creation. He saw his home town of Cookham as a paradise in which everything is invested with mystical significance. The local churchyard here becomes the setting for the resurrection of the dead. Christ is enthroned in the church porch, cradling three babies, with God the Father standing behind. Spencer himself appears near the centre, naked, leaning against a grave stone; his fiancée Hilda lies sleeping in a bed of ivy. At the top left, risen souls are transported to Heaven in the pleasure steamers that then ploughed the Thames."

While working on this cycle almost continuously between 1926 and 1932, Spencer lived in a cottage alongside the chapel with his wife, Hilda Carline (1889–1950) and their two daughters: Shirin (b. 1925) and Unity (b. 1930). The cultural historian, Fiona MacCarthy has argued: "The narrative of Stanley Spencer's war - the wounded arriving at Beaufort, the training camp at Tweseldown, the day-to-day routines of service in Macedonia - climaxes in the crowded, joyful central composition The Resurrection of the Soldiers covering the whole east wall. It is a highly personal sequence that transcends the anecdotal, treating the grand themes of glory and redemption in an extraordinary fusion of grandiloquence and homeliness."

After completing the Sandham Memorial Chapel Spencer and his young family moved to Lindworth, a house in Cookham. However, it was not a happy marriage and her passionate Christian Science principles seriously impaired their sex life. During this period Spencer became friendly with Patricia Preece who lived in Cookham with her friend and sexual partner Dorothy Hepworth. Hilda's refusal to accede to demands for a ménage à trois demanded by Spencer forced her eventually to file for a divorce which was granted on 25th May 1937.

Spencer married Preece four days later. They never lived together and according to Tee A. Corinne: "Spencer went into debt giving Preece money, clothing, and jewelry... Spencer then married Preece, but when he attempted to consummate the marriage, Preece immediately fled to Hepworth. Although Spencer and Preece never lived together as man and wife, they never divorced." Although the marriage was unconsummated, it did produce some remarkable nude portraits including Nude: Patricia Preece (1935), Self Portrait with Patricia Preece (1936) and Double Nude Portrait: the Artist and his Second Wife (1937).

Spencer continued to paint pictures of his marriage to Hilda Carline. This included Domestic Scenes: At the Chest of Draws (1936), The Beatitudes of Love (1937) and Romantic Meeting (1938). He also wrote her many letters but following a mental breakdown she was admitted to Banstead Mental Hospital in Epsom. Spencer gave his house in Cookham to Patricia Preece who rented it out in 1938, and he was forced to move to a rented room in Adelaide Road, Hampstead. Over the next few years he produced a series of paintings entitled Christ in the Wilderness (1939–53).

Soon after the outbreak of the Second World War the War Artists' Advisory Committee commissioned Spencer to record shipbuilding on the River Clyde. As his biographer, Fiona MacCarthy, points out: "His work was based at Lithgow's shipyard in Port Glasgow on the Firth of Clyde, concentrated on merchant ships under construction, and Spencer spent extended periods in Scotland during and immediately after the war. Spencer's war work came as a reprieve from his anxious isolation. He was able to immerse himself in the day-to-day activities of ordinary working people, intimately involved in the highly skilled processes of making with which he had always felt an innate sympathy. The Clyde shipbuilding paintings were conceived on an epic scale. Spencer's proposal was for a three-tier frieze 70 feet long. Eight of the projected thirteen canvases had been completed by the time the war artists were disbanded in 1946."

In September 1945 Spencer returned to Cookham, settling in Cliveden View, a small house belonging to his brother Percy Spencer. His former wife, Hilda Carline, died of breast cancer in 1950. He was devastated by the news and "he continued to write her his long, hectic, erotic, often incoherent letters." Over the next few years he completed a new cycle, Christ Preaching at Cookham Regatta (1955-1959).

In July 1959 he was knighted by Elizabeth II. His wife, Patricia Preece, now arrived back on the scene and took the title, Lady Spencer. Five months later, on 14 December 1959, Stanley Spencer died of cancer in the Canadian Red Cross Memorial Hospital at Taplow.

Do you know any decent regiment that would have me or Gil (his brother Gilbert Spencer)? We both feel it impossible to settle down, because to work at our job one has to enjoy things and I find it impossible. I think it is necessary for people like me to join. I am quite sure I am as strong as thousands who are fighting, and the beastly the stories become, the more I feel I ought to go to do something.

Two hundred patients or more would arrive in the middle of the night - this was disquieting and disturbing. I have to move patients with their beds from one ward to another or perhaps to the theatre.

I do anything for these men. I cannot refuse them anything, and they love me to make drawings of photos of their wives and children or a brother who had been killed.

My feelings about the Bulgars were acted upon in a very remarkable way, owing to the simple fact that I never saw them, and yet they were only a few yards away. They were the enemy - this gave me this feeling of remoteness from them - a feeling that they belonged to another planet. Some nights it was extraordinary to me to hear the ground crunching under the wheels of some cart when I was told it was the Bulgars' ration carts coming up, just as ours brought ours up.

Our activities consisted of outpost duty and patrolling the wire at night and during the daytime doing odd fatigues, just outside our dugouts. The shells dropped uncomfortably near and I was glad when getting into the outposts, we were able to take cover in a communication trench.

I went out with a captain and he was hit and sank to the ground. I helped to support the captain, who was paralyzed and heard him whisper to another officer: "Understand, Spencer is not a fool; he is a damned good man." "What's all this? Who has been saying otherwise?"

Mr. Muirhead Bone, who takes a great interest in your work, has suggested that you should paint a picture under such title as A Religious Service at the Front, or any subjects in or about Salonika, which could be painted by you before you return home.

I was standing a little way from an old Greek Church, which was used as a dressing station, and coming there were these rows of travoys with wounded and limbers crammed full of wounded men. One would have thought that the scene was a sordid one, a terrible scene, but I felt there was a grandeur about it. All these wounded men were calm and at peace with everything, so the pain seemed a small thing with them. I felt there was a spiritual ascendancy over everything.


Stanley Spencer and Steep

Not many people know that the artist Stanley Spencer spent a short time living in the village of Steep and that he almost painted murals for Steep Village Hall and for Bedales School.

Born in Cookham, Berkshire, in 1891, Stanley grew to be just 5 feet 2 inches tall, but was very much an individual, showing artistic prowess from a young age. After a period at the Slade School of Art, Stanley saw service in WWI. In 1915 he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps and initially was posted to Beaufort Hospital Bristol before being sent to Macedonia. The sights he met during the war filled his head with images, many of which later appeared in his art. On his return to Cookham in 1919, Stanley found it difficult to paint after his experiences.

He spent time painting in a boat house belonging to the Slessors at Bourne End, near Cookham and then Stanley was invited by the war artist Muirhead Bone to stay in Steep. Muirhead Bone was an artist himself, but he also acted as an agent in commissioning work and encouraging young artists. In Steep, Bone lived at the junction of Ashford Lane and Island Farm Lane, Steep, in a house named Byways, which still exists today. Stanley was offered the sum of £120 to teach Muirhead Bone’s son Stephen to paint. He was also offered £250 to paint murals at the newly completed Steep Village Memorial Hall. There was the possibility of a further commission for work at Bedales School. Stanley duly arrived in July 1921 and stayed with Muirhead Bone’s family until December. While there, Stanley produced three drawings of music classes taking place in the Lupton Hall at Bedales, intended as part of a decorative scheme for the school. Stanley was intensely inquisitive, and he also enjoyed talking at length about himself and his ideas. As a result, he may perhaps have become a little wearying as a house guest. Matters came to a head in the Bone household when Stanley spotted on the hall table, a post card addressed to the Bone family. He couldn’t resist having a look at it and found that the card was from artist Francis Dodd inviting the Bones to visit Oxford and asking them to bring Stanley with them. Perhaps it was the last of a string of incidents, as Mrs Bone was not pleased by Stanley’s inquisitiveness, accusing him of pilfering her mail. Stanley was thus asked to leave the Bone household. He was horrified by the prospect of supporting himself, but duly found lodgings elsewhere in Steep, with a Mrs New.

The 1911 census lists Walter New and his wife Elizabeth as living at Blenheim House, in what is now Church Road. This house is almost opposite Steep Village Hall, where Stanley had been promised a commission. If Mrs New was still living at this same house in 1921, it would seem a convenient place for Stanley to lodge while he undertook the Village Hall painting. During his time in Steep he worked on another painting entitled ‘The Unveiling of Cookham War Memorial’. In a letter, he punned, “I am still steeped in the war memorial picture.” He also produced a Crucifixion painting, which would have formed part of a group at Steep Village Hall. Perhaps the money offered was not considered sufficient for a series of paintings in the Steep Hall. Sadly, both this and the Bedales scheme came to nothing after the falling out with the Bone family.

Steep War memorial Village Hall © FrancesBox2019

Steep War Memorial Village Hall

Stanley eventually left Steep and moved to Petersfield, first to live with local artist Flora Twort in her house above a bookshop, then to 19 The High Street (in 2019 it was Ask restaurant) and then to 25 The Square. By the end of 1922 he seems to have left the area, yet he had liked the atmosphere of the town and in 1926, did a painting entitled ‘The Poultry Market’ based on that at Petersfield.

Later Stanley was commissioned by Louis and Mary Behrend to paint the magnificent murals at the Sandham Memorial Chapel at Burghclere, Berkshire, a memorial to Mary’s brother, Lt. Henry Willoughby Sandham, who had died after the end of WWI, so could not be included on their war memorial. For the Sandham murals, he used ideas he had worked on for the Steep Hall. It is these for which Stanley is often most well known. He went on to produce a number of paintings both religious and secular, including a series on ship building on the Clyde. He died in 1959. Many find his work inspirational. Yet for those of us who remain in Steep, we can but wonder what if our village hall had also become the recipient of his murals too…..

Steep War Memorial Village Hall (east side) built 1922 © FrancesBox2019

Steep V Hall – East side

Information here obtained from a Petersfield Museum talk given in 2014 by Chrissie Rosenthal, custodian of the Spencer Gallery, Cookham.


Stanley Spencer

Stanley Spencer was one of the greatest British artists of the twentieth century and is recognised around the world for his contribution to art. The artist lived at the White Hart pub in Leonard Stanley from 1939 to 1941 and used many scenes from the local area in his paintings of country life, one of which, “The Wool Shop”, was inspired by the wool shop at the top of Regent Street in Stonehouse.

The Wool Shop around the time that Spencer visited

Thanks to Pauline Vennard for this photo of the shop when it was run by S J Goodman. “This photograph was given to me by Mr Goodman’s grandson who confirmed that it was painted by Stanley Spencer in his Grandfather’s time”

A commemorative Blue Plaque to Stanley Spencer is at The White Hart Inn Leonard Stanley. The unveiling ceremony was on Saturday 15th October 2011 by Carolyn Leder, the curator of The Spencer Gallery, Cookham.

In 2000, Peter Hill, a former BBC correspondent, interviewed a number of local residents about their memories of Spencer. in 2014, he wrote an article about the artist’s time in Leonard Stanley and the pictures that he painted while living there.

In 2015 he visited Stonehouse History Group to talk about his work. He used extracts of his recordings to great effect in his talk, as well as showing the paintings inspired by the local landscape. He invited members of the audience to share their memories of the people and places featured in the paintings. One person recognised his childhood home at Severn Waters and could recall the old landlord featured in “Village Life”.

Stonehouse resident Patricia Batt, who lived in Cookham during the 1930s, could remember when Stanley Spencer lived in Cookham. She worked at the Odney Club where he was a member. She used to see him with his “lady” who lived at one end of the village while his wife lived at the other end. Pat remembered him doing a painting of a magnolia tree in the grounds of the Club she said that she believed he had done paintings inside Cookham Church – people thought that because he painted angels in the church it was outrageous. He always wore an army coat and a trilby hat and pebble-lensed glasses and wandered about the village with his painting equipment in an old pram.

The shop later became Polly Owen’s. Thanks to Dave Kirby for the photo.


Stanley Spencer's daughter, Unity, on life amid the most bizarre domestic soap opera in British art history

Lucky to be an Artist is the title of an autobiographical book by Unity Spencer, 84, daughter of the great painter Stanley Spencer. Lucky? Hers is a story tinged with such sadness that it could hardly be described as such. “Children of geniuses tend to have a rather hard time of it,” she writes with a wry directness which informs her whole book – part diary, part stream of consciousness. Indeed the legacy of being a Spencer has apparently not had a positive effect on her own son, John, 51, who reveals with offhand matter-of-factness: “It is miserable, just awful, being Stanley’s grandson.”

We are at the Fine Art Society Gallery in London, where Unity is having her first major exhibition. Her paintings and prints hang alongside those of her famous father and her mother Hilda Carline, another talented artist, as well as works by her uncle Richard Carline. John ushers me round, pointing to one of the paintings and saying: “That’s my miserable bastard of a dad”. He introduces me to Unity, who is eating her lunch in a back room at the gallery with her elder sister, Shirin.

Having met the Spencer sisters I can confirm what the newsreader Jon Snow says of them in the introduction to Unity’s book: “Now in their eighties they remain the most gorgeous sisters – beautiful, funny and with a wonderfully vivid account of what growing up with one of the more eccentric British artists was really like.”

By Unity’s account there was forgivable eccentricity, yes, but worrying instability too. Their parents split up following what has been described as “the most bizarre domestic soap opera in the history of British art”: Stanley formed an obsessive relationship with another Cookham-based artist called Patricia Preece, whom you might recognise as the nude from Spencer’s “Leg of mutton nude”. Only Preece was a lesbian, living secretly (it was the 1930s) with her long-term lover, a talented artist called Dorothy Hepworth whose work Preece used to pass off as her own. About a week after his divorce from Hilda they married – and Preece went off on their honeymoon with Hepworth while he stayed in Cookham to finish a painting.

“I think Patricia fascinated and flattered Daddy,” Unity writes. “And, although he made light of it, I believe he fell down heavily because of her flattery. I think he was naive more than innocent: he was no longer sexually innocent because he’d been with Mummy [he was a virgin when they met], but he was naive about Patricia. I don’t think he knew much about lesbians – very few people did at that time.”

Even before their parents separated, the pressure of Stanley’s genius and her mother’s bouts of depression had created an unusually detached family setup. When Unity was born, Shirin, five years older, was removed from the family house and sent to live with the mother of one of their aunts through marriage, Mrs Harter. She would never return to live with her parents and, after war broke out, Unity too was sent to live in Epsom with the elderly sort-of-relative whom the girls called Minnehaha.

“It wasn’t necessarily safer but Mrs Harter was able to look after us,” Unity says. “She had a bit of a down on me, really. I don’t know why. She was inclined to put one person on a pedestal and she did that with my sister.” She writes of feeling her sister had entered a “sort of conspiracy against me with Mrs Harter”, whom she describes as a very controlling Victorian person, apparently intent on keeping the sisters and influencing them against their mother. “It wasn’t good. Shirin and I get on fine now, but it has not been easy,” Unity says.

During her early years Unity’s father is presented as a remote but loving figure. Stanley wasn’t around much in the three or four years after her parents’ separation but she must have seen him as he painted a rather remarkable portrait of her when she was seven. As a teenager and in her twenties Unity used to stay with him in Cookham and he encouraged her artistic talents. Several of her letters to him are included in the book and they reveal a close bond as well as Unity’s burgeoning talents – her letters are littered with illustrations and she seems to find sketching as natural as writing.

The to-ing and fro-ing between her mother in Hampstead, her boarding school, Mrs Harter in Epsom and her father in Cookham, trying to fit in everywhere, would inform a lifetime of repression which only decades of therapy could later undo. When she was 20 her mother died of cancer and Unity went to live with relatives who, although kind enough, didn’t take much interest and left her largely alone. She decided not to speak unless she was spoken to, which she said they never noticed.

Stanley, who had remained good friends with Hilda despite their divorce, was there when she died. “Daddy went and sat with her right up until she died, thank goodness. I was too late. It was awful, just awful. I howled all over the hospital,” Unity says. “It was difficult for me because I had just started at the Slade and this was all rather exciting and I don’t think I could face up to the fact that my mother was dying.”

Unity experienced her “first serious bout of depression” in her late twenties, and when she was 29 Stanley died too. “My father seemed to me such an incredible person that to state all the wonderful and beautiful things about him would belittle them,” she writes. Orphaned at nearly 30, and suddenly free of the pressure to make her parents happy, Unity experienced something akin to adolescent rebellion, leading to her first sexual relationship and a pregnancy outside marriage – still a taboo in the early 1960s.

What a shame it was, I suggest, that the child she had, John, hadn’t met either of his grandparents. “They would have loved him, and he them,” Unity says, staring at me apparently with great sadness. “But if Daddy had been alive I would never have got involved with John’s father. All very odd.”

She met Leslie Lambert, John’s father, who was 20 years her senior, two years after Stanley’s death. “He seemed to me an honest working-class man, warm-hearted and idealistic – a Communist, Marxist-Leninist,” she writes. But the relationship would go on to “blight” Unity’s life for a decade as Les became increasingly unstable. He once told Shirin that Unity “could have John until he’s seven months old. After that he’s mine.”

Unity believes that Les’s abusive behaviour towards her once she became pregnant was intended to send her mad in a scenario redolent of the film Gaslight. “He wanted me to become mad and then he thought he could have John forever but of course it wouldn’t have worked like that. They would’ve investigated his state of health. He seemed to think he was fine, but he wasn’t. An absolutely dreadful man. Horrid. A conman. Conned everybody. I think my aunt Nancy was the only one who wasn’t conned. She said he was completely mad.”

Les ended up living in his caravan, driving about and following Unity and turning up at her Cookham house in the middle of the night. In 1969 John was made a ward of court as the legal battle over custody continued and Unity took her son into “exile” in an attic bedsit in London. The unresolved dispute ended two years later when Leslie died of a heart attack. John is more sanguine about the father who died when he was just seven. “He was inadequate,” he says. “But I doubt he was truly evil or nasty.”

Unity’s book describes years of loneliness and unhappiness – even the struggle with painting, for which she lost all enjoyment. But she found contentment in her later years, admitting she was freed by a decision not to paint in oils, instead making lithography and etching. One of her latest works, an etch of a scrotum, which she titled “Dangly Bits” (which causes John to burst into laughter), is a sign of her sense of humour. Her life did not become truly happy until she turned 70, when she stood in front of a group of people after years of therapy and said: “I refuse to be the victim.” And at 84 she’s having a whale of a time.

‘Unity Spencer: Lucky to be an Artist’ is published by Unicorn Press the exhibition at the Fine Art Society, London W1, runs until 17 April (020 7629 5116)


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Stanley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The lineage of the name Stanley begins with the Anglo-Saxon tribes in Britain. It is a result of when they lived in the county of Cumberland in an area that was defined by the Old English word stanley which means astony clearing or stony field. Stanley is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. During the Middle Ages, as society became more complex, individuals needed a way to be distinguishable from others. Toponymic surnames were developed as a result of this need. Various features in the landscape or area were used to distinguish people from one another. In this case the original bearers of the surname Stanley were named due to their close proximity to the stanley.

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Early Origins of the Stanley family

The surname Stanley was first found in Cambridgeshire at Stonely (Stoneley,) a hamlet near Kimbolton and home to Stoneley Priory which was established in 1180 and dissolved in 1536.

By the time of the Conquest, there were several listings of the name in the Domesday Book [1] including: Stanlei in Derbyshire and West Yorkshire Stanlee in Gloucestershire and Stanlei (now Stoneleigh) in Warwickshire. The place name literally means "stony wood clearing." [2]

"Descended from a younger branch of the Barons Audeley, of Audeley in Staffordshire, the name of Stanley, from the manor of that name in this county, in the reign of John, was assumed by William de Audleigh." [3]

Another branch of the family was established in very early times in Hornby, Lancashire. "The castle was originally founded soon after the Norman Conquest, and was subsequently the residence of the Stanleys, lords Monteagle, to one of whom the mysterious letter was sent which led to the discovery of the Gunpowder plot." [4]

Later "the Stanleys of Alderley, and the Stanleys of Hooton, [became] the sole owners of the township [of Great Meolse, Cheshire.]" [4]

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Early History of the Stanley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Stanley research. Another 223 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1100, 1442, 1566, 1350, 1414, 1435, 1504, 1485, 1460, 1503, 1506, 1597, 1672, 1660, 1531, 1593, 1586, 1599, 1664, 1625, 1678, 1628, 1672, 1655, 1702, 1670, 1714, 1695, 1698 and are included under the topic Early Stanley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Stanley Spelling Variations

Only recently has spelling become standardized in the English language. As the English language evolved in the Middle Ages, the spelling of names changed also. The name Stanley has undergone many spelling variations, including Stanley, Standley, Stanleigh, Stoneley and others.

Early Notables of the Stanley family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Sir John Stanley K.G. (c.1350-1414), Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and titular King of Mann Sir Thomas Stanley (c.1435-1504), created 1st Earl of Derby in 1485 George Stanley, 9th Baron Strange, of Knockyn, KG, KB (1460-1503), an English nobleman and heir apparent of Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby Sir John Stanley, illegitimate son of James Stanley, Bishop of Ely, in 1506 Sir Thomas Stanley (1597-1672), created 1st Baronet Stanley of Alderley Hall in 1660 Henry Stanley, 4th Earl of Derby KG (1531-1593).
Another 89 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Stanley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Stanley family to Ireland

Some of the Stanley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 62 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Stanley migration +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Stanley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Roger Stanley, who settled in Virginia in 1620
  • Roger Stanley, who landed in Virginia in 1620 [5]
  • Morris Stanley, who landed in Virginia in 1624 [5]
  • John Stanley, who landed in Hartford, Connecticut in 1634-1635 [5]
  • Thomas Stanley, who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1634
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Stanley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Joseph and his wife Elizabeth Stanley, who settled in Georgia in 1732
  • Joseph Stanley, who landed in Georgia in 1738 [5]
  • Sarah Stanley, who landed in Maryland in 1740 [5]
  • David Stanley, who arrived in North Carolina in 1748 [5]
  • James Stanley, who landed in America in 1764 [5]
Stanley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Stanley, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811 [5]
  • Peter Stanley, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816 [5]
  • Edward F Stanley, who arrived in New York, NY in 1835 [5]
  • Stephen J Stanley, who landed in Texas in 1835 [5]
  • G I Stanley, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [5]
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Stanley migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Stanley Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Edward Stanley, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Mr. Thomas Stanley U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 [6]
Stanley Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John Stanley, who settled in Long Pond, Conception Bay, Newfoundland, in 1840 [7]
  • Ms. Ellen Stanley, aged 30, a Nurse at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec but died there in August 1847 during the typhus epidemic [8]
  • M Stanley, who landed in Victoria, British Columbia in 1862

Stanley migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Stanley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Hannah Stanley, (b. 1788), aged 22, English servant who was convicted in Kent, England for life for stealing, transported aboard the "Canada" in March 1810, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, she died in 1854 [9]
  • Edward Stanley, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "Adamant" on March 16, 1821, settling in New South Wales, Australia[10]
  • Mr. Joseph Stanley who was convicted in Shropshire, England for life, transported aboard the "Bussorah Merchant" on 24th March 1828, arriving in New South Wales, Australia[11]
  • Mr. James Stanley(b. 1801), aged 27, Cornish settler convicted in Cornwall, UK on 15th April 1828, sentenced for 7 years for stealing a pair of pantaloons and a pair of trousers from John Johns, transported aboard the ship "Vittoria" on 26th August 1828 to New South Wales, Australia[12]
  • Henry Stanley, English convict from Sussex, who was transported aboard the "Argyle" on March 5th, 1831, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia[13]
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Stanley migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Stanley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. Stanley, Australian settler travelling from Sydney, Australia aboard the ship "Bristolian" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand in 1842 [14]
  • Mr. John Stanley, (b. 1827), aged 23, British agricultural labourer travelling from London aboard the ship "Randolph" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand in September 1850 [15]
  • Mrs. Mary Stanley, (b. 1830), aged 19, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Randolph" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand in September 1850, she died in 1901 [15]
  • Mr. Frank Stanley, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Harkaway" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 2nd June 1857 [14]
  • John Stanley, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ashburton" in 1857
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Stanley (post 1700) +

  • Arthur Penrhyn Stanley (1815-1881), Dean of Westminster, born at Alderley Rectory on 13 Dec. 1815, the second son and third child of Edward Stanley, Bishop of Norwich
  • John Stanley (1713-1786), English composer, who wrote "The Fall of Egypt" and other oratorios
  • Frederick Arthur Stanley KG, GCB, GCVO, PC (1841-1908), 16th Earl of Derby, the sixth Governor General of Canada (1888 to 1893), eponym of the Stanley Cup
  • Edward George Villiers Stanley (1865-1948), 17th Earl of Derby, English politician
  • Mr. William Stanley, British sheriff, held the joint position of Sheriff of Nottingham, England from 1626 to 1627
  • Mr. Robert Stanley, British sheriff, held the joint position of Sheriff of Nottingham, England from 1546 to 1547
  • Mr. Richard Stanley, British sheriff, held the joint position of Sheriff of Nottingham, England from 1515 to 1516
  • Mr. John Stanley, British sheriff, held the joint position of Sheriff of Nottingham, England from 1547 to 1548
  • Michael Stanley Gee (1948-2021), American singer-songwriter, musician, and radio personality
  • Mr. Paul Timothy Stanley M.B.E., British Export Vice President for Europe for MBDA UK Ltd., was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire on 8th June 2018, for services to Defence Exports [16]
  • . (Another 91 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Historic Events for the Stanley family +

HMS Dorsetshire
  • Horace Stanley (1921-1945), , aged 24, born in Woodville, South Derbyshire, England, British Ordinary Seaman aboard the HMS Dorsetshire when she was struck by air bombers and sunk he died in the sinking [17]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Leonard Stanley (b. 1922), English Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Erdington, Birmingham, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [18]
HMS Prince of Wales
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Acourt Stanley, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [20]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Cyril James Stanley (1922-1939), British Boy 1st Class with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk he died in the sinking [21]
  • Augustus George Stanley (1916-1939), Irish Stoker 1st Class with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk he died in the sinking [21]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. H. Stanley, English Fireman from England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking [22]
  • Mr. J. Stanley, English Fireman from England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking [22]
  • Mr. David H. Stanley, English First Waiter from Egremont, Cheshire, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking [22]
  • Mr. Henry William Stanley, American 2nd Class passenger from Trenton, New Jersey, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [23]
RMS Titanic
  • Miss Amy Zillah Elsie Stanley, aged 24, English Third Class passenger from Wallingford, Oxfordshire who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking in collapsible C [24]
  • Mr. Edward Rowland Stanley (d. 1912), aged 21, English Third Class passenger from Swanage England who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [24]

Related Stories +

The Stanley Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Sans changer
Motto Translation: Without changing.


Stanley Spencer - History

Knowledgeable custodians are on hand in the Gallery to answer your questions and we have an accessible library and archive. You can just drop in on your visit to Cookham, no booking is required, we also cater for groups, but the Gallery is quite small and so larger groups may need to split up. There are also lots of tea rooms, pubs and restaurants close by. There is parking in the High Street and there is a small car park round the corner from the Gallery, there is no charge for this.

Group bookings can be arranged for parties of between 10 and 40 people for a gallery talk and a guided walk. The walk takes in many parts of the village where Spencer set his paintings. For group bookings please email [email protected] .

The Gallery has disabled access and a lift up to the first floor, so there is no problem for wheelchairs. There is parking on the High Street with a few disabled slots. If you would like assistance with your visit please contact us [email protected] You can download a .pdf of the Disabled Access facilities that we have for visitors. A carer or supporter for a disabled person can visit the Gallery free of charge.

There is also a self-guided walk pamphlet available to buy at the gallery.

We are grateful to the following for the financial support they have given us :

– The Friends of Stanley Spencer. (for more info click on “Friends” in the main menu)


Stanley Spencer: Nursery (Christmas Stockings)

Even by his own eerie-peculiar standards, this is a perturbingly odd painting by that gifted English eccentric Stanley Spencer. It’s the night before Christmas and Christmas stockings hang from each bed frame: in this case, long rubber boots and saggy-bottomed Long Johns. And before we even consider what the occupants of each bed are up to, look closely at the heads of some of those toy figures: their painted grimaces are the thing of children’s nightmares.

Nursery (Christmas Stockings), 1936 Owning institute: Museum of Modern Art, New York

We all know that while little boys and girls sleep – and unbeknown to the adults of the house – toys take on a sinister life of their own. Or at least that’s the thrill and the fear of every small child with a vivid imagination. And Spencer, who, with his pudding-bowl haircut, always looked like an over-grown schoolboy and appeared to wholly lack a worldly sensibility, displayed a particularly ripe imagination in his work, recreating biblical scenes set in his home village of Cookham, Berkshire, and often populated by local characters.

But if you imagine there’s anything remotely cosy about Spencer’s homespun holy visions, then you’ve simply never looked hard enough. His scenes rarely offer straightforward biblical narratives, but are often unsettling, particularly in their sexual suggestiveness. Combining spiritual and sexual ecstasy isn’t unusual in the work of great artists, of course – just look at Bernini’s The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa. Yet Spencer does so in an oddly comic manner which is also psychologically jarring. The Dustman (Laing Art Gallery), a painting depicting a young man clearly experiencing some orgiastic vision while his wife carries him like an overgrown toddler in an enveloping embrace, is a good illustration of this. It was on the grounds of obscenity that that painting was rejected by the Royal Academy jury when submitted to its Summer Exhibition in 1935, prompting Spencer to resign. Years later their president, Sir Alfred Munnings, initiated a police prosecution on the grounds of obscenity occasioned by another painting, Double Nude Portrait (see reference below).

And look at the strange scenario of Nursery (Christmas Stockings). While the small boy is surrounded by his strange origami, four naked or semi-naked women in colourful hair-rags sit like fleshy, lumpen rag dolls, imprisoned by the metal bars of their bed frames, through which their boneless limbs extrude. Are they somnambulists, roused by some unearthly calling? Or are they merely figments of the boy’s awakening pubescent imagination? (How strangely they handle those phallic boots…) And just what are those little paper boxes, casting their great ominous shadows (tellingly, they look like fragile paper houses) that the boy appears so preoccupied by? If you look carefully you’ll find two female faces, one in profile, the other full-face, printed on a couple of the sheets.

Spencer painted this picture in 1936, in the middle of a marital crisis. He was in the process of leaving his first wife, Hilda Carline, for Patricia Preece, the subject of many of his paintings around this time, including two works painted in 1937: Double Nude Portrait: The Artist and his Second Wife and Self-Portrait with Patricia Preece (Fitzwilliam Museum). Both speak volumes about the nature of his difficult and unconsummated second marriage (Preece was involved in a life-long lesbian partnership with the artist Dorothy Hepworth, with whom she continued to live after her marriage.)

While those two double-portraits are painted in a realist style, and are quite brutal in their emotional rawness, Nursery, like many of his religious paintings, is more fantastical, even cartoonish. Could the boy, absorbed in his inscrutable play and surrounded by these fleshy suburban sirens, also be some kind of self-portrait?

Spencer’s bedrooms are rarely places of abandoned joy or easy intimacy. An early painting by Spencer, The Centurion’s Servant, 1914 (Tate), recounts a biblical narrative about faith and healing. But it doesn’t describe the moment when healing takes places, but the anguish that comes before it. It features a self-portrait of the 23-year-old Spencer on a bed surrounded by anxious females who are fervently praying and are clearly distraught. The room is dark and oppressive, just as it is in Nursery. And in Nursery the space is shallow, the floor tilted towards us, and the row of cage-like beds too big for the room, and the women themselves like giants.

Despite its title, Nursery (Christmas Stockings) is not a painting that speaks of the childhood joy that anticipates Christmas. It is a painting of oppressive sexual anxiety.

This article first appeared in The Arts Desk on 22 December, 2013.


Auctioning Stanley Spencer: A Sales History, 1990-2015

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Piano Nobile Publications, 2017.

Research output : Book/Report › Authored book

T1 - Auctioning Stanley Spencer: A Sales History, 1990-2015

N2 - This publication of the Nobile Index Series, written by Sophie Hatchwell, academic at Bristol University, focuses on the sales history of Sir Stanley Spencer from 1990-2015. Stanley Spencer, arguably one of the greatest British artists of the twentieth-century, is also renowned for his chequered sales history and money struggles. This rigorous study into the prices his work now commands at auctions demonstrates the significance of major sales over the past twenty-five years and the increasing value the market places upon Spencer's paintings. Evaluating general market trends, genres and media amongst other factors, Sophie Hatchwell's investigation provides an invaluable source of information on Stanley Spencer as an artist and the legacy and future of his work within the art market. The publication comes in two sections - an introduction by renowned Spencer specialist Professor Paul Gough, results and analysis, and a booklet insert of appendices.

AB - This publication of the Nobile Index Series, written by Sophie Hatchwell, academic at Bristol University, focuses on the sales history of Sir Stanley Spencer from 1990-2015. Stanley Spencer, arguably one of the greatest British artists of the twentieth-century, is also renowned for his chequered sales history and money struggles. This rigorous study into the prices his work now commands at auctions demonstrates the significance of major sales over the past twenty-five years and the increasing value the market places upon Spencer's paintings. Evaluating general market trends, genres and media amongst other factors, Sophie Hatchwell's investigation provides an invaluable source of information on Stanley Spencer as an artist and the legacy and future of his work within the art market. The publication comes in two sections - an introduction by renowned Spencer specialist Professor Paul Gough, results and analysis, and a booklet insert of appendices.


About Us

Stanley London is pleased to offer fine brass reproductions of antique sextants, compasses, telescopes, and other surveying instruments and nautical gifts.

These are handcrafted using solid brass and German silver, and are highly polished to a beautiful finish. Most products are stamped "Stanley London," after W. F. Stanley of Stanley & Co. in London, who made precision instruments one hundred years ago. Many items are available with beautiful handcrafted display and storage boxes. All of these items add sophisticated warmth to an office, and make great gifts for loved ones, collectors and corporate executives. We offer the fastest shipping anywhere, even with custom engraving! Please spend some time looking around at these beautiful products and we look forward to serving you.