STOPFORD, William (by 1522-84), of Bispham and Wrightington, Lancs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1522, prob. s. of John Stopford. m. Blanche, da. of Henry Twiford of Kenwick, Salop, at least 1s.1

Offices Held

Commr. in local disputes 1553, 1578.2


The Earl of Derby and the duchy of Lancaster customarily shared the nomination of the Liverpool Members. In 1558 George White, an Essex gentleman, was clearly the nominee of the duchy, and William Stopford was recommended by the earl. A payment to Stopford ‘for the church goods bought before’ Edward Stanley, 3rd Earl of Derby, at Lathom is recorded in the Prescot churchwardens’ accounts for 1553-4; in 1562 he received a fee of 53s.4d. from the earl and ten years later he was named an executor of the earl’s will. Other Stopfords were also members of the Derby household. Robert Bootle, who died about 1631, was married to the daughter of a Stopford who was secretary to the 4th Earl of Derby (d.1593); whether this was the Member or one of his kinsmen is not known, as no pedigree has been found.3

Stopford first appears in 1543 as the purchaser of property in Wrightington. He engaged in a number of lawsuits, both as plaintiff and defendant, over his interests in Bispham, Eccleston, Mawdesley, North Meols, Wrightington and elsewhere in Lancashire. Stopford died in 1584 and according to his tombstone in Eccleston churchyard was buried on 18 June. As a servant of the earls of Derby he may have been a Catholic, but his relationship, if any, with the Marian priest Francis Stopford and with the ‘Mr. Stopford’ at whose Lancashire house mass was said has not been discovered. His widow married Robert Hesketh and in 1601-2 John Stopford, claiming by conveyance from his father William, brought a suit against the Heskeths and William Ashehurst over property in Bispham and elsewhere. By about 1600 the Stopfords had settled at Ulnes Walton in Lancashire and they later moved to Saltersford in Cheshire. Their descendants became earls of Courtown.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. VCH Lancs. vi. 173n; Vis. Lancs. (Chetham Soc. lxxxv), 135.
  • 2. Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. xl. 148; APC, x. 299.
  • 3. Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. civ. 30; Lancs. RO, Stanley pprs. DDK/6/3, p. 17; J.B. Watson, ‘Lancs. gentry 1529-58’ (London Univ. M.A. thesis, 1959), 566; PCC 38 Daper; Vis. Lancs. (Chetham Soc. lxxxiv), 45.
  • 4. Add. 32104, arts. 1366, 1390; VCH Lancs. vi. 173n.; Ducatus Lanc. ii. 176, 284; iii. 268, 348, 353; iv. 5, 94, 100, 112, 188, 218, 484; R. C. Shaw, Lancs. Fam. 156; Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. xl. 148; APC, x. 299; Trans. Hist. Soc. Lancs. and Cheshire, lxiii. 56; Strype, Annals, ii(2), 661; iv. 261; Trans. Lancs. and Cheshire Antiq. Soc. xxxiii. 206.