July 29 – Henry VII’s stepfather dies

On this day in Tudor history, 29th July 1504, in the reign of King Henry VII, Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby, the king’s stepfather died.

Find out a bit more about Stanley, and his role in helping Henry Tudor take the English throne, in this edition of #TudorHistoryShorts…


On 29th July 1504, Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby, died at his manor of Lathom in Lancashire.

  • Stanley’s first wife was Eleanor Neville, daughter of Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury, and sister of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick.
  • In 1472, Stanley married Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of the future Henry VII, but in 1499, she set up her own household and took a vow of chastity.
  • In 1483, Stanley bore the great mace at Richard III’s coronation.
  • At the Battle of Bosworth, Stanley’s troops and those of his brother Sir William helped Henry Tudor win the battle. Some say that it was Stanley who crowned his stepson with Richard’s crown on the battlefield, but it’s more likely to have been his brother.

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One thought on “July 29 – Henry VII’s stepfather dies”
  1. It was really due to this man that England had the Tudor dynasty at all, for his intervention on the side of Henry Tudor determined the battle that killed Richard 111 and thus ended Plantagenet rule, he was Henry V11’s stepfather and being wedded to his mother, the indomitable Lady Margaret Beaufort his loyalty would be to her family, Henry had never known his father, his uncle Jasper Tudor had been his guidance throughout his life and the hardships his mother had endured including her dreadful labour, had moulded her into the indefatigable Tudor matriarch of history she became, she married Thomas Stanley in 1472 and twenty seven years later took her vow of chastity, and set up her own household, living apart from her husband, it could not have bothered Stanley so much, he had done his duty, he had his reward, he had effectively destroyed the usurper, it was something his wife and son were eternally grateful to him for, he died this day in 1504, in his country seat in Lancashire, many people have heard of Bosworth, it is one of those famous battles of history for it was decisive like the Battle of Hastings and The Battle Of The Boyne, yet Sir Thomas Stanley is really only known to the Ricardians who abhor him, and those scholars of Tudor history, William the Conqueror and Harold Hadrada who he defeated are synonymous with Hastings, William of Orange and James 11 with the Boyne and Richard 111 and Henry V11 with Bosworth, yet it was due to this one man Thomas Stanley and his brother who effectively determined the course of English history that day.

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