Home Manx Life Myles Standish and the Isle of Man

Myles Standish and the Isle of Man

by Bernadette Weyde

There is a little farm named Ellanbane, once the White Island set in a lake in Lezayre. In Elizabeth I’s last years it was the home of Huan Standish, whose ancestor, John, is recorded as having bought land in Lancashire in 1502. Huan had a son, William, and two daughters, Rose and Barbara, and in 1619 they welcomed their cousin Myles when he paid them a farewell visit. It is not known if Myles and his cousin Rose were betrothed prior to his visit to the Island but they were married in 1619.

Myles Standish was a Lancashire Standish from Ormskirk. He was also a Separatist and Separatists believed that the Church of England was beyond reform and wished to break from it to form independent congregations. Myles had lived in Holland in exile for some years but although Brownists (English Dissenters later to be known as Pilgrims/the Pilgrim Fathers) and Separatists enjoyed religious freedom there, some wished to raise their children in a strictly English environment.

In 1620 and with the permission of King James I of England and backing from a group of financial investors in London known as the Merchant Adventurers, a group of people seeking religious freedoms, together with others seeking financial opportunity in the New World, set off aboard the Mayflower to establish a colony in North America. In total there were 102 passengers plus officers and crew of around 50 persons.

It was a miserable passage with both high winds and heavy seas. Passengers suffered agonizing delays, cold, and the perpetual scorn and ridicule of the sailors. During the voyage there were two deaths but this was only a precursor to what happened after their arrival in Cape Cod where almost half the company would die in the first winter.

Rose Standish died on 29 January 1621 and is buried in an unmarked grave at Coles Hill Burial Ground in Plymouth. She is named on the Pilgrim Memorial Tomb at Coles Hill as “Rose, first wife of Myles Standish”.

Following Rose’s death, Myles wrote to her sister Barbara on the Isle of Man and Barbara set sail for the New World in 1623. They wed the following spring and had 7 children, 6 boys and 1 girl.

Myles died in 1656 at the age of 72 and is buried at Duxbury’s Old Burying Ground, now known as the Myles Standish Cemetery in Massachusetts. Records show that Barbara died after October 1659 but her burial place is unknown.

(sources: The Story of the Isle of Man Vol II by CW Airne; http://bit.ly/16oxBd1; http://bit.ly/10zm3Pz; http://bit.ly/1121SFy; artwork, artist unknown)

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