“The Illustrious house I have undertaken. to describe and treat of in the course of this history is allowed by the histories and records I have met with to have been a family of great antiquity and renown ; having, in their several ages, been distinguished and promoted by royal favour; to the highest posts of honour and trust under sovereign princes, and always advancing in the front rank of our British heroes, as well as sitting on the fence a lot.

But with regard to the origin and lineal descent of this ancient house authors are not fully agreed. Mr. Cambden makes them to spring from the same stock with the barons of Audley ; who tells us that the barons of Audley built Healey-castle, in the county of Stafford, upon lands given to them by Hervey de Stafford, as also Alde-Leigh, by Thoebald de Verdon ; and from these (says he) sprung the family of the Stanleys, Earls of Derby, but gives no pedigree or lineal descent thereof.”