My research commenced with John Stanley himself.
From the annals of the Isle of Mann and in particular from Seacomes book “The House of Stanley”, I learned that in later life John Stanley was indeed King of the Isle of Mann.
I also learned that he had Celtic and Saxon ancestors and was connected to norman families by the marriages of his female relatives.
John had been in France with the Black Prince in1355-6, he became the tournament champion of Europe and fought a Frenchman to the death in defence of the King’s Honour.
Seacome also revealed that John had become Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. he linked this latter event with John’s marriage to Isobel Lathom, insinuating that Isabel’s father had resisted the marriage for many years but had relented after the Irish appointment, apparently believing that such a prestigious position made john worthy to take his daughter’s hand.
Seacome also repeated the legend of the Eagle and Child, which i knew from my youth. The Eagle and Child is the crest of the Stanley and has been adopted by many pubs in south west lancashire. The legend attached to the crest is documented in many of those pubswher the locals also refer to it as “the Bird and the Bastard”
My early research was therefore quickly defined. Mann, Ireland and the Stanley legend.
I found it necessary to supplement it with general research covering the 13th,14th and 15th centuries, never forgetting that i was really hoping to identify the mysterious frenchwoman who had become John stanley’s first wife