In the old cemetery are the vaults of several famous men of Houghton and district, and one of them contains the remains of Mr. W. Standish Standish, of Cocken Hall.
Mr Standish was an author and artist whose eminence was appreciated over a wide area. His extensive and valuable gallery of pictures, together with his unique and costly
library of the rarest books, were bequeathed by him, in April, 1840, to Louis Phiippe, King of France. His Majesty deposited them in a suite of cabinets in the Louvre which
he named the ‘Musee Standish’. Mr. Standish valued his paintings at £32,000 and his books at £11,000. After the revolution of 1848, The Standish Collection was removed
to England and the gallery of pictures, with that by Spanish artists, was sold by public auction at Christie’s, London, in May, 1853.
There were paintings by Watteau, Morale, Murilla, Velasquez and others which brought such prices as 700 guineas, 205 guineas, 380 guineas and so on.
In 1848, Mr. Standish Standish offered the use of his residence at Duxbury Park to the ex-royal family of France, but the offer was declined.
The inscription on the vault’s memorial stone at Houghton-le-Spring reads:
“Within this tomb lies the remains of the deservedly lammented William Standish Standish Esq of Duxbury Park, County of Lancashire and Cocken Hall in the County of Durham, who died at Cocken Hall July 10th 1856 aged 48 years.”