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William Stafford of Grafton (Sir)

Born: Bef 1512, Chebsey, Staffs., Rochford, Essex & London

Died: 5 May 1556, Geneva

Notes: See his Biography (below)

Father: Humphrey Stafford of Blatherwycke

Mother: Margaret Fogge

Married 1: Mary Boleyn Abt. 1533


1. Son Stafford (b. 1535 - d. ?)

Married 2: Hon. Lady Dorothy Stafford After Jul 1543


2. Edward Stafford of Grafton (Sir)

3. John Safford of Marlwood Park (Sir)

4. William Stafford b) 1554 d) 1612

5. Elizabeth Stafford

6. Ursula Stafford


The details in this biography come from the History of Parliament, a biographical dictionary of Members of the House of Commons.

Born by 1512, second son of Sir Humphrey Stafford of Blatherwycke and Dodford, by Margaret, dau. of Sir John Fogge of Ashford, Kent. Married first, 1533/4, Mary, daughter of Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire and Earl of Ormond, widow of William Carey (d. 22 Jun 1538), of Aldenham, Herts., s. p.. Married second, by 1552, Dorothy, daughter of Henry Stafford, 1st Baron Stafford, and had 3 sons, Edward, John and William, and one daughter, Elizabeth. Knighted 23 Sep 1545. Esquire of the body by 1541; gentleman pensioner 1540; standard bearer, gentleman pensioner by 20 May 1550-3.

William Stafford could boast Royal descent, but as the younger son of a midland family whose fortunes had been depleted during the previous century he had little hope of advancement before his marriage to Mary Boleyn, an ex-mistress of Henry VIII. He attended the coronation of Queen Anne Boleyn as a servitor and this may have been the occasion of his meeting with her sister whom he could have known, however, through his Kentish relatives. Their marriage displeased the King and Queen, as well as Cromwell, and Mary Boleyn told the minister that love had triumphed over reason and that although she 'might have had a greater man of birth and higher' she was content to lead 'a poor honest life' with her youthful husband. It was perhaps the Queen's coolness towards the pair which protected them when disaster struck her and her brother Lord Rochford: in the event they were gainers, for between 1539 and 1542 Mary Stafford was to inherit in succession her father's lands, those held in jointure by Rochford's widow and those of her grandmother the Countess of Ormond. Although the bulk of this property was to pass to the children of her first marriage, she was able to give her husband several manors in Essex, including Rochford which they later made their home. In 1541 Stafford acquired the manor of Hendon in Kent from the crown but several months later he exchanged it for more valuable property in Yorkshire and London. After Mary's death he inherited the manor of Abinger, Surrey, which he later sold to Edward Elrington and his cousin Thomas.

In 1544 he fought in France and in 1545 in Scotland, where he was knighted by Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford. It was doubtless as a Protestant courtier and a soldier known to Hertford (by then Protector and Duke of Somerset) that he was returned to the Parliament of 1547: the elector of Hastings had no part in the matter, for the indenture was evidently returned to the lord warden, Sir Thomas Cheney, bearing one name only, that of John Isted, and it was Cheney who added Stafford's. He was to be joined in the Commons by his stepson Henry Carey, one of the Members for Buckingham, and by his stepdaughter's husband, Sir Francis Knollys, who sat for Camelford. Nothing is known of Stafford's role in the House, but if his second marriage had either taken place or was in contemplation he may have supported the Act for the restitution of Baron Stafford (I Edward VI, no. 18) passed during the first session, and it was either he or Henry Stafford who in the last session was licensed on 22 Feb 1552 to be absent when suffering from measles. He was not harmed by the Protector's fall: in 1550 Somerset's rival the Earl of Warwick granted him an annuity of 100 pounds for his services to Henry VIII and entrusted him with the custody of three noble French hostages from Dover to London. In 1551 he accompanied Edward, Lord Clinton to Paris for the christening of one of Henri II's sons and on his return he took part in the New Year's tournament at court. He showed his loyalty to Northumberland by reporting a servant's allegation that the Protector had been innocent of the charges laid against him. Whether this act assured Northumberland of his support is not known, nor whether he sat in the next Parliament summoned early in 1553 under the duke's aegis: John Isted was re-elected for Hastings but the name of his fellow-Member on this occasion has not been discovered. A brawl with Adrian Poynings in the previous Nov had reduced his standing in the Council's esteem and had led to a brief recommittal to the fleet.

Although Stafford's second marriage linked him more closely to the peerage, it brought him no wealth. In the early 1550s he disposed of much of the property given him by Mary Boleyn, and mounting debts induced him in 1552 to exchange his annuity for 900 pounds in cash.

Accompanied by his wife, children, sister, cousin and servants, he settled in Geneva in Mar 1554, being known there as Lord Rochford. He soon became embroiled in its disputes and on returning there after the uprising of 1555 he was nearly killed in an affray.

When the English congregation was set up he joined it and his son John was the first child to be baptized on 4 Jan 1556, Calvin standing as godfather. Stafford died there on May 5, 1556, but the Privy Council was unaware of this when ten days later it ordered that 'no payment of money by exchange or otherwise' was to reach him. Calvin claimed the custody of his son John and forbade his widow to leave with him. She appealed to Stafford's younger brother and the threat to invoke French aid persuaded Calvin to yield. She then moved to Basle, remaining there until Jan 1559, when she returned to England through aid provided by Queen Elizabeth, probably at the request of Dorothy's father, Henry Stafford, Baron Stafford, who was serving the Queen as a Courtier at the time. The Queen recognized Lady Dorothy as a relative, the wife of her uncle Sir William Stafford whom she knew when she was a child. Elizabeth, whom she outlived, appointed her mistress of the robes; the Queen and Dorothy became close friends and Dorothy served as a trusted confidante. Dorothy served the Queen faithfully in that position for 40 years.



"Leo van de Pas Online posting. 30 Mar. 2006. World Roots.com Royalty Pages



Submitted by Leo van de Pas
corrections/additions are always welcome

Ralph de Stafford
2nd Baron and 1st Earl of Stafford
Born 24 September 1301
Died 31 August 1372
Buried Tunbridge
Married (1) circa 1326 /1327
Katharine Hastang, daughter of Sir John Hastang, of Chebsey
and Eve
Married (2) before 6 July 1336
Margaret de Audley, daughter of Hugh de Audley, Earl of
Gloucester and Lady Margaret de Clare
Died 7 September 1349
Buried Tonbridge
Children, Generation I

Generation I
(1) 1 Joan Stafford
Married Sir Nicholas Beke

(2) 2 Ralph Stafford
Died 1345 / 1349
Married Maud of Lancaster, daughter of Henry, Duke of
Lancaster and Isabel de Beaumont
Born 4 April 1335
Died 10 April 1362

3 Hugh de Stafford
3rd Baron & 2nd Earl of Stafford
Born circa 1342
Died October 1386 Rhodes
Buried Stone
Married before 1 March 1351
Lady Philippa de Beauchamp, daughter of Thomas de
Beauchamp, 3rd Earl of Warwick and Catherine Mortimer
Died before 6 April 1386
Buried Stone
Children, Generation II-1

4 Beatrice Stafford
Died 14 April 1415
Married (1) 1350
Maurice FitzMaurice, 2nd Earl of Desmond, son of Morice
FitzThomas "Morice The Great", 1st Earl of Desmond and
Katherine de Burgh
Born 31 July 1336 Newcastle, co. Limerick
Died 20 April 1358 / 5 June 1358
Buried Tralee Abbey
Married (2) 1 January 1359 *
Thomas de Ros, 4th Lord de Ros, son of William de Ros, 2nd
Lord de Ros and Margery Badlesmere
Born 13 January 1337 Stoke Albany, Northants.
Died 8 June 1383 Uffington, Lincs.
Married (3) before 20 August 1385
Sir Richard Burley

5 Joan Stafford
Died before 1397
Married (1) John Cherleton, 3rd Lord Cherleton, Lord Powis,
son of John Cherleton, 2nd Lord Cherleton, Lord of Powis
and Maud Mortimer
Born circa 1334
Died 13 July 1374
Married (2) before 16 November 1379
Gilbert Talbot, 3rd Lord Talbot, son of Richard Talbot, 2nd
Lord Talbot and Elizabeth Comyn
Born circa 1332
Died 24 April 1387 Roales, Spain

6 Elizabeth Stafford
Died 7 August 1375
Married (1) 12 March 1347 *
Fulk Lestraunge, son of Sir John Lestraunge, of Whitchurch
Born 2 February 1331
Died 1349 (pestilence)
Married (2) 19 October 1349 *
John de Ferrers, 4th Lord Ferrers of Chartley, son of Sir
Robert de Ferrers, 3rd Lord Ferrers of Chartley and
Born circa 10 August 1331
Died 3 April 1367 Najera (in battle)

7 Margaret Stafford
Married Sir John Stafford, of Bramshill, son of Sir William
Stafford, of Sandon

II-1 (I-3)
1 Ralph de Stafford
Died 1385 (murdered)

2 Margaret Stafford
Died 1395
Married before 1370
Ralph Nevill, 1st Earl of Westmoreland, son of John Nevill,
3rd Lord Nevill of Raby and Maud Percy
Born before 1364 Raby Castle
Died 21 October 1425 Raby Castle
Buried Church of Staindrop, Raby

3 Thomas de Stafford
4th Baron & 3rd Earl of Stafford
Born circa 1368
Died 4 July 1392
Married circa 1390
Anne of Gloucester, daughter of Thomas of Woodstock, 1st
Duke of Gloucester and Eleanor de Bohun
Born April 1383
Died 16 October 1438

4 Katherine Stafford
Died 8 April 1419
Buried Wingfield
Married 1 February 1382 *
Michael de La Pole, 2nd Earl of Suffolk, son of Michael de
La Pole, 1st Earl of Suffolk and Katherine Wingfield
Born 1367
Died 18 September 1415 Harfleur (in battle)
Buried Wingfield

5 Joan Stafford
Born 1371
Died 30 September 1442 / 1 October 1442
Married after 20 October 1392
Thomas de Holand, 3rd Earl of Kent, son of Thomas de
Holand, 2nd Earl of Kent and Lady Alice Fitzalan
Born 1371
Died 7 January 1400 Cirencester (beheaded)

6 William de Stafford
5th Baron & 4th Earl of Stafford
Born 21 September 1375
Died 6 April 1395 Pleshey, Essex
Buried Tonbridge

7 Edmund de Stafford
6th Baron & 5th Earl of Stafford
Born 2 March 1377 / 1378
Died 21 July 1403 Shrewsbury (in battle)
Married 28 June 1398
Anne of Gloucester, daughter of Thomas of Woodstock, 1st
Duke of Gloucester and Eleanor de Bohun
Born April 1383
Died 16 October 1438
Children, Generation III-1

8 Sir Hugh Stafford
Baron Bourchier
Died 25 October 1420
Married before September 1410
Elizabeth Bourchier, sue jure Baroness Bourchier, daughter
of Bartholomew Bourchier, 3rd Lord Bourchier and Idoine
Born circa 1399
Died 1 July 1433

III-1 (II-1-7)
1 Humphrey Stafford
1st Duke of Buckingham, 6th Earl of Stafford
Born 15 August 1402
Died 10 July 1460 Northampton (in battle)
Married before 18 October 1424
Lady Anne Nevill, daughter of Ralph Nevill, 1st Earl of
Westmoreland and Joan Beaufort
Died 20 September 1480
Buried Pleshy
Children, Generation IV-1

2 Philippa Stafford
Died young

3 Anne Stafford
Died 20 September 1432
Married (1) circa 1415
Edmund Mortimer, 5th Earl of March, 8th Earl of Ulster, son
of Roger Mortimer, 4th Earl of March, 7th Earl of Ulster
and Lady Eleanor de Holand
Born 4 November 1391 New Forest
Died 19 January 1425 Trim Castle
Married (2) before 15 July 1427
John de Holand, Duke of Exeter, Earl of Huntingdon, son of
John de Holand, 1st Duke of Exeter and Elizabeth of
Born 29 March 1395 Dartington, Devon
Died 5 August 1447
Buried St.Catherine's Tower of London

IV-1 (III-1-1)
1 Humphrey Stafford
Earl of Stafford
Born 1428
Died 22 May 1455 St. Albans (in battle)
Married 1444
Margaret Beaufort, daughter of Edmund Beaufort, Duke of
Somerset and Lady Eleanor de Beauchamp
Died 1474
Children, Generation V-1

2 Lady Catherine Stafford
Died 26 December 1476
Married circa 1467
John Talbot, 3rd Earl of Shrewsbury, Earl of Waterford, son
of John Talbot, 2nd Earl of Shrewsbury and Lady Elizabeth
Born 12 December 1448
Died 28 June 1473 Coventry
Buried Worksop Priory

3 John Stafford
1st Earl of Wiltshire
Died 8 June 1473
Married 1458 Maxstoke Castle
Constance Green, daughter of Henry Green and Margaret Roos
Died 2 March 1475
Children, Generation V-2

4 Lord Henry Stafford
Died 1481
Married circa 1459
Lady Margaret Beaufort, daughter of John Beaufort, 1st Duke
of Somerset and Margaret Beauchamp
Born 31 May 1443 Bletso, Hertfordshire
Died 29 June 1509 Westminster Palace

5 Lady Anne Stafford
Died April 1472
Buried Lingfield
Married (1) January 1443
Aubrey de Vere, son of John de Vere, 12th Earl of Oxford
and Elizabeth Howard
Died 20 February 1462 Tower of London (beheaded)
Married (2) Sir Thomas Cobham, son of Sir Reginald Cobham,
of Sterborough and Eleanor Colepepper
Died 1471
Buried Lingfield

6 Lord Edward Stafford
Died young

7 Richard Stafford
Died young

8 Lady Joane Stafford
Born circa 1440
Died after 1491
Married (1) before 4 May 1461 Div.bef.1477
William Beaumont, 2nd Viscount Beaumont, Lord Bardolf, son
of John Beaumont, 6th Lord & 1st Vicount Beaumont and
Elizabeth Phelip
baptised 23 April 1438 Edenham, co. Lincoln
Died 19 December 1507 Wivenhoe, Essex
Married (2) circa 1477
Sir William Knyvett, son of John Knyvett and Alice Lynne
Born 1450
Died 2 December 1510 / 1515

9 Elizabeth Stafford

10 George Stafford
Died young

11 William Stafford
Died young

12 Margaret Stafford

V-1 (IV-1-1)
1 Henry Stafford
2nd Duke of Buckingham
Born 4 September 1455
Died 2 November 1483 Salisbury (beheaded)
Buried Grey Friars
Married February 1466
Catherine Widville, daughter of Richard Widville, 1st Earl
Rivers and Jacquetta de Luxembourg
Born 1449 ?
Died 22 July 1525
Children, Generation VI-1

2 Humphrey Stafford
Died young

V-2 (IV-1-3)
1 Edward Stafford
2nd Earl of Wiltshire
Born 7 April 1470
Died 24 March 1499 Drayton
Buried Lowick
Married 3 July 1494
Margaret Grey, daughter of Edward Grey, 1st Viscount Lisle
and Elizabeth Talbot, 3rd Baroness Lisle
Died 8 August 1500 / 9 September 1504

VI-1 (V-1-1)
1 Lady Elizabeth Stafford
Died before 11 May 1532
Married after 23 July 1505
Robert Radcliffe, 1st Earl of Sussex, 10th Lord FitzWalter,
son of John Radcliffe, Lord Fitzwalter and Margaret
Born circa 1483
Died circa 23 November 1542 Chelsea

2 Lady Anne Stafford
Buried Stoke Pagis
Married (1) 1489
Sir Walter Herbert, son of Sir William de Herbert, 1st Earl
of Pembroke and Anne Devereux
Died 16 September 1507
Married (2) December 1509
George Hastings, 1st Earl of Huntingdon, son of Edward
Hastings, Lord Hungerford and Hastings and Mary Hungerford,
Baroness Hungerford, Baroness Moleyns
Born 1488
Died 24 March 1544

3 Edward Stafford
3rd Duke of Buckingham
Born 3 February 1478
Died 17 May 1521 Tower Hill (beheaded)
Married 14 December 1490 *
Lady Eleanor Percy, daughter of Henry Percy, 4th Earl of
Northumberland and Lady Maud Herbert
Died 13 February 1530
Buried London, Greyfriars
Children, Generation VII-1

4 Henry Stafford
Earl of Wiltshire
Born circa 1479
Died March 1523
Married 22 November 1503 / 18 Oct.1505
Cecily Bonville, daughter of William Bonville, 6th Lord
Harington and Lady Catherine Nevill
Born circa 1460 /1461
Died 12 May 1529 Shacklewell Hackney
Buried Astley
Child by (a) NN
Children, Generation VII-2

5 Humphrey Stafford
Died young

VII-1 (VI-1-3)
1 Lady Elizabeth Stafford
Born circa 1494
Died 30 November 1558 Lambeth
Married before 8 January 1513
Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, son of Thomas Howard,
2nd Duke of Norfolk and Elizabeth Tilney
Born 1473
Died 25 August 1554 Kenninghall, Norfolk
Buried Framlingham, Norfolk

2 Lady Catherine Stafford
Died 14 May 1555 Holywell
Married before June 1520
Ralph Nevill, 4th Earl of Westmorland, son of Ralph Nevill,
Lord Nevill and Edith (Elisabeth) Sandys
Born 21 February 1498
Died 1549

3 Henry Stafford
1st Baron Stafford
Born 18 September 1501 Penshurst, Kent
Died 30 April 1563 Caus Castle, Salop
Married circa 16 February 1518
Lady Ursula Pole, daughter of Sir Richard Pole and Margaret,
Countess of Salisbury
Died 12 March 1570
Children, Generation VIII-1

4 Lady Mary Stafford
Married circa June 1519
George Nevill, 3rd & 5th Baron Abergavenny, son of George
Nevill, 2nd & 4th Baron Abergavenny and Margaret Fenne
Born circa 1471
Died after 4 June 1535
Buried Birling, Kent

5 NN Stafford

VII-2 (VI-1-4)
(a) 1 Margaret Stafford
Died 25 May 1537 London
Married (1) William Cheyne
Married (2) John Bulmer, son of Sir William Bulmer and
Margery Conyers
Died 25 May 1537 London

VIII-1 (VII-1-3)
1 Henry Stafford
Died in infancy

2 The Hon. Dorothy Stafford
Born 1526
Died 1604
Married 1545
William Stafford, of Grafton
Died 1554

3 The Hon. Elizabeth Stafford
Married Sir William Nevil, of Chebsey

4 Henry Stafford
2nd Lord Stafford
Born before 1534
Died 1 January 1566 Stafford Castle
Married before 25 September 1557
Elizabeth Davy, daughter of John Davy and Maud

5 Edward Stafford
3rd Lord Stafford
Born 17 January 1536 Stafford Castle
Died 18 October 1603
Buried St.Mary's, Stafford
Married before 23 November 1566
Lady Mary Stanley, daughter of Edward Stanley, 3rd Earl of
Derby and Lady Dorothy Howard
Died 3 September 1609
Buried Thornbury, Gloucester
Children, Generation IX-1

6 The Hon. Richard Stafford
Married Mary Corbet, daughter of John Corbet, of Lee
Children, Generation IX-2

7 The Hon. Walter Stafford

IX-1 (VIII-1-5)
1 Edward Stafford
Died 27 January 1569
Buried 1 February 1569 St.Mary's, Stafford

2 The Hon. Ursula Stafford
Married Walter Erdeswick

3 Edward Stafford
4th Lord Stafford
baptised 20 September 1572 St.Mary's, Stafford
Died 25 September 1625
Buried 26 September 1625 Castle Church, Stafford
Married before 22 November 1595
Isabel Forster, daughter of Thomas Forster, of Salop and
Ursula Vise
Died after July 1646
Children, Generation X-1

4 The Hon. Dorothy Stafford
baptised 20 September 1572 St.Mary's, Stafford

IX-2 (VIII-1-6)
1 Roger Stafford
5th Lord Stafford
Born circa 1572 /1575
Died circa 1640

2 Jane Stafford

X-1 (IX-1-3)
1 The Hon. Edward Stafford
baptised 9 January 1601 St.Mary's, Stafford
Died 6 April 1621
Buried St.Andrew's, Holborn
Married circa 1619
Anne Wilford, daughter of James Wilford
Died 1649
Children, Generation XI-1

XI-1 (X-1-1)
1 Mary Stafford
Countess of Stafford
Born 1619
Died 3 January 1694
Buried Westminster Abbey
Married 11 October 1637 London
Sir William Howard, Viscount Stafford, son of Thomas
Howard, Earl of Arundel, Surrey and Norfolk and Lady
Alathea Talbot
Born 30 November 1612
Died 29 December 1680 Tower Hill (beheaded)

2 Henry Stafford
5th Lord Stafford
Born 24 September 1621
Died 4 August 1637 Ankerwyke

Source Listing

Genealogie der Graven van Holland
Zaltbommel, 1969.
by Dr. A. W. E. Dek

A Genealogical History of the dormant,
abeyant, forfeited and extinct peerages
of the British Empire, London, 1866
by Sir Bernard Burke

Burke's Guide to the Royal Family
London, 1973

Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic
History of the Peerage, Baronetage
and Knightage, London

The Complete Peerage 1936
by H.A.Doubleday & Lord Howard de Walden

The Lineage and Ancestry of
H.R.H. Prince Charles, Prince of Wales
Edinburgh, 1977.
by Gerald Paget

Cahiers de Saint Louis Magazine
by Jacques Dupont, Jacques Saillot

The Plantagenet Roll of the Blood Royal
The Clarence Volume
London, 1905.
by The Marquis of Ruvigny and Raineval