Saturday, May 23, 2009

Question from Megan - Stafford family after Buckingham's execution

I read that the Stafford family fell out of favour after the execution of the Duke of Buckingham. Is this completely true? Are they still nobility today? Thanks

4 comments:

kb said...

It was pretty common that if a member of your family was executed by the monarch that you were 'out of favour'.

However, I have these bits for you. The DNB article on Sir Henry Stafford, son of Edward Stafford 3rd duke of Buckingham says that - ‘Shortly after his father's execution in the following year the king made provision for an income of 500 marks from Buckingham's Staffordshire and Shropshire properties to be settled on Stafford and his wife jointly and on the heirs of her body—significantly a concession rather to the Poles than to the Staffords.'

Sir Henry was married to Ursula Pole daughter of Sir Richard Pole and Margaret Plantagenet Pole Countess of Salisbury. Sir Henry became a Knight of the Bath in 1532 and was MP in 1547 which is also when he became a baron, so by then the family, through the influence and family ties of the female side had regained a measure of favour.

In 1522 and 1531 they were given some manors from his father's estates. Their daughters were farmed out, the eldest to her grandmother the countess and their youngest Dorothy to Elizabeth's household. Dorothy went on to marry her distant cousin William Stafford who was the widower of Mary Boleyn Carey. Dorothy Stafford was a close friend of Elizabeth's and served her for most of the reign.

Their son Edward married Douglas Howard Sheffield, the mother of Robert Dudley's illegitimate son and served as a diplomat to the French court under Elizabeth.

Doothy's other son William Stafford was implicated in the 1587 'Stafford Plot' to execute Elizabeth.

I can't speak to current Staffords but I am sure PhD historian or Foose or others know. You can also check the peerage sites.

Foose said...

Sorry about the delay on this. I had to hunt through my collection for John Martin Robinson's The Staffords.

The short answer is yes, and yes (sort of). It's kind of a sad story for much of the past 500 years. The main branch, descended directly from the Duke of Buckingham, reached its nadir in the 17th century, despite the efforts at revival that kb notes under Queen Elizabeth. Robinson says in his preface:

"This dramatic fall (1521) marked a watershed in the history of the family which was never to attain such pre-eminence and wealth again ... The Staffords continued to live at Stafford Castle despite increasing financial difficulties ... On the death of Henry 5th Lord Stafford as a 16-year-old minor ... in 1637, his sister Mary was married to Lord Arundel's youngest son William Howard. Though there was a male Stafford heir, Roger, he was unmarried and living in obscure circumstances in Shropshire. His sister's son was a shoemaker (emphasis mine). Charles I, therefore, overrode Roger's claim to the title and created William and Mary Baron and Baroness Stafford."

So technically, the Staffords were now Howards. However, Lord Stafford got swept up in the Titus Oates affair in 1680 and was beheaded (perhaps proving he was a chip off the old block). He left only daughters, whose heirs were the Jerninghams. When the title of Baron Stafford was revived in the early 19th century by popular aristocratic demand, the Jerninghams received it and became Stafford-Jerninghams.

The 8th Baronet's brother married Marianne Smythe, the adopted daughter of Mrs. Fitzherbert (morganatic wife of George IV) and after the death of their two sons the title passed to the son of their daughter, who had married another Fitzherbert.

Hence today we have Fitzherbert Staffords, represented by Francis Fitzherbert, 15th Baron Stafford, who commissioned Robinson's work. So the Staffords are still around (not counting all the descendants of Stafford daughters before 1521), but considerably watered down.

Anonymous said...

DID BUCKINGHAM REALLY EVEN COMMIT TREASON? OR WAS IT HENRY'S WAY OF MAKING SURE HIS THRONE WAS SAFE? aND DIDN'T SIR THOMAS MORE RECEIVE HIS ESTATE? iF BUCKINGHAM WAS NOT GUILTY, WOULDN'T ACCEPTING THE ESTATE BE AGAINST HIS ETHICS AND VIRTUE?

Alderney said...

Is it possible that the Staffords had illegitimate children surnamed buckingham?