Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/778

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

a pauper, to surrender it to the king, which he did (illegally, it is now held) in 1639. The king thereupon bestowed it on Mary Stafford (the heir general of the line) and her husband, William Howard, in whose descendants it is now vested. Roger, who had surrendered the title, died in 1640, the last heir male, apparently, of the main line of this historic house.

Of the junior lines the most important was that known as Stafford of Hooke (Co. Dorset), which had branched off from the parent stem at a very early date. Sir John Stafford of this line married his kinswoman, a daughter of the 1st earl of Stafford. From their younger son, Ralf, descended the Staffords of Grafton and other families; the elder, who fought in the French wars, was grandfather of John (Stafford), archbishop of Canterbury. This prelate came to the front under Henry VI., becoming treasurer (1422), bishop of Bath and Wells (1425), and lord chancellor (1432—1450). Archbishop from 1443 to his death in 1452, he steered an even course between parties as a moderate man and useful official. His elder brother obtained Hooke by marriage, and left two sons, of whom the younger was grandfather of Humphrey Stafford, who succeeded to Hooke, fought for Edward IV. at Towton, and was summoned as Lord Stafford of Southwick in July 1461, and was advanced to the earldom of Devon on the 7th of May 1469, after the execution of the Courtenay earl, which he is said to have intrigued for. Failing to support the earl of Pembroke against the rebels a few months later, he was responsible for their victory, for which he was arrested, and beheaded (Aug. 17). With him ended the Staffords of Hooke.

Sir Humphrey Stafford of Grafton (of their cadet line) was an active supporter of Richard III., and was executed for high treason by Henry VII. in 1485. From him descended Sir Edward Stafford (whose mother was a daughter of Henry, Lord Stafford), an Elizabethan diplomatist, who was appointed resident ambassador to France in 1583, a post which he held with success to 1590, sitting afterwards in parliament for Stafford, and dying in 1605. His brother William (1554—1612) was concerned in some obscure plots under Elizabeth.

Another offshoot from the main line was that of the Staffords of Clifton (Co. Stafford), founded by Sir Richard, younger brother of the 1st earl of Stafford, who was closely associated with him in French warfare and negotiation, fought, like him, at Crecy, and acted as seneschal of Gascony (1361—1362). Clifton came to him in marriage with a Camville heiress, and he was summoned as a baron in 1371. His eldest surviving son, Edmund (1344—1419), a churchman, became bishop of Exeter in 1395, and was lord chancellor from 1396 to 1399. He lost the office on Henry IV.'s accession, but held it again from 1401 to 1403. He then devoted himself to his diocese till his death in 1419. His patronage of learning is commemorated by Exeter College, Oxford. The male line of the Staffords of Clifton ended about 1445.

Of younger sons of the main line who attained peerage rank Sir Hugh Stafford, K.G., a son of the 2nd earl, was summoned as a baron from 1411 to 1413 (probably in right of his wife, a Bourchier heiress), but died childless in 1420. John, a son of the 1st duke of Buckingham, received the garter and an earldom of Wiltshire (1470), which became extinct with his son in 1499, but was revived in 1510 for Henry Stafford, K.G., a son of the 2nd duke, who, however, died childless in 1523.

The Staffords made illustrious marriages from the day of the 1st earl; a son of the 1st duke married the mother of Henry VII. The badge of the family was “the Stafford knot,” at one time as famous as “the ragged staff” of the earls of Warwick.

See Dugdale, Baronage (1675), vol. i.; G.E.C(okayne), Complete Peerage; Wrottesley, History of the Family of Bagot (1908) and Crecy and Calais (1898). The important Stafford MSS. in Lord Bagot's possession are calendared in the 4th Report on Historical MSS., and the Salt Arch. Soc.'s collections for the history of Staffordshire are valuable for early records. Harcourt's His Grace the Steward and the Trial of Peers (1907) should also be consulted. The bishop of Exeter's Register was edited by Hingeston-Randolph in 1886. Papers relating to the two Baronies of Stafford (1807), and Campbell's The Stafford Peerage (1818) are useful for the pedigree, and there are collections for a history of the family in Add. MSS. (Brit. Mus.) 14,409; 19,150.

 (J. H. R.) 

STAFFORD, EARLS AND MARQUESSES OF. The earldom of Stafford, created in 1351, was held at first by the family of Stafford (q.v.). In 1521 it became extinct, and in September 1640 Sir William Howard (1614—1680), a son of Thomas Howard, earl of Arundel and Surrey, having three years previously married Mary (d. 1694), sister and heiress of Henry Stafford, 5th Baron Stafford, was created Baron Stafford and two months later viscount of Stafford. Accused by Titus Oates of participating in the popish plots, he was found guilty, and was beheaded on the 29th of December 1680, his titles being forfeited.

His son, Henry Stafford Howard (1658—1719), who, but for his father's attainder, would have inherited the barony and the viscounty, was created earl of Stafford in 1688, his mother being created countess of Stafford at the same time; he was succeeded by his nephew William (c. 1690—1734). When John Paul, the 4th earl (1700—1762), died, the earldom became extinct, but the title to the barony, which was under attainder, fell into abeyance.

The 4th earl's sister Mary (d. 1765) married Francis Plowden (d. 1712), and in 1824 their descendant, Sir George William Jerningham, Bart. (1771—1851), of Costessy Park, Norfolk, obtained a reversal of his ancestor's attainder and was recognized as Baron Stafford. The barony is still held by the Jerninghams.

In 1758 Granville Leveson-Gower (1721—1803) was created marquess of Stafford. He was the son of John Leveson-Gower (d. 1754), who was created Viscount Trentham and Earl Gower in 1746. The public positions held by him included that of lord privy seal, which he filled from 1755 to 1757, and again from 1784 to 1794; of master of the horse; of lord chamberlain of the royal household; and of lord president of the council, which he held from 1767 to 1769 and in 1783—1784. This wealthy and influential nobleman, who was the last survivor of the associates of the duke of Bedford, the “Bloomsbury gang,” died at Trentham Hall, in Staffordshire, on the 26th of October 1803. His son and successor, George Granville Leveson-Gower, was created duke of Sutherland in 1833. A younger son was Granville Leveson-Gower, who was created Earl Granville in 1833. The title of marquess of Stafford is now borne by the eldest son of the duke of Sutherland.

STAFFORD, a market town, municipal and parliamentary borough, and the county town of Staffordshire, England, on the river Sow, a western tributary of the Trent. Pop. (1901), 20,895. It is an important junction on the main line of the London & North-Western railway, by which it is 133 1/2 m. N.W. from London. Branches of this company diverge to Wolverhampton and Birmingham, and to Walsall; a joint line of the North-Western and Great Western companies to Shrewsbury and Welshpool; the Great Northern serves the town from the eastern counties, and the North Staffordshire runs north through the Potteries district. The town, while largely modernized, contains a number of picturesque half-timbered houses. The church of St Mary, a fine cruciform building having a transitional Norman nave, and Early English and Decorated in other parts, was formerly collegiate, its canons having mention in Domesday, though the complete foundation is attributed to King John. It contains a memorial to the famous angler, Izaak Walton, born at Stafford in 1593. The older church of St Chad contains good Norman details, but is chiefly a reconstruction. It formerly provided sanctuary. There are county council buildings, a shire hall and a borough hall. The grammar school is an ancient foundation enlarged in 1550 by Edward VI. The county technical institution is in Stafford. A museum, consisting principally of the collections of Clement Wragge, and called by his name, contains a specially fine series of fossils. The William Salt library, presented to the borough in 1872 after the death of the collector, has a large collection of books and MSS., deeds and pictures relating to the county. Charitable institutions include a general infirmary, county asylum, and the Coton Hill intitution for the insane. The burgesses of Stafford had formerly common rights over a considerable tract known as Coton Field and Stone Flat; the first is now divided into allotments and the second is a recreation ground. The staple trade is the manufacture of