Stafford, Henry (1501-1563) (DNB00)

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STAFFORD, HENRY, first Baron Stafford (1501–1563), only son of Edward Stafford, third duke of Buckingham [q. v.], by his wife Alianore, daughter of Henry Percy, fourth earl of Northumberland, was born at Penshurst on 18 Sept. 1501. Until his father's attainder he was styled the Earl of Stafford. In May 1516 Wolsey advised Buckingham to bring Stafford to court, and, in accordance with the cardinal's suggestion, he married, apparently on 16 Feb. 1518–19, Ursula, daughter of Margaret Pole, countess of Salisbury [q. v.], and sister of Reginald Pole [q. v.] (Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, ed. Brewer, iii. 498). In 1520 Stafford was one of those appointed to ride with Henry VIII at the meeting with Francis I, and he was also present at the subsequent meeting with Charles V. By his father's attainder in 1521 he lost his titles and estates, but on 20 Sept. 1522 he was granted by letters patent, confirmed by act of parliament (Statutes of the Realm, iii. 269–70), the manors held by his father in Staffordshire, Cheshire, and Shropshire. His connection with the ‘White Rose’ and the Poles laid him open to suspicion, and he suffered from the enmity of Wolsey. On the cardinal's fall, Stafford petitioned the king to be restored in blood, and stated that he had been compelled by Wolsey to break up his home in Sussex (Penshurst), and, having ‘no fit habitation,’ to board for the last four years with his wife and seven children at an abbey (Letters and Papers, iv. 6123). His petition for restoration was refused, but on 15 July 1531 he was granted the castle and manor of Stafford, and in 1532 he was made K.B. The latter honour he declined, preferring to pay a fine of 20l. He welcomed the ecclesiastical changes of Henry VIII, frequently entertained the visitors of the monasteries, petitioned for various dissolved houses, and was active in destroying ‘idols.’ In 1536 he was placed on the commission of the peace for Staffordshire and Shropshire, an appointment annually renewed till the end of the reign. When his sister, the Duchess of Norfolk [see Howard, Thomas II, (1473–1554)], quarrelled with her husband, Stafford refused to allow her to reside in his house.

Stafford was elected member of Edward VI's first parliament for the town of Stafford (November 1547). The same parliament passed an act for his restoration in blood, and declared him to be Baron Stafford by a new creation; as such he was summoned to the next parliament on 24 Nov. 1548. In the same year he published ‘The True Dyfferens betwen ye Royall Power and the Ecclesiasticall Power,’ London, William Copland, 16mo. This was a translation of Fox's ‘De Vera Differentia Regiæ Potestatis et Ecclesiæ,’ originally published in 1534 [see Fox, Edward]. It contains a fulsome dedication to Protector Somerset, comparing his furtherance of the Reformation to Solomon's completion of the temple begun by David. A copy of the work was found in Edward VI's library, and, according to Ascham, Stafford was much at the young king's court. Nevertheless he was one of the peers who tried and condemned Somerset (1 Dec. 1551), and, on Mary's accession, he wrote to her recalling the services his father had rendered to Catherine of Arragon. In 1553, according to Strype, in order to show his compliance, he published a translation of two epistles of Erasmus, showing the ‘brain-sick headiness of the Lutherans,’ which was printed in 16mo by W. Riddell (Eccl. Mem. iii. i. 180; cf. Wood, Athenæ Oxon. i. 266: no copy has been traced). On the accession of Elizabeth Stafford was appointed lord-lieutenant of Staffordshire, but in the parliament of 1559 he dissented from the act of uniformity, and from another declaring good the deprivation of popish bishops under Edward VI. He died at Caus Castle, Shropshire, on 30 April 1563 (an erroneous report of his death in 1558, which occurs in the State Papers, Addenda, 1547–65, p. 481, is repeated by Bale and Wood).

By his wife Ursula, who died on 12 Aug. 1570, Stafford had a numerous family; seven children, of whom five were daughters, were born to him before 1529, twelve before 1537, and at least one after (Letters and Papers, XII. i. 638, ii. 1332, XIII. i. 608; Addit. MS. 6672, f. 193). Of these, Thomas is separately noticed, and the youngest daughter, Dorothy, married Sir William Stafford of Grafton, and was mother of Sir Edward Stafford (1552?–1605) [q. v.] and of William Stafford (1554–1612) [q. v.] The second but eldest surviving son, Henry, succeeded his father, but died unmarried on 8 April 1566, being succeeded by his brother Edward, who was born on 17 Jan. 1535–6, and died on 18 Oct. 1603. Edward's grandson Henry died unmarried in October 1637 (see Honour and Vertue, 1640, an account of his life and death by his kinsman, Anthony Stafford [q. v.]), and the barony devolved upon his cousin Roger, who, on account of his poverty, illegally resigned the dignity to Charles I for 800l. Roger died without issue in 1640, but some male descendants of the family are said still to survive in humble circumstances.

Besides the works mentioned above, Stafford translated from the French of Treherne a work on forests, which is extant in Stowe MS. 414, ff. 203–26. According to Bliss, it was through Stafford's influence that the ‘Mirror for Magistrates’ was licensed for press, and he prints an epitaph by Stafford on his sister, the Duchess of Norfolk (Athenæ Oxon. i. 267). Stafford's letter-book, a volume of 434 pages, extending from 1545 to 1553, is among Lord Bagot's manuscripts at Blithefield, Staffordshire (Hist. MSS. Comm. 4th Rep. App. p. 328 a). He also made collections on the history of his family, which contain much curious and rare information. They are extant in Lord Bagot's collection, which also contains a ‘Registrum factum memorandorum de rebus gestis,’ compiled by his son Edward (ib.)

[Stafford MSS. described above; works in Brit. Mus. Library; Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, ed. Brewer and Gairdner, vols. ii–xv.; Acts of the Privy Council; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1547–81, and Addenda, 1547–65; Off. Ret. Members of Parl.; Journals of the House of Lords; Lit. Remains of Edward VI (Roxburghe Club); Ascham's Letters, ed. Mayor; Strype's Works, passim; Wood's Athenæ, ed. Bliss, i. 266–7; Burnet's Hist. of the Reformation, ed. Pocock; Walpole's Royal and Noble Authors, ed. Park, ii. 47; Simms's Bibliotheca Staffordiensis; Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. i. 216, 553; Long's Royal Descents, pp. 25, 39, 74; Burke's Extinct and G. E. C[okayne]'s Peerages.]

A. F. P.