Ralph Stafford, 1st Earl of Stafford

Last updated

Ralph de Stafford
1st Earl of Stafford
2nd Baron Stafford
Stafford 1430.jpg
Ralph de Stafford, 1st Earl of Stafford, KG, illustration from the Bruges Garter Book, c. 1430. He displays the arms of Stafford on his tunic
Born24 September 1301
Died31 August 1372 (aged 70)
Buried Tonbridge Priory, Kent
Noble family Stafford
Spouse(s)Katherine de Hastang
Margaret de Audley (1336–1347)
Issue
Margaret Stafford
Joan Stafford
Ralph de Stafford
Hugh de Stafford, 2nd Earl of Stafford
Katherine Stafford
Elizabeth Stafford
Beatrice Stafford
Joan Stafford
Father Edmund de Stafford, 1st Baron Stafford
MotherMargaret Bassett
Arms of Stafford: Or, a chevron gules Stafford arms.svg
Arms of Stafford: Or, a chevron gules
Remains of Madeley Castle in Staffordshire, now known as "Madeley Old Manor", for which the 1st Earl received a licence to crenellate in February 1347/8, together with Stafford Castle, "and to make castles of them". Red Sandstone ashlar blocks with external doorway with portcullis groove and chamfered arch at its north end. This fragment is believed to have formed part of the 1st Earl's castle, namely the west external wall and gateway Old Madely Manor remains, Staffordshire.jpg
Remains of Madeley Castle in Staffordshire, now known as "Madeley Old Manor", for which the 1st Earl received a licence to crenellate in February 1347/8, together with Stafford Castle, "and to make castles of them". Red Sandstone ashlar blocks with external doorway with portcullis groove and chamfered arch at its north end. This fragment is believed to have formed part of the 1st Earl's castle, namely the west external wall and gateway

Ralph de Stafford, 1st Earl of Stafford, 2nd Baron Stafford, (24 September 1301 – 31 August 1372), KG, of Stafford Castle and Madeley Castle [3] in Staffordshire, was an English nobleman and notable soldier during the Hundred Years War against France.

Contents

Early life and family

Ralph was born on 24 September 1301, the son of Edmund de Stafford, 1st Baron Stafford and Margaret Basset. [4] Having lost his father at the age of seven, Ralph grew up in the midlands with his mother's relatives, including her second husband Thomas Pipe. He had his first experience of royal service, along with his brothers and stepfather, when he joined the retinue of Ralph, 2nd Lord Basset. [5]

Career

Stafford was made a Knight banneret in 1327 and was fighting the Scots shortly afterwards. He supported the plot to free Edward III of England from the control of Roger Mortimer, which earned the king's gratitude. By the summer of 1332, he was a commissioner of the peace in Staffordshire and had served abroad on royal business, accompanying Hugh de Audley, 1st Earl of Gloucester. He was also still fighting the Scots, commanding archers at the Battle of Dupplin Moor on 11 Aug 1332 and on three further Scottish campaigns. [5]

He was first summoned to Parliament by writ as Lord Stafford on 29 November 1336 and continued to attend until 1350.

His military career continued, accompanying King Edward to France in 1338 as an advisor and being present at the naval battle of Sluys on 24 June 1340. He also fought at the relief of Brest and the siege of Morlaix. He was captured at Vannes but was exchanged in time to negotiate a truce at Malestroit.

On 6 January 1341, he was made Steward of the Royal Household but resigned that post on 29 March 1345 having assumed the office of Seneschal of Aquitaine, an English possession in France, where he stayed for about a year. He took part in the Gascon campaign of 1345 including the battles of Bergerac and Auberoche, the siege of Aiguillon, from where he escaped prior to its lifting, a raid on Barfleur and the English victory at the Battle of Crecy, on 26 August 1346. He became one of the twenty-six founding members and the fifth knight of the Order of the Garter in 1348. [5] [6]

In November 1347, his wife's father died; they were able to take possession of his estates without paying the king's homage, an indication of the relationship between them. Ralph was now a very wealthy man, from his estates and from the many prizes from the French war. [5]

Edward III created a number of new peerage titles to honour his war captains and to mark his jubilee year. Ralph was created the 1st Earl of Stafford on 5 March 1350, with an annuity of 1000 marks. He now replaced Henry of Grosmont, 1st Duke of Lancaster as the king's lieutenant in Gascony. He committed to serve with 200 men at his own expense with the expectation of this being doubled in March 1353 at the king's expense. The campaigns provided several captives that were ransomed, but were ultimately unsuccessful, leading to the appointment of Edward, Prince of Wales to command. [5]

Even at the age of sixty, Stafford continued to command troops and act as a royal envoy, both in France and in Ireland in 1361, accompanying Lionel of Antwerp to try and restore English control.

Marriages and children

Around 1326, Stafford married his first wife, Katherine de Hastang. Katherine was the daughter of Sir John de Hastang, Knight, of Chebsey, Staffordshire. Ralph and Katherine had two daughters:

He later sensationally abducted Margaret de Audley, 2nd Baroness Audley, daughter of Hugh de Audley, 1st Earl of Gloucester and Margaret de Clare, who was worth at least £2,314 a year, more than ten times his own estates. Her parents filed a complaint with King Edward III of England, but the King supported Stafford's actions. In compensation, the King appeased Hugh and Margaret by creating Hugh the 1st Earl of Gloucester. Margaret de Audley and Stafford married before 6 July 1336 and they subsequently had two sons and four daughters:

Death

He died on 31 August 1372 at Tonbridge Castle, Kent, England. [5] He was buried at Tonbridge Priory, [18] next to his second wife and her parents. [5]

Related Research Articles

Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland 14th/15th-century English nobleman

Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of WestmorlandEarl Marshal, was an English nobleman of the House of Neville.

Baron Audley

Baron Audley is a title in the Peerage of England first created in 1313, by writ to the Parliament of England, for Sir Nicholas Audley of Heighley Castle, a member of the Anglo-Norman Audley family of Staffordshire.

John Neville, 3rd Baron Neville

John Neville, 3rd Baron Neville, was an English peer and soldier.

Edmund Stafford, 5th Earl of Stafford and 1st Baron Audley, KG, KB was the son of Hugh de Stafford, 2nd Earl of Stafford, and his wife Philippa de Beauchamp.

Thomas de Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley

Thomas de Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley, The Wise, feudal baron of Berkeley, of Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire, England, was a peer, soldier and diplomat. His epithet, and that of each previous and subsequent head of his family, was coined by John Smyth of Nibley (d.1641), steward of the Berkeley estates, the biographer of the family and author of "Lives of the Berkeleys".

George Neville, 1st Baron Latimer or (Latymer) was an English nobleman.

Margaret de Audley,suo jure2nd Baroness Audley and Countess of Stafford was an English noblewoman. She was the only daughter of Hugh de Audley, 1st Earl of Gloucester, by his wife Lady Margaret de Clare. Her mother was the daughter of Joan of Acre, Princess of England; thus making Margaret a great-granddaughter of King Edward I by his first consort, Eleanor of Castile. As the only daughter and heiress of her father, she succeeded to the title of 2nd Baroness Audley [E., 1317] on 10 November 1347.

Hugh de Stafford, 2nd Earl of Stafford, KG was an English nobleman.

Philippa de Stafford, Countess of Stafford, was a late medieval English noblewoman and the daughter of Thomas de Beauchamp, 11th Earl of Warwick, KG, and Katherine Mortimer. Her maternal grandfather was the powerful Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March.

Margaret de Stafford

Margaret Stafford was the daughter of Hugh de Stafford, 2nd Earl of Stafford, and Philippa de Beauchamp. She was the first wife of Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland, and the grandmother of the 2nd Earl.

Hugh de Audley, 1st Earl of Gloucester

Hugh de Audley, 1st Earl of Gloucester, 1st Baron Audley of Stratton Audley in Oxfordshire, and of Gratton in Staffordshire, served as Sheriff of Rutland and was the English Ambassador to France in 1341. He was buried in Tonbridge Priory.

Walter Devereux, 1st Viscount Hereford

Walter Devereux, 10th Baron Ferrers of Chartley, created 1st Viscount Hereford, KG was an English courtier and parliamentarian.

James Tuchet, 7th Baron Audley

James Tuchet, 7th Baron Audley was the only lord to fully join the Cornish Rebellion of 1497 opposing the rule of Henry VII of England. He was a leader in the rebel army's march to the edge of London, and in its defeat at the Battle of Deptford Bridge. Captured on the battlefield, he was sentenced for treason and beheaded. His peerage was forfeited, but restored to his son in 1512.

The Stanley family is an English family with many notable members, including the Earls of Derby and the Barons Audley who descended from the early holders of Audley, Staffordshire. The Audley family in the male line lost prominence after its considerable estates were passed by a number of female heiresses in different branches of the family.

John Montagu, 3rd Earl of Salisbury and 5th and 2nd Baron Montagu, KG was an English nobleman, one of the few who remained loyal to Richard II after Henry IV became king.

Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Ardglass

Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Ardglass was an English nobleman, son of Edward Cromwell, 3rd Baron Cromwell and second wife Frances Rugge.

Sir John de Sutton IV is the 3rd Baron Sutton of Dudley, and heir of Dudley Castle. He was the son of Sir John de Sutton III, 2nd Lord of Dudley, and Katherine de Stafford, youngest daughter of Ralph de Stafford, 1st Earl of Stafford. At the time of his father's death, John IV was a minor whose wardship and marriage was granted to Richard FitzAlan, 11th Earl of Arundel. During the fifth year of Richard II of England, 350 marks was paid to Sir Philip le Spencer, to be a guardian over John IV with the arrangement of marriage to his daughter, Alice. She died in 1392 without issue. John married secondly to an unknown Joan, by whom Sir John de Sutton V succeeded as heir.

Sir John de Sutton III was the 2nd Baron Sutton of Dudley and heir of Dudley Castle. He was the son of Sir John de Sutton II, the first Lord of Dudley, and Isabella de Cherleton. John III married twice, with the first on 25 December 1357 to Katherine de Stafford, daughter of Ralph de Stafford, 1st Earl of Stafford and Margaret de Audley, 2nd Baroness Audley. After 1361, he married secondly to Joan, daughter of Sir John de Clinton of Coleshill.

Thomas Stafford, 3rd Earl of Stafford was the second son—but the senior surviving heir—of Hugh Stafford, 2nd Earl of Stafford and Philippa de Beauchamp, daughter of Thomas de Beauchamp, 11th Earl of Warwick. His elder brother, his father's heir, Sir Ralph Stafford, was murdered by Richard II's half-brother, the earl of Huntingdon whilst they were campaigning in Scotland in July 1385. As a result, Thomas became heir to the earldom of Stafford, and in 1390 he was knighted. He gained livery of his estates in 1391 and paid homage to the king for them on 20 October that year. He spent his short career campaigning in France alongside the duke of Gloucester.

Feudal barony of Stafford

The feudal barony of Stafford was a feudal barony the caput of which was at Stafford Castle in Staffordshire, England. The feudal barons were subsequently created Barons Stafford (1299) by writ, Earls of Stafford (1351) and Dukes of Buckingham (1444). After the execution of the 3rd Duke in 1521, and his posthumous attainder, the castle and manor of Stafford escheated to the crown, and all the peerage titles were forfeited. However the castle and manor of Stafford were recovered ten years later in 1531 by his eldest son Henry Stafford, 1st Baron Stafford (1501-1563), who was created a baron in 1547. His descendants, much reduced in wealth and prestige, retained possession of Stafford Castle and the widow of the 4th Baron was still seated there during the Civil War when shortly after 1643 it was destroyed by Parliamentarian forces. By the time of the 6th Baron Stafford (d.1640) the family had sunken into poverty and obscurity, and in 1639 he suffered the indignity of being requested by King Charles I to surrender his title on account of his "having no parte of the inheritance of the said Lord Stafford not any other landes or means whatsoever". On his death the following year, unmarried and without issue, the senior male line of the Stafford family was extinguished. However a vestige of the feudal barony may be deemed to have continued in the families of later owners of the manor of Stafford and site of the Castle, after the abolition of feudal tenure in 1661.

References

  1. Cokayne, The Complete Peerage , new edition, vol. XII[ volume & issue needed ], p.175
  2. See listed building text
  3. Licence to crenellate, see Cokayne, The Complete Peerage , new edition, vol. XII, p.175
  4. Lundy, Darryl (4 February 2013). "Ralph de Stafford, 1st Earl of Stafford". The Peerage. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Ralph Stafford, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. The first edition of this text is available at Wikisource:  "Stafford, Ralph de"  . Dictionary of National Biography . London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  6. Shaw, Wm. A. (1971). The Knights of England: A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of All the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, and Ireland, and of the Knights Bachelors. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company. p. 1. OCLC   247620448.
  7. Wars of the Roses A Gazetteer- 2 By Michael Ryan Jones
  8. Branselle (Bramshall) is listed in the Domesday Book as a possession of Robert of Stafford (as tenant-in-chief) whose own tenant was "Bagot" (https://opendomesday.org/place/SK0633/bramshall/)
  9. Bramshall seems to have remained in another branch of the Bagot family as the estate of Sir John Bagot (c.1358-c.1437), MP, of Blithfield and Bagots Bromley, Staffs., centred upon Blymhill, Bramshall and Bagots Bromley (History of Parliament biog
  10. "The Erdeswyks had for many years been mesne tenants of Stafford family property in Bramshall" (biog. ERDESWYK, Hugh (c.1386-1451), of Sandon, Staffs. Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993)
  11. 'Parishes: Old Swinford', in A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 3 (London, 1913), pp. 213-223
  12. 1 2 3 4 5 A general and heraldic dictionary of the peerages of England, Ireland and Scotland, extinct, dormant and in abeyance by John Burke. Publisher Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, 1831. pg 488. From Google books, checked 30 March 2011
  13. G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume III, page 353.
  14. G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume III, page 161.
  15. "Katherine Stafford". family search Community Trees. familysearch.org. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  16. Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 1, page 1191.
  17. Plantagenet Ancestry of Seventeenth Century Colonist by David Faris, 1st Edition, 1996, Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, pg 90
  18. "Houses of Austin canons, The priory of Tonbridge". British History Online. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
Peerage of England
New creation Earl of Stafford
1350–1372
Succeeded by
Hugh Stafford
Preceded by
Edmund de Stafford
Baron Stafford
1308–1372