Ralph de Stafford
|1st Earl of Stafford|
2nd Baron Stafford
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
|Born||24 September 1301|
|Died||31 August 1372 (aged 70)|
|Buried||Tonbridge Priory, Kent|
|Spouse(s)||Katherine de Hastang|
Margaret de Audley (1336–1347)
Ralph de Stafford
Hugh de Stafford, 2nd Earl of Stafford
|Father||Edmund de Stafford, 1st Baron Stafford|
Ralph de Stafford, 1st Earl of Stafford, 2nd Baron Stafford, (24 September 1301 – 31 August 1372), KG, of Stafford Castle and Madeley Castlein Staffordshire, was an English nobleman and notable soldier during the Hundred Years War against France.
Ralph was born on 24 September 1301, the son of Edmund de Stafford, 1st Baron Stafford and Margaret Basset.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
He died on 31 August 1372 at Tonbridge Castle, Kent, England.He was buried at Tonbridge Priory, next to his second wife and her parents.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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.
|Peerage of England|
|New creation|| Earl of Stafford |
Edmund de Stafford
| Baron Stafford |