STAFFORD, Sir Henry (by 1527-66).

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1527, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Henry Stafford, 1st Baron Stafford, by Ursula, da. of Sir Richard Pole of Ellesborough, Bucks.; bro. of Edward and Walter. educ. travelled 1551. m. by Sept. 1557, Elizabeth, da. of John Davy of Holbeach, Lincs., d.s.p. Kntd. 2 Oct. 1553; suc. fa. as 2nd Baron Stafford 30 Apr. 1563.1

Offices Held

J.p. Salop 1554, q. Mont., Salop and Staffs. 1564; keeper of records, Tower temp. Eliz.2


Henry Stafford is chiefly memorable for having failed to secure election as knight for Staffordshire to both the Parliaments of 1553. Nothing is known of what went wrong on the first occasion, when William Devereux and Walter Aston were returned although according to Baron Stafford his son was ‘chosen by the whole shire, no man saying the contrary’. Despite this setback Baron Stafford, who stood well with the Marian government, put his son forward confidently in the autumn, leaving it to his friends Sir George Griffith and Humphrey Welles to manage the election, but whereas Sir Thomas Giffard was returned unopposed Henry Stafford was again beaten, this time by Edward Littleton.3

Stafford’s knighting at Mary’s coronation, which serves to distinguish him from the illegitimate son of his grandfather Edward, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, who sat four times for Stafford, may have helped towards his election for Shropshire in 1555. His family owned Cause castle and his appointment to the county bench in the previous year suggests that he was himself resident in the shire, as does his quarrel at Shrewsbury during 1556-7 with Edward Herbert. He could also count on the support of his kinsman the 12th Earl of Arundel, a leading Shropshire landowner. Nothing is known of his role in the Commons save that he is not to be found on the list of those who opposed one of the government’s bills, nor is he known to have been involved two years later in the rebellion of his brother Thomas. His father was a Catholic and on friendly terms with Cardinal Pole, who in 1551 had pressed his nephew, then travelling in Italy, ‘to return to Christ’s laws’, but in 1564 the son was to be accounted favourable to the Elizabethan settlement. If he did not share his father’s religion, his appointment as keeper of the records in the Tower early in Elizabeth’s reign suggests that he shared his antiquarian interests. Even in this he was not left undisturbed for in January 1564 he complained to Cecil that he had been forcibly deprived of his office by William Bowyer. Stafford died intestate on 1 Jan. 1566 and on 11 Apr. 1567 letters of administration were issued to Richard Tise of Southwark, a merchant taylor. He was succeeded in the barony by his brother Edward Stafford.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Alan Harding


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from position in a list of his father’s children in order of birth, dated 1534, Add. 6672, f. 193. CP; CSP For. 1547-53, pp. 70-71; Vis. Yorks. (Harl. Soc. xvi), 93; Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. l), 291.
  • 2. CPR, 1553-4, p. 23; 1563-6, pp. 41-42; Stowe 543, f. 60.
  • 3. EHR, lxxviii. 227-9.
  • 4. VCH Salop, viii. 311; Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 4), iv. 54; CSP For. 1547-53, pp. 70-71; Cam. Misc. ix(3), 16, 42; Stowe 543, f. 60.