STAFFORD, Walter (b. aft. 1536).
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Family and Education
This Member was one of the younger sons of the nobility whose careers in sixteenth-century England are so difficult to trace. He may have died soon after the 1571 Parliament, in which he sat for the family borough. The last reference found to him is dated Easter 1571.
Stafford was associated with his elder brothers Edward and Richard in the custody of Cannock chase; between 1567 and 1571 they sold their rights to herbage and pannage and the keeping of hay in much of the forest to Sir Edward Lyttelton, John Leveson, Thomas Moreton and others. These transactions were probably part of the attempts by Edward Stafford to satisfy his creditors. In September 1567 he granted to Walter rights in Cannock chase, and an undated Chancery case survives in which the new owner prosecuted Walter Whytall and others for putting cattle on land within the forest precincts to ‘dispasture’ it. The defendants, who claimed common pasture rights on the land in question, brought a counter-petition against John Norrys, ‘servant to Walter Stafford, esquire’, for impounding animals. An assize jury gave a verdict for the owners of the cattle, but Stafford declared in Chancery that the jury was corrupt. No result of the case has been found.
As a younger member of an impoverished family, Stafford was often in financial difficulties. In October 1564 he was trying to get a lease of meadowland from his widowed mother, apparently for someone to whom he had incurred obligations: in the same year he claimed in Chancery that he had paid, ‘soon after’ the agreed date, £30 for which in March 1563 he had mortgaged one of his forest offices. Probably only a wealthy marriage could have restored his fortunes, but he is not known to have married.
Burke, Extinct Peerage; Staffs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lxiii), 213; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xiii. 264, 267, 269, 281; EHR, lxxviii. 229 seq.; Staffs. Rec. Soc. 1938, pp. 65, 81-2; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. 1928, p. 156.