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William Stafford KB (1512 - 1556)

Sir William "Lord Rochford" Stafford KB aka of Chebsey
Born in Blatherwycke, Northamptonshire, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 1534 (to 19 Jul 1543) [location unknown]
Husband of — married 1545 [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died at about age 44 in Geneva, Switzerlandmap
Profile last modified | Created 12 Nov 2008
This page has been accessed 11,249 times.

D i s a m b i g u a t i o n William Stafford of Bradfield, Berkshire (b. bef. 1482/3) m. Anne, dau. of John Langford.



William Stafford was the second son of Humphrey Stafford, sheriff of Hants.and Margaret, dau. of Sir John Fogge.[1][2]
Sir William Stafford, K.B. of Chebsey, Staffs.[3] & Rochford, Essex (wife's right) and London,[2][4] b. 1512 according to research, at the Stafford family hall in Blatherwycke. He was called "Stafford" in England ... but later known as "Lord Rochford," abroad.
In c. 1517 his brother Humphrey, inherited the manors of Blatherwycke & Dodford manors in Hampshire from their uncle Thomas Stafford, Esq.[5]

Marriage to Mary Boleyn

Mary Boleyn (c. 1500 – 19 Jul 1543)

Stafford was her second husband.
Hen. VIII arranged
her first marriage to William Carey.

In 1534, at 22 years old, he secretly married Mary Boleyn, b. 1499, the widowed sister of newly-crowned Queen Anne Boleyn (m. 1533 to King Henry VIII).

Mary was apparently "heavy with child" and this forced a secret marriage. It has been said that Queen Anne was very unhappy with their union and banished her sister from court temporarily.

In "The Six Wives of Henry VIII,'" by Alison Weir, William is said to have had "no fortune and no [family] standing" (not entirely true as his parents were definitely of the gentry but he was not from a titled family).[6] However, the author elaborates in "Mary Boleyn," (2011), that Henry VIII was suspicious of anyone with the Stafford name, which he saw a threat to his throne. It was also the case that William himself, a was landless soldier and not a member of the peerage.


William Stafford and Mary Boleyn are the parents of:

  • Edward "died young" (c. 1535 - c. 1543).[2]


Despite Queen Anne's subsequent fall from grace and execution in 1536, "Stafford," as he was always known, remained a close courtier to the King. In 1540 he was listed as a "Gentleman Pensioner" in the King's household. In 1541 he was listed as an "Esquire to the Body" of King Henry VIII.

Debt, Fleet Prison and War

Apparently, William was heavily in debt before c. 1541.[7] According to Weir (2011), his wife also had financial issues and did not take control of the inheritance from her parents or her late brother's wife Jane Parker, until 15 May 1543. As a consequence, Mary owned Rochford Hall in Essex for a mere four days.[8]

Mary Boleyn died 19 July 1543.[1][8] That same year William briefly spent time in Fleet Prison.[2] According to Gordon (2014), he was locked up in April ... before his first wife died.[7]

In debt c. 1541 & sent to Fleet prison c. 1543, [9] He was charged with 'eating meat on a Good Friday.'[8]

William went on to fight in France during c. 1544; and again in Scotland in c. 1545.[2]

Marriage to Dorothy Stafford

Dorothy Stafford
Lady of the Bedchamber to Eliz. I,
grandau. of last Duke of Buckingham.

Stafford remarried two years before Edward VI (1547-53) was enthroned as a Protestant child king.

Dorothy Stafford (b. c. 1526 - d. 22 Dec 1602), future "Mistress of the Robes" to Elizabeth I, became his second wife c. 1545.[2][4]

She was the daughter of Henry of Penshurst, Kent, who was restored as Baron Stafford. He was also the only son of Edward Stafford, third and last Duke of Buckingham.[10]

Edward Stafford (1478 – 1521)
3rd Duke of Buckingham
executed by Hen. VIII.


The marriage, however, was not financially stable,[7] ... and as Protestants, the family relocated abroad c. 1553, when the staunch Catholic Mary I (1553-8) came to power. By March 1554, the Staffords were living in Geneva, where William was called, Lord Rochford.[2]


William and Dorothy had 5 children but not all them were born in England.

  • 1. Sir Edward of Grafton, Staffs. of Grafton, Staffs. & of Canon Row, Westminster (b. c. 1552 - d. 05 Feb 1605; bur. 05 Feb St. Margaret's, Westminster), ambassador to France.(Thrush, A. & Ferris, J.P. 2010) STAFFORD, Sir Edward (c.1552-1605), of Cannon Row, Westminster. [2] According to Pollard (1898), "the Staffords of Grafton were a branch of the same family as the dukes of Buckingham and barons Stafford,"


  • 2. "Elizabeth Stafford."
  • 3. Sir John of Marlwood, Glouc. (bp. 4 Jan 1556 Geneva, Switzerland - dsp. 28 Sep 1624; bur. 30 Dec Thornbury, Glouc).[2]
m. Susannah Stonehouse (dsp; bur. 28 Dec 1621 Thornbury, Glouc), dau. of George Stonehouse of Little Peckham, Kent & Radley, Berks. and Elizabeth Gibson; Elizabeth Gibson is the first wife of George Stonehouse of Little Peckham, Kent & Radley, Berks., (see Wynyard pedigree in Miscellanea genealogica, 2, p. 270).[5]. widow of John Whynniard, Groom of the Wardrobe to Eliz. I & Jas I. m2 Lady Dame Susan Stafford (bur. 28 Dec 1621), wife of Sir John Stafford, Kt., in Tyndale extracts from parish registers: Thornbury, Gloucestershire. Miscellanea Genealogica, 1, p. 244.[6]
  • Elizabeth (b. c. 1550/6 at/of Blatherwick, Hants. - d. 06 Feb 1599). b. circa 1550[citation needed]

Wikipedia: Elizabeth Stafford (b. c. 1556 England [citation needed] - d. 06 Feb 1599) -- "Elizabeth Stafford." Elizabeth b: 1557 Bobbing Court, Bobbing, Kent.[citation needed] ... family resided in Geneva at this times so if DOB 1557, then birth locale is Geneva, Switzerland.

m.1 (c. 1570) Sir Wm. Drury.
m.2 Sir John Scott.[1]
  • Ursula (living 1603) Westminster Abbey states that Elizabeth (wife of William Drury) was the only dau. of Dorothy Stafford, "to reach maturity. [12]Hasler (1981) and Richardson (2011) dispute this. Presumably ... she is the widow who inherited property from Drake and is the mother of Francis.
Ursula b: 1547 in Bobbing Court, Bobbing, Kent.[citation needed]
m. Richard Drake, esq. of Esher, Surrey (b. c. 1535 - d. 11 Jul 1603; bur. Esher Church), son of John Drake of Ash, Devon and Amy, dau. of Sir Grenville Stowe.(Hasler, P.W. (1981). Drake, Richard (1535-1603), of Esher Place, Surr. [13][14]
John Calvin, Protestant Reformer
godfather of Sir John of Marlwood,
younger son of William &second wife Dorothy.


Sir William died 05 May 1556 while living in Geneva, Switzerland.[15] where his son Sir John of Marlwood was born.[2]

Sir John's godfather was the Protestant Reformer, John Calvin. In the wake of William's death, Calvin took custody of the young John.[2]

At the same time, Calvin also tried to make Dorothy and her children stay abroad. So Dorothy did not make it back to England until January 1559.[2] She went on to serve Elizabeth I (1558-1603) as Lady of the Bedchamber, and died six months after the Tudor queen on 22 September 1603.[15]

Epiphanius Evesham (fl. 1570 - 1623) is believed to have sculpted the tomb of Lady Dorothy Stafford at St. Margarets in Westminster, where she is buried.[15][16]

(the History of Parliament, a biographical dictionary of Members of the House of Commons) Born by 1512, second son of Sir Humphrey Stafford of Blatherwycke and Dodford, by Margaret, dau. of Sir John Fogge of Ashford, Kent. Married first, 1533/4, Mary, daughter of Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire and Earl of Ormond, widow of William Carey (d. 22 Jun 1538), of Aldenham, Herts., s. p.. Married second, by 1552, Dorothy, daughter of Henry Stafford, 1st Baron Stafford, and had 3 sons, Edward, John and William, and one daughter, Elizabeth. Knighted 23 Sep 1545. Esquire of the body by 1541; gentleman pensioner 1540; standard bearer, gentleman pensioner by 20 May 1550-3.

William Stafford could boast royal descent, but as younger son of midland family whose fortunes were spent the previous century he had little hope of advancement before his marriage to MAry Boleyn, and ex-mistress of Henry VIII. Her sister Ann Boylen mar

Family and Education b. by 1512, 2nd s. of Sir Humphrey Stafford of Blatherwycke and Dodford, Northants. by Margaret, da. of Sir John Fogge of Ashford, Kent. m. (1) 1533/34, Mary (d. 30 July 1543), da. of Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire and Earl of Ormond, wid. of William Carey (d. 22 June 1528), of Aldenham, Herts., s.p.; (2) by 1552, Dorothy (d. 23 Sept. 1603), da. of Henry Stafford, 1st Baron Stafford, 3s. inc. Edward† and John† 1da. Kntd. 23 Sept. 1545.2 Biography William Stafford could boast royal descent, but as the younger son of a midland family whose fortunes had been depleted during the previous century he had little hope of advancement before his marriage to Mary Boleyn, an ex-mistress of Henry VIII. He attended the coronation of Queen Anne Boleyn as a servitor and this may have been the occasion of his meeting with her sister whom he could have known, however, through his Kentish relatives. Their marriage displeased the King and Queen, as well as Cromwell, and Mary Boleyn told the minister that love had triumphed over reason and that although she ‘might have had a greater man of birth and higher’ she was content to lead ‘a poor honest life’ with her youthful husband. It was perhaps the Queen’s coolness towards the pair which protected them when disaster struck her and her brother Lord Rochford: in the event they were gainers, for between 1539 and 1542 Mary Stafford was to inherit in succession her father’s lands, those held in jointure by Rochford’s widow and those of her grandmother the Countess of Ormond. Although the bulk of this property was to pass to the children of her first marriage, she was able to give her husband several manors in Essex, including Rochford which they made their home. In 1541 Stafford acquired the manor of Hendon in Kent from the crown but several months later he exchanged it for more valuable property in Yorkshire and London. After Mary’s death he inherited the manor of Abinger, Surrey, which he later sold to Edward Elrington and his cousin Thomas.4

In 1543 Stafford was committed to the Fleet together with Sir John Clere and others for eating meat on Good Friday. After his release and a rebuke from the Privy Council he served on the campaign of that year in the Netherlands. In 1544 he fought in France and in 1545 in Scotland, where he was knighted by Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford. It was doubtless as a Protestant courtier and a soldier known to Hertford (by then Protector and Duke of Somerset) that he was returned to the Parliament of 1547: the electors of Hastings had no part in the matter, for the indenture was evidently returned to the lord warden, Sir Thomas Cheyne, bearing one name only, that of John Isted, and it was Cheyne who added Stafford’s. He was to be joined in the Commons by his stepson Henry Carey, one of the Members for Buckingham, and by his stepdaughter’s husband Sir Francis Knollys, who sat for Camelford. Nothing is known of Stafford’s role in the House, but if his second marriage had either taken place or was in contemplation he may have supported the Act for the restitution of Baron Stafford (1 Edw. VI, no. 18) passed during the first session, and it was either he or Henry Stafford who in the last session was licensed on 22 Feb. 1552 to be absent when suffering from measles. He was not harmed by the Protector’s fall: in 1550 Somerset’s rival the Earl of Warwick granted him an annuity of £100 for his services to Henry VIII and entrusted him with the custody of three noble French hostages from Dover to London. In 1551 he accompanied the 9th Lord Clinton to Paris for the christening of one of Henry II’s sons and on his return he took part in the New Year’s tournament at court. He showed his loyalty to Northumberland by reporting a servant’s allegation that the Protector had been innocent of the charges laid against him. Whether this act assured Northumberland of his support is not known, nor whether he sat in the next Parliament summoned early in 1553 under the duke’s aegis: John Isted was re-elected for Hastings but the name of his fellow-Member on this occasion has not been discovered. A brawl with Adrian Poynings† in the previous November had reduced his standing in the Council’s esteem and had led to a brief recommittal to the Fleet.5

Although Stafford’s second marriage linked him more closely to the peerage, it brought him no wealth. In the early 1550s he disposed of much of the property given him by Mary Boleyn, and mounting debts induced him in 1552 to exchange his annuity for £900 in cash. It was perhaps as much fear of his creditors as of religious persecution that drove him into exile shortly after Queen Mary’s accession. Accompanied by his wife, children, sister, cousin and servants, he settled in Geneva in March 1554, being known there as Lord Rochford. He soon became embroiled in its disputes and on returning there after the uprising of 1555 he was nearly killed in an affray. It was perhaps against a possible repetition of this incident that, as ‘excellent personnage, homme de bien et de cognoissance’, he was allowed to carry a sword. When the English congregation was set up he joined it and his son John was the first child to be baptized on 4 Jan. 1556, Calvin standing as godfather. Stafford died there on 5 May 1556, but the Privy Council was unaware of this when ten days later it ordered that ‘no payment of money by exchange or otherwise’ was to reach him. Calvin claimed the custody of his son John and forbade his widow to leave with him. She appealed to Stafford’s younger brother and the threat to invoke French aid persuaded Calvin to yield. She then moved to Basle, remaining there until January 1559, when she returned to England. Queen Elizabeth, whom she outlived, appointed her mistress of the robes.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558 Author: Patricia Hyde Notes 1. Hatfield 207. 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. The Gen. n.s. xxxi. 177; Her and Gen. iv. 40; Arch. Cant. xxviii. 196. 3. LP Hen. VIII, xvi, xix; Stowe 571; f. 31; S. Pegge, Curialia (1791), 43; information from W. J. Tighe. 4. LP Hen. VIII, vi. vii, xv-xviii; PCC 14 Alen; C142/72/86(1); CPR, 1549-51, p. 247; 1553-4, p. 414; APC, iv. 120. 5. APC, i. 106, 114, 125; iii. 5; iv. 179, 185; LP Hen. VIII, xviii, xix; Add. 34150; CJ, i. 18; CPR, 1549-51, p. 306; Lit. Rems. Edw. VI, pp. clxviii, 260, 349, 384; W. K. Jordan, Edw. VI, ii. 432-3; B. L. Beer, Northumberland, 136. 6. CPR, 1549-51, p. 247; 1553-4, p. 352; APC, iv. 79, 188; v. 257, 271; W. C. Richardson, Ct. Augmentations, 350; C. Martin, Les protesta


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Douglas Richardson. Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 4 vols, ed. Kimball G. Everingham. 2nd edition. Salt Lake City: the author, 2011. Vol. IV, pages 64-66, Spencer, #12, William Carey. See also WikiTree's source page for Magna Carta Ancestry.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 History of Parliament on line. [1]
  3. Chebsey came to Wm. from his bros. Humphrey
  4. 4.0 4.1 Plantagenet Ancestry, 2011, p. 482.
  5. Humphrey inherited the manors of Blatherwycke and Dodford, Hants. from his uncle, Thomas Stafford, esq. in 1517.Stafford-6 [2]
  6. "Halthed Genealogy - William Stafford," citing: Weir, A. (n.d.) The Six Wives of Henry VIII.
    Weir, A. (n.d.). Mary Boleyn (Stafford family pedigree):
    • suggests 1512 as likely birth date of Sir William Stafford, 2nd husband of Mary Boleyn.
    Editor: Canning-229 16:18, 28 Dec 2014 (EST)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Gordon, D. (2014). Secret History of Southend-on-Sea. The History Press. Google Books.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Weir, A. (2011). Mary Boleyn: The Mistress of Kings, pp. 250. Random House. Google Books.
  9. Constable, A. (1970). The Victoria History of the County of Stafford, 3, p. 239). [3]
  10. Nichols, J.G. (1846). The Topographer and Genealogist, 1, pp. 142. London: J. Bowyer Nichols & Son. Google Books.
  11. (Pollard, A.F. (1898). Stafford, Edward (1552?-1605) (DNB00). citing Visitations of Staffordshire, Harl. MSS. 6128 ff. 89–91, and 1415 f. 109).
  13. History of Parliament online, volume 1558-1603. Member, richard drake. HOP.
  14. Lipscomb, G. (1847). Pedigree of Drake of Amersham. The History and Antiquities of the County of Buckingham, 3, pp. 154. Google Books.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 "Lady Dorothy Stafford (d. 22 Sep 1604; bur. St. Margaret's Church." Westminster Abbey. Web.
  16. see also: Richardson, D. (2011). Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd ed., I, p. 121; ODNB articles on Mary Boleyn and Dorothy Stafford; Plantaget Ancestry, 2011 via Google Books; Wikipedia: Epiphanius Evesham
  • Lewis, M. (2014, February 17). Dorothy Stafford #90500, b. circa 1526, d. 22 Sep 1604, citing: various works by Douglas Richardson. ORTNCA and ORTNCA
  • Richardson, D. (2011). "William Carey," in Plantagenet Ancestry, 2nd ed., pp. 482-483. Google Books.
  • Richardson, D. (2013). Royal Ancestry, II:57, V:24
  • Weir, A. (2011). Mary Boleyn: The Mistress of Kings, pp. 214, 250. Random House. Google Books.

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Stafford-6615 and Stafford-3 appear to represent the same person because: appears to be a duplicate
posted by Beryl Meehan
Registrum ecclesiae parochialis [electronic resource] : the history of parish registers in England : also of the registers of Scotland, Ireland, the East and West Indies, the dissenters, and the Episcopal chapels in and about London : with observations on bishops' transcripts and the provisions of the act of the 52nd George III. cap. 146. by Burn, John Southerden, 1798-1870. Page 284 gives birth of John Stafford as 4 Jan 1556: [1]
I think I resolved the 'CONFlICT' note ... line needs a spot-check then remove the old note.
posted by [Living Ogle]
12th great grandfather
posted by Raymond Nichols DD
Blatherwyke is in Northants (Northamptonshire) not in Hants (Hampshire).
posted by C. Mackinnon
to do:
  • add citation for Weir ... prob. '99 and finish inline cit. [WIP] ...

btw ... IMO, Weir did a great bio [just] on Mary Boleyn, but it def paints the life of the king's mistress as rather drab. It also raised more questions around the timing of birth of the notorious sisters. It has always been assumed Anne was the younger dau. but by the time Weir is done ... the reader is left in doubt. The same can be said for whether or not Stafford wound up raising a fitzroy. I think the big kicker is not so much what Eliz I. said ... but the attn. she paid through her actions (as opposed to speaking about her maternal roots in public).

  • project tag? ... preference? -- Weir (2011) states Wm. Stafford was not a member of the peerage, even after marrying Dorothy. ... so prob. England project. (note that Richardson, 2011 ... asserts that Wm. was a K.B.
  • Lewis and Wikipedia conflict on dau. Eliz. DOB -- 1550 vs. 1556... and both sites imply or assert she was b. in England. If she was b. in England ... then most likely she was b. bef. 1553/4 because the family was already abroad in c. 1553 possibly NS but maybe not. And not to forget ... Liz' dad died in Switzerland during 1556.
  • switch to MLA
  • property descent
posted by [Living Ogle]
Stafford-348 and Stafford-3 appear to represent the same person because: they are the same
posted by Mike Davies

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