Dorothy Stafford

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Dorothy Stafford

Birthdate: (77)
Birthplace: England
Death: September 22, 1604 (77)
Place of Burial: Westminster, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Henry Stafford, Sr., 1st Baron Stafford and Ursula Pole, Baroness Stafford
Wife of Sir William Stafford, Kt., of Grafton
Mother of Dorothy Stafford; Elizabeth Scott; Ursula Drake; Sir Edward Stafford, Kt., of Grafton; Sir William Stafford, II and 1 other
Sister of Walter Stafford; Elizabeth Stafford; Maria Stafford; Edward Stafford, Sr., 3rd Baron Stafford; Thomas Stafford and 4 others

Managed by: Ivy Jo Smith
Last Updated:

About Dorothy Stafford

Dorothy Stafford, Lady Stafford (1 October 1526- 22 September 1604), was an English noblewoman, and an influential person at the court of Queen Elizabeth I of England, to whom Dorothy served as Mistress of the Robes. Dorothy was the second wife of Sir William Stafford, widower of Mary Boleyn. Dorothy and her family were forced to seek exile in Geneva during the reign of Mary I, due to their Protestant religion. Reformer John Calvin stood as godfather to her youngest son. Through her maternal grandmother, Margaret Pole, 8th Countess of Salisbury, Dorothy had a claim to the English throne. Contents [hide] • 1 Family • 2 Marriage and children • 3 Elizabeth I's court • 4 Death • 5 Ancestry • 6 References [edit] Family Dorothy was born on 1 October 1526,[1] the youngest daughter of Henry Stafford, 1st Baron Stafford and Lady Ursula Pole. Her mother was the daughter of Margaret Pole, 8th Countess of Salisbury, who would be executed for treason in 1541 by the order of King Henry VIII. Through her grandmother, who was the last surviving member of the Plantagenet dynasty, Dorothy and her siblings had a claim to the English throne. Dorothy had 13 siblings, of whom 11 names are known. She, along with her sister Susan, was raised in the household of her aunt Elizabeth Stafford, Duchess of Norfolk.[2]Dorothy was the Duchess's favourite niece, to whom she was very generous, giving her many gifts of clothing and money.[3] [edit] Marriage and children In 1545, Dorothy married her distant cousin Sir William Stafford, whose first wife Mary Boleyn, the elder sister of Queen consort Anne Boleyn, had died in July 1543. Sir William was Mary's second husband, her first having been William Carey, by whom she had a son, Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon, and a daughter, Catherine Carey. Sir William had at least two children by Mary, but they both died young. Sir William and Dorothy together had six children: • Elizabeth Stafford (1546- 6 February 1599), married firstly, Sir William Drury, by whom she had issue; she married secondly, Sir John Scott. • Dorothy Stafford (b.1548) • Sir Edward Stafford of Grafton (1552- 1604), married firstly, Roberta Chapman by whom he had issue; he married secondly, Douglas Sheffield. • Ursula Stafford (b.1553), married Richard Drake of Esher, by whom she had issue. • William Stafford (1554- 1612), married Anne Gryme, by whom he had issue. • Sir John Stafford of Marlwood Park (January 1556- 1624), married Millicent Gresham. On 23 September 1545, Dorothy's husband was knighted in Scotland by Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford during the War of the Rough Wooing. From that time onward, Dorothy was styled as Lady Stafford. Dorothy and her family were staunch Protestants; therefore during the reign of Roman Catholic Queen Mary I, the Staffords were forced to go into exile. They chose Geneva, where they befriended John Calvin, who stood as godfather to Dorothy's youngest son, John on 4 January 1556.[4] On 5 May 1556, Sir William died, and Dorothy moved with her small children to Basel. [edit] Elizabeth I's court In January 1559, following the ascension of Queen Elizabeth I, Dorothy and her children returned to England, where she was received at court. John Calvin had strongly opposed their departure, having wanted to keep his godson in Switzerland. In 1563, Dorothy was appointed Mistress of the Robes to Queen Elizabeth, and she exercised much influence at the royal court. She used her influence with the Queen to promote the causes of both her friends and casual acquaintances; in 1569, Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury, seeking a prebend for a colleague, wrote to Dorothy, requesting that she "speak some good word" on the matter to the Queen.[5] In 1576, she broke her leg in a riding accident, but quickly recovered. Two years later, she used her influence to secure the prestigious office of English Ambassador to France for her eldest son, Sir Edward Stafford. She held her post at court until the Queen's death in 1603,[6] having served her for 40 years. Her eldest daughter, Elizabeth was a Lady of the Bedchamber, and her son-in-law, Richard Drake, served as the Queen's Equerry. Her late husband's two stepchildren by Mary Boleyn also held influential posts at court. [edit] Death Dorothy died on 22 September 1604, and was buried in St. Margaret's Church, Westminster. Her effigy and monument are in the north aisle of the church. The inscription on her monument reads:[7] Here Lyeth the Lady Dorothy Stafford, Wife and Widow to Sir William Stafford, Knight, Daughter to Henry, Lord Stafford, the only son of Edward, the last Duke of Buckingham: Her mother was Ursula, Daughter to the Countesse of Salisbury, the only Daughter to George, Duke of Clarence, Brother to King Edward the Fourth. Shee continued a true Widow from the Age of 27 till her Death. She served Queen Elizabeth 40 Yeeres, lying in the Bedchamber, esteemed of her, loved of all, doing good, all she could, to every Body, never hurt any; a continual Remembrancer of the Suits of the Poor. As she Lived a religious Life, in great Reputation of Honour and Vertue in the World, so she ended in continual fervent Meditation, and hearty Prayer to God. At which Instant, as all her Life, so after her Death, she gave liberally to the Poore, and died aged 78, the 22. of September 1604. In whose Remembrance, Sir Edward Stafford, her sonne, hath caused this Memorial of her to be in the same Forme and Place as she herselfe long since required him. [edit] Ancestry

Family Group Record FamilySearch™ Ancestral File v4.19

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Husband's Name

William STAFFORD (AFN:9FXW-9C) Pedigree - Born: Abt 1500 Place: Of, Blatherwick, Northamptonshire, England - Christened: Place: Of, Chebsey - Married: Abt 1545 Place:

Father: Humphrey STAFFORD (AFN:9FXW-LW)

Mother: Margaret FOGGE (AFN:9FXW-M3)


Wife's Name

Dorothy STAFFORD (AFN:9224-NM) Pedigree - Born: 1526 Place: , , England, Gb , Died: 22 Sep 1604 Place: St. Margaret Church, Westminster, Middlesex, Eng. - Buried: 23 Sep 1604 Place: St. Margaret Church, Westminster, Middlesex, England - Married: Abt 1545 Place:

Father: Henry STAFFORD (AFN:9224-FF) Family

Mother: Ursula POLE (AFN:9224-GL)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- CHILDREN Ursula STAFFORD (AFN:9FXW-HD) Pedigree - Born: Abt 1546 Place: <Of Bobbing Court, Bobbing, Kent, England> Dorothy STAFFORD (AFN:9FXW-F2) Pedigree - Born: Abt 1548 Place: <Of Bobbing Court, Bobbing, Kent, England> Edward STAFFORD (AFN:9FXW-BJ) Pedigree - Born: Abt 1552 Place: Of, Grafton, Northamptonshire, England , Died: 5 Feb 1604/1605 Place: John STAFFORD (AFN:9FXW-DV) Pedigree - Born: 1549 Place: <Of Bobbing Court, Bobbing, Kent, England> Died: 28 Sep 1624 Place: Sp Elizabeth STAFFORD (AFN:9FXW-G7) Pedigree - Born: 1550 Place: Of Bobbing Court, Bobbing, Kent, England William STAFFORD (AFN:9FXW-CP) Pedigree - Born: 1 Mar 1553/1554 Place: Rocheford, Rocheford, England, England , Died: 16 Nov 1612 Place:

  • **************************************************************************

Dorothy STAFFORD, Born: ABT 1526, Died: 23 Sep 1603/4, Buried: St. Margaret's, Westminster, England

Father: Henry STAFFORD (1° B. Stafford)

Mother: Ursula POLE

Married: William STAFFORD of Grafton (Sir) AFT Jul 1543


1. Edward STAFFORD of Grafton (Sir) 2. John STAFFORD of Marlwood Park (Sir) 3. William STAFFORD 4. Elizabeth STAFFORD STAFFORD1

Dorothy Stafford was the youngest daughter of Henry Stafford, Baron Stafford (September 18,1501-April 30,1563) and Ursula Pole (1504-August 12,1570). She lived in the household of her aunt, Elizabeth Stafford, duchess of Norfolk (1499-November 30, 1558) as a child, as did her sisters Susanna and Jane. In 1545, Dorothy married Mary Boleyn’s widower, Sir William Stafford, later of Chebsey, Staffordshire (d. May 1556) and had six children by him, Elizabeth (c.1546-February 6, 1598/9), Dorothy (b.1548), Sir Edward of Grafton (c.1552-1604), Ursula (b.c.1553), William (1554-1612), and Sir John of Marlwood Park (January 1556-1624). Alison Weir suggests she was the Mistress Stafford with Elizabeth Tudor in the Tower in 1554, but in March 1554, the entire family went into exile, settling in Geneva. John Calvin was godfather to their youngest son and, after her husband's death, tried to keep custody of the boy.With all her children, Dorothy left Geneva for Basel, where she remained until January of 1559. Under Elizabeth Tudor, Dorothy was at court and became quite influential there. Her first warrant for wages is dated August 13, 1559. In 1575 (or 1563), she is said to have been appointed Mistress of Robes and to have held that position until the queen's death in 1603. However, there was no official post by that title until the next reign. In the late 1580s, Dorothy was forced to confine one of her women, Barbara Heron, to Bedlam. She paid for Barbara's maintenance for the eight or nine years she was confined there. When two maids of honor, Elizabeth Brydges and Elizabeth Russell, were banished from the Coffer Chamber for three days, they stayed with Lady Stafford. Dorothy was buried in St. Margaret’s, Westminster. Biography: Oxford DNB entry under "Stafford [née Stafford], Dorothy." Portraits: effigy in St. Margaret's.

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Dorothy Stafford's Timeline

October 1, 1526
Age 21
Age 23
Bobbing, Kent, England
Age 25
Bobbing Court, Kent, England
Age 25
March 1, 1554
Age 27
Rocheford, England
Age 29
September 22, 1604
Age 77