Stafford and Lovell Rebellion

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The Stafford and Lovell rebellion was the first armed uprising against Henry VII after he won the crown at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. The uprising was led by Francis Lovell, 1st Viscount Lovell and the Stafford brothers, Sir Humphrey Stafford (c.1426/7 – 8 July 1486) of Grafton, Worcestershire, and Thomas Stafford, and occurred during Eastertime 1486.[1]


The conspirators hoped to restore the Yorkist monarchy. On 22 April 1486 Lord Lovell decided not to risk open rebellion, and escaped to Burgundy. In the meantime the Stafford brothers had risen in rebellion in Worcester, despite the fact that King Henry had mass support in that area.

During this time Henry was in York on a nationwide tour of the country. As soon as he advanced towards Worcester in order to eliminate Yorkist support, on 11 May 1486 the Stafford brothers again fled to sanctuary, this time at Culham.[2]


The King took immediate action and decided to force Stafford to kiss his feet. Stafford was forcibly removed from sanctuary on the night of 13 May by John Barrowman and one follower.[3] Henry then ordered the execution of Humphrey Stafford of Grafton, but pardoned the younger Thomas Stafford.

The arrest prompted a series of protests to Pope Innocent VIII over the breaking of sanctuary; these resulted in a Papal bull in August which severely limited the rights of sanctuary, excluding it completely in cases of treason, thereby vindicating the King's actions.


  1. ^ Richardson I 2011, p. 119; Horrox 2004.
  2. ^ Williams 1928, p. 186; Stanley Bertram Chrimes, Henry VII. -, Berkeley, ISBN 0-520-02266-1, 0520022661  p71
  3. ^ Williams 1928, p. 186.