Humphrey Stafford, 1st Duke of Buckingham

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Humphrey Stafford
The Duke of Buckingham
Buckingham cropped.png
Humphrey Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, by William Bond, after Joseph Allen.
Spouse(s) Lady Anne Neville
Issue
Humphrey Stafford, Earl of Stafford
Sir Henry Stafford
Edward Stafford
Catherine Stafford
George Stafford
William Stafford
John Stafford, 1st Earl of Wiltshire
Joan Stafford
Anne Stafford
Margaret Stafford
Father Edmund Stafford, 5th Earl of Stafford
Mother Anne of Gloucester
Born 15 August 1402
Died 10 July 1460
Buried Gray Friars, Northampton

Humphrey Stafford, 1st Duke of Buckingham, 6th Earl of Stafford, KG (15 August 1402 – 10 July 1460) was an English nobleman and a military commander in both the later Hundred Years' War and in the early years of the Wars of the Roses. A great-grandson of King Edward III on his mother's side, he inherited his father's earldom of Stafford at an early age, and through his marriage to a daughter of Ralph, Earl of Westmorland, was not only related to the powerful Neville family, but, many of the leading aristocratic houses of the time. His early years were spent in relative poverty, as much of his estate was in the control of his dowager mother, and like his fathers, he joined the English campaign in France. He fought for King Henry V, and on the king's death became a leadng councillor for the new king, the six-month old Henry VI. He acted in a peacemaking role in the partisan politics of the 1430s, when the duke of Gloucester vied with Cardinal Beaufort for political supremacy, and he was also involved in the arrest of the duke in 1445.

Stafford returned to the French campaign during the 1430s, and, as a resul of his loyalty and years of service, he was elevated from earl of Stafford to duke of Buckingham. Around the same time, his mother died, and this turned Buckingham into one of the wealthiest and most powerful landowners in England of his generation. His lands covered much of the country, ranging from East Anglia to the Welsh border. Being such an important figure in the localities was not without its dangers, and for sometime he was constantly feuding with, and being attacked by, Sir Thomas Malory.

Buckingham spent the rest of his life continuing to serve the English crown, but remained in England. He acted as a bodyguard to the king during Jack Cade's Rebellion, and both negotiated with the rebels for the government and, when the rebellion was over, helped investigate the causes of the revolt. He acted in a similar capacity when the king's cousin, Richard, Duke of York rebelled in 1452. As the king became ill, and sank into a coma, the country slid towards civil war. Buckingham fought for the king in the first battle of the Wars of the Roses, at St Albans, where they were both captured by the Yorkists. He spent the last few years of his life attempting to mediate between the Yokists and the crown, but partly due to a personal feud with one of the leading Yorkists, Richard, Earl of Warwick, eventually threw in his lot firmly behind King Henry. Buckingham was responsible for York's defeat in 1459, which drove the latter into exile; but on the rebels' return the next year, the king was attacked at Northampton. Acting as the king's personal guard, he was cut down and killed, and the king was taken prisoner again. His son had already redeceased him, so Humphrey's dukedom descended to his four year old grandson, Henry Stafford.

Background and youth[edit]

Humphrey was born at Stafford, Staffordshire, England, the only son of Edmund Stafford, 5th Earl of Stafford, and Anne of Gloucester, daughter of Edward III's youngest son Thomas of Woodstock,[1] which gave the Staffords royal blood.[2]

When Humphrey was less than a year old, his father was killed fighting for the King Henry IV against the rebellion of Henry Hotspur, at the Battle of Shrewsbury,[1] and so became 6th Earl of Stafford on 21 July 1403.[3] He immediately inherited a large estate with lands in more than a dozen counties, although over two-thirds of his estate was still occupied by his mother, who had been married by then to two previous earls of Stafford- Edmund the fifth earl, and Edmund's elder brother, Thomas, the 3rd earl, with whom she had had no children. Thus she possessed two dowries, each of which was a third of the estate.[4] Humphrey, therefore, received a reduced income, of less than £1260 a year, until he was sixteen. Humphrey was made a royal ward on his father's death, under the control of Henry IV's queen Joan of Navarre;[1] his minority was to be a long one, lasting the next twenty years.[5] In his youth, he has been described as something of a hothead.[6]

Early career[edit]

Although he received a reduced inheritance, as historian Carol Rawcliffe has put it, 'fortunes were still to be made in the French wars; and, like generations of Staffords before him, he assumed the profession of arms.'[1] He fought with Henry V in the 1420 campaign, and was knighted by the king on 22 April the following year.[1] However, on 31 August 1422, Henry V died in France.[7] When later asked in council if the king had made any last words regarding the government of Normandy, Stafford claimed that he was too upset at the occasion to be able to remember.[8] Stafford ('although it is not clear how they got to Westminster') was a member of the entourage that returned to England with the body,[9] although he was strictly still a minor himself at this time.[8] Stafford was later granted livery of his father's estate by parliament, in acknowledgement of the dead king's verbal promise, and did not impose the usual fee for doing so.[10]

Stafford Castle, the Stafford family seat, as it remains today.

Following the accession of Henry VI, it was decided that the dead king's brothers- John, Duke of Bedford and Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester- would have positions of importance in the government of England as the new king, Henry VI, was a baby on his accession. Bedford would rule as regent in France, whilst Gloucester would be chief councillor (not quite a full Protector) in England. Stafford became a member of this regency royal council on its formation.[8] The first representative meeting of the council was held, with Stafford attending, in November 1422;[11] he and attended assiduously for the next three years.[12] By 1424, the rivalry between Gloucester, as Protector, and Beaufort, as the de facto head of council had become outright, frequent conflict . Although Stafford probably favoured the interests of Humphrey in the duke's struggle for supremacy over Beaufort in council[8] the young earl may also have been a moderating influence between them.[1] For example, in October 1425 Stafford, together with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Portuguese Duke of Coimbra, hepled to negotiate an end to a burst of voilence that had erupted in London between the followers of Glucester and the Cardinal.[13] However, in 1428, when Gloucester demanded an extension of his authority, Stafford was one of the councillors who personally signed an 'outspoken statement' to the effect that Gloucester's position had been formulated six years earlier, and that, in any case the king would attain his majority in the not-too-distant future.[8] He was also one of the lords who was chosen by the council to inform Beaufort (who had now been appointed a Cardinal) to advise the Bishop to remain away from Windsor until it was decided if he could carry out his traditional duty of Prelate to the Order of the Garter now he had been promoted.[8]

Stafford himself was made a knight of the Order of the Garter in April 1429,[14] and travelled to France with the king for his 1430 French coronation, occasionally escorting him through the war-torn countryside.[15] He was appointed Lieutenant-General of Normandy,[16] governor of Paris, and constable of France over the course of his next two years of service there.[17] Apart from one occasion in November 1430 when he and Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter took the English army to support Philip, Duke of Burgundy (in which the Engish army was never brought into battle), Stafford's primary military role at this time was carrying out defensive duties around Paris.[18] On 11 October 1431 the king created him Count of Perche, a province in English-occupied Normandy. Stafford held this title until the English finally wthdrew from Normandy.[19] This was valued at 800 marks per annum;[20] although, it has been suggested that as this was an area of almost constant warfare, in real terms 'the amount of revenue that could be extracted... must have been considerably lower.'[19] Indeed, since, Perche was a frontier region, and 'bore so much of the brunt of the war at this time,'[21] so whatever income the estate generated was probably ploughed back into the defence of the region.[22]

In England, on the ending of the king's minority in 1436, the council reorganized the king's duchy of Lancaster estates under the control of regional magnates. This gave Stafford control of vast swathes of the north midlands and Derbyshire, which was the largest chunk of the duchy that was elegated amongst the nobility.[23] As a result, the earl had the royal affinity there to use as his own.[24]

Estates[edit]

Arms of Sir Humphrey Stafford, 1st Duke of Buckingham, KG

In 1953, English historian K.B. McFarlane estimated Stafford's total potential income to have been £6,300 gross annually, at its peak between 1447and 1448.[25] The earl held land in twenty-two counties,[26] although the centrepiece of Buckingham's estates, and his own caput, was Stafford Castle. This had a staff of at least forty, and a large stable, and was perfectly placed for recruiting his retainers in the Welsh marches, Staffordshire, and Cheshire.[27] He also had manor houses at Writtle and Maxstoke; the latter, which he had purchased along with most of the estates of John, Lord Clinton,[28] was useful when the court was in Coventry.[29] Likewise he would use is castle at Tonbridge when he was acting in his capacity of Warden of the Cinque ports or on commission in Kent.[30] His marcher castles- Caus, Hay, Huntingdon, and Bronllys- had, by the 1450s generally fallen into disrepair, and other border castles of his, such as those of Brecon and Newport were rarely used by the him.[30] Stafford's manor of Thornbury was convenient for Bristol, and as a stopping point to and from London.[30]

In the words of one historian, his mother's death in 1438 'transformed' his fiscal position. His inheritance included the remainder of his father's estates, which were worth about £1500, and his mother's half of the Bohun inheritance (around £1200). The latter also included the title of earldom of Buckingham, which bringing a further £1000, and made him one of the greatest landowners in England;[1] and in fact only the king and the duke of York were wealthier.[31] 'His landed resources matched his titles... the Stafford family estates were scattered throughout England, Wales and Ireland,'[32] and it has been estimated that by the late 1440s, his income was over £5,000 per annum.[33] However, it has also been estimated the actual income yielded from them could have been as low as £3,700,[34] and that on average he annually overspent by approximately £300,[35] and, on top of this, rents owed to him were not always paid: even a lord of the status of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, for example, owed Buckingham over £100 in unpaid rent for the manor of Drayton Bassett in 1458.[36] In the 1440s and 1450s, Buckingham's Welsh estates were particularly notable for both their rent arrears and public disorder.[37]

Affinity and problems in the localities[edit]

Maxstoke Castle, purchased by Stafford from Lord Clinton

All great lords created an affinity between themselves and groups of supporters, travelling with them, for purposes of mutual benefit and defence,[38] and Humphrey Stafford was no exception. These men- often tenants for soldiering, but not exclusively so-[39] were often retained by indenture; in the 1450s, Stafford retained men 'to sojourn and ride' with him.[40] His affinity was probably composed along the lines laid out by royal ordinance, viz up to, but not above, 240 men, including 'forty gentlenen, eighty yeomen and a variety of lesser individuals,' although drawn in much smaller numbers in times of peace from the localities, rather than a standing body of men. In the late 1440s it was at least ten knights and twenty-seven esquires, mainly from Cheshire.[41] And probably due to the political climate, this increased after 1457.[42] His Household has been estimated at around 150 people by about 1450.[43] It has been estimated that maintaining both his affinity and household cost the duke over £900 a year.[26]

Along with Richard Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick, Buckingham was the major magnatial influence in Warwickshire;[44] and when Warwick left for his lengthy tour of duty in France, in 1437, Stafford became the sole regional magnate, controlling a massive area stretching from Warwickshire to Derbyshire.[28] However, so involved was he with afffairs of the court and government, that he was often unable to attend to the needs of his 'country.'[45] Stafford also had major estates on the Welsh Marches which occupied his time, as they particularly required order kept within them. He also acted as a royal justice in the region.[45] One of his most well-known disputes Buckingham had with his local gentry was that he had with Thomas Malory. On 4 January 1450, Malory with twenty-six other armed men, waited for Buckingham in Coombe Abbey woods, near the duke's Newbold estate with intent to ambush him.[46] Malory appears to have been repelled by sixty of Buckingham's yeomen tenants.[47] At some point Malory also stole deer from the duke's park at Caludon,[48] and the duke personally arrested Malory on 25 July the following year.[49] Buckingham also ended up in a dispute with William Ferrers of Staffordshire, even though it was the centre of his estates, after Ferrers was appointed to the county King's Bench and attempted to assert political control over the county.[50] On 5 May 1430 a Leicestershire manor of Stafford's was attacked,[51] and following Cade's rebellion, his park at Penshurst was attacked by men 'concealing their faces with long beards and Charcoal-blackened faces, calling themselves servants of the queen of the fairies.'[52] There was trouble in Derbyshire in the the 1440s, where, it has been said, Buckingham 'made no attempt to restore peace, nor made any attempt to intervene at all.'[53] By the 1450s, not only was Buckingham unable to prevent feuding amongst the Derbyshire gentry, but his own affinity was in discord.[54] This may in part be due to the fact that at this time Buckingham was not spending much of his time in the midlands; rather, he was staying close to London, either at Tonbridge (Kent) or Writtle (Essex).[55]

Later career[edit]

The Stafford knot, the cognizance of the earls of Stafford and dukes of Buckingham, worn by their retainers to indicate their alleigance.

In Summer 1436, Stafford, accompanied by Gloucester, the duke of Norfolk, and the earls of Huntingdon, Warwick, Devon, and Ormond, returned to France again withan army of nearly 8,000 men.[56] Although the expedition's purpose was to end the siege of Calais, by the time the English arrived, the French besiegers had withdrawn,[57] leaving behind a quantity of cannon for the English to seize.[58] Peace talks in France occupied Stafford throughout 1439, and in 1442 he was appointed Captain of Calais[1] and of the tower of Risbanke, and was indented to serve for the next decade.[59] Before he arrived in Calais, however- in September 1442- the garrison had revolted, seizing the Staple's wool in lieu of their unpaid wages. Stafford received a pledge from the council that if such a situation arose again during his tenure, he would not be held responsible.[60] In ligt of the secrecy that cloaked Stafford's appointment in 1442, says one modern historian, it is even possible that the revolt had actually been staged by his servants to ensure that Stafford 'had entry on favourable terms' to Calais;[61] since Stafford emphasised the need to restore order there in his original application for the position.[62] He also received permission to export gold and jewels (up to £5,000-worth every time he returned there) for his use in France, even though the export of bullion was illegal at the time.[63]

Buckingham was granted the Honour of Tutbury around 1435; he held it until 1443, when, as Professor Ralph A. Griffiths put it, he 'hand[ed] it over to the son of one of his own councillors.'[64] Other offices he held included Seneschal of Halton (from 1439) and Lieutenant of the Marches from 1442 – 1451. At the same tie, he became less active on the council.[65] Buckingham became Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports and Constable of Dover Castle, also Constable of Queensborough, on the Isle of Sheppey), in 1450. He represented the Crown during peace talks with the French in 1445 and 1446.

Buckingham, as a Constable of England, and by now frimly in the Beaufort camp,[66] was one of the lords who arrested Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, at Bury St Edmunds on 18 February 1447.[45] Five years previously, Stafford had been on the committee that investigated and convicted Goucester's wife, Eleanor Cobham, of witchcraft.[67] Buckingham, like many others, profited substantially from Gloucester's fall: when the latter's estates were divided up, the 'major prizes' went to the court nobility.[68]

In September 1444, as reward for 'many years' loyal and continuous service' to the crown, he was created Duke of Buckingham.[69] He was already describing himself as 'the Right Mighty Prince Humphrey Earl of Buckingham, Hereford, Stafford, Northampton and Perche, Lord of Brecknock and Holdernesse.'[70] In May 1447 he was further granted precedence over all English dukes not of royal blood.[71] Despite his income, during his time in office as the Captain of the Calais garrison, he was heavily out of pocket. He was responsible for ensuring the garrison was paid, and it has been estimated that when he resigned and returned from the post in 1450, he was owed over £19,000 in back wages,[72] an amount so large he was granted the wool trade tax from the port of Sandwich, Kent, until it was paid off.[63] Public office continued to push him to spend over his annual income, with household costs of over £2000, as well as all the public requirements he needed to fund.[1] effectively making him a substantial creditor to the government.[73]

From May to July 1450, even before Jack Cade's rebellion had broken out, Buckingham had cause to summon about seventy of his tenants from Staffordshire to accompany him whilst he was in London.[74] When the rebellion occurred, Buckingham was one of the lords commissioned arrest the rebels with a forceful response on 6 June 1450, and who acted as the king's negotiator to the insurgents at Blackheath ten days later.[75] However the promises Bukingham made to the rebels on behalf of the government were not kept by King Henry, and Cade's army invaded London.[76] After the defeat of the rebellion, Buckingham headed an investigatory commission which was designed to 'placate' rebellious Kent,[77] and in November that year he rode noisily through London with the king and other peers, with a retinue of around 1,500 armed men, in an armed 'demonstration of official power' intended to deter potential troublemakers in the future.[78] Following the rebellion, Buckingham's retinue often acted as a bodyguard to the king.[79]

Wars of the Roses[edit]

Main article: Wars of the Roses
Brecon Castle today, was the Stafford's main marcher base.

From around 1451 the king's Privy Council was controlled by Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset, who had effectively replaced the duke of Suffolk s the king's chief councillor. on the latter's death in 1450.[80] Buckingham supported Somerset's government,[81] whilst trying to maintain peace between him and the duke of York. He also acted as a Comissioner of the Peace on 14 February 1452 in Devon, suppressing Thomas Courtenay, Earl of Devon who was preparing to join and support York.[82] When finally York rebelled later that month, he confronted the king with a large army at Dartford, Buckingham was again a voice of compromise, and, since he had contributed heavily towards the size of the king's army, was heeded.[83] A year later, in August 1453, King Henry became ill, and slipped into a catatonic state. Government broke down. The situation remained through Christmas 1453, when Buckingham personally presented the king's son- the newly-born Edward, Prince of Wales- to Henry. But Henry 'gave no manner answer.'[84] However, Buckingham was as also present at the council meeting which resulted in the arrest and subsequent year-long imprisonment of the duke of Somerset, who by now was York's bitter enemy.[85] In the parliament of February 1454 Buckingham was appointed Steward of England- although Ralph Griffiths has called this position 'largely honourific.'[86] Buckingham also attended the parliamnet of February 1454 in which it was decided to nominate the duke of York as Protector of the Realm on 27 March 1454[87] and Buckingham supported him, attending the Protectorate council more frequently than many of his fellow councillors.[88] King Henry recovered health in January 1455; soon after Somerset was released or escaped from the Tower. A contemporary commented how Buckingham 'straungely conveied' Somerset from prison,[88] but it is less certain whether this was as a result of the king ordering his release or whether in fact Somerset escaped with Buckingham's connivance.[89] Buckingham may well have been expecting war to break out, because in 1454, he ordered 2,000 of his cognizances- the 'Stafford knot'[90]- even though strictly this (the distribution of livery) was against the law.[91]

The Battle of St Albans[edit]

Map of the first Battle of St Albans, 22 May 1455

With the king's recovery, York was either dismissed or resigned from his office of protector, and, with his Neville allies, withdrew from London to their lands in the north. The government meanwhile summoned a Great Council to meet in Leicester on 22 May 1455, at which, the Yorkists believed, they would be attainted, or worse. The Yorkists gathered their forces and marched south. The king, with a small force, was likewise marching north to Leicester. The king was made aware of the Yorkists' approach in the early morning of 22 May, and Buckinghm urged that the royal army push on to St Albans; it has been suggested that this is because he assumed correctly that York would want to parley before any confrontation, just as he had in 1452. The decision to head for the town and not make a stand straight away may have been a tactical error, however.[92] The two parties met, then, at St Albans, with the king lodgeded in the town and York, with the earls of Salisbury and Warwick, encamped outside.[93] Negotiations between commenced on 22 May with York demanding Somerset be released into his custody. Possibly because of this, the king replaced Somerset as Lord High Constable with Buckingham the same day,[94] and in that capacity Buckingham acted as the king's personal negotiator, receiving and responding to the Yorkists' messengers before the battle[95] and playing for time.[96] Buckinghmam received at least three embassies, but the king refused to give in to the main Yorkist demand- that Somerset was surrendered to them.[97] Buckingham may have hoped that the repeated negotiations would deplete the Yorkists' energy for a battle, and likewise hold off long enough for reinforcements to arrive.[98] To which end, says John Gillingham, Buckingham made an 'insiduously tempting suggestion' that the Yorkists mull over the king's responses in Hatfield or Barnet over night.[99]

The battle of St Albans began whilst negotiations were still taking place, as the earl of Warwick launched a surprise attack attack at around ten o'clock in the morning.[100][98] Buckingham commanded the king's army of 2,500, although his co-ordination of the defence of the town has been said to have had 'serious defects,' whilst he himself gave the inititiative to the Yorkists, both of which which enabled their assault.[99] Although only about 50 people died in the battle itself, this included the very senior noblemen the duke of Somerset, the earl of Northumberland, and the Lord Clifford. Buckingham himself was wounded,[101] sought sanctuary in the abbey,[102] and possibly taken prisoner with the king.[103] Following the battle, Buckingham rewarded ninety of his retainers from Kent, Sussex[104] and Surrey alone.[105]

Last years[edit]

York now had the political upper hand, made himself Constable of England and kept king the prisoner, returning to the role of Protector when the king became ill again.[87] Buckingham appears to have supported this second protectorate too, and probably as a result of this, the Buckingham lost favour with Queen Margaret. A contemporary wrote that in April 1456, the duke returned to his Writtle manor, not looking 'well plesid.'[88] Buckingham played a fundamental role at the October 1456 Great Council in Leicester,[106] where, with other lords, he pleaded with the king to impose a settlement whilst declaring that anyone who resorted to violence would receive 'ther deserte'[107]- and this included any who attacked York.[108]

In 1459, with other lords, he renewed his oath of loyalty to the king and Prince of Wales.[109] Until this point he may have been a voice of restraint amongst the court party- possibly even on the queen herself.[110] But his political realignment with the queen this year was decisive enough that it ultimately 'hastened' the outbreak of hostilities again, although he may have partially motivated by financial needs,[111] and encouraged to do so by those retainers reliant on him.[112] He had a bigger retinue than almost any other noble in England[111]- he was probably the only noble who could match York in power and income-[113] and this was demonstrated at the Battle of Ludford Bridge in October 1459, where his army played a decisive part in the defeat of the Yorkist forces.[114][115]

The duke of York and the Neville earls fled Ludlow and went into exile; York to Ireland, the earls to Calais. They were attainted at the 1459 Coventry parliament, and their estates distributed amongst the crown's supporters. Buckingham was rewarded by the king with extensive grants from the estates of Sir William Oldhall,[1] probably worth over £800 per annum.[116] With York in exile, Buckingham was granted custody of York's wife, Cecily, Duchess of York, whom, a chronicler reports, he treated harshly in captivity.[117]

Death[edit]

The Battle of Northampton, 10 July 1460.

From the moment the duke of York and the Neville earls left England it was obvious to those in government that they would return. In June 1460 they did so, landing at Sandwich, Kent.[118] They immediately marched on, and entered, London, while the king, with Buckingham and other lords, moved the court from Coventry to Northampton.[119]

In the lead up to the Battle of Northampton, the earls of Warwick and March sent envoys to negotiate, but Buckingham, backed in his position by his son-in-law, the earl of Shrewsbury and Lords Beaumont and Egremont,[120] was no longer conciliatory.[119] Buckingham, once again acting as representative of the king[121] and did not allow the Yorkists' envoys to meet Henry.[122] The duke informed them 'The Earl of Warwick shall not come to the king's presence and if he comes he shall die.' and told a group of Yorkist bishops that they were not men of peace, but men of war, and there could be no peace with Warwick.[123] It is likely that a personal animosity pre-existed between the two men by this time- possibly as a result of Warwick's rent evasion (above),[114] and that Buckingham's influential voice was used a vote for action in the king's camp.[124] The duke may also have misinterpreted the Yorkists' requests to negotiate as a sign of weakness.[125] It is possible that Buckingham saw the coming battle as an opportuntity to settle scores with Warwick (rather than with the duke of York); if this was so, says Rawcliffe, then these plans 'ended abruptly' on the battlefield.[114] Not only this, but Buckingham may also have misjudged the size of the Yorkist army as well the royal soldiers' loyalty.[126]

The royal army was outnumbered by that of Warwick and March .[120] Buckingham's men dug in outside Northampton, and fortified behind a bend in the River Nene, close to Delapré Abbey.[127] Battle was joined on 10 July 1460, but was considerably shortened when Edmund Grey, later Earl of Kent, turned traitor to the king.[126] Grey 'welcomed the Yorkists over the barricades' on the Lancastrian left wing[128] and ordered his men to lay down arms, allowing the Yorkists access to the camp. Within half an hour of starting, the battle was over.[129] By 2PM, Buckingham, the Earl of Shrewsbury, Lord Egremont and Viscount Beaumont, were killed, possibly by a force of Kentishmen.[126] Buckingham was buried shortly after at Grey Friars, Northampton.[1]

Buckingham had named his wife Anne sole executrix of his will. She was to give 200 marks to any clergy who attended his funeral, with the remainder being distributed as poor relief. She was also to organise the establishment of two chantries in his memory, and he left 'exceedingly elaborate' instructions for the foundation of a college in Pleshy.[130]

Character[edit]

Humphrey Stafford was a staunch anti-Lollard; it was probably as a consequence of this that Sir Thomas Malory attempted his assassination[131] around 1450- if indeed he did, as the charge was never proved. Likewise he did not lack the traditional noble traits of the time, particularly that of resorting to armed force before anything else; for instance, in September 1429, following an altercation with his brother-in-law the earl of Huntingdon, he arrived at parliament 'armed to the teeth.'[132] He was also a literary patron: Scrope presented him with a copy of Christine de Pizan's Epistle of Othea- in what has been described as 'an elaborate act of homage to a powerful and potentially powerful patron,'[133] particularly due to its 'dedicatory verses.'[134] On his estates- especially on the Welsh marches- he has been described as a 'harsh and exacting landlord,' in his pursuit of maximising his income,[135] but also competent in his land deals, and who never- unlike contemporaries- had to sell land to stay solvent.[136]

It has been noted that, although he died a staunch Lancastrian, he never showed any personal dislike of York or the Nevilles in the 1450s, and that his personal motivation throughout the decade was loyalty to the crown and keeping the peace between his peers.[137] Rawcliffe has suggested that although he was inevitably going to be involved in the high politics of the day, Buckingham 'lacked the necessary qualities ever to become a great statesman or leader... [he] was in many ways an unimaginative and unlikeable man.' On his latter quality, Rawcliffe points to his reputation as a harsh taskmaster on his estates and his 'offensive behaviour' towards Jeanne d'Arc at her trial, and, she says, his political judgement was 'clouded' by this attitude.[138] His temper, she says, was 'ungovernable.'[139]

Aftermath[edit]

Michael Hicks has noted that Buckingham was one of the few Lancastrian loyalists was never accused by the Yorkists of being an 'evil councillor,' and further, that the duke was 'the substance and perhaps the steel within the ruling regime.'[140] Buckingham's eldest son and heir Humphrey had pedeceased his father, dying of plague in 1458. As such, the Stafford dukedom and lands descended to his son- Buckingham's grandson- Henry Stafford.[114] Although Buckingham was not attainted when the duke of York's son, Edward took the throne as Edward IV in 1461, Henry became a royal ward, which gave the king control of the Stafford estates during the young duke's minority.[141]

Family[edit]

Humphrey Stafford married Lady Anne Neville, daughter of Ralph de Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland and Westmorland's second wife Lady Joan Beaufort, at some point prior to 18 October 1424.[1] Anne Neville was a literary patron in her own right, also receiving a dedication in a copy of Scrope's translated Othea,[133] who left many books in her will.[142]

The marriages Buckingham arranged for his children were focussed on strengthening his ties with the royal family, particularly those of two of his sons, into the Beaufort family, and his daughters to the heir of the earl of Oxford, to William Beaumont, 2nd Viscount Beaumont[143] (which marriage cost him 2,300 marks 'and took a long even time to pay that')[144] and to John Talbot, 3rd Earl of Shrewsbury.[143]

Buckingham had seven sons, only three of whom survived to adulthood.[145] His eldest son, Humphrey, who had predeceased him, had married Margaret Beaufort. She was the daughter of Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset, and Eleanor Beauchamp, They were parents of Henry Stafford, the first duke of Buckingham's eventual heir.[146] The second link to the beauforts was between Buckingham's second son, Sir Henry Stafford (c. 1425–1471). Third husband of Lady Margaret Beaufort, daughter of John Beaufort, 1st Duke of Somerset, and Margaret Beauchamp. Margaret Beaufort had previously been married to Edmund Tudor, the eldest half-brother of Henry VI, and had given birth to the future King Henry VII two months after Edmund's death. She and Henry were childless.[147] Buckingham's third son, John (d. 8 May 1473) married Constance Green of Drayton,[147] who had been his ward.[148] Humphrey Stafford assigned them the manor of Newton Blossomville at the time of their marriage.[149] John was later created Earl of Wiltshire.[150]

Buckingham's daughters made good (but for their father expensive) marriages.[151] The eldest, Anne (1446–1472), was proposed as the future consort to Louis XI of France,[145] which would have linked the French crown again with the lancastrian regime.[152] In the event, she married Aubrey de Vere, son of John de Vere, 12th Earl of Oxford.[153] In 1452, the second daughter, Joan (1442–1484) married Beaumont; Margaret (1437 – 26 December 1476), married the earl of Shrewsbury. Buckingham had apparently promised to give them £1,000, but he was killed in battle before acting on the promise.[151]

Cultural references and portrayals[edit]

Buckingham was depicted, during his son's lifetime, as 'mounted in battle array' (during the 1436 campaign against Burgundy), in the pictorial Beauchamp Pageant, which was probably compiled by Anne, Countess of Warwick, the Kingmaker's widow, in 1480.[56]

The era is recreated by the historical reenactment group Buckingham's Retinue, that attempts to portray the Stafford Household and the Duke of Buckingham's Riding Retinue.[154] The group are considered by English Heritage and the BBC[155] to be sufficiently authentic in their portrayals to have been employed by them in such a capacity.

It has been suggested that Thomas Malory, in his Morte d'Arthur, based the character of his Gawaine on Buckingham, as Malory may have perceived the duke as being 'peacemaker and warlord, warrior and judge'- qualities which the writer later ascribed to his Arthurian character.[6]

He appears in Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 2 (c. 1591), in which his character conspires in the downfall and disgrace of Eleanor, Duchess of Gloucester.[156]

It is possible that he was the subject and title-character of the early-seventeenth century play, Duke Humphrey, which is now lost.[157]

Further reading[edit]

  • Rawcliffe, Carole., The Staffords, Earls of Stafford and Dukes of Buckingham 1394–1521 (Cambridge, 1978).
  • Harris, Barbara J., Edward Stafford, Third Duke of Buckingham, 1478-1521 (Stanford, 1986).
  • Haigh, Philip A., Military Campaigns of the Wars of the Roses (Stroud, 1995).

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Humphrey Stafford". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/26207. (subscription required)
  2. ^ Griffiths, R.A., 'The Sense of Dynasty in the Reign of Henry VI' in C.D. Ros (ed.), Patronage, Pedigree and Power (Gloucester, 1979), 20.
  3. ^ G.E. Cokayne, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom II, (London, 1912), 389.
  4. ^ Rawcliffe, C., The Staffords, Earls of Stafford and Dukes of Buckingham, 1394-1521 (Cambridge, 1978), 12.
  5. ^ Harriss, G.L., Shaping the Nation: England 1360-1461 (Oxford, 2005), 524.
  6. ^ a b Lustig, T.J., Knight Prisoner: Thomas Malory Then and Now (Eastbourne, 2014), 98.
  7. ^ Matusiak, J., Henry V (London, 2013), 234.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Jacob, E.F., The Fifteenth Century 1399-1485 (Oxford, 1969), 328-9.
  9. ^ Allmand, C.E., Henry V (Berkeley, 1992), 177.
  10. ^ Harriss, G.L., Cardinal Beaufort: A Study of the Lancastrian Ascendancy and Decline (Oxford, 1988), 123.
  11. ^ Griffiths, R.A., The Reign of Henry VI (Berkeley, 1981), 11-12.
  12. ^ Griffiths, R.A., The Reign of Henry VI, (Berkeley, 1981), 37-8.
  13. ^ Griffiths, R.A., The Reign of Henry VI, (Berkeley, 1981), 76.
  14. ^ George Frederick Beltz (1841). Memorials of the Order of the Garter, from Its Foundation to the Present Time: Including the History of the Order; Biographical Notices of the Knights in the Reigns of Edward III. and Richard II., the Chronological Succession of the Members ... W. Pickering. pp. 419–. 
  15. ^ Griffiths, R.A., The Reign of Henry VI, (Berkeley, 1981), 40
  16. ^ Jones, M.K., 'The Beaufort family and the war in France 1421-1450' (University of Bristol thesis. 1982), 76.
  17. ^ "Oxford DNB article: Stafford, Humphrey". 
  18. ^ Jones, M.K., 'The Beaufort family and the war in France 1421-1450' (University of Bristol thesis. 1982), 80.
  19. ^ a b Jones, M.K., 'The Beaufort family and the war in France 1421-1450' (University of Bristol thesis. 1982), 285.
  20. ^ McFarlane, K.B., The Nobility of Later Medieval England: The Ford Lectures for 1953 and Related Studies (Oxford, 1973), 35.
  21. ^ Allmand, C.T., Lancastrian Normandy, 1415-1450 (Oxford, 1983), 71.
  22. ^ Rawcliffe, C., The Staffords, Earls of Stafford and Dukes of Buckingham, 1394-1521 (Cambridge, 1978), 114-5.
  23. ^ Castor, H., The King, the Crown, and the Duchy of Lancaster: Public Authority and Private Power, 1399-1461 (Oxford, 2000), 46.
  24. ^ Carpenter, C., The Wars of the Roses: Politics and the Constitution in England, C.1437-1509 (Cambridge, 1997), 109.
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  28. ^ a b Castor, H., The King, the Crown, and the Duchy of Lancaster: Public Authority and Private Power, 1399-1461 (Oxford, 2000), 254.
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  31. ^ Hicks, M.A., The Wars of the Roses (London, 2010), 84.
  32. ^ Compton Reeves, A., 'Some of Humphrey Stafford’s Military Indentures', Nottingham Medieval Studies 16 (1972), 80.
  33. ^ G. W. Bernard (1992). The Tudor Nobility. Manchester University Press. pp. 83–. ISBN 978-0-7190-3625-5. 
  34. ^ Britnell, R.H., 'The Economic Context' in A.J. Pollard (ed.), Problems in Focus: The Wars of the Roses (Basingstoke, 1995), 55.
  35. ^ Barbara Jean Harris (1986). Edward Stafford, Third Duke of Buckingham, 1478-1521. Stanford University Press. pp. 15–. ISBN 978-0-8047-1316-0. 
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  39. ^ Crouch, D., ‘Bastard Feudalism Revised’, Past and Present (May, 1991), 178; Crouch gives the example of John of Gaunt indenting with his surgeons, chaplains, clerk, falconer, cook, minstrels, heralds, and legal counsels.
  40. ^ Hicks, M.A., Bastard Feudalism (London, 1995), 139-40.
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  90. ^ Hicks, M.A., The Wars of the Roses (London, 2010), 30.
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  123. ^ Matthew Lewis (15 June 2015). The Wars of the Roses: The Key Players in the Struggle for Supremacy. Amberley Publishing Limited. pp. 80–. ISBN 978-1-4456-4636-7. 
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  131. ^ Lustig, T.J., Knight Prisoner: Thomas Malory Then and Now (Eastbourne, 2014), 8.
  132. ^ Griffiths, R.A., The Reign of Henry VI, (Berkeley, 1981), 135.
  133. ^ a b Elina Gertsman; Jill Stevenson (2012). Thresholds of Medieval Visual Culture: Liminal Spaces. Boydell Press. pp. 105–. ISBN 978-1-84383-697-1. 
  134. ^ McFarlane, K.B., England in the Fifteenth Century: Collected Essays (London, 1981), 218.
  135. ^ Barbara Jean Harris (1986). Edward Stafford, Third Duke of Buckingham, 1478-1521. Stanford University Press. pp. 1–. ISBN 978-0-8047-1316-0. 
  136. ^ Rawcliffe, C., The Staffords, Earls of Stafford and Dukes of Buckingham 1394–1521 (Cambridge, 1978), 121.
  137. ^ Barbara Jean Harris (1986). Edward Stafford, Third Duke of Buckingham, 1478-1521. Stanford University Press. pp. 17–. ISBN 978-0-8047-1316-0. 
  138. ^ Rawcliffe, C., The Staffords, Earls of Stafford and Dukes of Buckingham 1394–1521 (Cambridge, 1978), 19.
  139. ^ "Oxford DNB article: Stafford, Humphrey". 
  140. ^ Hicks, M.A., The Wars of the Roses (London, 2010), 154.
  141. ^ Ross, C, 'The Reign of Edawrd IV', in Fifteenth-Century England, ed. S.B. Chrimes et al. (Manchester, 1972), 55.
  142. ^ Kenneth Charlton (4 January 2002). Women, Religion and Education in Early Modern England. Routledge. pp. 185–. ISBN 978-1-134-67659-0. 
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  145. ^ a b "Oxford DNB article: Stafford, Humphrey". 
  146. ^ "Oxford DNB article:Stafford, Henry". 
  147. ^ a b McFarlane, K.B., The Nobility of Later Medieval England: The Ford Lectures for 1953 and Related Studies (Oxford, 1973), 206.
  148. ^ Harris, B.J., English Aristocratic Women, 1450-1550: Marriage and Family, Property and Careers (Oxford, 2002), 63.
  149. ^ Joseph Biancalana (27 September 2001). The Fee Tail and the Common Recovery in Medieval England: 1176–1502. Cambridge University Press. pp. 436–. ISBN 978-1-139-43082-1. 
  150. ^ G.E. Cokayne, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom XII, part ii (London, 1959), 735.
  151. ^ a b "Oxford DNB article:Stafford, Humphrey". 
  152. ^ Griffiths, R.A., 'The Sense of Dynasty in the Reign of Henry VI' in C.D. Ros (ed.), Patronage, Pedigree and Power (Gloucester, 1979), 23.
  153. ^ G.E. Cokayne, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom, III, 355.
  154. ^ King, Elaine. "Medieval fun at Denny Abbey this bank holiday". 
  155. ^ BBC. "Meet a Time Traveller". 
  156. ^ Michael Dobson; Stanley Wells; Erin Sullivan (2 October 2015). The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare. Oxford University Press. pp. 47–. ISBN 978-0-19-870873-5. 
  157. ^ Martin Wiggins; Catherine Richardson (2015). British Drama 1533-1642: a Catalogue: Volume VI: 1609-1616. Oxford University Press. pp. 203–. ISBN 978-0-19-873911-1. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Allmand, C.T., Lancastrian Normandy, 1415-1450 (Oxford, 1983).
  • Allmand, C.E., Henry V (Berkeley, 1992).
  • Baugh, A.C., 'Documenting Sir Thomas Malory' Speculum 8 (1933).
  • Bean, J.M.W., From Lord to Patron: Lordship in Late Medieval England (Manchester, 1989).
  • Bernard, G.W., The Tudor Nobility (Manchester, 1992).
  • Biancalana, J., The Fee Tail and the Common Recovery in Medieval England: 1176–1502 (Cambridge, 2001).
  • Britnell, R.H., 'The Economic Context' in A.J. Pollard (ed.), Problems in Focus: The Wars of the Roses (Basingstoke, 1995).
  • Carpenter, C., The Wars of the Roses: Politics and the Constitution in England, C.1437-1509 (Cambridge, 1997).
  • Castor, H., The King, the Crown, and the Duchy of Lancaster: Public Authority and Private Power, 1399-1461 (Oxford, 2000).
  • Charlton, K., Women, Religion and Education in Early Modern England (London, 2002).
  • Compton Reeves, A., 'Some of Humphrey Stafford’s Military Indentures', Nottingham Medieval Studies 16 (1972).
  • Crouch, D., ‘Bastard Feudalism Revised’, Past and Present (1991).
  • Dobson, M., S. Wells, & E. Sullivan, The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare (Oxford, 2015).
  • Gertsman, E. & J. Stevenson, Thresholds of Medieval Visual Culture: Liminal Spaces (Woodbridge, 2012).
  • Gillingham, J., The Wars of the Roses (London (repr.) 1993).
  • Goodman, A., The Wars of the Roses: Military Activity and English Society, 1452-97 (USA, 1981).
  • Griffiths, R.A., 'The Sense of Dynasty in the Reign of Henry VI' in C.D. Ros (ed.), Patronage, Pedigree and Power (Gloucester, 1979).
  • Grummitt, D., The Calais Garrison: War and Military Service in England, 1436-1558 (Woodbridge, 2008).
  • Harris, B.J., Edward Stafford, Third Duke of Buckingham, 1478-1521 (Stanford, 1986).
  • Harris, B.J., English Aristocratic Women, 1450-1550: Marriage and Family, Property and Careers (Oxford, 2002).
  • Harriss, G.L., Cardinal Beaufort: A Study of the Lancastrian Ascendancy and Decline (Oxford, 1988).
  • Harriss, G.L., Shaping the Nation: England 1360-1461 (Oxford, 2005).
  • Hicks, M.A., Bastard Feudalism (London, 1995).
  • Hicks, M.A., The Wars of the Roses (London, 2010).
  • Jacob, E.F., The Fifteenth Century 1399-1485 (Oxford, 1969).
  • Jones, M.K., 'The Beaufort family and the war in France 1421-1450' (University of Bristol thesis. 1982).
  • Lander, J.R., Government and Community: England 1450-1509 (London, 1980).
  • Lewis, M., The Wars of the Roses: The Key Players in the Struggle for Supremacy (London, 2015).
  • Lustig, T.J., Knight Prisoner: Thomas Malory Then and Now (Eastbourne, 2014).
  • Matusiak, J., Henry V (London, 2013).
  • McFarlane, K.B., The Nobility of Later Medieval England: The Ford Lectures for 1953 and Related Studies (Oxford, 1973).
  • McFarlane, K.B., England in the Fifteenth Century: Collected Essays (London, 1981).
  • Pollard, A.J., The Wars of the Roses (Basingstoke, 2001).
  • Pugh, T.B., 'The Magnates, Knights and Gentry', in Fifteenth-Century England, ed. S.B. Chrimes et al. (Manchester, 1972).
  • Rawcliffe, C., The Staffords, Earls of Stafford and Dukes of Buckingham, 1394-1521 (Cambridge, 1978).
  • Ross, C, 'The Reign of Edward IV', in Fifteenth-Century England, ed. S.B. Chrimes et al. (Manchester, 1972).
  • Ross, C.D., The Wars of the Roses (repr. Singapore 1994).
  • Storey, R.L., The End of the House of Lancaster (London, 1966).
  • Wiggins, M. & C. Richardson, British Drama 1533-1642: a Catalogue: Volume VI: 1609-1616 (Oxford, 2015).
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Earl of Stafford
Lord High Constable
1403–1460
Succeeded by
The Duke of Buckingham
Preceded by
The Lord Saye and Sele
Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports
1450–1459
Succeeded by
The Lord Rivers
Peerage of England
New creation Duke of Buckingham
1444–1460
Succeeded by
Henry Stafford
Preceded by
Edmund Stafford
Earl of Stafford
1403–1460