The Life of Elizabeth Stafford, Duchess of Norfolk

Who was the wife of the 3rd Duke of Norfolk and what do we know about her?

Elizabeth Stafford was the daughter of the ill-fated Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham and Eleanor Percy, eldest daughter of Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland. She was born in 1497, so one can assume that she was named for the queen consort, Elizabeth of York.

Before we go too deep into the life of Elizabeth, let’s understand her family a bit better. Elizabeth’s father, the 3rd Duke of Buckingham, was a proud man; here is a bit quoted from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, written by C.S.L. Davies:

“When his father rebelled against Richard III in 1483 (and was executed), Edward Stafford was hidden in various houses in Herefordshire; whether he remained there for the rest of Richard’s reign is unclear.” (C.S.L. Davies)



Edward then attended the coronation of the new Tudor king, Henry VII. In November 1485, after the reversal of the 2nd Duke of Buckingham’s attainder, Edward was restored to his inheritance. He was now the 3rd Duke of Buckingham.

“After the execution of his father, his mother had married Henry VII’s uncle, Jasper Tudor. Despite this, Buckingham’s wardship was entrusted to the king’s mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, and his education probably took place at her various houses… he was to follow Lady Margaret’s example in his own household.”

This should give you an idea of what Elizabeth’s father’s childhood was like. She was surely brought up with the same values as her father was taught by Margaret Beaufort.

Like most women of the time-at least women of noble birth, Elizabeth Stafford was educated at home. University was only for their male counterparts, of course.

Elizabeth’s father, the Duke of Buckingham, had originally promised to marry his daughter to his ward, Ralph Neville, 4th Earl of Westmorland – that is, until the recently widowed Thomas Norfolk-then the Earl of Surrey-came knocking.

Elizabeth is quoted as writing this about Ralph Neville: [H]e and I had loved together two years’  and her plan was to marry him before Christmas”; but Howard and her father had other plans for the young Elizabeth.



Thomas Howard wanted Elizabeth Stafford for his second bride. Buckingham, seeing as his daughter had already been promised in marriage to Neville, he offered one of Elizabeth’s younger sisters in her place. Norfolk declined the offer because Elizabeth was the eldest daughter and with her came more wealth.

Eventually an agreement was reached between Buckingham and Norfolk, and the couple were married in 1513. What a powerhouse marriage that must have been seen as; the Buckinghams and Norfolks.

Elizabeth became Countess of Surrey upon their marriage at the tender age of fifteen. Howard, was twenty years her senior at 35.

Upon their marriage, Thomas Howard received a dowry of 2000 marks, while Elizabeth was promised an annual income of 500 marks. Per reports, this was an income she never received.

With that being said, Elizabeth, like most women, had hoped to marry for love. She believed that her marriage to Howard would be just that. We are soon to discover it was not in the cards for the two of them.

Elizabeth was a dutiful wife. In 1520, she and her children moved to Ireland with Thomas where he was to serve the King as lieutenant of Ireland. Despite being away from all she knew, Elizabeth loved her husband and was loyal to him.

In 1521 Henry Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham was executed for treason. There is no evidence to declare how Elizabeth felt about it while she far away in Ireland. We must assume she mourned the loss of her father.

Unfortunately any happiness she found with her husband would soon be over.  Thomas Howard, now the Duke of Norfolk took a mistress in 1527. She is someone you’ve certainly heard of; her name was Bess Holland and she was the daughter of his private secretary.

Bess Holland, as stated, was the daughter of the duke’s secretary and household treasurer. At the time she became the duke’s mistress, she was one of Anne Boleyn’s attendants (prior to her time as queen.) Howard then installed her in his household, thereby deepening his estrangement from Elizabeth.

Elizabeth was clearly hurt by the affair. She once described Bess as a harlot, a drab, and ‘a churl’s daughter’, who was but ‘washer of my nursery’ for eight years (ibid., 12/2, no. 143; Harris, Edward Stafford, 63)

The Duke and Duchess had several children together, but we know two of them the best: Henry Howard (Earl of Surrey,) and Mary Howard (Duchess of Richmond and Somerset).

In December of 1529, Henry VIII requested that the Duke of Norfolk’s son (the earl of Surrey) become a companion to his illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy. It was at this time that a marriage was arranged between the Duke’s daughter Mary and Fitzroy.



While many have said the marriage was Anne Boleyn’s idea-she was the niece of the Duke of Norfolk- it had always been maintained by Norfolk that it was the idea of the King. Regardless, the marriage between Fitzroy and Mary Howard had definitely been promoted by Anne to help strengthen her ties to the throne.

Like the later marriage of Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves, there was no dowry expected with the marriage of Mary and Fitzroy, which was unusual for the time. This may indicate the influence that Anne Boleyn had over the king.

Elizabeth Stafford was totally against her daughter’s marriage. Elizabeth had served Katherine of Aragon years earlier and was loyal to her cause, however she was thrust into serving Anne Boleyn and was not happy about it. Elizabeth was vocal about her opinion on the annulment proceedings, which resulted in her being exiled from court in 1531.

In 1532 it was made known to Elizabeth that since her mother had passed in February, her manors would go to the King by her husband’s attainder. (‘Henry VIII: March 1532, 1-10′, in Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 5, 1531-1532, ed. James Gairdner (London, 1880), pp. 401-407. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/letters-papers-hen8/vol5/pp401-407 [accessed 21 September 2018].)

When her son the Earl of Surrey returned from his time in France with Henry Fitzroy in September 1533, he was about 16 years old and returned to a different England than the one he left in October of 1532: Anne Boleyn was now Queen, her daughter Elizabeth was now heir to the throne, and the King was newly dubbed Supreme Head of the Church of England. In addition to all the change in England, Henry had also returned to a very different family situation at Kenninghall. His father’s mistress, Bess Holland had essentially replaced his mother who was in disgrace for her actions at court.

In a letter date the 17th of March 1534, Eustace Chapuys, the Imperial Ambassador, mentioned how Elizabeth had been appointed mistress of the robes to the “bastard” – a position that Elizabeth must have despised as she was a friend of Katherine of Aragon and presumably her daughter Mary. The letter also gives us a glimpse at the type of behavior that the Duke of Norfolk believed was acceptable toward the Princess Mary:

I am told this very morning that the duke of Norffocq went yesterday to the place where she is, to renew the former threats. Besides that, the Duke ordered her best robes to be seized on the plea that she was no longer a Princess, and that it was necessary to reduce her pomp and pride. In addition to that, the duchess [of Norfolk] has been appointed [mistress of the robes] to the bastard](Bastard meaning Princess Elizabeth), (fn. n23) and at the same time one of the principal officers of the Princess’ household has been dismissed from the service on account of his having shown some affection to her, and done her some small services. (‘Spain: March 1534, 1-20′, in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 5 Part 1, 1534-1535, ed. Pascual de Gayangos (London, 1886), pp. 70-83. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/spain/vol5/no1/pp70-83 [accessed 21 September 2018].)

Elizabeth was eventually sent to Redbourne in Herfordshire where she lived in a state of virtual imprisonment with a meagre annual allowance of only Ł200, and in the spring of 1534 she said that her husband ‘locked me up in a chamber, [and] took away my jewels and apparel’ (LP Henry VIII, 12/2, no. 976).

From Redbourne, Elizabeth sent a series of letters to Cromwell pleading for help. On the 23rd of August 1534, Elizabeth sent a letter with the following request:

“Asks him to send her some venison, which is very scanty with her. Many of her friends who sent her venison last year dare send none now for fear of her lord’s displeasure. Her husband has not sent her any since she came to Redbourne. Thanks for Cromwell’s kindness, which she begs him to continue. Redbourne, 23 Aug. Signed.”  (British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/letters-papers-hen8/vol7/pp419-421 [accessed 21 September 2018].)

Elizabeth’s husband attempted to persuade her to agree to a divorce by offer of ‘material awards and the return of her jewels and clothes,’ yet she would not agree.

As state earlier, Elizabeth was opposed to the marriage of her daughter Mary. She quarrelled openly with Norfolk over the arranged marriages and primarily disapproved of them due to the involvement of the perceived concubine, Anne Boleyn.

In 1536, after the execution of Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth was still fighting against her husband to keep their marriage. On the 26th of June she wrote a letter to Cromwell, pleading her case. I pulled this letter from Rivals in Power by David Starkey:

…The cause of my writing unto you is, that I may know whether I shall have a better living or not…which my Lord my husband hath forgotten now he hath so much wealth and honours, and is so far doting love with that quean [whore]…He knoweth it is spoken of far and near, to his great dishonour and shame; and he chose me for love, and I am younger than he by twenty years, and he hath put me away four years and a quarter at this midsummer; and [I] hath lived always like a good woman, as it is not unknown…He hath taken away all my jewels and my apparel, and kept me four years and more like a prisoner…Another cause: he set his women to bind me till blood come out at my fingers’ end, and pinnacled me, and sat on my breast till I spit blood; and he never punished them: and all this was done for Bess Holland’s sake… (page 93)

In the letter, one she wrote to clearly get Cromwell’s attention about the abuse against her, Elizabeth alleges rather awful treatment against her; some of which seems too extreme to believe. That is, until we remember what her husband was recorded as saying to the King’s daughter, Mary, in response to Mary not recognizing Henry VIII as Supreme Head of the Church of England and that her parent’s marriage was never valid. He stated that if she was his daughter, he would “bash her head into the wall until it was as soft as a baked apple.” That was a year before Elizabeth wrote her letter to Cromwell.

Norfolk wanted a divorce. Elizabeth, like Katherine of Aragon, refused to give one to him.

I get the impression that Elizabeth was playing dirty, a different trick than her dear friend Katherine of Aragon used. She even claimed that Norfolk assaulted her as early as 1519 (six years into their marriage) during the birth of their daughter Mary.

When Norfolk discovered what his wife had said, he sent a letter to Cromwell and called her out as a liar, as he would never harm an unborn child. He said, “My good Lord, if I prove not by witness, and that with many honest persons, that she had the scar in her head fifteen months before she was delivered of my said daughter” – due to a procedure she had done by a surgeon in London.

Elizabeth’s brother Henry Stafford even turned against her for her  ‘wild language,’ and her ‘sensual and wilful mind’. (Oxford DNB)

Norfolk was not a perfect man; This I think we already knew. During his time in Ireland, his treasurer, John Stile, had complained about Norfolk’s temper. He said that his master was ‘sometimes more hasty than needeth.’ Tudor historian Polydore Vergil said that Norfolk was ‘quick with his fists.’ This is evident at the end of his letter, saying that if his wife would ever come into his company again, she ‘might give me occasion to handle her otherwise than I have done yet.’

Elizabeth took her husband’s threat very seriously and is quoted as saying, ‘I know well, if I should come home again, my life should be but short’.

The Duchess was surrounded by enemies, and she had little support in her cause because she was a woman in a man’s world. Her voice really did not matter-however, in order to obtain his divorce, Norfolk would need Elizabeth’s consent, and she wasn’t going to give it. Even her children had turned against her and sided with their father.

Author Jessie Childs in “Henry VIII’s Last Victim” claims that Surrey probably sided with his father because Elizabeth had the nerve to approach Cromwell for help-Cromwell was the man Norfolk detested above all others.

Her daughter Mary, Duchess of Richmond, also sided with her father. Not only did she side with him, but she became good friends with Bess Holland. Whether Mary did this for self-preservation or that she supported her father for real, we do not know.

When Elizabeth discovered that her children had taken the side of their father, she was undoubtedly hurt and said that she was ‘matched with such an ungracious husband and so ungracious a son and a daughter’. She described her children as ‘unnatural’ but also said that ‘I have always love unto them.’

By the 1540s, Elizabeth had reconciled once again with her brother Henry, but not with her husband who was still with his mistress.

At the time of her husband’s arrest in 1546, Elizabeth and Bess Holland were under the same roof at Kenninghall. Elizabeth gave evidence against her husband, and after his attainder her apparel at Kenninghall was restored to her. At the time of her arrest she had little in the way of valuables, ‘all being very bare and her jewels sold to pay her debts. (Oxford DNB)

In 1554, When the Lady Mary became the first Queen Regnant in England, Elizabeth was able to return to court-she even carried the Queen’s train at her coronation. Quite an honor!

Elizabeth died on 30 November 1558 (around 61 years old)  and was buried in the Howard chapel, at Lambeth.

After doing all this research on Elizabeth Stafford, Duchess of Norfolk, I realized how much Mary Howard turned out to be like her mother. She was proud, and she stubborn. Those two traits are clearly something she inherited, or at least learned from her mother’s actions. It makes me wonder if Elizabeth was proud of her intelligent daughter, for standing up for herself.

 

Witness to a Secret: Anne Savage, Lady Berkeley

witness-to-a-secret

Witness to a Secret:

In late 1532 the relationship of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn reached a fever pitch. Sometime after their trip to Calais from October – November 1532, Anne, Marquess of Pembroke, discovered she was pregnant. Since Elizabeth was born in September 1533, Anne must have become pregnant with her in December 1532…this would explain the secret marriage in January after Anne realized she was with child. Her pregnancy was the catalyst in a speedy secret wedding on 25 January 1533. If the King were to have a legitimate heir he needed to be married to his son’s mother.

The wedding in 1533 was so secret that not even Cranmer was invited. Nobody knew except those who were witness to the event. Imperial Ambassador, Eustace Chapuys also was unaware, we know this because he wrote a letter to his master, Charles V dated 23 February 1533 shows that the marriage was still secret. Chapuys wrote:

The rumour is afloat, and increases every day, that in order to achieve his marriage the King is only waiting for the bulls of the said elect to come [from Rome], and that the more to authorize the case he has commanded those who have charge of convoking provincial synods, whilst the See is vacant, to assemble them for the 17th of next month.

Private Marriage of Anne Boleyn to Henry VIII
Private Marriage of Anne Boleyn to Henry VIII

Those who were present at the secret ceremony must have been much regarded and trusted by both Henry and Anne. Henry Norris, Mr. Heneage and Lady Berkeley. Mr. Rowland, the King’s chaplain performed the ceremony.

“The first whereof was that the King was married to [the] Lady Anne Bulleyne long ere there was any divorce made by the said Archbishop [of Canterbury]. The which marriage a was secretly made at Whitehall very early before day, none being present but Mr Norris and Mr Henage of the Privy Chamber and the Lady Barkeley, with Mr. Rowland the King’s chaplain, that was afterward made Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield. To whom the King told that now he had gotten of the Pope a lycence to marry another wife, and yet to avoid business and tumult the thing must be done (quoth the King) very secretly ; and thereupon a time and place was appointed to the said Master Rowland to solemnize the said marriage.” - Ridgway, Claire; TheAnneBoleynFiles.com – 25 January 1533 – Marriage of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn

We already are familiar with Henry Norris because he was one of the unfortunate souls that was executed in May 1536 just before Anne Boleyn was unjustly beheaded. I’m not familiar with a “Mr. Henage” other than what it says – that he was a member of the “Privy Chamber.” The Wikipedia page for “Privy Chamber” lists a Sir Thomas Heneage as a “Groom of the Stool” for Henry VIII from 1536-1546, after the execution of his predecessor, Henry Norris. Prior to that he would have been employed in some position in the Privy Chamber which may have been as a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber. Regardless, his position must have been one that allowed him to be near the King often, otherwise why would Henry have trusted him enough to keep his wedding secret. A Gentleman of the Privy Chamber would have been responsible for things like dressing and undressing the King – quite intimate if you ask me.

Anne Savage, Lady Berkeley:

Next we have Lady Berkeley. After a little research I realized this refers to Anne Savage, Baroness of Berkeley. Anne Savage during the secret wedding was not quite married to Baron Berkeley because they didn’t marry until April 1533. This would explain why, when it was discovered she was a witness, they referred to her as Lady Berkeley.  It was at the Eve of Easter mass in 1533 when Anne attended mass as Queen.

Anne Savage was the daughter of Sir John Savage (Sheriff of Worcestershire) and his wife Anne Bostock. She married Sir Thomas, Lord Berkeley in April 1533. Their marriage was short-lived since he died in 1534.

Anne Stafford and Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham
Anne Stafford and Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham

Lord Berekely had been a ward of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk when he was a minor and had been originally betrothed to Anne Grey, daughter of the Marquis of Dorset. That betrothal was broken and Berkeley married Mary Hastings. Mary Hastings was the daughter of Anne Stafford and George Hastings, 1st Earl of Huntingdon. Anne Stafford is best known as the sister of Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham and for being discovered in an affair with a young Henry VIII ( in 1510). When it was discovered Anne Stafford was removed from court by both her brother and husband and sent to a convent.

Eventually Mary died and Lord Berkeley married Anne Savage.

untitled-design-24

Anne Savage, Lady Berkeley served in the household of Anne Boleyn at the time of her secret wedding. To have been asked to be a witness at the wedding must prove to us that she had a very close relationship with Anne Boleyn.

Anne Savage did not remain long at the new Queen’s court. In Apr 1533, she married Thomas, 6th Baron Berkeley. Anne was a Lady of a masculine spirit, over-powerful with her husband, seldom at rest with herself, never wanting matter of suit or discontent to work upon. Of complexion she was of a comely brown, of a middle stature, and most tender-hearted to her children, whom should would scarcely allow out of her site, so much so that, as they afterwards complained, it interfered with their education. (TudorPlace.ar - source unknown)

Lady Berkeley and her husband had two children together, in quick succession, prior to his death in 1534. – Elizabeth and then Henry. Their son Henry was born after the death of his father and was named for the King, his godfather.

Sources:

Letters of Royal and Illustrious Ladies; pages 209-212
‘Spain: March 1533, 1-15’, in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 4 Part 2, 1531-1533, ed. Pascual de Gayangos (London, 1882), pp. 607-624. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/spain/vol4/no2/pp607-624 [accessed 4 October 2016].
Ridgway, Claire; TheAnneBoleynFiles.com - 25 January 1533 – Marriage of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn
Wikipedia.com – Privy Chamber
Larson, Rebecca; TudorsDynasty.com - 3rd Duke of Buckingham: Victim of Hearsay
Castelli, Jorge H.; TudorPlace.ar – Anne Savage
Wikipedia – Anne Savage
Grueninger, Natalie; OntheTudorTrail.com – Anne Boleyn’s Marriage to Henry VIII

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Victims of Henry VIII: Edward Stafford

victims-of-henry-viii-edward-stafford-1521

Edward Stafford was born on the 3rd of February 1478 to Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham and his wife, Katherine Woodville. Katherine was the sister of Elizabeth Woodville who was queen consort to King Edward IV (Grandfather to Henry VIII).

When Elizabeth Woodville married the King of England her kin were lucky enough to be given good marriages, titles and land. Her sister Katherine was no exception. At roughly seven years old, just before the coronation of her sister, Katherine was married to Henry Stafford – Stafford was merely 11 years old.

attributed-to-the-master-of-the-brandon-portrait-portrait-of-a-man-probably-edward-stafford-3rd-duke-of-buckingham-current-location-unknown-ex-sothebys-6-july-1983-lot-5-1

Italian Dominic Mancini wrote a report of what he witnessed in England after he left in 1483 and in this report he mentions that young Edward Stafford resented having to marry someone of such low birth – this was a common sentiment at the time at English court. Many resented the Woodville family and regarded them as upstarts.

Forty-four years after their marriage and five monarchs later, Edward Stafford found himself in a heap of trouble. As a descendant of Edward III, Stafford had what some believed to be a stronger claim to the throne since Tudor’s claim was through an illegitimate line. If something were to happen to the King and his daughter Mary, Stafford would be considered next in line to succeed to the throne of England.

After Henry VIII hears of Stafford’s claims that Stafford he orders an investigation. It is treason to speak of yet imagine the death of the King.

“On April 8, 1521, the duke was ordered to London from his castle at Thornbury. He set out for the court, seemingly unaware of any danger, and was greatly shocked when arrested along the way and taken to the Tower. At his trial, he was charged with “imagining and compassing the death of the king,” through seeking out prophecy from a monk named Nicholas Hopkins about the chances of the king having a male heir. Evidence was supposedly obtained from disgruntled former members of the duke’s household.

Buckingham denied all charges. But a jury of 17 peers found him guilty, led by the duke of Norfolk, who condemned him — while weeping.” – ExecutedToday.com

It was also documented in the Letters and Papers that Buckingham was found guilty of treason and sentenced to death. The following statement was written by Gasparo Conarini, an Italian diplomat:

The Royal Courts have condemned the Duke of Buckingham to death. He will be definitively sentenced this morning (13 May) at Westminster, the final sentence having been passed ordering him for decapitation; and he is gone back to the Tower to be executed according to the custom here, and they will do by him as was done by his father and grandfather. – Letters & Papers: ‘Venice: May 1521’

The Secretary of the Venetian Ambassador in England, Lodovico Spinello describes the events on the day of Stafford’s execution:

This morning the late Duke of Buckingham was taken “in forza de’ brazi” from the Tower to the scaffold, at the usual place of execution, with a guard of 500 infantry. He addressed the populace in English. Then on his bended knees he recited the penitential psalms, and with the greatest composure calling the executioner, requested that he would dispatch him quickly, and forgave him; after which he took off his gown, and having had his eyes blindfolded, he laid his neck on the block, and the executioner with a woodman’s axe (fn. 11) severed his head from his body with three strokes.

The corpse was immediately placed in a coffin and carried to the church of the Austin Friars, accompanied by six friars and all the infantry.

The death of the Duke has grieved the city universally. Many wept for him, as did one-third of the spectators, among whom was I. Our Italians had not the heart to see him die. And thus miserably, but with great courage, did he end his days on the 17th of May. – Letters & Papers: ‘Venice: May 1521’

attributed-to-the-master-of-the-brandon-portrait-portrait-of-a-man-probably-edward-stafford-3rd-duke-of-buckingham-current-location-unknown-ex-sothebys-6-july-1983-lot-5-2

As we’ve seen before with the execution of Edmund de la Pole, those with royal blood and viable claims to the crown of England were closely watched, especially when they spoke against the King. Unfortunately, while Stafford’s royal blood indeed gave him cause to believe he should be included in the line of succession it was for the King to decide, not Stafford.

Sources:

‘Venice: May 1521’, in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 3, 1520-1526, ed. Rawdon Brown (London, 1869), pp. 119-130. British History Onlinehttp://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/venice/vol3/pp119-130 [accessed 16 August 2016].

Larson, Rebecca; 3rd Duke of Buckingham: Victim of Hearsay

3rd Duke of Buckingham: Victim of Hearsay



(c) National Trust, Sheringham Park; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) National Trust, Sheringham Park; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham was born 3 February 1478, at Brecon Castle in Wales to Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham and Lady Katherine Woodville.

Katherine Woodville was sister to Elizabeth Woodville who became Queen of England after secretly marrying Edward IV.

Photo Andrew Tivenan
Photo Andrew Tivenan – Brecon Castle



 

Edward Stafford had a viable claim to the throne through his paternal grandfather, Humphrey Stafford, 1st Duke of Buckingham, who was the son of Anne of Gloucester, daughter of Thomas of Woodstock, 1st Duke of Gloucester, the youngest son of Edward III. Some said Buckingham boasted that his claim was stronger than Henry VIII’s since Henry’s father was from the illegitimate line of Edward III through his son, John of Gaunt.

The discussion, or hearsay, began after it became evident that Henry VIII’s queen, Katherine of Aragon would no longer be able to produce a male heir. It was assumed that the Tudor line would die out since a girl (Princess  Mary) had not been considered as an heir.

When Henry VIII was informed of the things his royal cousin was “saying” he requested and investigation.

“On April 8, 1521, the duke was ordered to London from his castle at Thornbury. He set out for the court, seemingly unaware of any danger, and was greatly shocked when arrested along the way and taken to the Tower. At his trial, he was charged with “imagining and compassing the death of the king,” through seeking out prophecy from a monk named Nicholas Hopkins about the chances of the king having a male heir. Evidence was supposedly obtained from disgruntled former members of the duke’s household.

Buckingham denied all charges. But a jury of 17 peers found him guilty, led by the duke of Norfolk, who condemned him — while weeping.”

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 3, 1520-1526 - 12 May 1521 - Gasparo Contarini to the Signory:

It is reported from England that the King had ordered the arrest of the Duke of Buckingham, the chief personage in that kingdom, together with two other Knights of the Garter. The real cause is not known, but according to report the Duke had plotted to assassinate Cardinal Wolsey. This the English ambassador denies, though he does not know the reason, affirming merely the fact of the arrest, and that the King had surrendered the Duke for trial by the peers of the realm.

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 3, 1520-1526 - 13 May 1521 - Gasparo Contarini to the Signory:

The Royal Courts (li eonsegli regj) have condemned the Duke of Buckingham to death. He will be definitively sentenced this morning (13 May) at Westminster, the final sentence having been passed ordering him for decapitation; and he is gone back to the Tower to be executed according to the custom here, and they will do by him as was done by his father and grandfather.

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 3, 1520-1526 - 14-17 May 1521 - Lodovico Spinelli, Secretary of the Venetian Ambassador in England, to his brother Gasparo Spinelli, Secretary of the Venetian Ambassador in France:

This morning the late Duke of Buckingham was taken “in forza de’ brazi” from the Tower to the scaffold, at the usual place of execution, with a guard of 500 infantry. He addressed the populace in English. Then on his bended knees he recited the penitential psalms, and with the greatest composure calling the executioner, requested that he would dispatch him quickly, and forgave him; after which he took off his gown, and having had his eyes blindfolded, he laid his neck on the block, and the executioner with a woodman’s axe (fn. 11) severed his head from his body with three strokes.

The corpse was immediately placed in a coffin and carried to the church of the Austin Friars, accompanied by six friars and all the infantry.

The death of the Duke has grieved the city universally. Many wept for him, as did one-third of the spectators, among whom was I. Our Italians had not the heart to see him die. And thus miserably, but with great courage, did he end his days on the 17th of May.

On 17 May 1521, Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham was executed for treason.



Scandal Of Buckingham Sisters – 1510

A little insight on Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham and the scandal of his sisters (Anne & Elizabeth) which caused havoc with the relationship of Edward Stafford and King Henry VIII:

Letter from  Don Luys Carroz to Miguel Perez De Almazan, First Secretary of State of King Ferdinand the Catholic, 29 May 1510:

Note: We believe the man referred to as Conton is actually William Compton, friend of Henry VIII.

Anne Stafford
Buckingham’s sister, Anne Stafford

What lately has happened is that two sisters of the Duke of Buckingham, both married, lived in the palace. The one of them is the favourite of the Queen, and the other, it is said, is much liked by the King, who went after her. Another version is that the love intrigues were not of the King, but of a young man, his favourite, of the name of Conton, who had been the late King’s butler. This Conton carried on the love intrigue, as it is said, for the King, and that is the more credible version, as the King has shown great displeasure at what I am going to tell. The favourite of the Queen has been very anxious in this matter of her sister, and has joined herself with the Duke, her brother, with her husband and her sister’s husband, in order to consult on what should be done in this case. The consequence of the counsel of all the four of them was that, whilst the Duke was in the private apartment of his sister, who was suspected [of intriguing] with the King, Conton came there to talk with her, saw the Duke, who intercepted him, quarrelled with him, and the end of it was that he was severely reproached in many and very hard words. The King was so offended at this that he reprimanded the Duke angrily. The same night the Duke left the palace, and did not enter or return there for some days. At the same time the husband of that lady went away, carried her off, and placed her in a convent sixty miles from here, that no one may see her. The King having understood that all this proceeded from the sister, who is the favourite of the Queen, the day after the one was gone, turned the other out of the palace, and her husband with her. Believing that there were other women in the employment of the favourite, that is to say, such as go about the palace insidiously spying out every unwatched moment, in order to tell the Queen [stories], the King would have liked to turn all of them out, only that it has appeared to him too great a scandal. Afterwards, almost all the court knew that the Queen had been vexed with the King, and the King with her, and thus this storm went on between them. I spoke to the friar about it, and complained that he had not told me this, regretting that the Queen had been annoyed, and saying to him how I thought that the Queen should have acted in this case, and how he, in my opinion, ought to have behaved himself. For in this I think I understand my part, being a married man, and having often treated with married people in similar matters. He contradicted vehemently, which was the same thing as denying what had been officially proclaimed. He told me that those ladies have not gone for anything of the kind, and talked nonsense, and evidently did not believe what he told me. I did not speak more on that subject.”

 

Eleanor Percy
Eleanor Percy



Edward Stafford
Edward Stafford

Family Tree of Edward Stafford and Eleanor Percy:

Mary Stafford (born c. 1495) She married George Neville, 5th Baron Bergavenny. They were the parents of:

  • Mary Neville, Baroness Dacre

Elizabeth Stafford (c. 1497 – 30 November 1558). She married Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk. Together they were the parents of:

Catherine Stafford (born abt. 1499 – 14 May 1555); She married Ralph Neville, 4th Earl of Westmorland. They were parents of:

    • Henry Neville, 5th Earl of Westmorland
    • Sir Thomas Neville
    • Edward Neville
    • Christopher Neville
    • George Neville
    • Ralph Neville
    • Cuthbert Neville
    • Dorothy Neville
    • Mary Neville
    • Margaret Neville
    • Elizabeth Neville
    • Eleanor Neville
    • Anne Neville
    • Ursula Neville

Henry Stafford, 1st Baron Stafford (18 September 1501 – 30 April 1563); He married Ursula Pole, daughter of Margaret Pole, 8th Countess of Salisbury.
They were parents of:

  • Henry Stafford
  • Thomas Stafford
  • Henry Stafford, 2nd Baron Stafford
  • Edward Stafford, 3rd Baron Stafford
  • Richard Stafford
  • Walter Stafford
  • William Stafford
  • Elizabeth Stafford
  • Anne Stafford
  • Susan Stafford
  • Jane Stafford
  • Dorothy Stafford, Lady Stafford
    2 daughters whose names are not known

Interesting Notes:

Edward Stafford’s father, the 2nd Duke of Buckingham was executed for treason against Richard III. His mother, Katherine Woodville, married Jasper Tudor. Jasper was the son of Catherine of Valois and Owen Tudor. Jasper Tudor was brother of Edmund Tudor – father to Henry VII.

 

Sources:

http://www.susanhigginbotham.com/blog/posts/was-henry-viii-having-an-affair-with-the-duke-of-buckinghams-sister/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Stafford,_3rd_Duke_of_Buckingham
http://www.luminarium.org/encyclopedia/edwardstafford.htm
http://www.executedtoday.com/2013/05/17/edward-stafford-duke-of-buckingham/
http://www.tudorplace.com.ar/Bios/EdwardStafford(3DBuckingham).htm
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/spain/supp/vols1-2/pp34-44
http://www.britannica.com/biography/Edward-Stafford-3rd-Duke-of-Buckingham
http://www.shakespeareandhistory.com/duke-of-buckingham-henry-viii.php

‘Venice: May 1521’, in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 3, 1520-1526, ed. Rawdon Brown (London, 1869), pp. 119-130. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/venice/vol3/pp119-130.