Proof of Age
354. RALPH SON AND HEIR OF EDMUND DE STAFFORD
Writ to the escheator to take the proof of age of the said Ralph, 10 May, 15 Edward II. .
STAFFORD. Proof of age, 6 April, 16 Edward II. (defective and defaced.)
William de Stafford, aged 60, says that the said Ralph, born at Amynton [alias Abyndon] by Tamwurthe and baptised in the church of St. Edith in Tamwurthe, was 21 years of age on 24 September last, and this he knows because he lifted him from the sacred font.
William de Mere, knight, aged 80, says the like, and knows it because at Whitsunday before the said Ralph was born he espoused Margaret his daughter to Adam de Moccleston.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . knight, aged 60, says the like, . . . . . . . . . .
Vivien de Staunden (?), aged 62 (?), says the like, . . . . . . . . . .
William de Chadon (?), aged . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Roger (?) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ., aged 62, . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , aged . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Edmund de Chettwynde, aged 52, says the like, . . . . . . . . . .
Walter de Chettwynde, aged 60, says the like, . . . . . . . . . .
William de Breideshale (?), aged 60 (?), says the like, . . . . . . . . . .
Thomas de Blichefeld, aged 64, says the like, . . . . . . . . . .
William de Wulseleye (?), aged 62, says the like, . . . . . . . . . .
C. Edw. II. File 72. (20.) 1
A table (obviously of late composition because of the language), hanging in Stone priory at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries, names "Raufe…Earl of Stafford" as son of “Edmond”. He succeeded his father in 1308 as Lord Stafford. A writ after the death of "Beatrice late the wife of Peter Corbet of Caus", dated "30 Aug 21 Edw III", names "Thomas Corbet…from whom issued Peter, Alice the elder daughter and Emma the younger", that "Alice" married "Robert de Staff[ord]" and "from them issued Nicholas who was her heir" and "from him came Edmund who had issue the present Ralph de Staff[ord]". He was created Earl of Stafford 5 Mar 1351. 2
BARONY OF STAFFORD (II) 1308
EARLDOM OF STAFFORD (I) 1351
RALPH (DE STAFFORD), LORD STAFFORD, son and heir, born 24 September 1301. On 6 December 1323 he had done homage and was to have his father's lands. On 16 April 1325 he was in the King's service with his mother and her 2nd husband Thomas de Pype, and his own brothers, in the company of Ralph, 2nd Lord Basset (of Drayton), Constable of Dover Castle. Knight Banneret January 1326/7. On 6 April 1327 he was summoned to serve against the Scots; on 21 March 1331/2 he was in the commission of the peace for co. Stafford; in 1332 he sailed from Barton-on-Humber or Hull with Edward, son of John de Balliol, to invade Scotland. He was summoned to Parliament as RALPH DE STAFFORD or as RALPH BARON OF STAFFORD from 29 November 1336 to 25 November 1350. In 1336 and 1337 he served in Scotland. On 29 November 1339 he returned with the King from France. On 22 June 1340 he was appointed with others to sell the ninth for Staffordshire. On 23 June 1340 he was present at the battle of Sluys. By 10 February 1340/1 he had become Steward of the King's Household. On 13 May 1341 he was granted a weekly market at Madeley, co. Staffs, Tysoe, co. Warwick, &c.; on 7 August 1342 the Great Seal was delivered temporarily to him and another. In 1342 he sailed to Brittany, and took part in the siege of Vannes, where he was captured; but by the truce of Malestroit on 19 January 1342/3 he was exchanged for de Clichon. On 20 May 1343 he was appointed with others to treat with the Pope; in 1343 he was sent with others to Scotland to raise the siege of Lochmaben castle. In April 1344 he was in Gascony with 3 bannerets, 20 knights, 92 esquires, and 90 archcrs. On 13 September 1344 he took part in the tournament at Hereford as one of the challengers of the nobles of the county. In 1343 and 1344 he was in commissions, and on 9 January 1344/5 was appointed to take an assize of arms for co. Stafford. On 23 February 1344/ 5 he was appointed Seneschal of Aquitaine or Gascony, holding office until 15 March 1345/6. During 1346 he successfully defended Alguillon against John, son of Philip King of France; in August 1346 he fought in the King's Division at Crécy; on 10 October 1346 he was appointed Seneschal of Aquitaine; but by 16 March 1346/7 he was with the King before Calais. On 25 September 1347 he was empowered with others to treat for peace with the envoys of Philip de Valois. On 6 February 1347/8 he obtained a licence to crenellate his dwelling-places of Stafford and Madeley and to make castles of them. K.G. 23 April 1348 as one of the founders. On 4 July 1348 he was promised £573 towards his charges in the King's service in foreign parts; and on 6 September 1348 he was granted for life 600 marks per annum for his stay for life with the King with 60 men-at-arms. On 10 November 1348 he was about to cross the seas with the King; on 29 August 1350 he was present at the naval battle off Winchelsea. He was created, 5 March 1350/1, EARL OF STAFFORD. From 15 March 1351/2 to 10 February 1366/7 he was in commissions; on 6 February 1351/2 he was about to set out for Gascony; in 1353 was among the nobles who protected the justices in eyre in Cheshire. In October 1355 he was among the leaders of the King's new expedition to France. On 28 August 1359 he was granted protection for his retinue; on 26 November 1359 he was attacked in his billet by a band of Frenchmen, but beat them off. In October 1360 he was in the vanguard of the army under the Duke of Lancaster, and was joint marshal with the Earl of Warwick; on 24 August 1360 he was appointed with others to treat for peace with France; and later to discuss the title to the Duchy of Brittany; and he was a party to the treaty of Bretigny. In May 1361 he was about to travel to Ireland, where he was from September 1361 to 8 February 1361/2. In 1369 he was an executor of the Earl of Warwick's will. On 30 October 1369 he crossed to France with the King.
He married, 1stly, probably about 1326-27, Katharine, daughter of Sir John HASTANG of Chebsey, co. Stafford, by Eve his wife; 2ndly, before 6 July 1336, Margaret, daughter and heir of Hugh (DE AUDLEY), EARL OF GLOUCESTER and LORD AUDLEY, by Margaret, widow of Piers (DE GAVASTON), EARL OF CORNWALL, and daughter of Gilbert (DE CLARE), EARL OF GLOUCESTER AND HERTFORD. On her father's death, 10 November 1347, she became, according to modern doctrine, suo jure BARONESS AUDLEY (1317). She died after 28 January 1347/8. Ralph died 31 August 1372, leaving a will, and was buried at Tonbridge, with his wife Margaret. 3
Ralph de Stafford, 2nd baron, summoned to parliament from 14 January, 1337, to 25 November, 1350. This nobleman attaining majority in the 17th Edward II , and then doing his homage, had livery of his father's lands, and the next ensuing year, being made a knight by bathing and other sacred ceremonies, had robes, &c., as a banneret, allowed him out of the king's wardrobe for the solemnity; after which he soon became a personage of celebrity in the wars of King Edward III. His lordship was first engaged in Scotland for some years, and he then embarked for Brittany, where he was made prisoner at the siege of Nantes. In the 19th Edward III , he was sent into Gascony with Henry of Lancaster, Earl of Derby, and while that nobleman assaulted Bergerath by land, Lord Stafford commanded the force which attacked it by sea. the next year he was constituted seneschal of Aquitaine, when John, son and heir of Philip, King of France, coming to besiege Aguillon, where his lordship then resided, he stoutly defended that place against the whole power of the French, until King Edward came to his relief, and forced the enemy to raise the siege. After this, joining his troops with the army of King Edward, he had a principal command in the van of the English at the glorious battle of Cressy. On the termination of this great conflict, his lordship being sent with Sir Reginald Cobham and three heralds to view the slain, reported the number to be 11 great princes, 80 banneret, 1,200 knights, and more than 30,000 common soldiers. He was afterwards, when Calais surrendered, appointed, together with Sir Walter Manny, and the Earl of Warwick, to take possession of that place for the king; and subsequently his lordship was one of the ambassadors deputed to the cardinals of Naples and Claremont, to treat of peace between King Edward and Philip de Valois, then assuming the title of King of France. The next year he had license to make castles of his manor houses at Stafford and Nadeley; as also a grant from the king of £573, for his expenses in foreign service. About this time his lordship was elected a knight of the Garter, being one of the original members of that noble order. In the 24th Edward III , he was in commission with the bishop of Durham, and the Lords Percy and Nevill, to treat with the nobles of Scotland, at York, for a firm and final peace between the two realms; for all which eminent services he was created, 5 March, 1351, Earl of Stafford, and constituted lieutenant and captain-general of the Duchy of Aquitaine. His lordship m. Margaret, only dau. and heiress of Hugh de Audley, Baron Audley, and in right of his wife, Earl of Gloucester, by which alliance he acquired a considerable inheritance, and the Barony of Audeley is presumed to have merged in that of Stafford. He had issue, Ralph, who m. Maud, dau. of Henry, Earl of Derby, Duke of Lancaster, but d.v.p., s.p.; Hugh, his successor; Beatrice, m. 1st, Maurice, son and heir of Maurice, Earl of Desmond, 2ndly, Thomas, Lord Ros, of Hamlake, and 3rdly, Sir Richard Burley, Knt.; Joane, m. to John, son and heir of John Cherlton, Lord Powis; Elizabeth, m. to Fulke le Strange; and Margaret, m. to Sir John Stafford, Knt. His lordship d. 31 August, 1372, was buried at Tunbridge, and was s. by his only surviving son, Hugh de Stafford. 4