Elizabeth Stafford

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Elizabeth Stafford
Spouse(s) Sir William Drury
Sir Robert Drury
Charles Drury
Frances Drury
Elizabeth Drury
Diana Drury
Susanna Drury
Noble family Stafford
Father Sir William Stafford
Mother Dorothy Stafford
Born England
Died 1599

Elizabeth Stafford (died 1599) was the daughter of Sir William Stafford and Dorothy Stafford, and the wife of Sir William Drury. She was a Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Elizabeth I. She and her first husband, Sir William Drury, entertained Queen Elizabeth I at Hawstead in 1578.


Elizabeth Stafford was the daughter of Sir William Stafford (c.1500 – 5 May 1556) of Chebsey, Staffordshire, and Rochford Hall, Essex,[1] second son of Sir Humphrey Stafford of Blatherwycke, Northamptonshire, by Margaret Fogge, the daughter of Sir John Fogge of Ashford, Kent.[2]

Elizabeth Stafford's parents were second cousins.[1] Her mother was Dorothy Stafford (1 October 1526 – September 1604), the daughter of Henry Stafford, 10th Baron Stafford (1501–1563), son and heir of Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, by Ursula Pole (d.1570).[3] Through her mother, Elizabeth Stafford and her siblings were of royal blood.[1]

Dorothy Stafford was Sir William Stafford's second wife. In 1534 he had secretly wed, as her second husband, Mary Boleyn (c.1499–1543), sister of King Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn. Mary Boleyn is said to have been pregnant at the time of her marriage to Sir William Stafford;[4] however if there were children of the marriage, nothing further is known of them.[5][6]

Elizabeth Stafford had three brothers and two sisters of the whole blood:[3][3][7]

  • Sir John Stafford of Marlwood Park (January 1556 – 28 September 1624), Thornbury, Gloucestershire, who married firstly, Bridget Clopton (d. March 1574), the daughter of William Clopton of Kentwell Hall, by whom he had a son,[9][10] and secondly, on 29 January 1580, Millicent Gresham (buried 24 December 1602), the daughter of Edmund Gresham (buried 31 August 1586) and Joan Hynde, by whom he had no issue.[11]
  • Dorothy Stafford, who likely died in infancy.[3]


Elizabeth Stafford's parents were staunch Protestants, and on 29 March 1555, during the reign of the Catholic Mary I, they took their two children, Elizabeth and Edward, in the company of a cousin, Elizabeth Sandys, into exile. In 1556 they were in Geneva, where on 4 January 1556 the Protestant reformer, John Calvin, stood as godfather to their youngest son, John Stafford, and where Sir William Stafford died, and was buried on 5 May of that year.[1][3] After Sir William Stafford's death a dispute ensued with Calvin over the custody of his godson, John Stafford, and Dorothy Stafford 'managed to escape' with her children, in the company of Elizabeth Sandys, to Basel, where the Stafford family were neighbours of the Protestant reformer John Knox. In November 1558 Queen Mary died and Elizabeth I acceded to the throne, and on 14 January 1559 Dorothy Stafford and her children left Basel for England. The family took up residence for a time at Waltham, Essex.[1][3]

Elizabeth Stafford joined her mother, Dorothy, in Queen Elizabeth's privy chamber on 28 November 1568.[3] In 1578, during a progress through East Anglia, the Queen stayed at the manor house at Hawstead which Elizabeth Stafford's husband, Sir William Drury, had recently rebuilt. According to Thomas Churchyard, ‘a costly and delicat dinner’ was put on for the occasion, and tradition has it that during the visit the Queen dropped a silver-handled fan into the moat.[15]

Both Lady Drury and her husband exchanged New Year's gifts with the Queen in 1579, Sir William's gift being a pair of black velvet mittens, while Lady Drury's gift was an embroidered forepart of cloth of silver.[16]

In 1587 Sir William Drury was appointed a receiver for the Exchequer in Essex, Hertfordshire and Middlesex, but fled to the continent in July of that year owing the Exchequer £5000.[17] How Drury incurred the debt is unclear. By 1588, through the influence of Lord Willoughby, then in command of English forces in the Low Countries, Drury was appointed Governor of Bergen-op-Zoom in the Netherlands, but was replaced by Thomas Morgan. Drury was then sent as colonel over 1000 men under Lord Willoughby to the assistance of Henry IV of France. En route he quarrelled with Sir John Borough over precedence, and a duel ensued in which Drury sustained an injury to his arm, and first lost his hand to gangrene and then his arm by amputation. He died soon afterwards.[18] Drury's body was brought back to England, and he was buried in the chancel of Hawstead church.[16] After his death, Lady Drury received a comforting letter from the Queen,[3] in which the Queen referred to her as 'my Bess'.[16] Lady Drury continued to serve the Queen as a Lady of the Bedchamber until her death in 1599.[3]

Marriages and issue

Elizabeth Stafford married firstly Sir William Drury (d. 8 January 1590),[19] the eldest son of Robert Drury (d. 7 December 1557),[20][21] esquire, and Audrey Rich, the daughter of Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich, Lord Chancellor of England,[22] by whom she had two sons and four daughters:[23]

After the death of Sir William Drury, Elizabeth Stafford married secondly, Sir John Scott.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Holmes 2004.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Richardson IV 2011, p. 64.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 Adams 2006.
  4. Hughes 2004.
  5. Greenfield 1880, p. 304.
  6. Emerson states that they 'may have had two children, Edward (1535–1545) and Anne'; see Emerson, Kate, 'Mary Boleyn (c.1498-July 1543)' in 'A Who's Who of Tudor Women' Retrieved 14 March 2013.
  7. Richardson states that Sir William Stafford and his wife Dorothy had four sons, including Sir Edward, William, and Sir John, and two daughters, Ursula, who married Richard Drake, esquire, and Elizabeth, who married Sir William Drury and Sir John Scot; Richardson IV 2011, p. 64.
  8. McDermott 2004.
  9. The Royal Descents of 500 Immigrants to the American Colonies or the United States, by Gary Boyd Roberts, 1993 Page: 231
  10. Plantagenet Ancestry of Seventeenth-Century Colonists, by David Faris, 2nd Edition 1999, NEHGS Page: 50-51
  11. Gower 1883, pp. 167–8; Nichols 1846, pp. 142–4.
  12. Lipscomb 1847, pp. 153–4.
  13. Adams states that two daughters likely died in infancy; however Richardson and other sources state that Ursula married Richard Drake.
  14. Bridgeman 1883, pp. 18, 36; Ormerod 1819, p. 334.
  15. Dovey 1996, p. 50.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Dovey 1996, p. 51.
  17. Drury, Sir William (1550-90), of Hawstead, Suffolk Retrieved 14 March 2013.
  18. Drury, Sir William (1550-90), of Hawstead, Suffolk Retrieved 10 March 2013.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 Campling 1937.
  20. Richardson gives the date of Robert Drury's death as 10 January 1558.
  21. Drury, Robert (?1524-57), of Hawstead, Suffolk Retrieved 14 March 2013.
  22. Richardson II 2011, p. 94.
  23. Rowe 2004; Campling 1937.
  24. Drury, Sir Robert (1575–1615), History of Parliament Retrieved 10 March 2013.
  25. Hopper 2004.
  26. Rowe 2004.
  27. Lockyer 2004.


External links