Humphrey Stafford (died 1486)

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Sir Humphrey Stafford was an English nobleman who took part in the war of the Roses on the Yorkist side and was executed by Henry VII for his support of Richard III.

Early life

Humphrey Stafford was born about 1427 in Grafton, Worcestershire, son of Sir Humprey Stafford (1400 - c.1467), Governor of Calais and Eleanor Aylesbury (1407- c.1467).

Humphrey Stafford inherited Grafton and Upton Warren in 1449–50.[1] He fought at the Battle of Bosworth with Richard III.

Stafford and Lovell Rebellion

Sir Humphrey Stafford, and his brother Thomas Stafford, joined by Francis Lovell, 1st Viscount Lovell, led the inauspicious Stafford and Lovell Rebellion in 1486.[2]

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

During this time Henry was in York on a nationwide tour of the country. As soon as he advanced towards Worcester in order to eliminate Yorkist support, on 11 May 1486 the Stafford brothers again fled to sanctuary, this time at Culham.[3]

Stafford's arrest and execution

Despite the fact that Stafford had sought sanctuary at the church in Culham, King Henry VII decided to force Stafford to kiss his feet. Stafford was forcibly removed from his sanctuary on the night of 13 May by John Barrowman and one follower.[4] Henry then ordered the execution of Humphrey Stafford of Grafton, but pardoned the younger Thomas Stafford.

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

Humphrey was executed at Tyburn on 8 July 1486.

Marriage and family

Humphrey Stafford married Catherine Fray (1437–1482), the daughter of Sir John Fray, Chief Baron of the Exchequer, by Agnes Danvers (d. June 1478), the daughter of Sir John Danvers (died c.1448) in 1452, in Grafton, Worcestershire.

Humphrey and Catherine had a son and two daughters:

  1. Anne Stafford, married Richard Neville, 2nd Baron Latimer
  2. Joyce Stafford
  3. Humphrey Stafford (died 1545)of Blatherwick, Northumberland


  1. Parishes: Grafton Manor, A History of the County of Worcester: volume 3 (1913), pp. 123-127.
  2. Richardson, Douglas (2011). Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, ed. Kimball G. Everingham I (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City. ISBN 1449966373
  3. Williams 1928, p. 186; Stanley Bertram Chrimes, Henry VII. -, Berkeley, ISBN 0-520-02266-1, 0520022661<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> p71
  4. Williams 1928, p. 186.