Further honours followed in the same year; he was made high steward of the duchy of Cornwall (15 June), constable of Bristol and keeper of Kingswood and Gillingham forests (26 July), and joint-commissioner of array in Dorset, Wiltshire, and Somerset (12 Aug.). From 26 July 1461 to 28 Feb. 1462–3 he was summoned to parliament by writ as Baron Stafford of Southwick, and on 24 April 1464 he was created baron with that title by patent. On 20 Oct. 1462 he was made commissioner of array to raise forces in view of an expected Scottish invasion (Hoare, Wiltshire, vi. 157). On 11 Nov. 1464 he was appointed keeper of Dartmoor, and on 20 March 1464–5 constable of Bridgwater Castle. In the following year he was selected by the bishop of Salisbury to settle the disputes between the citizens of Salisbury (ib. p. 169), and on 8 June following was appointed to deliver the great seal to George Neville [q. v.], archbishop of York (Rymer, Fœdera, xi. 578). In May 1468 he was made commissioner to treat for peace with Francis, duke of Brittany, and on 3 July following was again a commissioner for array. According to Warkworth, early in 1469 he instigated the execution of Henry Courtenay, seventh earl of Devon, hoping to get the earldom for himself (Warkworth, Chron. p. 6). In the same year he was sworn of the privy council, and on 7 May was created Earl of Devon. On 12 July, however, he was one of the ‘ceducious persones’ whose ‘covetous rule and gydynge’ were denounced by the commons in a bill of articles presented by Clarence to the king (printed in Warkworth, Chron. pp. 46–7). In the same month he was sent with seven thousand archers to oppose Robin of Redesdale [q. v.] at Edgecote. He quarrelled, however, with William Herbert, first earl of Pembroke [q. v.], and retired with all his troops (Warkworth, p. 7), with the result that Pembroke was defeated. Edward IV thereupon ordered the sheriffs of Devonshire and Somerset to put him to death as soon as he was captured. He was apprehended by some commoners of Somerset, and beheaded at Bridgwater on 17 Aug. 1469. He was buried in Glastonbury Abbey, and his will was proved on 29 Feb. 1469–70.
By his wife Isabel, daughter of Sir John Bere or Barre, he left no issue. His widow married Sir Thomas Bourchier, son of Henry, first earl of Essex [q. v.], and, dying on 1 March 1488–9, was buried in the parish church at Ware, where there is an inscription to her memory.
He was the last male of his family, and his estates were divided among his coheiresses, but they were seized by his cousin, Sir Humphrey Stafford of Grafton (d. 1485), who was a favourite of Richard III; helped to defeat his kinsman, Henry Stafford, second duke of Buckingham [q. v.], in 1483, and was, after the accession of Henry VII, attainted of treason and executed at Tyburn on 17 Nov. 1485 (Campbell, Materials for Henry VII's Reign). From him descended Sir Edward Stafford [q. v.]
[Rolls of Parl. passim; Rymer's Fœdera, xi. 578, 624, 725; Harl. MS. 6129; Bodleian MS. 1160; Three Fifteenth-Cent. Chron. (Camden Soc.), where he is confused with John Courtenay, earl of Devon, who was killed at Tewkesbury on 4 May 1471; Warkworth's Chron. (Camden Soc.), pp. 1, 6, 7, 30, 46–8; William of Worcester's Chron. (Rolls Ser.); Hoare's Wiltshire, passim; Hutchins's Dorset, ii. 179–81; Collinson's Somerset; Burke's Extinct, Doyle's and G. E. C[okayne]'s Peerages.]
STAFFORD, JOHN (d. 1452), archbishop of Canterbury, was probably natural son of Sir Humphrey Stafford of Southwick Court, North Bradley, Wiltshire, by one Emma of North Bradley. His mother became a sister of the priory of the Holy Trinity at Canterbury, where she died 5 Sept. 1446 and was buried in North Bradley church under a handsome monument erected by her son the archbishop. The archbishop's father, who was twice married, had a legitimate son (by his first wife), Sir Humphrey Stafford, called ‘of the silver hand,’ who was sheriff of Somerset and Dorset and father of Humphrey Stafford, earl of Devon [q. v.] Gascoigne (Loci e Libro Veritatum, p. 40) speaks of the archbishop as illegitimate, an allegation for which there appears to be no foundation. Stafford was educated at Oxford, where he graduated doctor of civil law before 1413, when his name appears at the head of the doctors of that faculty, who subscribed the letter submitting to the proposed visitation of the university by Philip Repington [q. v.], bishop of Lincoln (Wood, Hist. and Antiq. i. 556). In 1419 he became dean of the Court of Arches in succession to John Kemp (1380?–1454) [q. v.]; on 9 Sept. of that year archdeacon of Salisbury; in 1421 chancellor of the diocese, and in May 1421 keeper of the privy seal, to which office he was reappointed on the death of Henry V. In December 1422 he was promoted to the office of treasurer, and made dean of St. Martin's, London. On 9 Sept. 1423 he was advanced to the deanery of Wells, and in 1424 received the prebend of Stow in Lindsey at Lincoln (Le Neve, i. 153, ii. 211). In politics Stafford attached himself to Henry Beaufort [q. v.],