Bretigni on 11 May 1360. In 1361 he accompanied Lionel (afterwards duke of Clarence) [q. v.] in his expedition to Ireland. In that year his brother Sir Richard was seneschal of Gascony, and held that office until 8 June 1362 (Fœdera, iii. 628, 653). The earl is said to have again served in France in 1365 (Dugdale), and in 1367 contracted during his life to serve the king in peace or war with a hundred men-at-arms, at a yearly stipend of one thousand marks from the customs of the ports of London and Boston (Fœdera, iii. 821). Meanwhile in 1366 his brother Sir Richard was appointed to go on an embassy, accompanied by his son Richard, to the papal court. Emaciated and worn out with old age and constant military service, the earl died at his castle of Tunbridge, Kent, on 31 Aug. 1372, and was there buried.
Stafford is much praised for his valour and daring. He was a benefactor to the priory of Stone, Staffordshire, founded by his ancestor, Robert de Stafford, in the reign of Henry I (Monasticon, vi. 226, 231), gave the manor of Rollright, Oxfordshire, to the priory of Cold Norton in that county (ib. p. 421), and about 1344 founded a house of Austin friars in Stafford (ib. p. 1399). He married (1) a wife named Katherine; and (2) before 10 Oct. 1336 Margaret, daughter and heiress of Hugh de Audeley, earl of Gloucester, who died 7 Sept. 1347. By her he had two sons—the elder, Ralph, who married Maud, elder daughter of Henry of Lancaster [see under Henry of Lancaster, first Duke of Lancaster], and died before 1352, leaving no issue, and Hugh (see below)—and four daughters.
The earl's brother Sir Richard married Matilda, widow of Richard de Vernon, and daughter and coheiress of William de Camville, baron Camville of Clifton, Staffordshire, and, receiving that lordship by his marriage, was styled Sir Richard Stafford of Clifton, and in 1362 is described as baron (Fœdera, iii. 657). The date of his death has not been ascertained. He left a son Richard, who was summoned to parliament as Baron Stafford of Clifton from 1371 to 1379, and died in 1381, leaving by his first wife, Isabel, daughter of Sir Richard de Vernon of Haddon, two sons—Edmund de Stafford [q. v.], bishop of Exeter, and Sir Thomas Stafford.
Hugh de Stafford, second Earl of Stafford (1342?–1386), second son of Ralph, first earl, was born about 1342, and served in the king's campaign in France in 1359. Having entered the retinue of the Prince of Wales, he was with him in Aquitaine, 1363–6, followed him in his Spanish expedition, and was one of a party sent to reconnoitre the enemy (Chandos Herald, l. 2461). On 8 Jan. 1371 he received a summons to parliament as Baron de Stafford (Doyle), and on the death of his father on 31 Aug. 1372, his elder brother (see above) having died previously, succeeded as second Earl of Stafford. At that date he was setting out on the abortive expedition undertaken for the relief of Thouars. He accompanied John of Gaunt [q. v.] in his invasion of France in 1373. In 1375 he took part in the campaign of the Duke of Brittany and the Earl of Cambridge in Brittany, and towards the close of the year was made a knight of the Garter. He belonged to the court party, but nevertheless, on the meeting of the ‘Good parliament’ in April 1376, was one of the four earls appointed, with other magnates, to confer with the commons, and was a member of the standing council proposed by the commons and accepted by the king. On the meeting of the parliament of January 1377 he was again appointed member of a committee of lords to advise the commons (Rot. Parl. ii. 322, 326; Chron. Angliæ, lxviii. 70, 113; Stubbs, Const. Hist. i. 429, 432, 437). At the coronation of Richard II on 16 July he officiated as carver, and in October was appointed of the privy council for one year. Making himself spokesman for the discontented lords in 1378, he reproached Sir John Philipot (d. 1384) [q. v.] for defending the commerce of the kingdom without the sanction of the council, but Philipot answered him so well that he was forced to be silent. He was a member of the committee appointed in March 1379 to examine into the state of the public finances, and in 1380 of that appointed to regulate the royal household (Rot. Parl. iii. 57, 73). Froissart says that he took part in the Earl of Buckingham's campaign in France (Chroniques, ii. 95, ed. Buchon; but if this is correct there is a confusion in the passage between the earl's wife and Philippa, the daughter of Enguerrand de Couci by Isabella, daughter of Edward III; compare Walsingham, i. 434, and Fœdera, iv. 91). On 1 May 1381 he was appointed a commissioner for settling quarrels in the Scottish marches. He and his eldest son, Sir Ralph Stafford, one of the queen's attendants and a great favourite with her and the king, whose companion he had been from boyhood, marched northward with the king's army in 1385. While the army was near York, Sir Ralph was slain by Sir John Holland [see Holland, John, Duke of Exeter and Earl of Huntingdon]. The earl demanded justice of the king, and Richard