Stanford, William (DNB00)

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STANFORD, STAMFORD, or STAUNFORD, Sir WILLIAM (1509–1558), judge, born at Hadley, Middlesex, on 22 Aug. 1509, was son of William Stanford, mercer, of London, and his wife Margaret Gedney. His grandfather was Robert Stanford of Rowley, Staffordshire. After being educated at Oxford William entered Gray's Inn in 1528, where he was called to the bar in 1536. In 1538 he was employed in dissolving the Austin Friars at Stafford, and on 15 Dec. 1541 he was returned to parliament as member for that borough. In 1544 he was appointed autumn reader in his inn, but owing to the plague did not deliver his lectures until the following Lent (Dugdale, Orig. Jurid. p. 293). He again represented Stafford borough in the parliament which met in January 1544–5, and was dissolved by Henry's death in January 1546–7. In Edward VI's first parliament Stanford represented Newcastle-under-Lyme (13 Oct. 1547 to 15 April 1552). He was double reader at Gray's Inn in the spring of 1551, and on 6 Oct. following was placed on a commission ‘to resolve uppon the reformacion of the Canon Lawes’ (Acts P. C. iii. 382). In the following year he was one of the commissioners empowered to examine and deprive Cuthbert Tunstall [q. v.], bishop of Durham. On 17 Oct. he was made serjeant-at-law (Machyn, Diary, p. 27). A year later (19 Oct. 1553) he was promoted queen's serjeant. In April 1554 he conducted the crown prosecution of Sir Nicholas Throgmorton [q. v.], and on 17 May he received 26l. 13s. 4d. for his ‘travayle and paynes taken in the two late Parliamentes’ (Acts P. C. v. 22). In the same year he was raised to the bench of common pleas, and on 27 Jan. 1554–5 was knighted by Philip (Harl. MS. 6064, f. 80 b). He died on 28 Aug. 1558, and was buried in Hadley church on 1 Sept. (ib. 897, f. 18). By his wife Alice, daughter of John Palmer, he had issue six sons and four daughters. His widow subsequently married Roger Carey of Hadley (Lansd. MS. 874, f. 60).

Stanford was author of: # ‘Les Plees del Coron: divisees in plusiours titles & common lieux … composees per le tres reverend judge Monsieur Guilliaulme Staunforde, chivaler …’ R. Tottel, London, 1560, 4to; subsequent editions appeared in 1567, 1574, and 1583. # ‘An Exposicion of the Kinge's Prerogative; collected out of the great abridgement of Justice Fitzherbert … by Sir William Staunford,’ 1567, 4to; other editions 1568, 1577, and 1590. It was much used by later legal writers (see Arcana Parliamentaria, by R. C., 1685, pref. p. 1). Stanford is also said to have edited the earliest printed version of Glanville's ‘Tractatus de Legibus’ [see Glanville, Ranulph de], which was published by Tottel about 1555, 8vo (Wright, Biogr. Brit. Litteraria, ii. 279).

[Works in Brit. Mus. Libr.; authorities cited; Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, ed. Gairdner; Acts of the Privy Council, 1542–58; Dugdale's Orig. Jurid. and Chron. Series; Lit. Rem. of Edward VI (Roxburghe Club), passim; Machyn's Diary (Camd. Soc.), passim; Official Return of Members of Parliament; Rymer's Fœdera; Lloyd's State Worthies; Fuller's Worthies, ii. 188; Tanner's Bibl. Brit.-Hib. p. 691; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, i. 262–3; Strype's Works; State Trials, i. 869; Foss's Lives of the Judges, v. 390–2; Shaw's Staffordshire, ii. 108; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Gray's Inn Reg. pp. x, 6; Simms's Bibl. Staffordiensis; Chalmers's Biogr. Dict.]

A. F. P.