Lady Dorothy Stafford
Location in the Abbey: St Margaret's Church
Type of memorial: Tomb

On the north west wall of St Margaret's church Westminster is a monument to Lady Dorothy Stafford, lady of the bedchamber to Elizabeth I. It has been moved from its original position in the north aisle.  The kneeling figure of Dorothy dressed in black is attributed to Epiphanius Evesham. Figures of three male and three female weepers (representing her children) kneel below on red cushions and her lozenge coat of arms appears the top (or, a chevron gules). The inscription reads:

"Here lyeth ye Lady Dorothee Stafford, wife & widowe to Sir Willm. Stafford, Knight, daughter to Henrye, Lo[rd] Stafforde, ye only sonne of Edward ye last Duke of Buckingham. Her mother was Ursula, daughter to ye Countesse of Salisburye, ye only daughter to George, Duke of Clarence, brother to King Edward ye 4th. She continued a true widdowe from ye age of 27 till her death. She served Q.Elizabeth 40 years lying in her bedchamber, esteemed of her, loved by all, doing good to all she coulde to every body, never hurted any a continual remembr[an]cer of the sutes of the poor, as she lived a religious life in great reputation of honor and vertue in ye world. So she ended in continual fervent meditation & harty prayer to God at ye wh[ich] instant (as all her life) so after her death she gave liberally to ye poore, and died aged of 78 years ye 22 of September 1604. In whose remembrance Sr.Edwarde Stafford her sonne hath caused ys memorial of her to be set up in ye same forme & place as she herself long since required him".

Her father Henry Stafford, 10th Baron Stafford (1501-63) married Ursula Pole (daughter of Sir Richard Pole and his wife Margaret, Countess of Salisbury). Dorothy was the second wife of Sir William (his first wife was Mary Boleyn aunt of Elizabeth I),  who died in 1556 in religious exile in Geneva. John Calvin was godfather to their son John. Another son was William (who married Anne Gryme). Only one of Dorothy's daughters seems to have reached maturity - Elizabeth who married Sir William Drury.

Son Edward was born in 1552 and became a diplomat, English Ambassador in Paris and Member of Parliament. His first wife was Robertsa Chapman (their son was William) and his second widow Douglas Sheffield. He was buried in the church on 5 February 1605 but has no memorial or marker.

A photo of the monument can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library.

Two maids of honour to the Queen are also buried in the church - Blanche Parry and Margaret Radcliffe.

Further reading for her, Henry and Edward:

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

www.historyofparliamentonline.org

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