The Staffords of Eyam

by C. E. B. BOWLES, M.A.

This article was published originally in the Derbyshire Archaeological Society Journal, vol. 30, 1908; pp261-295.

This transcription by Rosemary Lockie © 2000-1


VII. - JOHN DE STAFFORD, of Eyam, the eldest son, succeeded his father, circa 1400, and it is worth noting that in all deeds connected with him after this date the word “de” is for the most part dropped before his surname, and the word “Armiger”, or esquier, substituted after his name. This fact, which will be noticed by comparing the next two deeds which follow, would suggest that in 1400 a grant to arms was made to this family. The coat would probably have been one already borne by a Stafford “with a difference”. The arms borne at this date by Edmond, Earl of Stafford, father of Humphry, 1st Duke of Buckingham, were “or: on a chevron gul.” Now, although no grant of arms to Stafford of Eyam have been have been found, this same coat [Page 273] with a difference[38], viz: “Or on a chev. gul., between three martlets sable”, was allowed by the heralds as a quartering for Stafford in the visitation of 1610[?] to the family of Savage of Castleton, and in that of Bradshawe of Bradshaw in the visitation of 1634, although not a quartering in the Bradshawe coat, it was placed on a little shield beside the entry of marriage of Francis Bradshawe and Anne Stafford[39]. These arms impaled with Bradshaw, however, were carved over the Bradshaw gateway[40] in 1620, and as an Eyre quartering over the mantle-piece in the dining room at Hassop Hall in 1607 - though impaled with Eyre on an old oak beam in Longston Church[41] in 1620, and were quartered with Morewood on a brass in the Church at Bradfield[42], co. York, in 1647. Thus the men who married the four co-heiresses of this family appeare to have borne these arms unchallenged.

The first of these deeds to be compared is the release[43] granted by John Rankell, of Eyam, chaplain, to John de Stafford, of Eyam, of all rights which the former processed in the township and chapelry of Foolowe and Bretton, formally granted to him by John Plumer and William Hendley, chaplains. This was dated at Eyam 2nd February, 1 Henry IV. (1400); then on the following 27th of June a power of attorney, dated at Kettlethorpe, co. Lincoln[44], was executed by him as “John Stafford of Eyam armiger” to Richard Stafford, his brother, and John Rankell, chaplain, to deliver seisin of the same lands to Richard de Knottesford, of Newton, co. Lincoln. Then followed three deeds dated 6 Henry IV. (1405), a release, a bond, and a power of attorney[45], all connected with transactions between John Stafford, [Page 274] of Eyam, armiger, and John, son and heir of Nicholas Leghes, of Eyam, with respect to the reversion of a messuage and one bovate of land in Eyam. In the Heralds' College is a note of an ancient deed, now non-existent, which belongs to this time, and has its own interest:- “John Stafforth, Esquire, grants to Henry Bishop of Winton, John Beauford, Earl of Sarum, and Thomas . . . . Esquire, all his lands, tenements, rents, and services, which he had in the counties of Derby and Lincoln, to them their heirs and assigns. Dated at Eyam, 20th July, 10 Henry IV. (1409)”. There are several grants of the land, etc., in which his name occurs as one of the attesting witnesses. The last of these is dated at Eyam 2nd February, 8 Henry V. (1421)[46], It is a grant to John Martyn and Nicholas Martyn of land in Eyam called Rylye[47], and his name, which appears as “John de Stafford, Squyre”, is immediately followed by that of Henry de Stafford, of Mydleton Clyff, which place being immediately outside the township of Eyam suggests the probability that Henry was a member of this family.

The next and almost the last information obtainable with respect to John de Stafford is contained in an original manuscript of about 3 Henry VI. (1424)[48]. It is the pleading in a case tried at Westminster, 1 Henry VI., in which he was plaintiff, and one John Attebourgh, the defendant, who is accused of wrongful possession of certain land in Aldenham[49], co. Herts., described as “a message with 200 acres of arable land, 40 acres of wood, 20 acres of Meadow, and 30 acres of pasture with all appurtenances formerly in the possession of Edmond Lynford who had enfeoffed Thomas Lynford and Thomas Bennebury and the heirs of Thos. Lynford by virtue of which they had been seised of the land in question at the date of the death [Page 275] of Thos. Lynford which had taken place on the 28th October 1423.[50] After which date the reversion of the land had passed to the said John Stafford as nearest of kin and heir of Thomas as being the son of Dionysia sister of Lawrence the father of the said Thomas Lynford”. The defendant to lost the suit and had to pay 200 marks.

From this we ascertain that the death of his cousin, Thomas Lynford, on 28 October, 1423, put John de Stafford in possession of the large estates of the Lynford family in the counties of Derby, Buckingham, and Hereford. Probably the following Pedigree[51] was drawn out at this time for use in the above suit. It is written on parchment, is headed “Pedigree of Peter Lynford”, and is as follows:-

“Piers de Linford hadd issue Lawrence, Lawrence hadd issue William, William hadd issue Lawrence and Dionis, Lawrence had issue Thomas, Thomas had issue Edmund, which diseassed without issue of his bodie. Dionis toke to husband John Stafford, and had issue by the said John, a son called John Stafford, and John had issue Robert Stafford”.[52]

Then follows on the same side of the parchment an abstract of a deed, the original of which is No. XVII. in the writer's possession:-

“Certaine lands and tenements, woods, leases, and pastures, services of ffree men and bond &c. myne of lead oare, with the appurtenances, were given by Nicho Cotterell and Roger de Gaddesby to Lawrence Lynford and Alice his wife and to the heires betweene them lawfully begotten, lying in Moniash, Chelmorten, Hassopp, Calver, and Rowsley as it appeareth more plainly in the deed &c.”
[Page 276] Below this is a memorandum in Latin of a suit heard in the fourth year of Henry V. (1416), during the Easter term, before certain justices sitting at Westminster, in which John Grome and others were the querents, and Thomas Linford, Edmund Linford, and John Stafford, of co. Lincoln[53], and William Linford, of co. Northampton, were at the defendants.

The first information the writer has of this family of Linford is an acknowledgement dated 28 Edward II. (1324) of a sum of money paid by Henry Fauconberg, vicar of Derby, to Dyonisia, formerly wife of Lawrence de Linford[54]. Somewhat later there is a grant by her to Roger de Burton and others of two bovates of land and a messuage in Calver.[54]

In 25 Edward III. (1341), a grant of a messuage in Hassop was made by William de Lynford to Roger, son of Hugh de Birchell.[54]

In 38 Edward III. (1364), a grant[54] was made by Godfrey Foljamb[55] of lands and all rights in Chelmorton to Lawrence de Lynford. In this same year was executed the deed quoted on page 268, which first connects the Staffords with the Lynford family, and which settles all the Lynford estates. That portion of them which was situated in the county of Derby had been charged with the dowry or jointure of Margery, wife of William Lynford. By the deed already cited on page 269,[56] they were re-settled on Lawrence, son and heir of William Lynford and Alice his wife, and their heirs, on the death of Margery. In 43 Edward III. (1369)[57], Lawrence de Lynford made a grant of “a place and five acres in Chelmorten to Henry le Heir”.

In 1 Richard II.[58] (1377), “Katherine, formerly wife of [Page 277] Lawrence de Lyndford, made a grant to Thomas de Wednesley, of five marks yearly, arising out of her lands at Monyash, and Chelmorton”, and the next transaction before us is that contained in the suit between John Att Burgh in the year 1424, quoted on page 274, from which we learn of the death of last of the Lyndfords, and of the passing of their estates to John Stafford, of Eyam.

A year later he deals with a portion of his Lynford inheritance, for a grant was executed at Youlgreave,[59] 18th March, 3 Henry VI. (1425) by John Stafford Esquier, to John de Asshelay, Chaplain for the Chantry of St. Mary of Moniash, of certain lands and tenements at Youlgreave. This act of piety - evidently the reason for his descendant Humphrey[60] being a patron of the chantry - is the last of which we have any knowledge, and probably it was not long before his death. By his wife Alice he had three sons:-

  1. Robert, his heir.
  2. John, of whom presently.
  3. Roger.
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