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Stafford, Earls And Marquesses Of

STAFFORD, EARLS AND MARQUESSES OF. The earldom of Stafford, created in 1351, was held at first by the family of Stafford (see above). In 1521 it became extinct, and in September 1640 Sir William Howard (1614-1680), a son of Thomas Howard, earl of Arundel and Surrey, having three years previously married Mary (d. 1694), sister and heiress of Henry Stafford, 5th Baron Stafford, was created Baron Stafford and two months later viscount of Stafford. Accused by Titus Gates of participatingjin the popish plots, he was found guilty, and was beheaded on the 29th of December 1680, his titles being forfeited.

His son, Henry Stafford Howard (1658-1719), who, but for his father's attainder, would have inherited the barony and the viscounty, was created earl of Stafford in 1688, his mother being created countess of Stafford at the same time; he was succeeded by his nephew William (c. 1690-1734). When John Paul, the 4th earl (1700-1762), died, the earldom became extinct, but the title to the barony, which was under attainder, fell into abeyance.

The 4th earl's sister Mary (d. 1765) married Francis Plowden (d. 1712), and in 1824 their descendant, Sir George William Jerningham, Bart. (1771-1851), of Costessy Park, Norfolk, obtained a reversal of his ancestor's attainder and was recognized as Baron Stafford. The barony is still held by the Jerninghams.

In 1758 Granville Leveson-Gower (1721-1803) was created marquess of Stafford. He was the son of John Leveson-Gower (d. 1754), who was created Viscount Trentham and Earl Gower in 1746. The public positions held by him included that of lord privy seal, which he filled from 1755 to 1757, and again from 1784 to 1794; of master of the horse; of lord chamberlain of the royal household; and of lord president of the council, which he held from 1767 to 1769 and in 1783-1784. This wealthy and influential nobleman, who was the last survivor of the associates of the duke of Bedford, the " Bloomsbury gang," died at Trentham Hall, in Staffordshire, on the 26th of October 1803. His son and successor, George Granville Leveson-Gower, was created duke of Sutherland in 1833. A younger son was Granville Leveson-Gower, who was created Earl Granville in 1833. The title of marquess of Stafford is now borne by the eldest son of the duke of Sutherland.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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