The Tudor Society

12 August – Ursula Pole, Baroness Stafford, daughter of Margaret Pole

On this day in Tudor history, 12th August 1570, Lady Ursula Stafford died. She was the daughter of the late Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, sister of Cardinal Reginald Pole, and wife of Henry Stafford, 1st Baron Stafford. She had Plantagenet blood being the granddaughter of George, Duke of Clarence.

Find out more about the life of this interesting Tudor lady, and the tragic fall of her family, in today's talk.

Videos on Margaret Pole:

Also on this day in Tudor history, 12th August 1560, Thomas Phaer (Fair), translator, lawyer, physician and paediatrician, made his will after suffering an accident. Phaer become known as the “Father of English Paediatrics” for his works, which included “The Book of Children”, and in last year’s video I shared some details about this man and also some of his rather interesting remedies for caring for children:

Also on this day in history:

  • 1557 – Death of Sir John Pollard, judge, Speaker of the House of Commons (1553 and 1555) and Second Justice of Chester. He was buried in London.
  • 1573 – Death of nobleman and rebel Leonard Dacre from a fever while in exile in Brussels. He was buried in St Nicolas Church in the city. Dacre is known for his participation in the 1569 Rising of the North, a rebellion seeking to remove Elizabeth I and to replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots.
  • 1577 – Death of Sir Thomas Smith, humanist scholar and diplomat, at Hill Hall in Essex. He was buried in St Michael's Church, Theydon Mount. Smith served Elizabeth I as Chancellor of the Order of the Garter and as Secretary of State, but is known for his political books “The Discourse of the Commonweal” and “De Republica Anglorum; the Manner of Government or Policie of the Realme of England”.
  • 1596 – Burial of Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon, in Westminster Abbey at the expense of his cousin Elizabeth I.


On this day in Tudor history, 12th August 1570, Lady Ursula Stafford, only daughter of the late Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, died.

Here are some facts about this interesting Tudor lady…

• Ursula was born in around 1504 and was the only daughter of Sir Richard Pole and his wife, Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury in her own right. Ursula’s maternal grandparents were George, Duke of Clarence, brother of Kings Edward IV and Richard III, and his wife, Isabella Neville, so Ursula had Plantagenet blood.
• Ursula’s father died in 1505 when Ursula was just a baby.
• Ursula is first recorded in the court records in 1513 when she was about 9 and King Henry VIII granted his “dear and wellbeloved cousin” gowns, kirtles and fabric.
• In October 1518, when she was about 14, she married Henry Stafford, son and heir of Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, and went to live in the Duke’s household. They went on to have around 14 children together, the first being born in 1520.
• In 1521, Ursula’s father-in-law was executed as a traitor and although Henry and Ursula were granted some of his lands, the most valuable ones were taken and given to others.
• Their daughter Margaret was placed with her grandmother, the Countess of Salisbury, and their daughter, Dorothy, with Princess Elizabeth, to help the Staffords’ financial situation.
• In 1538, Ursula’s brothers, Henry, 1st Baron Montagu, and Geoffrey, and her mother, the countess, were accused of treason and arrested. It was said that they had been corresponding with Ursula’s other brother, Cardinal Reginald Pole, who had famously fallen out with King Henry VIII after speaking out against the annulment of his first marriage. Montagu and the Countess were executed and Geoffrey was pardoned after he tried to commit suicide twice during his imprisonment in the Tower. The countess’s execution was particularly unsavoury. She was a frail sixty-seven-year-old and had done nothing. I’ll give you a link to my video on her execution. Ursula was lucky to survive her family’s fall.
• Ursula went on to have close relationships with Montagu’s daughter, Katherine, Countess of Huntingdon, her niece, and also, after his return to England in Mary I’s reign, her brother, Reginald, who became Archbishop of Canterbury.
• Her husband died in 1563 and their son, Henry, became 2nd Baron Stafford, but only for two years as he died in 1565. His younger brother, Edward, inherited the title, becoming 3rd Baron Stafford.
• Ursula died on this day on Tudor history, 12th August 1570 at about sixty-six years of age.

There are 2 comments Go To Comment

  1. M

    It truly is amazing how Ursula and her husband survived the falls of his family, then hers. What an interesting person! Michelle t

  2. R

    Very interesting, Claire. A gentleman in Australia is her descendent and the present Lord Hastings. Amazing that any of them survived the ongoing Tudor kull.

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12 August – Ursula Pole, Baroness Stafford, daughter of Margaret Pole