August 12 – Death of Ursula Pole, Baroness Stafford, daughter of Magart Pole

On this day in Tudor history, 12th August 1570, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Lady Ursula Stafford died.

Ursula was the daughter of the late Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, former governess to Princess Mary. Margaret was famously executed in Henry VIII’s reign. Ursula was also the sister of Cardinal Reginald Pole and the wife of Henry Stafford, 1st Baron Stafford. She had Plantagenet blood being the granddaughter of George, Duke of Clarence, brother of Kings Edward IV and Richard III.

Find out more about the life of this interesting Tudor lady, and the tragic fall of her family…


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.
Arms of Ursula’s father

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