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Stafford, William Howard, 1st Viscount

Stafford, William Howard, 1st Viscount (1612–80). Howard was a younger son of the earl of Arundel and was brought up as a catholic. After marrying the sister and heiress of the 5th Baron Stafford in 1637, he was created Baron Stafford in 1640 by Charles I, and almost immediately advanced to the viscountcy. But he did little to help the royalists during the Civil War, which he spent mainly in Holland in some poverty. In 1678 he was accused by Titus Oates of complicity in the Popish plot, kept in the Tower until 1680, tried in Westminster Hall, and executed. James II created his son earl of Stafford in 1688. Evelyn, who attended Stafford's trial, commented that he was ‘not a man beloved, especially of his own family’, but added, sensibly, ‘I can hardly think a person of his age and experience should engage men, whom he never saw before,’ and his guilt seems very doubtful.

J. A. Cannon

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