Ursula POLE

(B. Stafford)

Born: 1504, Isleworth, Middlesex, England

Died: 12 Aug 1570, England

Father: Richard POLE (Sir Knight)

Mother: Margaret PLANTAGENET (C. Salisbury)

Married: Henry STAFFORD (1° B. Stafford) 16 Feb 1518/9, England


1. Henry STAFFORD (2° B. Stafford)

2. Edward STAFFORD (3° B. Stafford)

3. Richard STAFFORD

4. Thomas STAFFORD

5. Walter STAFFORD

6. William STAFFORD

7. Elizabeth STAFFORD

8. Dorothy STAFFORD


10. Susanna STAFFORD


Ursula Pole, born in about 1504, was a wealthy heiress, and the only daughter of Sir Richard Pole and Margaret Plantagenet, Countess of Salisbury, the last surviving member of the Plantagenet dynasty. Therefore through her mother, Ursula had a claim to the English throne. Ursula had four older brothers, Henry Pole, 1st Baron Montagu, Reginald Pole, Cardinal and last Roman Catholic Archbishop of CanterburySir Geoffrey Pole, and Sir Arthur Pole. The Pole's chief residence was Warblington Castle in Hampshire. Ursula's father died in 1505 when she was a baby, and her mother would stand as godmother to the Princess Mary, and later hold the post of Royal Governess.

On 16 Feb 1519, Ursula married Henry Stafford, 1st Baron Stafford, the only son of Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham and Lady Eleanor Percy. She was about 15 years old, and he was not yet 18. His eldest sister, Elizabeth Stafford was married to Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk. The marriage had been arranged by Buckingham, at the suggestion of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey. Ursula's dowry was 3,000 marks, which would be increased by 1,000 marks 'if the Countess (of Salisbury) get back certain lands from the King'. The Countess settled lands in Somerset and Devon worth 700 marks on the couple and their children. In return, the Duke of Buckingham was required to set aside lands worth £500 as Ursula's jointure. He also paid for the wedding expenses, apart from Ursula's wedding clothes which were provided by her mother.

Following their marriage, Ursula and Henry made their home in the household of her father-in-law, where they had guardians to watch over them. In Nov 1520, Ursula gave birth to her first child; she would have a total of seven sons and seven daughters. The Duke paid a midwife 10 shillings to attend Ursula following the birth of the child. Five months earlier, Ursula had been in France at the Field of the Cloth of Gold despite being in her fourth month of pregnancy.

The following year, 1521, her father-in-law was beheaded for treason and posthumously attainted by an Act of Parliament, with his title and estates being forfeited to the Crown.

Her eldest brother Henry, who was one of the peers at the trial of Anne Boleyn, was executed for treason in 1539; two years later her mother followed him to the block, her titles and honours having been forfeited to the Crown. Another brother, Geoffrey was suspected of treason, and went into exile on the Continent.

In 1557, her son Thomas was convicted of treason and executed for the Stafford´s Raid.

Ursula appeared to have had a cordial relationship with her sister-in-law the Duchess of Norfolk, with whom Ursula's husband had quarrelled. Upon her death in 1558, the Duchess bequeathed to Ursula, whom she affectionately described as her "suster Stafford", all her apparel and jewellery, as well as a French hood and a velvet-covered saddle.

Ursula died on 12 Aug 1570 at the age of about 66. At the time of her death, her youngest daughter, Dorothy was one of the most influential ladies at the court of Queen Elizabeth I. Ursula's husband had died in 1563, and was succeeded by their eldest surviving son, Henry as 2nd Baron Stafford, who himself died two years later and was succeeded by his brother Edward.

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