John Howard, Earl of Stafford & family

In the chapel of St Edmund in Westminster Abbey is a marble monument to John Paul Howard, 4th Earl of Stafford. The monument is by Robert Chambers and is stained with the arms and badges of families connected with the Howards. The inscription reads:

In this chappel lies interr'd all that was mortal of the most illustrious and most benevolent JOHN PAUL HOWARD Earl of STAFFORD, who in 1738 married ELIZABETH daughter of A. EWENS of the county of Somerset, Esquire, by Eliz. his wife eldest daughter of JOHN ST ALBYN of Alfoxton in the same county, Esquire. His heart was as truly great and noble as his high descent: faithfull to his God, a lover of his countrey, a relation to relations, a detester of detraction, a friend to mankind: naturally generous and compassionate; his liberality and his charity to the poor were without bounds. We therefore piously hope that at the last day his body will be received in glory into the eternal tabernacles. Being snatch'd away suddenly by death, which he had long meditated and expected with constancy, he went to a better life the first of April 1762, having lived sixty one years nine months and six days. The Countess Dowager, in testimony of her great affection and respect to her lord's memory, has caused this monument to be placed here. The figures round the inscription are the ancient badges of honour belonging to the STAFFORD family, who descend by ten different marriages from the royal blood of ENGLAND and FRANCE

He was the second son of the Hon. John Stafford-Howard and his wife Mary (Southcote) and succeeded his nephew Henry as 4th Earl of Stafford. He was born on 26th June 1700 and in 1738 married Elizabeth Mary Michael daughter of Abraham Ewens. At his death the earldom of Stafford in his line became extinct. The graves of himself and his wife are marked by small stones in the floor of the chapel.

Mary, Countess of Stafford

His grandmother Mary, Countess of Stafford, a lineal descendant of Eleanor de Bohun, is buried next to her in the centre of the chapel. She was the daughter of Edward Stafford. Her white marble gravestone was raised up on a low altar tomb in the 19th century. The inscription can be translated:

Mary Countess of Stafford, wife of William Viscount Stafford, descended from the royal stock of Thomas of Woodstock and Eleanor de Bohun, Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, and from the Barons and Earls of Stafford, and a daughter and heir of the house of the Dukes of Buckingham, lies buried near the ashes of her ancestor. She died on the Ides of January in the 74 year of her age, and of our Redemption 1693

She was created a countess in her own right eight years after the execution of her husband for alleged treason in 1680.

Henry, Earl of Stafford

On the wall is a varigated marble monument with a coat of arms for Mary and her son Henry. The Latin inscription can be translated:

This monument was erected by order of the most honourable Henry, Earl of Stafford, in memory of his beloved mother Mary, Countess of Stafford, whose body lies buried near this spot in this chapel; so also is deposited here the body of the aforesaid Henry, Earl of Stafford, who died 27th day of April year of our Lord 1719 in his 72nd year

His grave is also marked in the chapel. He was able to succeed to his father's titles after the attainder had been lifted and was created Earl of Stafford in 1688. He followed James II into France at his abdication and married at St Germain-en-Laye in 1694 Claude Charlotta, daughter of the impoverished Philibert Count de Grammont. The union was not happy and they had no children. In his will he only left her a paltry sum to "buy a pullet (chicken) for her supper". His will was proved by the Hon. Henry Charles Howard.

There is also one for Lady Mary de Rohan Chabot, daughter of William, 2nd Earl of Stafford who was buried on 23rd May 1769.

Further reading

See also entries for Sir Philip and Sir Thomas Howard (d.1678), Sir Robert & Sir Thomas Howard, Earl of Berkshire and Dorothy Howard Graham.

Died

1st April 1762

Location

Chapel of St Edmund

Memorial Type

Grave; tablet

Material Type

Marble

John Howard, Earl of Stafford & family
John Howard, Earl of Stafford memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2023 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

John Howard, Earl of Stafford & family
Mary, Countess of Stafford memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2023 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

John Howard, Earl of Stafford & family
Mary, Countess of Stafford and Henry, Earl of Stafford memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2023 Dean and Chapter of Westminster