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Edmund Stafford Edmund Stafford

Born: 1344
Bishop of Exeter
Died: 3rd September 1419 at Bishop's Clyst, Devon

Edmund Stafford, son of Richard, Lord Stafford of Clifton and his wife, Isabel, daughter of Sir Richard Vernon of Haddon Hall (Derbys), was educated for the Church. Obtaining a degree as Doctor of Law, he joined the community at York Minster as a canon before Pope Boniface IX elevated him to the See of Exeter in January 1395. He was consecrated at Lambeth by the Devon-born primate, William Courtenay.

However, governmental business kept Edmund occupied at Court and he immediately appointed a Vicar-General to act on his behalf in Exeter. Under two years later, he was appointed Lord Chancellor by King Richard II and he continued in this high office until the monarch's abdication in 1399. His patron's demise, gave Edmund the opportunity to take back the reign of his West Country diocese and he hastened to the safe obscurity of his palace at Bishop's Clyst. He undertook a visitation throughout Devon and Cornwall and, for a whole, year, discharged his pastoral duties with great care and attention. Finally, however, he was recalled to London by the new king, Henry IV, in January 1401. He was given back the Great Seal of England and remained at the centre of Government for the next two years.

In March 1403, Bishop Stafford retired from the lime-light and put his mind securely on the administration of his Devonshire diocese. The episcopal registers show clearly show his business-like approach which lasted right up until the day of his death when he instituted a new incumbent at Blackauton. He was apparently a man of "sincere and inviolable purity of devotion". Works of mercy undertaken throughout his lifetime were largely centred upon Stapledon's Inn (founded by his predecessor) at Oxford, to which he offered considerable support through both the supply of books and the rebuilding and re-roofing of much of the institution. It was Bishop Stafford who also gave the place its present name of Exeter College.

Edmund Stafford died in 1419 and was buried in his fine chantry chapel on the north side of the Lady-Chapel in Exeter Catherdal. This, he had prepared some twenty years earlier and endowed with several manors for prayers to his memory.

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