William Howard Stafford, viscount, an English statesman, born Nov. 30, 1612, executed on Tower hill, Dec. 29, 1680. He was the second son of Thomas, earl of Arundel, and in right of his wife, as successor of her brother, was created Baron Stafford, and in November, 1640, Viscount Stafford. He was brought up in the Roman Catholic faith, and adhered during the civil war to the royal cause; but after the restoration he was frequently in opposition to the court. He was singled out by Titus Oates, the contriver of the "popish plot," as one of his chief victims. Oates deposed before the house of commons that upon the subversion of the kingdom by the Jesuits Lord Stafford was to be paymaster of the army; and the accused nobleman was committed to the tower, Oct. 30, 1678, with several other Catholic peers. After two years his trial for alleged high treason began, Nov. 30, 1680, lasting a week. He defended himself with ability, shaking confidence in Oates's evidence; but Dugdale and Tuberville swore so positively that Stafford had incited them to assassinate the king, that a verdict of guilty was pronounced by a vote of 55 to 31. He was executed three weeks afterward; but the popular feeling so changed after his trial that when he protested his innocence on the scaffold the spectators cried: "We believe you, my lord.
God bless you, my lord." His eldest son was created earl of Stafford.