During the period known as the "Wars of the Roses", the Dukes of Buckingham were members of the Stafford family, the fourth most powerful family in the country; behind only the Houses of Lancaster, York, and the Neville's. However, they started from more humble origins. The Stafford Family can trace its' roots back to Ralph De Tonei
who, as a Norman Knight and supporter of William the Conquerer, was granted lands in the Stafford area. The Staffords were raised to the ranks of greater nobility when Ralf Stafford, 1st Earl of Stafford
was granted his Earldom, by Edward III, during the period of the Hundred Years War.