See also

Henry, (1454-1523)

1. Henry, Lord Clifford, son of Lord John CLIFFORD (1435-1461) and Margaret BROMFLETE (1436-1493), was born in 1454. He had the title '10th Lord Clifford'. He married Anne ST JOHN circa 1486 in Skipton, Yorks.. He died on 23 April 1523. He married Florence PUDSEY.


Henry, the 10th Lord Clifford, was to be executed during the War of the Roses but his mother had him raised by a shepherd. When the Lancasters won 25 years later, he was re- instated with 4 castles. He is the subject of the " Ballad of the Nut-Brown Maid " (1505) which tells how the maid rejected him, not knowing that he was a lord. The best speculation of whom George Clifford, first in America, descended from is that Henry, The Shepherd Lord.

John Clifford was know for his hatred of the Yorkists and following his death at the battle of Towton his wife, Margaret, feared greatly for the safety of her two sons and she sent them into hiding to protect them from the wraith of the Yorkists. Richard, the youngest son, supposedly went to the Low Countries, where he shortly afterwards died. But Henry, the elder, only seven years old, and heir to his father's titles and estates, was either never taken out of England; or, if he were, he speedily returned, and was placed by his mother at Londesborough, in Yorkshire, with a trustworthy shepherd, the husband of a young woman who had been under-nurse to the boy whom she was now to adopt as her foster-son. Their mother was closely and peremptorily examined about them. She said, 'She had given direction to convey them beyond sea, to be bred up there; and that being thither sent, she was ignorant whether they were living or not'. Henry remained there until he was 14 and to maintain the secret he was not educated. That year a rumour reached the court of his being still alive and in England. Happily Lady Clifford had a friend at court, who forewarned her that the King had received an intimation of her son's place of concealment. With the assistance of her then husband, Sir Lancelot Threlkeld, Lady Clifford instantly removed 'the honest shepherd with his wife and family into Cumberland,' where he took a farm near the Scottish Borders. Here, though his mother occasionally held private communications with him, the young Lord Clifford passed fifteen years more, disguised and occupied as a common shepherd; and had the mortification of seeing his Castle and Barony of Shipton in the hands of his adversary, Sir William Stanley; and his Barony of Westmoreland possessed by the Duke of Gloucester, the king's brother.

Henry VII defeated Richard III at Bosworth and Henry, the Shepherd Lord, now thirty-one years old, was restored to his estates and titles. Henry VII knighted him and he was summoned to Parliament from Sep 1485. He was also present with the King forces at Stoke. He was appointed commissioner of array against the Scots and in May 1486 he was made Steward of Middleton and employed to receive the remaining Yorkist rebels to allegiance.

Henry assisted the Earl of Surrey in the relief of Norham Castle. He fought at Flodden in Sep 1513, he was one of the principal leaders, and brought to the field a numerous retinue, and even brought home to Skipton Castle some Scottish ordnance. He lent Henry VIII money for the French campaign in 1522 but he was too old to go himself.

Having regained his property and position, he immediately began to repair his castles and improve his education. He quickly learnt to write his own name; and, to facilitate his studies, built Barden Tower, near Bolton Priory, that he might place himself under the tuition of some learned monks there, and apply himself to astronomy, and other favourite sciences of the period.

His training as a warrior had been equally defective. Instead of being practised from boy-hood to the use of arms and the feats of chivalry, as was common with the youth of his own station, he had been trained to handle the shepherd's crook, and tend, and fold, and shear his sheep. Yet scarcely had he emerged from his obscurity and quiet pastoral life, when we find him become a brave and skilful soldier,—an able and victorious commander. He died on 23 Apr 1523. By his first wife Anne St. John, cousin to Henry VII, he left two sons and five daughters.


Anne ST JOHN, daughter of Sir John ST JOHN of Bletsoe ( - ), died in 1508. She and Henry, Lord Clifford had the following children:



Henry de CLIFFORD (1493-1542)

Second Generation

2. Henry de CLIFFORD, son of Henry, Lord Clifford and Anne ST JOHN, was born in 1493 in Skipton, Yorks. He had the title '11th Lord Clifford, 1st Earl of Cumberland'. He married Margaret PERCY in 1513. He died on 22 April 1542 in Skipton. He married Margaret TALBOT.


Henry, eleventh lord Clifford, was created by king Henry the eighth 18 June 1523 earl of the county of Cumberland.

He was brought up with Henry VIII. A bit of a wild young man, he was originally one of the Yorkshire men chosen to a company Henry VIII to the Field of the Cloth of Gold in France but his name was struck from the list. He was active against the Scots before and after his father's death in 1523. He was created Earl of Cumberland in Jun 1525 and he was also appointed Lord Warden of the West Marches and Governor of Carlisle Castle. In 1530 he signed a letter to the Pope in which King Henry sought sanction for his divorce from Catherine of Aragon.


Margaret PERCY, daughter of Henry Algernon Percy, 5th Earl of Northumberland ( - ), died in 1540. She and Henry de CLIFFORD had the following children:



Henry CLIFFORD (1517-1570)

Third Generation

3. Henry CLIFFORD, son of Henry de CLIFFORD and Margaret PERCY, was born in 1517. He had the title '12th Lord Clifford, 2nd Earl of Cumberland'. He married Eleanor BRANDON in June 1535. He married Anne DACRE in 1554. He died on 8 January 1570.


Henry Clifford, Second Earl of Cumberland, magnate, was the eldest of the six children of Henry Clifford, first Earl of Cumberland, and his second wife, Margaret, daughter of Henry Percy, fifth Earl of Northumberland. He was educated at home and then at court, where he spent much of his youth. He also attended the Duke of Richmond in the latter's household at Pontefract Castle, and was made knight of the Bath at Queen Anne's coronation in 1533. In June 1535 he married Henry VIII's niece Eleanor (1519-1547), daughter of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, and Mary, daughter of Henry VII and widow of Louis XII of France. His father built for them the octagonal tower and long gallery extension at Skipton Castle. Clifford escorted Lady Mary Tudor at the funeral of Queen Jane at Windsor on 12 January 1537, and represented his father when Henry VIII met Anne of Cleves in January 1540. That year he served in the king's chamber, as a carver.

Clifford was prominent in the military crises of Henry VIII's later years. In 1536 he rallied the Carlisle townsmen to stand firm against the rebels. He played some part in the defence of the west march in 1541, and from September 1542 until 1544, following his father's death, he was continually employed mustering his Yorkshire tenants and leading them on the borders. He was proposed as warden-general for all the marches, but the king preferred a more experienced man, in John Dudley, Viscount Lisle. Instead, Clifford was appointed to the council of the borders, and was rewarded in 1544 by being added to the council in the north. He repeated this service during Elizabeth I's Scottish campaign of 1559-60. It was his military outlay, rather than court life, which forced him to sell lands during the 1540's. Even so, the rental from his estates at his death amounted to some ?000 per annum.

Clifford was tall, slender, and dark-haired, a learned man with a fine library whose interests were alchemy, astrology, and distilling. These he indulged after Countess Eleanor's death in 1547, a blow which so prostrated the earl that he was laid out for dead, according to family tradition recovering his strength by sucking milk from a woman's breasts; thereafter he retired to his northern castles, rarely visiting the court. He was instrumental with William Ermysted in founding Skipton grammar school. A testimony to his cultural concerns and pride in his royal marriage is the organ he presented to Carlisle Cathedral in 1542. The organ case, of Italian design, displays on its heraldic panels the coats and supporters of the Cliffords and Brandons. The oldest in England, it is now in St. Lawrence's, Appleby.

Clifford's absence from court exposed him to political intrigue. His parliamentary patronage in Westmorland and friends in the privy council enabled him to obstruct Thomas, Lord Wharton's bills in 1549 and 1558 to deprive him of his hereditary sheriffwick of Westmorland and punish his servants. He was potentially dangerously exposed in 1553 when his only child, Margaret, heiress to the great Clifford inheritance and with a claim to the throne, was drawn by John Dudley, now Duke of Northumberland, into his schemes to achieve his own dynastic ambitions and perpetuate the protestant regime. But Northumberland's proposal, that Margaret should marry his own son Lord Guildford Dudley, came to nothing, and on Mary Tudor's accession Clifford was swift to extricate himself by demonstrating his loyalty to her. His inheritance worries only ceased well after his second marriage in 1554 to Anne (c. 1538-1581), daughter of William, third Baron Dacre of Gilsland, with the birth in 1558 of George Clifford, future third Earl (his second son Francis (1559-1641) eventually became the fourth earl). This marriage also served to heal a long-running dispute between the Dacres and the Cliffords.

Clifford's initial support for Queen Mary was unequivocal. A traditionalist in matters of religion, he welcomed her restoration of Catholicism and used his electoral patronage in Westmorland to return members of like mind, but he became disenchanted with her later policies. Under Elizabeth he was accused of protecting popish priests in the north. However, the agreement he reached in 1565 for George's marriage with Margaret, daughter of Francis Russell, second Earl of Bedford, signalled his alignment with the strongly protestant group at court under Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester. At the time of the 1569 uprising he was suspected of sympathy, at the very least, with the rebels, but again demonstrated his loyalty to the Tudor crown by holding Brougham Castle for the Queen. He died there on 8 January 1570 and was buried in Holy Trinity Church, Skipton.

Article by Richard T Spence.


Countess Eleanor BRANDON, daughter of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk (1484-1545) and Mary TUDOR (1496- ), was born in 1519. She died in 1547. She and Henry CLIFFORD had the following children:



Margaret CLIFFORD ( - )


Anne DACRE, daughter of Lord William DACRE 3rd Lord Dacre of Gillesland ( -1566) and Elizabeth UNK ( - ), was born in 1538. She died in 1581. She and Henry CLIFFORD had the following children:



George CLIFFORD (1558- ). George was born in 1558. He was a Sailor. He had the title '13th Lord Clifford, 3rd Earl of Cumberland'. He married Margaret RUSSELL in 1577.


Francis CLIFFORD (1559-1641). Francis was born in 1559. He had the title '14th Lord Clifford, 4th Earl of Cumberland'. He died in 1641.