Lady Anne Clifford

by Pat Newsham

Banner Image: Dalemain Mansion © Gordon Lightburn

Lady Anne Clifford was born at Skipton Castle in late January 1590. She was the daughter of George Clifford, 3rd Earl of Cumberland and his wife Margaret. Her older brother, Francis died in 1589 and her younger brother, Robert died in May 1591 so Anne became her father’s heir.

George was a buccaneer in the days of Elizabeth 1, He had his own 38 gun ship named “The Scourge of Malice” and he took part in eleven expeditions to the West Indies and the Indian Ocean, bringing back lots of treasure for Elizabeth. He was Captain of one of the 37 Royal ships fighting for England against the Spanish Armada, in a ship named “Elizabeth Bonaventure”.

Anne spent a lot of time at the court of Elizabeth 1 with her parents and became a Lady in Waiting to Queen Anne, wife of King James 1.

Anne Countess of Pembroke (Lady Anne Clifford) by William Larkin, oil on panel, circa 1618 NPG 6976. ©National Portrait Gallery, London

When Lady Anne’s father, George died in 1603, he left a will in which his younger brother inherited the Clifford estates in Westmorland and Yorkshire and became 4th Earl of Cumberland. As a woman Anne was not allowed to inherit the title but the estates had been entailed to heirs male or female in the early 14th Century. Lady Anne, supported by her mother fought, without success, through the courts and petitioned the King to get the inheritance which was legally hers.

Lady Anne married twice: Firstly Richard Sackville, 3rd Earl of Dorset, with whom she had five children but only two daughters, Margaret and Isabella, survived; Secondly to Philip, Earl of Pembroke & Montgomery.

Eventually Lady Anne, on the death of her uncle and cousin, without any further male issue, in 1643, gained her inheritance. However, it was only in 1650 when her second husband, Philip, died that she had sufficient funds at her disposal to begin the huge programme of repairing and rebuilding five castles and seven churches on her estates in Westmorland and Yorkshire.

Lady Anne spent most of the last 20 years of her life at Brougham Castle travelling around the area visiting her tenants and friends.

Eight years before she died in 1676, she appointed Edward Hasell as one her secretaries. He purchased Dalemain Mansion in 1679 and possibly used the £400 which she left to him towards its purchase.

Some items left to Edward Hasell, are on display at Dalemain, including Lady Anne’s last diary, in which Edward had written entries for her, a photograph of the bed in which she died, a scroll case, and other items.

Dalemain © Gordon Lighburn

Lady Anne liked to use local people to work for her and she had lots of very large Locks and Keys made which she gave to large houses and some churches in the area, an early one can be seen at Dalemain and a lovely one dated 1671 on the side door of Dacre Church.

Lady Anne was buried at Appleby Church with Bishop Rainbow, Bishop of Carlisle officiating. The Bishop was uncle to Edward Hasell.

Lady Anne’s motto was: “Retain your loyalty, preserve your rights”

By Pat Newsham


Proud Northern Lady by Martin Holmes & The Diaries of Lady Anne Clifford, edited by DJH Clifford

Countess Pillar

The Countess Pillar was erected by Lady Anne Clifford in 1654 to mark the spot where she had last said goodbye to her mother, who died in 2nd April 1616.

The pillar is situated beside the A66 on the same side as Brougham Castle and just past the turn off for the castle. There is a modern plaque alongside which gives the details about the erection of the pillar, together with a tablet giving an inscription in “Olde English.

The inscription explains that in memory of her mother, on the 40th anniversary of her death in 1656, Lady Anne instituted an annuity of £4 to be distributed to the poor within the Parish of Brougham every 2nd day of April forever.

This ceremony is still carried out today in a symbolic way.

By Pat Newsham

Source: Proud Northern Lady by Martin Holmes and Local Knowledge