Henry Clifford, 1st Earl of Cumberland

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Arms of Sir Henry Clifford, 1st Earl of Cumberland, KG

Sir Henry Clifford, 1st Earl of Cumberland KG (1493 – 22 April 1542) was a member of the Clifford family which held the seat of Skipton Castle, Yorkshire from 1310 to 1676. He was a close friend of Henry VIII and his son Henry married the King's niece Lady Eleanor Brandon.

Tomb of Sir Henry Clifford, Holy Trinity church, Skipton

As a youth Clifford spent time at the court of Henry VIII and was knighted at Henry's coronation. he was appointed Sheriff of Yorkshire in 1522 and became hereditary Sheriff of Westmorland for life on the death of his father in 1523. As part of King Henry's plans for the defence of the Scottish border he was created Earl of Cumberland on June 18, 1525 and made Warden of the West Marches and Governor of Carlisle Castle. He was however soon replaced by William Dacre, 3rd Baron Dacre but, after the latter had been accused of treason, was reinstated in the post from 1534 to 1542. In 1536 he refused to support the Pilgrimage of Grace and as a result spent time besieged in Skipton Castle. He was made a Knight of the Garter by a grateful king in 1537.

He died in 1542 and was buried in Skipton church, where his tomb can be seen.


He was born at Skipton Castle, a son of Henry Clifford, 10th Baron de Clifford and his wife Anne St John. His maternal grandparents were Sir John St John, of Bletso, and his first wife, Alice Bradshaigh.[1][2]

He married first Margaret Talbot, daughter of George Talbot, 4th Earl of Shrewsbury and Anne Hastings. Her maternal grandparents were William Hastings, 1st Baron Hastings and Katherine Neville. Katherine was a daughter of Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury and Alice Neville, 5th Countess of Salisbury.

His first wife died before 1516. He married secondly Margaret Percy, daughter of Henry Percy, 5th Earl of Northumberland and Catherine Spencer. Her maternal grandparents were Sir Robert Spencer of Spencer Court and Lady Eleanor Beaufort. Eleanor was a daughter of Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset and Eleanor Beauchamp.

They were parents to seven children, including his heir, Henry Clifford, 2nd Earl of Cumberland.


  1. ^ Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume XII/1, page 121.
  2. ^ Douglas Richardson. Magna Carta ancestry: a study in colonial and medieval families, Genealogical Publishing Company, 2005. pg 219. Google eBook

External links[edit]

Peerage of England
Preceded by
Henry Clifford
Baron de Clifford
Succeeded by
Henry Clifford
Preceded by
New Creation
Earl of Cumberland
Succeeded by
Henry Clifford