Lady Anne Clifford bigraphy, stories - Patrons

Lady Anne Clifford : biography

30 January 1590 - 22 March 1676

Lady Anne Clifford, 14th Baroness de Clifford (30 January 1590 – 22 March 1676) was the only surviving child of George Clifford, 3rd Earl of Cumberland (1558–1605) by his wife Lady Margaret Russell, daughter of Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford. In 1605, she became the suo jure Baroness Clifford and hereditary High Sheriff of Westmorland.

She was a patron of authors and literature; and her many letters and diary made her a literary personage in her own right.

Patron of the arts

She was an important patron of authors and literature; her letters, and the diary she kept from 1603 through 1616, have made her a secondary literary figure in her own right.John Donne is reported to have said that she could 'discourse of all things from Predestination to Slea-silk '. She bore five children by her first husband— although none of their three sons survived to adulthood. Her two surviving daughters both married and had issue. A central conflict with her second husband lay in a choice of husband for her younger daughter, Lady Margaret Sackville (2 July 1614- 14 August 1676). Lady Margaret married in 1629, John Tufton, 2nd Earl of Thanet, by whom she had 11 children.

The artist Jan van Belcamp painted a triptych portrait of Anne Clifford to her own design and specifications. Titled "The Great Picture," it portrays Lady Anne at three points in her life—at age 56, at age 15, and before birth in her mother's womb. In connection with the painting, Anne Clifford dated her own conception to 1 May 1589—certainly an unusual act of precision.Snook, p. 1.

In 1656, she erected the Countess Pillar in memory of her late mother. She restored churches at Appleby-in-Westmorland, Ninekirks, Brougham and Mallerstang. She was also responsible for the improvement and expansion of many of the Clifford family's castles across Northern England, including those at Pendragon (Mallerstang), Brough, Skipton and Appleby, the last being her home.

She served as High Sheriff of Westmorland from 1653 to 1676. At her death, aged 86, she was the Dowager Countess of Dorset, Pembroke, and Montgomery. Her tomb is in St Lawrence's Church, Appleby-in-Westmorland.


Lady Anne's first husband was Richard Sackville, 3rd Earl of Dorset, whom she married on 27 February 1609. After his death in 1624, she married Philip Herbert, Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery in 1630. She was Herbert's second wife; his first wife, Lady Susan de Vere had died the year before. Both marriages were reportedly difficult; contemporaries sometimes cited Lady Anne's unyielding personality as a cause. (Her cousin Edward Russell, 3rd Earl of Bedford compared her to the Rhone River.)Richardson, p. 117. A more sympathetic view would blame some of the troubles in her first marriage on her husband's spendthrift extravagance and his infidelities.

Early years

Lady Anne was born on 30 January 1590 and baptised the following 22 February at Skipton Church in Yorkshire.

Her parents' marriage was soured by the deaths of Anne's two elder brothers: her parents lived apart for most of her childhood. Upon the death of her father which occurred on 30 October 1605, she succeeded to the title of suo jure Baroness Clifford but her father had willed his earldom and estates to his brother Francis Clifford, 4th Earl of Cumberland. In her young adulthood she was involved in a long and complex legal battle to obtain the family estates, (which had been granted by Edward II under absolute cognatic primogeniture) instead of the £15,000 willed to her. The main grounds were that she was 15 years old at the time. It was not until Francis' only son Henry died without a male heir in 1643 that she managed to secure the family estates, although it was 1649 before she could take possession.DeMers, p. 123.

She was brought up in an almost entirely female household—evoked in Emilia Lanier's Description of Cookeham—and given an excellent education by her tutor, the poet Samuel Daniel. As a child she was a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I of England; she also danced in masques with Anne of Denmark, queen of King James I of England. She was the Nymph of the Air in Daniel's masque Tethys's Festival, and filled roles in several of the early court masques of Ben Jonson, including The Masque of Beauty (1608) and The Masque of Queens (1609).


Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine