Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lady Anne Clifford

Lady Anne Clifford was a patron of the arts who should have inherited an estate including five great castles across the north of England after the deaths of her two brothers and father.
But her father - George Gifford, the third Earl of Cumberland, who had risen to prominence as an admiral in Queen Elizabeth's navy and was noted for his skill in jousting - had quietly promised his estate to his brother.
Instead of her vast estate, the 15-year-old Lady Clifford was left £15,000 in compensation but this did not satisfy her and she set to reclaim her inheritance which Edward II granted the family and decreed should pass to the eldest heir, whether male or female.
The struggle was to last most of her life and, eventually, in 1643, aged 54, she regained the lands and moved back to her estate, including the castles of Skipton, Brougham, Brough, Pendragon and Appleby.
Lady Clifford dedicated herself to restoring the mostly ruined buildings to their former glory, restored several churches in the ancient county of Westmorland and built almshouses for the poor.

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