(4th E. Cumberland)

Born: 13 Oct 1559

Died: 28 Jan 1640/41

Father: Henry CLIFFORD (2º E. Cumberland)

Mother: Anne DACRE (C. Cumberland)

Married: Grisold HUGHES (C. Cumberland) (b. ABT 1560 - d. 16 Jun 1613) (dau. of Thomas Hughes and Elizabeth Dunn) (w. of Edward Neville, B. Abergavenny) Mar 1589, Middlesex, England



1. George CLIFFORD

2. Margaret CLIFFORD

3. Henry CLIFFORD (5° E. Cumberland)

4. Frances CLIFFORD

Clifford,Francis(4ECumberland)001.jpg (53207 bytes)

The details in this biography come from the History of Parliament, a biographical dictionary of Members of the House of Commons.

Born in 1559, second son of Henry, 2nd Earl of Cumberland, by his second wife, Anne, dau. of William, 3rd Lord Dacre. Married in 1589, Grisold, dau. of Thomas Hughes of Uxbridge, Mdx., wid. of Edward Neville, 5th Lord Abergavenny, 2s. 2da. KB 1605. suc. bro. George as 4th Earl 1605. J.p. Yorks. (E. and W. Ridings) 1592; sheriff, Yorks. 1600-1; jt. constable and steward, Knaresborough 1604; keeper, Carlisle castle 1605; lt. Carlisle gaol 1606; custos rot. Cumb. 1606-39, ld. lt. 1607-41; ld. lt. Northumb., Westmld., and Newcastle 1611-39; member, council in the north 1619.

The 2nd Earl of Cumberland died in 1570, leaving the bulk of the vast Clifford estates to his eldest son George. Francis Clifford, the younger son, inherited shares of manors in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and the East Riding, to which were added on his mother’s death in 1581 land in Craven and the tithe of Kirkby Thore in Westmorland.

As a young man, Francis collaborated in many of his elder brother’s exploits and was his constant companion. Their extravagance is illustrated by a wager in which they backed for £300 an attempt by George Gifford in 1584 to complete the return journey from England to Constantinople within three months. The Earl was clearly the dominant brother, and it was partly for his benefit that Francis sold his Derbyshire lands in 1586. In 1587 Cumberland borrowed money from him for a cards session at Newmarket, and again at Bishopsthorpe ‘to play at bowls’. Eventually, Cumberland repaid at least £1,169 to Francis, for whom he appears to have had genuine affection.

Politically, the brothers were associated with the Cecil faction at court. Their commanding position on the northern borders entitled them to a variety of local offices, including, for the Earl, the hereditary sheriffdom of Westmorland. Francis’s wish or willingness to enter the House of Commons was doubtless sufficient to bring about his return to two Elizabethan parliaments. After the defeat of the Cecil candidates, Stanhope and Hoby, in the Yorkshire election of 1597, he was one of the gentlemen of the county who tried to secure a new election. His position as knight of the shire made him eligible to attend the subsidy committees on 24 Feb 1585 and 22 Feb 1587.

Earl Francis appears to have been of easy-going disposition, and beyond his improvidence little can be charged upon him. He lived to see his eighty-second year.

In the parish of Skipton register under date 29 Sep 1617, it is recorded that “the third bell was broght the same day". An addition was made eleven years later “This year, 1628, the Right Honnerable Francis Earle of Cumberland gave the litle bell to the p’ish of Skipton, with all the wood belonging the frame where it now hings”.

Margaret, daughter of this Earl Francis, married Sir Thomas Wentworth, afterwards Earl of Strafford. Writing to his son a little time before this marriage, Francis speaks very favourably of his son-in-law elect. He says “Mr. Wentworth is in earnest, and seemeth to be a very affeccionate suiter to your Sister ; he hath beene here [Londesborough] altogether for these three weekes past, and remaines here still, y’r sister is lykewyse therewith well pleased and contented. His father and I are agreed of all the conditions; we shall onely want and wish y’r compaine at the marriage, which is, I thinke, not lyke to be long deferred. God blesse them. Henry Clifford was in Paris at the time this letter was written.

For the last twenty years of his life his son Henry had charge of his affairs. He died 28 Jan 1641. The entry from the Skipton parish register Jan 1641:

The 28 of this month departed this life the Right honorable Francis Earle of Cumberland , 19rd of the honnor of Skiptonn in Craven, &c . , and was solemly Buried in the valte in Skiptonn Church w’th his moste nouble Ancestors

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