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Lady of spirit who became mistress of the castle; HOLME VALLEY.

LADY Anne Clifford was born at Skipton Castle in January 1590, the only daughter of Margaret Russell, Countess of Cumberland and George Clifford, who had become Queen's Champion for having brought news of the Armada victory to Elizabeth I.

Her long and active life was vividly described by Margaret Curry, speaker at Holme Valley Civic Society's May meeting.

The well-educated Lady Anne, as her parents' only surviving child following the deaths of her two older brothers in childhood, expected to inherit the family properties and titles one day, but her father left them instead to his brother to be passed on later to his own son. Anne was to spend a large part of her life trying to gain her inheritance.

Having married Richard Sackville, Earl of Dorset, Anne lived at Knole in Kent, but every year on coming north to Penrith to visit her mother, she tried, though unsuccessfully, to get back the Clifford family estates.

Richard Sackville and Anne had five children, three sons and two daughters, but only the girls survived childhood and when Richard died, once more Anne sae her home being passed to another branch of the family.

She left with her two daughters and settled in London where she later married widower Philip Herbert and became the mistress of Wilton House, Salisbury, but she never gave up her attempts to gain her northern inheritance.

Success finally came when she was 54 years old, following her uncle's death and that of her cousin who died childless.

After the upheaval of theCivil War and her second husband's death in 1649, Anne travelled north to find her properties damaged and so embarked on a programme of restoration for them all, adding two new wings to Skipton Castle and copying many ideas she had seen at Wilton House, including running water.

Every year until the end of her life, she visited her properties by horse-drawn carriage, placing plaques and coats of arms on each one of them.

She died in 1676 aged 86 and was buried in Appleby Parish Church.

Anne Clifford's lasting legacy is Lady Anne's Bounty, which is still distributed to the poor of the parish from the stone table near the Countess Pillar, a monument which she set up at the spot where every year she and her mother had parted following her ourney to the north of England.

Margaret Curry was thanked for her talk by society chairman Margaret Hinchliffe.

The Civic Society has organised walks in the local area in June, July and August.

The next open meeting will take place at 7.30pm on Thursday September 18 in Holmfirth Civic Hall when Denis Broadbent will give an illustrated talk on Bamforth's of H olmfirth.
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:May 31, 2008
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