Baron de Clifford

Not to be confused with Baron Clifford (1628) or Baron Clifford of Chudleigh (1672)
Appleby Castle, Westmorland, ancient caput of the feudal barony of Appleby and seat of the Barons de Clifford

Baron de Clifford is a title in the Peerage of England. It was created in 1299 for Robert de Clifford (c.1274–1314),[1] feudal baron of Clifford[2] in Herefordshire, feudal baron of Skipton[3] in Yorkshire and feudal baron of Appleby[4] in Westmoreland. The title was created by writ, which means that it can descend through both male and female lines. The Norman family which later took the name de Clifford settled in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066 and was first seated in England at Clifford Castle in Herefordshire. The de Clifford family was directly descended in the male line from Duke Richard I of Normandy (933-996),[5] great-grandfather of William the Conqueror. The first Baron served as Earl Marshal of England but was killed at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. His 8th generation descendant the 11th Baron, was created Earl of Cumberland in 1525, whose grandson the 3rd Earl was a noted naval commander. On the latter's death in 1605 the earldom passed to his younger brother, the 4th Earl (see the Earl of Cumberland for later history of this title).

The barony of de Clifford was claimed in 1628 by his daughter and only child, Anne Clifford, but the House of Lords postponed the hearing. The barony remained dormant until 1678, when Nicholas Tufton, 3rd Earl of Thanet, was allowed to claim the peerage and became the fifteenth Baron de Clifford. He was the son of Lady Margaret Sackville, daughter of the aforementioned Anne Clifford. On the death in 1721 of the Earl's younger brother, the sixth Earl, the earldom and barony separated. The earldom was inherited by the late Earl's nephew, the seventh Earl (see the Earl of Thanet for further information on this title).

The barony fell into abeyance between the Earl's five daughters, Lady Katherine, Lady Anne, Lady Isabel, Lady Margaret and Lady Mary. It remained in abeyance until 1734 when the abeyance was terminated in favour of the third daughter, Margaret, who became the nineteenth Baroness.[6] She was the wife of Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester. On her death in 1775 the title again fell into abeyance, this time between her sisters and their heirs. The abeyance was terminated only a year later in favour of Edward Southwell, the 20th Baron. He was the grandson of Lady Catherine Tufton, eldest daughter of the sixth Earl of Thanet. He was succeeded by his son, the 21st Baron. He was childless and on his death in 1832 the barony fell into abeyance between his sisters Hon. Sophia Southwell and Hon. Elizabeth Southwell and the heirs of his deceased sister Hon. Catherine Southwell.

The peerage was called out of abeyance in 1833 in favour of Sophia Coussmaker, the twenty-second holder. She was the only surviving child of Hon. Catherine Southwell and her husband George Coussmaker. The 22nd baroness was the wife of John Russell, third son of Lord William Russell, third son of Francis Russell, Marquess of Tavistock, eldest son and heir of John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford. She was succeeded by her son, the 23rd Baron, Liberal Member of Parliament for Tavistock. As of 2013 the title is held by his great-great-grandson John Edward Southwell Russell, 27th Baron de Clifford (b.1928), who succeeded his father in 1982. As a descendant of the 4th Duke of Bedford he is also in remainder to that dukedom and its subsidiary titles.

Other members of the Clifford family have been created barons, namely as Baron Clifford (created 1628, in abeyance since 1858) and Baron Clifford of Chudleigh (created 1672), which title is extant and which family is the senior surviving branch of the Norman de Clifford family of Clifford Castle. Members of the family have also been created baronets as Baronet Clifford of Flaxbourne, New Zealand, Baronet Clifford of the Navy and Baronet Clifford-Constable of Tixall, Staffordshire.

Barons de Clifford (1299)

Arms of de Clifford: Chequy or and azure, a fesse gules
Arms of Russell: Argent, a lion rampant gules on a chief sable three escallops of the first

The heir presumptive is the present holder's nephew, Miles Edward Southwell Russell (b. 1966), whose heir apparent is his son Edward Southwell Russell (b.1998).

See also

Further reading


  1.  Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Clifford". Encyclopædia Britannica. 6 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 507.
  2. Vivian, Lt.Col. J.L., (Ed.) The Visitations of the County of Devon: Comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1564 & 1620, Exeter, 1895, p.194, pedigree of Clifford
  3. Sanders, I.J. English Baronies: A Study of their Origin and Descent 1086–1327, Oxford, 1960, p.143
  4. Sanders, p.104
  5. Vivian, p.194: The father of the 1st Baron (d.1190) was Richard FitzPontz (d. circa 1138), the son of Pontz, son of William Count of Eu, a son of Richard I of Normandy (933-996) by his wife Gunnor
  6. London Gazette 1734
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