Robert Clifford

Born: Robert Clifford, First Lord Clifford, was born in April 1274. He was the son of Roger de Clifford and Isabella de Vieuxpont. His grandfather had been a knight of Richard de Clare, earl of Gloucester.

Educated: His father was killed in battle in 1282 and Robert became a royal ward. His upbringing was entrusted to Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester. It is likely that he received a training in the knightly arts as befitted a youth of his social class.

Married: Robert Clifford married Maud de Clare, niece of Gilbert de Clare.

Family: Robert and Maud had two sons, Roger and Robert who were minors at the time of their father’s death. The Clifford’s daughter Idonea married Henry Percy, while another daughter, Margaret, married Peter de Mauley, 3rd Lord Mauley of Mulgrave.

Home: As a ward, young Clifford was brought up in the Clare household. In around 1300 Clifford strengthened Brougham Castle that had become the principal base of his family in 1269. In 1310 he was granted Skipton Castle and soon strengthened that as well.

Known for: Robert Clifford was the first of his family to be lord of Hart and Hartlepool. The Cliffords continued to be lords of Hartlepool until the late 16th century. In 1295, Robert Clifford was with King Edward I in Wales. In the following year he was with the king in Scotland. In 1306 Clifford was granted Hart and Hartlepool, which had been forfeited by Robert Bruce. In 1307 after the death of Edward I Clifford became marshal of England and as such, must have organised the coronation of Edward II. The king appointed him as chief guardian of Scotland. He lost favour with Edward II because he was one of the four barons who captured the King’s favourite, Piers Gaveston, at Scarborough Castle. He was given a royal pardon and two years later he was one of the barons who led the English troops at Bannockburn.

Died: Robert Clifford, first Lord Clifford, was killed at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. He was buried in Shap Abbey where he had founded a chantry.

Further information: “The Clifford Family” J.W.Clay in the Yorkshire Archaeological Journal vol. xviii (1905)