Cleborne Geneaolgy (contd.)

15. Richard, “the martyr,” of Killerby, co. York, and of Cliburne, co. Westmoreland: son and heir of Edmund; was a proud, imperious, passionate man, regarded by some as an “intolerant bigot.” Right royally proud he well might be, for through his great-great-grandmother Elizabeth Curwen, he was descended from that great Cospatric “who sprang,” says Freeman, “from the noblest blood of Northumberland, and even of the kingly blood of Wessex.” (Norm. Conq. IV., 89.)

He was a devoted adherent of the Church of Rome, spent much of his early life in travel; and was probably engaged in some secret negociations with the French Court, as Lord Gray in his letter to the Privy Council, dated 7th May, 1555, says: “Mr. Clyburn has been a long time in France, and brings important information.” (State Papers, 1553-8.) Though warned by his kinsman Sir Henry Curwen (who in 1568 received and hospitably entertained his fifth cousin, the unfortunate Queen Mary, when she arrived at Workington in her flight from Scotland,) to “avoid the numerous plots” at this period, Cleburne engaged in the scheme to release the Scottish Queen, and place her at the head of the “Rising of the North.” How much he was involved in this plot will never be known; but no doubt he and the Lowthers were “up to the very hilt in treason.” His brother Thomas, a page in the service of his kinsman, Sir Richard Lowther (the custodian of Mary), doubtless kept him well informed of the secret machinations of the of the north, and he was in the counsels of the shrewd and long-headed Gerard Lowther, whom he concealed at Cliburn when pursed by the Warden of the West Marches. Among the State Papers in London is a letter from Richard Lowther, dated 13th Nov., 1569, addressed to the Earl of Westmoreland, alluding to this wily Gerard, and indicating how deeply they were in the Plot. “Appoint me one day,” he says, “and I will meet you with four good horses either at Derby, Burton, or Tutbury, there to perform with the foremost man, or die. To the futherance thereof, Lord Wharton and my brother will join.” On the 14th of May, the Earls made their famous entry into Durham, and, on the 23rd of the same month, Mary was removed further South; out of reach of the plotters. On the 28th January following, Sir Francis Leeke wrote to Cecil: “Before receipt of yours for apprehension of Gerard Lowther and Richard Clyburne of Clyburne, gentlemen, we had examined some of their servants, John Craggs and Thomas Clyburne (who had come to town with three geldings of Lowther), about the said Gerard’s movements;” and winds up by saying “I send this letter for life, that order may be taken for Lowther before he has fled far, as he is not well horsed.” Amid all these troubles, Richard Cleburne was engaged in rebuilding his Hall in the Tudor style. Over the arched doorway he inserted an armorial slab with a curious rhyming inscription in old English characters, now so weather worn as to be scarcely decipherable. (Taylor’s Halls of West., p. 256; Hist. West., I., 460.)

“Rychard . Clebor . thus . they me . cawl .

Weh . in my . tyme . hath . bealded . ys . hall .

The . yeare . of . our . Lord . God . who . lyst .

For . to . never. 1567.”

On each side of this Tudor archway are two heater shaped shields containing the arms of Cleburne and Kirkbride, and immediately over the inscription a quartered shield: 1st and 4th, arg. 3 chevronels braced a chief sable (for Cleborne); 2nd and 3rd, arg. a cross engrailed vert (for Kirkbride). The extravagance entailed by the re-building of the Hall and other improvements led to the mortgage and sale of Bampton-Cundale (in which parish is the beautiful Haweswater Lake), and of other fair manors which sadly impoverished the Cliburns.

In 1571 he was again mixed up with the Lowthers in a plot in which the Duke of Norfolk was a principal; and in which he lost his head, when all these ambitious schemes came to an untimely end. Full of intemperate zeal for his religion, he continued to make himself obnoxious to Rokeby, Walsingham and Leicester, “who thought it pious merit to betray and ensnare those eminent persons who were not yet quite weaned from the Church of Rome.” (Hist. Cumb., I. 387.) By them he was closely watched and persecuted, and was several times indicted and imprisoned in the “Fleet.” Accused by Rokeby[10] of being a “Recusant,” and of being “carried away with blind zeal to favour and hold with the Romish Church” (State Papers, 1581-90, Vol. clxxxiii. 207); and harrassed by his affairs, his health gave way, and in 1577 he was obliged to spend six months at Bath. In October, 1584, he was so completely broken down that Rokeby declared him to be “aged, infirm, and sickly,” and again “he had permission to repair to Bath, where he remained from 30th January to the 1st May, 1586, on account of his health.” (State Papers, p. 207-303.) By his wife Eleanor, grand-daughter of Nicholas Harrington, of Enbarry-Hall, and daughter of Launcelot Lancaster, of Sockbridge and Barton (8th in descent from Roger of Barton, ob. 1290), who, Nicholas says was “a brother of the half blood to William de Lancaster, last Baron of Kendal, ob. 1246, to whom the said William gave Barton and Patterdale, styling him in his charter “Rogero fratre meo,” (MSS. Denton and Lancaster Pedigree), he had issue two sons and seven daughters:

  1. Edmund, of whom presently.
  2. Gerard, b. 5th Feb., 1566.
  3. Agnes, b. 4th July, 1570.
  4. Agnes, born 6th May, 1571; married Humphry Wharton, of Gilling, co. York.
  5. Eleanor.
  6. Barbara, mar. Thomas Banks, of Whixley, co. York.
  7. Jane, b. 14th Oct., 1568.
  8. Ann.
  9. Emma.

16. Edmund: eldest son and heir of Richard, lord of the manors of Cliburne and Killerby, married 1st Sept., 1576, Grace, second dau. of Sir Alan Bellingham, of Helsington and Levins, the famous Treasurer of Berwick and Deputy Warden of the Marches, who was rewarded by Henry VIII. with a grant of the Barony of Kendal, called the “Lumley Fee.” This Sir Alan married Dorothy, dau. of Thomas Sandford, of Askam, cousin of Anne, Countess of Pembroke and Dorset, through whose influence with her husband—a prominent member of the Virginia Company—William Cleborne was made Surveyor, and Secretary of State for that Colony, in 1626. Edmund was devoted to the pleasures of the chase and passed most of his time at Killerby, preferring the Yorkshire dales to the cooler breezes of Westmoreland. He had a grant from the Crown, of the Rectory and Parsonage of Bampton, Westmoreland, and also had some interest in the Rectories of Barton and Shelston. There seems to have been some trouble about Bampton, for he had a suit-at-law with Sir Rowland Hunter (clerk), defendant, about a claim on that Rectory which had been granted to Cleburne by letters Patent. (See Chancery Proceedings, Eliz. I., 151). By his wife Grace Bellingham (born 1558, ob. 1594), who had for her second husband Gerard, second son of Sir Richard Lowther, he had:

  1. Thomas, of whom presently.
  2. William, Secretary of Virginia 1626-31.
  3. Robert.
  4. Agnes.
  5. Dorothy, who was somewhat of a shrew and had “a suit in Chancery about personal matters with Mary Miller.” (Cal. Chan. Proc. Eliz. III., 213).

17. Thomas, eldest son of Edmund of Killerby, born 1580, died 16th Feb., 1640, was the 14th Lord of the manor of Cliburn. He was of an indolent nature and melancholy disposition, shy, silent, and reserved, and by no means fitted to deal with the stirring events of the time. He found his estates very much encumbered and himself so impoverished that he was forced to mortgage his lands, and to borrow money from Sir Timothy Hutton, of Marske. He was (among others) assessed for the transplantation of the Graemes or Grahams who were shipped at Workington for Ireland. (Hist. West. I., cxviii.) “The whole sept of the Graemes, under their chief Walter the gude man of Netherby, being troublesome on the Scottish border, were transplanted from Cumberland to Roscommon; and in the schedule to the articles affecting this transfer, it appears that the Sept consisted of 124 persons, nearly all bearing the sirname of Graeme or Graham.” (State Papers, Jas. I., 1603-6, page 554.) This restored quiet to the Borders; and Thomas lived a retired life at Cliburne and at Killerby, cultivating and improving his lands. He took but little interest in affairs of State, and lived happily with his loving wife Frances, daughter of Sir Richard Lowther, the Sheriff of Cumberland (to whom, in 1568, was committed the custody of Mary Queen of Scots, after her flight from Langside), and grand-daughter of Sir Hugh Lowther, who married Dorothy, sole daughter and heir of Henry, 10th Lord Clifford, the “Shepherd Lord” of Wordsworth’s beautiful poem… He was married at Lowther Church, 10th March, 1594 being then but 14 years old, and his wife 16; she having been born 15th Aug., 1578), and had issue three sons and four daughters:

  1. Edmund, of whom presently.
  2. Richard, who had an interest with his cousin Rad Cleburn in “10 messauges 176 acr. terr. 6 acr. prati, 183 acr. past. 10 acr. more, c. p. in Silmouth in Norham-shire.”—(Inq. de Norham et. Eland. 1636; Raine Hist. of Durham, p. 38.)
  3. William, settled in Ireland.
  4. Frances, mar. Whitfield, of Coulton.
  5. Grace, mar. James Leslie, 2nd Lord Lindores (ob. 20th July, 1667), and had Jane, who mar., first, John Stewart, of Invernytie, and 2ndly, John Bruce, of Blair Hall.
  6. Mary, ob. 1612.
  7. Ann, mar. Wm. Bennett.

18. Edmund, of Killerby, eldest son and heir of Thomas[11] of Cleburne, was born in 1605. On “coming of age” he found his estates so much involved that, owing to the troublous state of the times, it was impossible to extricate them. Like his father, he avoided politics and treasonable schemes, but having spent most of his remaining fortune in support of the King, he was eventually swept into the vortex and ruined.

The fair lordships of Cliburne had dwindled away one by one, till the owner of “Killerby” was reduced to the position of a Yeoman or Squire. He resided at Bampton,[12] in 1663, and in 1665 was one of the Governors and Trustees of the Bampton Grammar School; and a Feoffee of the Free School and Hospital of Thesu, at Warton, Lancashire. About 1625-6, he married Elizabeth, second daughter of Sir Timothy Hutton, of Marske, county York (grand father of Matthew Hutton, Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, and “Primate of All England” in 1758), by whom he left issue three sons and three daughters:

  1. Timothy, of whom presently.
  2. Thomas, of Hayleighton, near Marske, born 12th Jan., 1632. (Inventory and Bond, 1667. Prerogative Office, London).
  3. Matthew, born 16th Aug., 1637. Admin. granted his widow Elizabeth, 14th March, 1673. (York Office).
  4. Barbara, b. 28th Jan., 1628; died 2nd Aug., 1629.
  5. Elizabeth, b. 24th June, 1630; married Rev. Richard Foster, of York.
  6. Anne (to whom her grandfather, Sir Timothy Hutton, left “one hundred pounds if she doe marry with my son Matthew’s consent, and I pray God to bless her.”) To each of his grand-daughters who were living at his death, Sir Timothy left “£20 a piece to be paid at their marriage.” (Will proved 9th Dec., 1631.”

Edward Cleburne seems to have resided at Killerby as late as 1630; for, in a letter written by Thomas Bowes (16th January, 1630) to his “kinde cozen Matthew Hutton, Esq., of Marske,” he speaks of “meeting my cozen Cliborne at Cillerbie.”—Hutton MSS.

19.—Timothy (eldest son and heir of Edmund the last lord of the manor of Cleburne) was in such straightened circumstances after the Civil War, that, to quote the quaint language of Machell, “He sold the Hall to Mr. Collingwood, a Bishoprick gentleman, who sold it to Mr. Roger Soray, who yet lives at Broughton-Tower, in Cumberland, who exchanged it with Mr. Edward Lee, of Broughton, for Broughton-Tower. Mr. Lee (c. 1664) mortgaged it to old Sir John Lowther, whose grand-child now enjoys it.” (Machell MSS., III. 117.)

After the sale of the Hall and Manor, the few members of the family that remained became humble tillers of the soil their fathers had owned as lords: thus the lowest and the highest were very near together, and so have been since the world began: The Wars of the Roses and the great Civil War had so utterly ruined them that, like many another ancient house, scarcely one of its members emerged from “that soothing obscurity which o’ershadows the country Squire.” Preferring the green woods with peace and mediocrity to vaulting ambition or the gaieties of a court, their pride was that of home and peace, expressed in the French distich:

“Je suis ni Duc ni Prince aussi

Je suis le Sire de Couci.”

Content with this spirit of self-importance, they wrapped themselves up in a a mantle of exclusiveness, caring so little for politics or the interests of their country, that while they seldom descended to the level of the masses, they rarely rose to the highest positions in the State, and so sank into merited oblivion. Thus ended the race of Cleburne at Cliburne!

Timothy Cleburne retired to Yorkshire, where he married Mary, fourth daughter of John Talbot, of Thornton le Street, Colonel on the part of Charles I.; and, failing issue, the representation of a family which had flourished for six hundred years on the Border, passed to his cousin William Cleburne, of Ballycullatan Castle, in Ireland, whose descendant in the sixth generation, William Cleburne, Esq., of Omaha (eldest brother of the late General Cleburne) is the present representative of the elder branch of Cliburne.


[10] Rokeby: Anthony Rokesby the “spy” (in 1568) was set to watch his movements.

[11]Thomas: Son and heir of Thomas, of Cliburn, and Frances Lowther, who through the lines of Clifford, Percy, and Mortimer, was descended from Lionel Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence, son of Edward III.

[12] Bampton: Sir Philip Musgrave was at Edmond Cleburne’s house at Bampton, 16th Nov., 1663.—Call. State Papers, lxxxiii. 342.

16 Charles II., 1665. Edmund Cleburne, yeoman, was one of the Governors of the Bampton Grammar School.—N. B., 2. 344.

Yeoman was a military title equal to our 18th century Squire:

“A knight of Cales, a squire of Wales,

And a laird of the north countries,

A yeoman of Kent with his yearly rent

Could buy them up all three.”