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Clifford is an ancient Norman name that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Clifford family lived in one of the parishes by the name of Clifford in Herefordshire, Gloucestershire.

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The surname Clifford was first found in Herefordshire at Clifford, a village and civil parish on the south bank of the River Wye which dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 where it was listed as Cliford. Clifford Castle which is located there is an early motte and bailey castle built on a cliff overlooking a ford on the River Wye in 1070 by William Fitzpond. His heir forfeited the lands and castle after and unsuccessful rebellion against the King in 1075. Walter Fitz Richard later took the name of Walter de Clifford after he seized the Castle c. 1162. Walter de Clifford III, grandson of Walter Fitz Richard rebelled against King Henry III in 1233 and was forced to surrender to the king after just a few days of a besiege. He made his peace with the king and led his troops against Prince Llywelyn ab Iorwerth. While the family claim descent from the Herefordshire village, Clifford is a small village in the City of Leeds, West Yorkshire; and Clifford Chambers is a village two miles south of Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. Both of these locations are ancient in their own right; Clifford, Yorkshire is listed in the Domesday Book and Clifford Chambers dating back to 922 was listed as Clifforda. Part of the reason there is more than one location so named is that the location name means "ford at a cliff or bank" from the Old English words clif + ford. [1]CITATION[CLOSE]
Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
The market-town and parish of Skipton in the West Riding of Yorkshire is or particular significance to the family. The district was still strongly held by the Saxons after the Conquest until Edward II. bestowed the lands to one of his favourites Piers de Gaveston. "Upon the death of Gaveston, the barony of Skipton was granted by Edward II. to Robert, Lord Clifford, whose descendant John de Clifford, taking part with the Lancastrians in the wars between the houses of York and Lancaster, suffered an attainder in the reign of Edward IV., who conferred the barony on Sir Wm. Stanley. This attainder, however, was reversed on the accession of Henry VII., when Henry de Clifford, who for nearly twenty-five years had lived in concealment among the fells in Cumberland, was reinstated in his possessions, and created Earl of Cumberland. He held a principal command in the English army at the battle of Flodden-Field; and was succeeded after his death by his son Henry, who, for his signal services in suppressing the rebellion called the Pilgrimage of Grace, received from Henry VIII. a grant of the extensive revenues of Bolton Abbey. The barony continued in the Clifford family till the death of George, the seventeenth Baron of Clifford, and third earl of Cumberland, who died in 1605. The ancient castle, for many generations the residence of the Cliffords, is a spacious quadrangular structure, defended at the angles and on the sides by massive circular towers, with an octangular tower at the extremity of the eastern side, built by the first Earl of Cumberland." [2]CITATION[CLOSE]
Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
"[Hopton Castle in Shropshire] was distinguished for its castle, which was given by Henry II. to Walter de Clifford, and which, during the parliamentary war, was garrisoned by the royalists, but after a fortnight's siege was surrendered to the assailants, when most of the garrison were put to the sword, and the governor was conveyed as a prisoner to Ludlow Castle." [2]CITATION[CLOSE]
Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
Now in ruins, the castle was featured in the British TV series Time Team in 2010 and as of November 2008, the Hopton Castle Preservation Trust has taken ownership.

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Clifford, Cliffort, Clifforde, Clifforte and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Clifford research. Another 313 words (22 lines of text) covering the years 1068, 1274, 1314, 1493, 1542, 1517, 1570, 1558, 1605, 1670, 1630, 1673, 1660, 1672, 1677, 1622, 1698, 1663, 1730, 1700, 1732 and are included under the topic Early Clifford History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Robert de Clifford, 1st Baron de Clifford, also 1st Lord of Skipton (c. 1274-1314), an English soldier born in Clifford Castle, Herefordshire, he became first Lord Warden of the Marches, defending the English border with Scotland; Sir Henry Clifford, 1st Earl of Cumberland...

Another 111 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Clifford Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Some of the Clifford family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 125 words (9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Clifford or a variant listed above:

Clifford Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Oliver and Marie Clifford settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Marie Clifford, aged 25, landed in America in 1635
  • Caver Clifford, aged 18, arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Oliver Clifford, who landed in Virginia in 1640
  • George Clifford settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1645, member of the Artillery Company
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Clifford Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Susana Clifford, who arrived in Virginia in 1705
  • Andrew Clifford, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746

Clifford Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • James Clifford, aged 27, arrived in New York in 1800
  • A C Clifford, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • John Clifford, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County Pennsylvania in 1852
  • C Clifford, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1856
  • Catharine Clifford, aged 30, arrived in New York in 1864
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Clifford Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • John Clifford, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1829
  • John Clifford, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1832
  • Mary Clifford, aged 20, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the brig "Thomas Hanford" from Cork, Ireland
  • Timothy Clifford, aged 30, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1837 aboard the brig "Thetis" from Cork, Ireland
  • Nelly Clifford, aged 30, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1837 aboard the brig "Thetis" from Cork, Ireland
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Clifford Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Clifford, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Anson" on September 23, 1843, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • Margaret Clifford arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Isabella Watson" in 1846
  • William Clifford arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Isabella Watson" in 1846
  • Henry Clifford, English convict from Staffordshire, who was transported aboard the "Adelaide" on August 08, 1849, settling in Van Diemen's Land and Port Phillip, Australia
  • John Clifford, aged 19, a labourer, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "British Empire" in 1850
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Clifford Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Alphonzo Charles Clifford landed in Flaxburn, Middle Is, New Zealand in 1840
  • Charles Clifford landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship George Fife
  • Charles Clifford, aged 37, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Phoebe Dunbar" in 1841850
  • Mary Ann Clifford, aged 30, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Phoebe Dunbar" in 1841850
  • George H. Clifford, aged 2, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Phoebe Dunbar" in 1841850
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  • William Clifford (1877-1941), American actor and screenwriter of the silent era who appeared in 170 films between 1910 and 1929
  • Patrick Clifford (b. 1966), American musician, songwriter, and producer of Irish and folk music
  • John Henry Clifford (1809-1876), American lawyer and politician, 21st Governor of Massachusetts (1853-1854), 9th & 11th Massachusetts Attorney General (1849-1853) and (1854-1858)
  • Nathan Clifford (1803-1881), American statesman, diplomat and jurist, 19th United States Attorney General (1846-1848)
  • Clark McAdams Clifford (1906-1998), American lawyer and politician, 9th U.S. Secretary of Defense (1968-1969), recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Lieutenant Colonel Michael Richard "Rich" Clifford (b. 1952), former NASA Astronaut with 665 hours in space
  • John Gary Clifford (b. 1942), award-winning American historian
  • Doug "Cosmo" Clifford (b. 1945), American drummer for the rock band, Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • Thomas Hugh Clifford (b. 1948), 14th Baron Clifford of Chudleigh
  • Lewis Hugh Clifford (1916-1988), 13th Baron Clifford of Chudleigh
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Clifford Historic Events



HMS Repulse

  • Mr. Ernest Clifford, British Stoker, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking

RMS Titanic

  • Mr. George Quincy Clifford (d. 1912), aged 40, American First Class passenger from Stoughton, Massachusetts who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
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  • The Family Histories of the Cliffords and Rollins by Leslie G. Perry.
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Citations



  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

Other References

  1. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  2. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  3. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  4. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  5. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  6. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  7. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  8. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  9. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  10. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  11. ...


This page was last modified on 17 June 2016 at 13:18.

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