Clitheroe History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestry of the name Clitheroe dates from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It comes from when the family lived in the area of Clithero in the county of Lancashire, beside the river Ribble.

"The ancient name of this town, Cliderhow, is of a mixed derivation from the British Cled-dwr, which signifies the hill or rock by the waters, and the final syllable how, a Saxon word for hill; being descriptive of its situation on an isolated eminence, terminating in one direction in a lofty rock of limestone whereon stands the keep of a castle, the original erection of which is involved in considerable obscurity." [1]

Early Origins of the Clitheroe family

The surname Clitheroe was first found in Lancashire at Clitheroe, a town and civil parish in the Borough of Ribble Valley. The name Clitheroe is thought to come from the Anglo-Saxon for "Rocky Hill." The town is home to Clitheroe Castle, a motte and bailey castle which probably dates back to before 1086 as there is reference to it as "castellatu Rogerii pictaviensis" in the Domesday Book. [2] In 2007, the castle was restored to its original beauty and is now open to the public. The Honour of Clitheroe is an ancient grouping of manors and royal forests centered on Clitheroe Castle. The Battle of Clitheroe was fought 10 June 1138 between Scots and English knights.

Robert de Cliderhou (d. 1339?), was an English justiciar, who "belonged to a family which had been for one or two generations settled at Clitheroe in Lancashire, and he held the manor of Bayley near that town. In 1302 some land at Aighton was conveyed to him by W. de Mitton, and in 1307 he brought an action against three brothers, Ralph, William, and Geoffrey, of Bradenull, who had assaulted him when on the king's service, and had beaten him until they left him for dead. The offenders were ordered to pay him 200l. as compensation. During the reigns of Edward I and Edward II he was one of the clerks of the chancery." [3]

Early History of the Clitheroe family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Clitheroe research. Another 111 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1635, 1955, 1586, 1564, 1565, 1571, 1600, 1574, 1585, 1586, 1586, 1641, 1592, 1603, 1606 and 1469 are included under the topic Early Clitheroe History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Clitheroe Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Clitheroe have been found, including Clitherow, Clitheroe, Cletherow, Clyderow, Cliderow and many more.

Early Notables of the Clitheroe family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Margaret Clitherow (d. 1586), the 'martyr of York,' the daughter of Thomas Middleton, citizen of York and wax-chandler, who served the office of Sheriff in 1564-1565. On 1 July 1571 she was married to John Clitherow, butcher. He was a well-to-do man, and was afterwards chosen a chamberlain of the city, thus becoming entitled, ex officio, to the appellation of gentleman. Although John Clitherow was not a Roman catholic, his brother William was a priest, and it is probable that 'Thomas Clitherow of York, draper,' who was in the castle for his religion in 1600...
Another 211 words (15 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Clitheroe Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Clitheroe migration to the United States +

Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Clitheroe, or a variant listed above:

Clitheroe Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Clitheroe, who settled in Virginia in 1731
Clitheroe Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Clitheroe, aged 29, who landed in America, in 1894
Clitheroe Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Harold Clitheroe, aged 18, who landed in America from Manchester, England, in 1917
  • Joseph Clitheroe, aged 18, who settled in America, in 1920
  • James Clitheroe, aged 52, who immigrated to the United States, in 1924

Canada Clitheroe migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Clitheroe Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Ralph Clitheroe, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749

West Indies Clitheroe migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [4]
Clitheroe Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Robert Clitheroe who settled in Jamaica in 1684

Contemporary Notables of the name Clitheroe (post 1700) +

  • Roger Ian Clitheroe (b. 1966), former English cricketer
  • Paul Hugh Clitheroe AM (b. 1955), English-born, Australian television presenter, financial analyst and financial advisor
  • James Robinson "Jimmy" Clitheroe (1921-1973), English comic entertainer from Clitheroe, Lancashire, best known for his BBC Radio programme, The Clitheroe Kid (1957 to 1972)
  • Helen Teresa Clitheroe (b. 1974), née Pattinson, British gold and bronze medalist middle and long-distance runner from Preston, Lancashire


  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  4. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies


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