Clitherow History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Clitherow surname lived among the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. The name comes from when they 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 Clitherow family

The surname Clitherow 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 Clitherow family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Clitherow 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 Clitherow History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Clitherow Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Clitherow include Clitherow, Clitheroe, Cletherow, Clyderow, Cliderow and many more.

Early Notables of the Clitherow 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 Clitherow Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Clitherow family

A great wave of immigration to the New World was the result of the enormous political and religious disarray that struck England at that time. Families left for the New World in extremely large numbers. The long journey was the end of many immigrants and many more arrived sick and starving. Still, those who made it were rewarded with an opportunity far greater than they had known at home in England. These emigrant families went on to make significant contributions to these emerging colonies in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants: Robert Clitheroe who settled in Jamaica in 1684; John Clitheroe settled in Virginia in 1731.


Contemporary Notables of the name Clitherow (post 1700) +

  • Sir Edward Clitherow Brooksbank (1858-1943), 1st Baronet Brooksbank, Justice of the Peace and a Deputy Lieutenant for the West Riding of Yorkshire
  • Saint Clitherow Margaret (1556-1586), religious called "The Pearl of York"

HMS Hood
  • Mr. Charles F Clitherow (b. 1913), English Stoker 2nd Class serving for the Royal Navy from Camberwell, Surrey, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [4]


  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. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm


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