Lady Anne topic of first meeting

Date: Friday 25th September 2020

LADY Anne Clifford was the title of a talk to Penrith WI by Pat Newsham at their first meeting after lockdown.

President Jackie Bramwell welcomed members and visitor Elaine to the meeting — the arrangements for which seemed very strange with all the social distancing and COVID safety requirements in place.

The meeting started with members observing a minute’s silence in memory of Jan Ryder who died on 12th April. Jan was a loyal member of the group, participating enthusiastically in all activities with a cheerful smile and a kind word for everyone. She will be greatly missed.

Judy Jelf deputised for the secretary, reading the minutes of the last meeting, held way back in March! The number of cancelled activities made members realise just how much they had missed over the last six months.

Sheila Hutchison discussed arrangements for the revised ACWW walks and encouraged members to think of how they could all still support the poorest people across the world. Jackie explained that subs would not be due until April, 2021, as a three-month membership extension had been set by NFWI.

Members were very excited to be back but with new regulations coming into effect, will need to wait for guidance on further meetings.

Jackie then introduced Pat Newsham who illustrated the life of Lady Anne Clifford through an extensive selection of pictures, slides and insightful stories.

Lady Anne was born on 30th January, 1590, in Skipton Castle. She was the only surviving child (and therefore technically the legal heir) of George Clifford, 3rd Earl of Cumberland, and his wife, Margaret. As a little girl she spent a great deal of time at court and was said to have been “much beloved” by Queen Elizabeth I.

On the death of her father, the earldom and estates passed to his younger brother and Lady Anne began a long and complex legal battle to obtain the family estates, which had been granted by King Edward II under absolute cognatic primogeniture.

It was not until the death, without male progeny, of her cousin, that Anne managed to regain the family estates. Lady Anne married twice but neither marriage was apparently very happy. She had five children, three sons who all died before adulthood and two surviving daughters.

She was an important patron of the arts and during the last three decades of her life she was particularly creative. In 1656 she erected the Countess Pillar near Brougham, in memory of her mother Margaret. Lady Anne restored churches and chapels at Appleby, Ninekirks, Brougham and Mallerstang.

She was also responsible for the rebuilding, improvement and expansion of many of the Clifford family’s castles across Northern England, including Skipton Castle, Pendragon Castle, Brough Castle, Appleby Castle and Brougham Castle, where she died in 1676.

Pat judged the competition for an old piece of jewellery, which resulted in: 1 Mary Smith, 2 Sue Beachell, 3 Judy Jelf. The monthly raffle was won by Sheila Hutchison.