The Clifford family of Skipton Castle had a key role to play in the history of Rylstone. They were the senior noble and land-owning family of Craven and key supporters of King Henry VIII and Elizabeth 1. This brought them into opposition with the staunchly catholic Norton family who owned Rylstone manor in Tudor times. The Cliffords were granted this by the crown in 1603 after the Norton lands were taken by Elizabeth.

The button below gives access to an article written by the project team, entitled, 'The Cliffords, the Cumberlands and the Devonshires: their history and connections with Craven and Rylstone', which tells the story of the Cliffords, their heirs and their relationship with Rylstone and the Nortons. The current Duke of Devonshire still owns much property in Craven, including Rylstone, as well as the Bolton Abbey estate. A full Clifford family tree is then given below the button.

 Skipton Castle Main Gate

(from Skipton Castle website).

The Clifford Family

George Clifford 3rd Earl of Cumberland (1558-1605)
The Lord of Skipton pictured as Queen's Champion. Standing in his special armour and wearing Queen Elizabeth's diamond-studded glove on his head-dress, he has flung down his gauntlet and awaits a challenger.

John 9th Lord Clifford (1435-1461)
Lord of Skipton. Also known as 'Black-faced' or 'Butcher Clifford'. Slain at the Battle of Towton fighting under the banner of his lawful Sovereign Henry VI.

Francis Clifford 4th Earl of Cumberland (1559-1641)
Lord of Skipton. Inherited estates from George 3rd, Earl, who felt that they would be better preserved by his wealthy brother than by his young daughter, Ann.

Family Tree for the Lords of the Barony of the Honour of Skipton:                The Cliffords

The button below links to a descendency chart produced by one of the descendents of the Cliffords, Andrrew Forman has kindly allowed us to include on this site.