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Westmorland Barony

Comprises the whole of the East and West Wards, and is emphatically called the BARONY OF WESTMORLAND, owing to the rest of the county, which forms the barony of Kendal being anciently considered as part of Yorkshire and Lancashire, and in the Doomsday Survey, inserted under the title of "Agemundrenesse." William the Norman Conqueror gave the whole of Cumberland, and this great barony, to Ranulph de Meschiens, who married Lucia, the sister of Hugh Lupus, Earl of Chester, and had a son Ranulph, who succeeded to his father’s extensive estates, except a large portion of Cumberland, which had been granted to his uncle William and others. The said Ranulph de Meschiens, in his mother’s right, became Earl and Count Palatine of the county of Chester, where he fixed his residence. He have the barony of Appleby to his sister, the wife of Robert d’Estrivers, or Trevers, who daughter carried it in marriage to Ranulph Engain, with whose grand-daughter it passed to Simon de Morville, who son Hugh was one of the four knights that assassinated Thomas-a-Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, for which offence it is said the king seized his estates, and granted the custody of Appleby Castle to Gospatric, son of Orme, but the barony was retained by the crown till King John granted it to Robert de Veteripont, (Lord of Curvaville, in Normandy), together with the custody of the castles of Appleby and Brough, and the "Sheriffwick and rent of the county of Westmorland," in perpetuity. He was a man "of great parts and employments, and was trusted with the custody and disposal of much of the king’s treasure." Having been twenty-four years sheriff of Westmorland, he died in 1228, and was succeeded by his son John de Veteripont, who sold off part of the lands in his barony, and died young about the year 1242, leaving his infant son Robert de Veteripont, a ward to the king and the prior of Carlisle. After he had attained his majority, this Robert joined the disaffected barons against Henry III., and died of the wounds he received in the battle of Lewes, in Sussex, or that of Evesham, in Worcestershire, after which his barony was seized by the king, but subsequently restored to his two young daughters Isabella and Idonea, who were committed in wardship to Roger de Clifford of Herefordshire, and Roger de Leybourne, of Kent, who married them to their two sons and heirs, between whom the barony was divided, till the death of Idonea, without issue, when the whole became vested in the heirs of Isabella by her husband, Roger de Clifford, whose son and successor, Robert de Clifford, was "the greatest man of all his family, being of a most martial and heroic spirit," the overwhelming power of which was often felt by the invading Scots. He was made Admiral of England and Lord Marcher by Edward I. who granted to him the honour and castle of Skipton in Craven. He was slain at the battle of Bannock-burn in Scotland, A.D. 1314. His eldest son, Roger, was attainted for high treason, but the barony was afterwards restored to his brother Robert, who died in the 18th of Edward III., when the barony descended to his eldest son Robert, and afterwards to his younger son Roger, who was often in the wars in France and Scotland, and "was accounted one of the wisest men of his time." He died in 1392, and was succeeded by his eldest son Thomas, who though a great favourite with Richard II., was "banished the court by authority of parliament,: and died fighting against the infidels at Spruce in German, A.D. 1393, leaving an infant son John, who afterwards married the daughter of the celebrated Lord Percy, surnamed Hotspur, and was slain at the seige of Meaux, in France, in 1423, when his eldest son Thomas succeeded to the barony; and in 1438 signalised himself at the battle of Poictiers, and was slain in the service of the house of Lancaster, at the battle of St. Alban’s, in 1455. His eldest son John fell in the same unfortunate cause on the day before the battle of Towton. His wife, Margaret Brumflett, was in her own right Baroness of Vesey. His son Henry, the next Lord Clifford, was deprived of his lands and honours during the twenty-four years in which the house of York occupied the throne, all which time he lived as a shepherd, but they were restored to him by Henry VII., and he subsequently repaired several of his castles, "which had gone to decay during the late troubles." From henceforth he "became Baron of Westmorland, and hereditary Sheriff of the same, Lord also of the honour of Skipton, and Baron of Vesey." He died in 1524, and was succeeded by his son Henry, who, in addition to his paternal honours, was created Earl of Cumberland by Henry VIII. and became "one of the most eminent lords of his time for nobleness and gallantry." Henry Clifford second Earl of Cumberland succeeded his father in 1543; his son George, the next earl, signalised himself in the service of Queen Elizabeth, both by sea and land. Burn says the armour which this hero wore is yet to be seen in Appleby castle. He was one of the judges who tried and condemned Mary Queen of Scots. He died in 1605, leaving an only daughter Anne, who married first, lord Buckhurst, and afterwards the Earl of Pembroke, whom she survived from 1649 to 1675, when she died, having spent her long widowhood in the north of England, in repairing her castles, and in "public and private works of charity."

 After the death of this highly respected Countess of Pembroke, her elder daughter, Margaret, became the sole heir of the Clifford family, and was espoused by John, Lord Tufton, afterwards Earl of Thanet, a title which had been bestowed upon his father by Charles I. in 1628. His descendants have since possessed the Barony of Appleby, or Westmorland, which is now held by the RIGHT HON. CHARLES TUFTON, EARL OF THANET, Lord Tufton, hereditary High-Sheriff of Westmorland, and Lord of the Honour of Skipton. The Rev. John Heelis, of Appleby Castle, is the Earl of Thanet’s land steward and agent, and Messrs. Briggs, Hall, and Heelis, of Appleby, are his law agents, and stewards of his Manor Courts. This Barony consists of the Honours and Seigniories of Appleby and Brough, which contain under them the forests of Mallerstang, Oglebird, and Stainmore, with all the subordinate manors held of the Earl of Thanet by the service of cornage; he himself holding the barony of the king by the service of four knight’s fees. The total amount of cornage paid by the tenants of the Barony in 1634 was £52 1s. 6d., besides 517 bushels and 3 pecks of "serjeant oats, or bailiff-corn, and 684 pout-hens." In 1739, it was decreed "that the tenants hold their tenements according to ancient custom of tenant-right, and as customary estates of inheritance, descendible from ancestor to heir, under ancient yearly rents, and such general and dropping fines" as were then settled by arbitration, which also determined the right of the tenants to get turf, peat, etc. for their own use, to cut and sell underwood, to mortgage, lease, or demise their tenements for any term not exceeding three years, and to exchange lands lying intermixed in common fields, for lands of equal value in the same manor — without license or fine. It was also settled "that the lord may sell timber, provided he leave sufficient for repairs, necessary boots and estovers."— The tenants of many of the estates within the barony have been enfranchised, or pay only small quit rents, as will be seen in the survey of each manor in the East and West Wards. All the customary tenants pay arbitrary fines, except those of the manors of Drybeck, Little Asby, and Bampton, who pay "fines certain."

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acknowlegements to Les Strong  EdenLinks and Westmorland Villages