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Edw. Clifford, repent in bootless penitence.
This ha should chop it off; and with the issuing blood
War. Ay, but he's dead: Off with the traitor's head,
John, ninth lord of Skipton, married Margaret, daughter of Henry Bromflete, lord Vesey, by whom he had two sons, of which the eldest, as we shall find in a following paper, was, in consequence of the attainder of his father, in the first of Edward the Fourth, deprived of his inheritance for many years.
[To be continued.]
* Third Part of King Henry VI., Act II. Scene VI.
The shepherd's homely curds,
When Care, Mistrust, and Treason wait on him.
THERE cannot, either in national or private history, be found a greater opposition of character than that which subsisted between John lord Clifford, whose death I have recorded at the close of my first paper on this subject, and HENRY his son, afterwards TENTH LORD OF THE HONOUR OF SKIPTON. To adversity, that best of all schools for the growth and cultivation of the noblest virtues of the human heart, we may, in a great measure, attribute this happy contrast on the part of the son; for it was his lot, in times of inordinate ambition and strife, to pass his youth in the shades of obscurity and poverty, a lesson which for ever guarded his breast against the intrusion of those dark and daring ma
chinations which had so deeply stained the memory of his immediate progenitors.
At the death of his father, Henry Clifford was but six years of age, being born in 1454; and in 1464, being the fourth year of Edward the Fourth, the castle, manor, and lordship of Skipton, which had been forfeited by the attainder of lord John, were granted, in the first instance, to sir William Stanley, and subsequently, about the fifteenth of the same reign, to Richard duke of Gloucester, who held them until he lost his life and crown at the battle of Bosworth.
In the mean time, it became necessary to conceal the son and heir of one who had rendered himself more than commonly obnoxious to the reigning family, not only by his prowess in the field against them, but by his ferocious slaughter of the young earl of Rutland. Banishment, imprisonment, or death, would certainly have been the fate of the child had he been discovered; but, fortunately for him, he possessed, in the love, activity, and resources of his affectionate mother, a sufficient protection against the impending danger; for, at the age of seven years, he was clothed in the habit, and placed in the condition, of a shepherd's boy at
Londesborough, where his mother then chiefly resided. In this sequestered spot, confided to the care of peasants, whose wives had been servants in his father's family, and, as attendants on the nurse who had given him suck, familiar to him from his infancy, he the more readily submitted to his hard lot; more especially, as they took care to impress upon his mind the conviction, that his life depended upon his being perfectly resigned to a state of poverty and humiliation.
It was whilst thus occupied at Londesborough, and when he had reached his fourteenth year, that his mother's father, Henry Bromflete, lord Vesey, died, an event which, giving rise to a report, at the court of Edward the Fourth, that his daughter's two sons were alive, their mother was closely examined on the subject. From her answers, which satisfied for a time her inquirers, and lulled their suspicions asleep, it appears, that immediately after the death of her lord, she had sent both her sons to the sea-side, with an intention of embarking them for the Low Countries, but only Richard, the younger, had passed over to the continent, where he died shortly afterwards, whilst Henry was secretly reconveyed to Londesborough. With an equivoca
tion, therefore, readily to be pardoned in a mother thus trembling for the safety of her only child, she declared that she had given orders for their conveyance beyond seas, for the purpose of their education, and that she knew not whether they were dead or alive.
About this time, or at least before the twelfth of Edward the Fourth, for a charter or deed of arbitration* of this period mentions their union, lady Clifford married her second husband, sir Lancelot Threlkeld, knight, of Threlkeld in Cumberland, a man of unblemished honour and integrity, and who seems to have been equally solicitous with his wife to save and protect young Henry Clifford from the malice of his enemies. When, therefore, as was soon afterwards the case, a murmur of his being in existence and concealment was revived, and his increasing years rendered his danger every day more imminent, they sent him, with the peasantry and their families, to whose society he had been habituated, to Threlkeld in Cumberland, to be brought up simply as a shepherd; and at this place, under the vigilant eye of his father-in-law's kindred, or on
* Vide Whitaker, p. 250.