The present Baroness Clifton of Leighton Bromswold was born in 1900. succeeded her Father, the Earl of Darnley, when she was seven months old, and is the seventeenth holder of the title. The Barony was created in 1608 when Sir Gervase Clifton of Leighton Bromswold was ennobled by King James I. His father was William Clifton of Barrington, fourth son of the Sir Gervase who married Alice Nevil, and whose brass effigy in the Church is dated 1491. This William Clifton sought his fortune in London and married Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Blount, and having acquired great wealth, bought Barrington which he left to his son Sir Gervase, created Lord Clifton, who was therefore cousin of the "gentle" Sir Gervase Clifton of Clifton. The first Baron was imprisoned in the Tower of London, and "killed himself for ennui," leaving an only daughter Catherine. Catherine was first of all Miss Clifton; then Baroness Clifton in her own right: then by her marriage she became Lady Esme Stuart; upon her husband being created an Earl in 1619, she became Countess of March; and when he succeeded his brother in 1624 as third Duke, she became Duchess of Lennox. Her children included:—1. The fourth Duke of Lennox. 2. Lord  D'Aubigny  (Ancestor of the Dukes D' Aubigny). 3. Cardinal Stewart, who however did not live to be clothed in scarlet. 4. the Earl of Litchfield.  1. The Countess of Arundel  (Ancestor of the Dukes of Norfolk). 2. The Countess of Angus (Ancestor of the Dukes of Hamilton). 3. The Countess of Portland.

In 1712 Theodosia, Baroness Clifton (who was great great-granddaughter of this Catherine) married John Bligh. Esq., M.P.. who in 1721 was created Baron Clifton of Rathmore (Ireland 1721). He was subsequenty made Earl of Darnley in 1725, after their son Edward had succeeded his mother, who died in 1722, as Baron Clifton of Leighton Bromswold (England 1608) so that from 1722 to 1725, there were two Baron Cliftons, known as such, the father being the first of the younger creation (1721) and his son the tenth of the earlier (1608).

Since 1900, the two Baronies have again become distinct, the earlier being held by the little Baroness of Leighton Bromswold who is six years old. and the later (Irish) barony by the Earl of Darnley, by whom however it is handed on as a courtesy title to his eldest son who was born in 1886 and is known as Lord Clifton of Rathmore. Although the family name in both Baronies is Bligh, both titles clearly have their origin in Clifton-cum-Glapton, near Nottingham.


There is a good picture, signed by Highmore, (who was Sir Godfrey Kneller's pupil) of Sir Robert Clifton 5th Bart., K.B.. wearing the Order of the Bath: he was a distinguished member of Parliament, and spent enormous sums of money on politics, and on buildings and other improvements on the estate. The magnificent summer-house which over-looks the Trent from the highest point of Clifton Bank was built by him in 1734.

The most beautiful picture of all is one by Romney, in the drawing-room, of Mrs. Markham, who was daughter of Sir Gervase Clifton 6th Bart., and sister of Sir Robert, Sir Juckes and Sir Arthur. She married Archdeacon Markham. when he was Rector of Barton, and became the mother of Canon Markham. the Rector of Clifton (who was dissatisfied with the little "old Rectory," which stood, curiously enough, exactly where the present Rector lives, and built the present capital Rectory).

Through him she became the grandmother of the old Squire, Mr. Henry Markham. who in 1869 assumed the name of Clifton.

There is another picture in the smoking room, of Sir Robert Clifton 7th Bart., standing with an old grey pony and a white dog, in the Lady Orchard, which shows the Hall in the back-ground; this is the Sir Robert, who is referred to on the monument in the Church, raised to him by his brother Sir Arthur, as being "of retired habits."

There are pictures of all the nine Cliftons of Clifton, who were baronets, except the third. Sir William, who died unmarried: besides two of Sir Arthur, the Waterloo hero, and many earlier ones of wives and near relations. Two excellent portraits of Colonel and Mrs. Bruce, by Mr. Raine, are the most recent addition.


The elaborate ceiling of the Red Room at the Hall reveals accurately the history of the Clifton baronetcy heraldically: the arms of each of the nine bearers of the title with their wives' quarter-ings are displayed, beginning in 1611 with the first baronet, who quarters seven other families (see page 45) and ending with Ihe ninth, at whose death in 1869, the baronetcy became extinct.


The political career of Sir Robert Clifton. 9th and last Baronet of Clifton, was brief, bright, and breezy. It began in 1861, when he first stood for Nottingham and concluded with his death in 1869, when, said a contemporary writer, "Cliftonism as a political force becomes extinct."

The secret of his extraordinary hold over the affections of the Nottingham people is difficult to discover, and impossible to analyse. It cannot have been merely his position, for others have held the same position, and greater; nor can it have been his wealth, for he seldom allowed much to accumulate; nor his eloquence, for his speeches, however racy, were always of the briefest; nor can his manners, though they were so exquisite, that they would (as someone said of them) "lure a bird out of a bush," alone have won the people's allegiance, for many who hardly knew him, were ready to go through fire and water for him. A strange sort of popular epidemic of loyal and devoted adherence seems to have caught hold of Nottingham, and raised the jolly rollicking open-handed and frank young squire into little short of an idol. Those who remember the stirring political times of the sixties, the plots of room No. 30, the unseating of the elected candidates on both sides, the indignant mobs, the burning of the hustings, the reading of the Riot Act, the calling out of the soldiers, the charging of the "lambs," and the extraordinary power held over the whole uproar by the outstanding and romantic personality of the Sir Robert Clifton, the "Independent" candidate and member; those who remember all this, can learn little from the writer (who was not born till 1871, at Barton Rectory) while those who do not remember, can never hope to realise half the fun!

An enormous picture of Sir Robert hangs in the Hall Stair-case; he is mounted on a favourite grey horse; Nottingham Castle is in the background,—a cigar (said to be as essential to a resemblance of him, as a carnation is to his nephew and successor!) lies on the floor. This is curious, for it must have been added later, as it is known that the picture originally depicted Lady Clifton, and, by her wish, was changed to a portrait of him in 1870, a year after his death, by Du Praed, the original artist.

There is a monument to him close by the Wilford Bridge on the Embankment, which used to stand in the middle of Nottingham. It is not exactly happy, and I have forgotten the artist's name, but it was publicly subscribed for, and handsomely paid for: the picture, on the other hand, is excellent, life-like, and real.


A beautiful brick column on the Terraces in the Hall gardens, which appears to be of Queen Anne's age, is all that remains of an old wall which formerly enclosed the Terraces, along the outside of which ran a public path, until Sir Juckes Clifton, by a private Act of Parliament, removed it to beyond the Church and Stables, a more direct way to Barton.


The late Squire, Mr. Henry Robert Clifton, was born at Clifton Rectory, being the only son of the Reverend Canon H. S. Markham, who was Rector of Clifton, and who built the present Rectory, and laid out the splendid Rectory gardens, which are now beautifully preserved by Mr. Kyrle Smith. Canon Markham was the son of the Venerable Archdeacon Robert Markham, who was Rector of Barton (as a young man) in 1793.

Archdeacon Markham, who married the daughter of Sir Gervase Clifton (6th Bart) was the son of the most Reverend Archbishop William Markham. who was Archbishop of York 1777-1808.


There seems to be a persistent connection between this parish and the Archbishopric of York. Thus there have been

(1) In 1452 Archbishop William Booth, who was brother to Lady Clifton, wife of the Squire of Clifton.

(2) In 1476 Archbishop Lawrence Booth, who was half-brother to Lady Clifton.

(3) In 1777-1808 Archbishop Markham, who was father to the Rector of Barton, grandfather to the Rector of Clifton, and great grandfather to the Squire of Clifton.

(4) In 1863-1891 Archbishop Thomson who was brother-in-law to the Rector of Barton, and Uncle to the present Rector of Clifton.


There is an interesting picture on the staircase of two children, a brother and sister, the only children of Sir Juckes Clifton:—the boy lived to be the last Sir Robert, the popular M.P., and the girl became Lady Bruce, the mother of the present Squire.


The family, which by the marriage of the last Sir Robert Clifton's only sister to Sir Hervey Bruce, 3rd Bart, of Downhill, Londonderry in 1842, became representative of the Cliftons of Clifton, is credited by Burke and Debrett with "common origin" with King Robert Bruce, the hero of Bannockburn. To be exact, it is descended from his grandfather, Robert Lord of Annandale the "Competitor," whose claim to the Scottish throne was contested by John Balliol in 1293.

Mr. James Bruce of Killeleagh, who married in 1762 the granddaughter of John Hervey, 1st Earl of Bristol, had two sons, who were both created Baronets; the elder of these, Sir Hervey Bruce married Laetitia Barnard (granddaughter of the Bishop of Derry) and was the grandfather of the present Sir Hervey, who married the last of the Cliftons.

This Mr. James Bruce was great-great-grandson of Sir William Bruce, 1st Bart., 1629 of Newtowne, whose father was Sir Alexander Bruce of Airth (direct descendant of Robert Bruce "The Competitor;") Sir Alexander's wife was Janet, daughter of the 5th Lord Livingstone, and great-great-granddaughter of King James I. of Scotland.

The list of direct ancestors includes many distinguished soldiers, one of whom was slain at Worcester, when in command of the bodyguard of King Charles II., and another. Col. Robert Bruce, his father, fell at Naseby in 1645. It also includes many devoted and persecuted Ministers, one of them, also Robert Bruce, crowned Queen Anne, the wife of James VI. of Scotland in 1590. and of him. Livingstone wrote "Never man spoke with greater power since the Apostles." He was subsequently imprisoned and exiled. Another, the Rev. Michael Bruce, though ejected from his parish by Bishop Jeremy Taylor in 1661, continued to minister and preach in different places, even in barns and in the woods, and often in the night, and the people flocked both to hear him, and to receive sacrament, until finally after a heroic life of persecution, affliction and torment, he succumbed at the age of 59; he was described by a contemporary as "a thundering, broken-hearted and most affecting preacher; having great genius and an extraordinary zeal for the glory of God." I have added the pedigree of the modern baronetcy (1804) to show the connection with Clifton.