Activity: Talk or presentation types › Oral presentation
The Lady Anne Clifford is well known for rebuilding her four castles in Westmorland. * The importance of this massive building programme, and the households these created, has been dismissed in much historical scholarship as a type of folly or an expression of overweening pride. Instead Clifford’s rebuilding of the barony (or Bottom) of Westmorland must be viewed from the perspective of her sense of a divine providentialism, that included a deep commitment to the communities on the ground in Westmorland after decades of deprivation and disruption (roughly 1616-1650). This paper, drawing upon contemporary accounts, letters, Clifford’s Great Books of Record and other sources, will explore Anne Clifford’s strategies that transformed the barony of Westmorland from what she perceived to be social chaos, into a well-ordered and Godly society. It will focus especially on the role her multiple households played as loci of economic resources and social influence. These households created a network that facilitated Clifford’s restructuring, providing stability and some degree of prosperity in the region. This in turn enabled individuals, families and communities to reengage with local socio/political concerns, and to begin to exert wider regional and national influence.