Katherine Clifton, 2nd Baroness Clifton

Katherine Clifton, 2nd Baroness Clifton (c. 1592 buried 17 September 1637), was an English-born Scottish peer (later known as the Countess of March, then Duchess of Lennox and then Countess of Abercorn).

Birth and origins

Katherine was born about 1592, in England, as daughter of Gervase Clifton and his wife, Katherine Darcy. Her father was a knight and would become the 1st Baron Clifton of Leighton Bromswold in Huntingdonshire, England.[1] Her mother was only child and heiress of Sir Henry Darcy. Her parents married in June 1591.[2] Her brother died in 1602 and she became the only surviving child of her parents.

Her father is made a baron by writ

On 9 July 1608 her father was summoned to Parliament by writ,[1] which implicitly elevated him to a baron. Such baronies by writ had a succession in which a daughter could succeed in absence of a son.

First marriage

Katherine Clifton married twice. In 1609, when she was about 17, she married her first husband, Lord Esmé Stewart, a younger son of The 1st Duke of Lennox in Scotland.[3][4] In 1619, he was created Earl of March. They had eleven children:

  1. Elizabeth (1610–1674), who married Henry Howard, 22nd Earl of Arundel;
  2. James (1612–1655), who became the 4th Duke of Lennox;
  3. Lady Anne Stewart (1614–1646), who married Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus;
  4. Henry (1616–1632), who became the 8th Seigneur d'Aubigny;
  5. Francis (1616–1617);
  6. Lady Frances (1617–1694), who married Jerome Weston, 2nd Earl of Portland;
  7. Margaret (1618–1618), who died young;
  8. George (1618–1642), who became the 9th Seigneur d'Aubigny;
  9. Ludovic (1619–1665), who became the 10th Seigneur d'Aubigny;
  10. Lord John (1621–1644); and
  11. Lord Bernard (1623–1645).

In 1624 his brother, 2nd Duke, died without legitimate heirs, her husband became Duke of Lennox[5] and she became duchess. However, his ducal reign lasted less than a year. He died on 30 July 1624[6] and was succeeded by their eldest son James.

Father's death and succession

In 1618, when she was about 26, her father died committing suicide by "ennui". Being her father's only surviving child, she inherited her father's title and thus became Baroness Clifton in her own right (suo jure).

Second marriage

In about 1627 she remarried taking as her second husband, The 2nd Earl of Abercorn.[7]

They had three children:

  1. James (c. 1635 – before 1670), who was known as Lord Paisley and predeceased his father;
  2. William (died before 1670), who became a colonel and predeceased his father; and
  3. George (c. 1636 – before 1683), who became the 3rd Earl of Abercorn.


Her husband was Catholic and she also practiced that religion. However, the church of Scotland was Presbyterian and persecuted Catholics. On 3 February 1628 she was excommunicated by the Synod of Paisley.[8]


She died in 1637 in Scotland.[9] Having been a Catholic, she was buried without ceremony. Her title passed to her eldest son James.


01592, aboutBorn.
171609Married Lord Esmé Stewart.
321624, 30 Jul.First husband died.
341627, about[lower-alpha 1]Marries James Hamilton, 2nd Earl of Abercorn.[4]
361628, 3 Feb.Excommunicated by the Church of Scotland.[8]
451637, aboutDied.

Notes and references

  1. The date is constrained by his return from his travels in April 1627[10] and his wife's excommunication on 3 February 1628.[8]
  1. Cokayne 1913, p. 308: "He [Gervase Clifton] was summ. to Parl. from 9 July (1608) 6 Jac. I to 5 Apr. (1614) 12 Jac. I, by writs directed Gervasio Clifton of Laighton Brumswold Ch'r, whereby he became LORD CLIFTON (of Leighton Bromswold)."
  2. Cokayne 1913, p. 309, line 1: "He [Gervase Clifton] m. (lic. Bp. of London, 25 June 1591), Katherine, da. and h. of Sir Henry Darcy ..."
  3. Cokayne 1913, p. 309, line 6: "2. KATHERINE, suo jure, BARONESS CLIFTON (of Leighton Bromswold), da. and h. She m., in 1609, Esme STUART (2nd s. of Esme, DUKE OF LENNOX [S.]), who, on the death of his father, 26 May 1583, had become Lord of Aubigny, in France."
  4. Cokayne 1910, p. 3, line 20: "He m. about 1632, Catherine, Dowager Duchess of LENNOX da. and h. of Gervase (CLIFTON) LORD CLIFTON OF LEIGHTON BROMSWOLD, by Catherine dau. and h. of Sir Henry Darcy of Leighton afsd."
  5. Cokayne 1913, p. 309, line 10: "On 7 June 1619, he was cr. BARON STUART OF LEIGHTON BROMSWOLD, co. Huntingdon, and EARL OF March. On 16 Feb. 1623/4 he suc. his elder brother as DUKE OF LENNOX, etc. [S.]."
  6. Cokayne 1913, p. 309, line 13a: "He d. [Esmé Stewart] 30 July 1624."
  7. Cokayne 1913, p. 309, line 13b: "His [Esmé Stewart's] widow m., in or before 1632, James (HAMILTON), 2nd EARL OF ABERCORN [S.] and had royal lic., 28 Nov. 1632, to retain her title, rank, and precedency as Duchess of Lennox notwithstanding such marriage."
  8. Metcalfe 1909, p. 236, line 33: "On February 3, [1628] the Countess was excommunicated."
  9. Cokayne 1913, p. 310: "She d. in Scotland and was bur. 'without ceremonie', 17 Sep. 1637, aged about 45."
  10. Metcalfe 1909, p. 236, line 16: "... but in April 1627, her son the Earl had returned and had openly declared himself a Catholic ..."
  • Cokayne, George Edward (1913), Gibbs, Vicary (ed.), The complete peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, extant, extinct, or dormant, 3 (2nd ed.), London: St Catherine Press - CANONTEIGN to CUTTS
  • Metcalfe, William Musham (1909), A History of Paisley, Paisley: Alexander Gardner
Peerage of England
Preceded by
Gervase Clifton
Baroness Clifton
Succeeded by
James Stewart
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