The Countess Pillar

The Countess Pillar

The Countess Pillar:

The Countess Pillar is a historic landmark situated at Brougham, two miles from Penrith.

It is an intricately designed pillar that stands tall in the landscape on the westbound side of the A66.

The Countess Pillar

The Countess Pillar was erected in 1656 in memory of Lady Anne Clifford’s mother, Margaret whom she was particularly close to.

The pillar stands on the spot where Lady Anne said her final farewell to her mother on 2nd April 1616, when she was just 15 years old.

The Clifford family were a major force in the North of England for several centuries.

Lady Anne Clifford was born at Skipton Castle in 1590, and took up residence at Brougham Castle in 1649.

She married Richard Sackville, Earl of Dorset, at the age of 19, but their marriage was unhappy, and they eventually separated.

Lady Anne Clifford was a remarkable figure who lived through a time of immense social and political upheaval in England. She was born into a noble family and was educated to the highest standard, becoming a talented poet and writer in her own right.

Lady Anne was the only surviving child of George Clifford, the 3rd Earl of Cumberland. When her father died his estates went to her uncle but Anne believed this land was rightly hers.

Highly intelligent and determined she refused to compromise over the dispute.

She eventually won her case in 1643 after 29 years and, as a result, Lady Anne became one of the wealthiest women in England. She was a great patron of the arts and was known for her generosity and philanthropy. She commissioned many works of art, including the Countess Pillar, which was designed by the renowned architect, Robert Morison.

The Countess Pillar stands 14 feet tall and is made of sandstone. It is decorated with intricate carvings, including Lady Anne’s coat of arms and a Latin inscription that reads “This pillar was erected in the year 1656 by Anne Countess Dowager of Pembroke, Dorset and Montgomery, in memory of her last parting in this place with her good and pious mother, Margaret Countess Dowager of Cumberland, the 2nd of April 1616.”

The pillar also has an inscription, describing the wishes of Lady Anne for money to be given to the poor of the parish in remembrance of her mother.

A flat stone, where these alms were distributed on the anniversary of their final meeting can be seen nearby.

In conclusion, the Countess Pillar is a historic monument that stands as a testament to Lady Anne Clifford’s enduring love for her mother and her commitment to the arts and philanthropy.

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