CLIVE, Ralph (c.1520-82), of Walford, Salop.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Oct. 1553

Family and Education

b. c.1520, 4th s. of Richard Clive (d.1562) of Huxley, Cheshire and Styche, by Margaret (d.1572/73), da. of Sir Richard Corbet of Moreton Corbet. m. Dorothy da. and h. of Thomas Kynaston of Walford, 4s. 4da.1

Offices Held


Little has come to light on the 16th-century members of the Shropshire family of Clive, so famous two centuries later. Ralph Clive’s mother came from one of the most influential families in the county, and he married a local heiress who brought him a small estate to the north of Shrewsbury. His return for a Cornish borough in the first Parliament of Mary’s reign was apparently his only incursion into public life, and remains mysterious. His Corbet relations owned some property in Cornwall and one of them, Roger Corbet, had used this interest to sit for Truro in the Parliament of 1529, but the property concerned lay far away from West Looe. In 1553 Clive’s cousin Reginald Corbet was a man of influence, and he may have approached some Cornish colleagues at the Middle Temple to obtain Clive’s election; Corbet himself, Sir Rowland Hill his father-in-law, and several other kinsfolk sat in Parliament with Clive. Bishop Veysey of Exeter, who in the autumn of 1553 was restored to his see, had a midland background, and through his presidency of Mary’s council as princess, he knew several of Clive’s connexions. Clive may even have been known, through a brother Robert employed in the Exchequer, to the lord treasurer, William Paulet, Marquess of Winchester, who was related to the powerful Arundells of Lanherne. Clive was chosen with Alexander Nowell, whose return was declared invalid, but there was evidently no doubt about his own Membership, and his acquiescence in the restoration of Catholicism suggests that he was not of Nowell’s religious persuasion.2

In May 1564 Clive acted as a feoffee to use for Reginald Corbet, and seven years later he wrote to the bailiffs of Shrewsbury about some counterfeit money. He made his will on 4 Jan. 1582, providing for all his children and remembering the poor at Boscobel and Ruyton and scholars at the two universities. He also left his eldest son all his swans and household goods at Walford, unless his wife was restored ‘unto some memory’. He reminded his executors, who included his nephew Richard Barker, that his account book would be found with the will in his chest, and commended his soul to Christ, believing that he would be ‘one of God’s elect’. On the following 21 July he amended the provision for his daughter Susan in anticipation of her marriage and struck out his youngest son and a kinsman Sir George Calverley. Clive died not long afterwards as his will was proved on 1 Nov.3

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Alan Harding


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from eldest brother’s age at fa’s i.p.m., C142/146/63, 64. Ormerod, Cheshire, ii. 799, 801; Vis. Salop (Harl. Soc. xxix), 294; Vis. Cheshire (Harl. Soc. xviii), 66; PCC 33 Peter, 41 Tirwhite.
  • 2. DNB (Nowell, Alexander; Veysey, John).
  • 3. CPR, 1563-6, p. 134; HMC 15th Rep. X, 123; PCC 41 Tirwhite.