CLERKE, (CLARKE), Henry I (1621-81), of Enford, Wilts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



17 May 1661

Family and Education

b. bef. 6 Sept. 1621, 2nd s. of Sir Henry Clarke of Avington, Hants, being 1st s. by 2nd w. Margaret, da. of Richard Percey of Lee Court, Greatham, Hants. m. settlement 7 June 1639 (with £1,000), Isabella, da. of Thomas Warwick, organist of Westminster Abbey, Mdx., at least 5s. 5 other ch. suc. fa. at Enford 1654.1

Offices Held

Major of horse (royalist) by 1646.2

J.p. Wilts. July 1660-d., commr. for assessment Aug. 1660-74, corporations 1662-3, loyal and indigent officers 1662, capt. of militia 1661-?71; freeman, Winchester by 1663, Portsmouth 1675; sub-commr. of prizes, Bristol 1672-3; commr. for recusants, Wilts. 1675; receiver of recusant forfeitures, Norf., Suff., Cambs. and Hunts. 1680-d.3


Four generations of Clerke’s family had served the crown, and in the Civil War his father’s royalist sympathies were unquestionable, but timely advances to the county committee averted sequestration, ‘which saddens the well-affected’. Clerke himself was in arms, finishing the war as a major of horse at the surrender of Oxford, and compounded on his own discovery for clothes and horses worth £30, £100 out on loan and his expectations in Enford, which had been settled on him at his marriage with the sister of Sir Philip Warwick. He was ‘in no manner engaged in the latter war’, and went abroad in 1649, but returned on his father’s death, and ‘on a glimmering of hope’ took part in Penruddock’s rising in association with the 1st Lord Rochester. He was tried for his life, but, to the attorney-general’s chagrin, Warwick’s brother-in-law, a barrister, came down from London to defend him, and he was acquitted, though not released until the following year, and then only on heavy bail. Clerke may have enjoyed Lady Rochester’s interest at Great Bedwyn at the general election of 1661. There was a double return, but Clerke was allowed to take his seat, and no further report was made. He is known to have served on the committee for the uniformity bill and seven others, but probably most of the references in the Journals are to George Clerke. His chief concern was to provide for his large family, for which his income, estimated at £800 p.a. in 1667, was insufficient. One son obtained a post in the alienations office, another became a barrister and a third a don. Clerke’s name appears on both lists of the court party in 1669-71, and on the King’s instructions he was given a pension of £400 p.a. on the excise by 1675. He received the government whip in September, and he was named on the working lists and in Wiseman’s account in December. Shaftesbury marked him ‘thrice vile’, and in A Seasonable Argument he was described as ‘an indigent commissioner of the prizes, [with] a place in the customs house at Bristol worth £200 p.a.’. This last appointment cannot be confirmed, though he may have been given a temporary appointment as compensation for the suppression of the prize office in 1673. He probably handed over the Enford property to his son Henry Clerke II about the same time, when his name ceased to appear on the assessment commissions. He was again noted as a court supporter in both lists in 1678.4

It is not known whether Clerke stood at the first election of 1679. He was named as a pensioner by (Sir) Stephen Fox in the first Exclusion Parliament, and in July was reported to have ‘spent highly’ at Bedwyn without much prospect of regaining his seat. In June 1680 he was appointed receiver of recusants’ estates in East Anglia, but died in the following year.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: John. P. Ferris


  • 1. Wilts. Arch. Mag. xxiii. 336; Vis. Hants. (Harl. Soc. lxiv), 189; CSP Dom. 1656-7, p. 2; 1671-2, p. 53; Wilts. N. and Q. ii. 534; Al. Ox. 282, 284, 285.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1654, f. 114.
  • 3. Hoare, Wilts. Salisbury 449; Winchester corp. assembly bk. 5, f. 1; R. East, Portsmouth Recs. 362; CSP Dom. 1671-2, p. 53; 1673, p. 594; Cal. Treas. Bks. vi. 583.
  • 4. G. N. Godwin, Civil War in Hants, 73, 339; Cal. Comm. Comp. 104-5; Wilts. Arch. Mag. xxvi. 357; SP23/74, f. 962; SP23/215/420-3; Thurloe, iii. 308, 371; CSP Dom. 1656-7, p. 2; 1671-2, p. 53; 1673, p. 594; Hoare, Repertorium Wiltonense, 16.
  • 5. HMC Ormonde, n.s. iv. 518; HMC Finch, ii. 55; Cal. Treas. Bks. vi. 583; vii. 207.