CLARGES, Sir Thomas, 2nd Bt. (1688-1759), of Aston, nr. Stevenage, Herts.
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Family and Education
b. 25 July 1688, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir Walter Clarges, 1st Bt.*, being 2nd s. by his 2nd w., and half-bro. of Robert Clarges*. educ. St. Paul’s sch. m. (1) May 1706, Katherine (d. bef. 1720), da. and coh. of John Berkeley*, 4th Visct. Fitzhardinge [I]; (2) by 1720, Frances (d. 1745), 1s. (d.v.p.), 1 o. da. suc. fa. as 2nd Bt. c.31 Mar. 1706.1
Gent. of privy chamber by 1734–d.2
Clarges’ early marriage to the daughter of one of Queen Anne’s senior Whig courtiers may have struck some as slightly unusual, but it clearly did not detract from the Tory views he absorbed from his family and their milieu. Among his own associates he could count such eminent Tory publicists as his brother-in-law Anthony Hammond*, and Dean Swift. When in 1711 Hammond wished to be relieved of his post as commissioner of the navy, Hammond’s brother James sought the views of their mutual friend Hon. James Brydges*, the army paymaster, suggesting that approaches might be made to Secretary St. John (Henry II*) and George Granville*, the secretary at war, with a view to appointing Clarges as Hammond’s replacement. The proposition came to nothing, however, probably because of Clarges’ youth and inexperience in public business. But Granville seems not to have forgotten Clarges’ political aspirations, for it was apparently through Granville’s intercession as the government’s manager of Cornish boroughs that Clarges entered Parliament for Lostwithiel in 1713. In the Worsley list of the 1713 Parliament he was marked as an undeviating Tory. In ecclesiastical matters he appears as staunchly Anglican. On 6 July 1714 he served as teller against a motion supported by other Tories, including William Shippen*, imposing on the Lords bill against popery a clause to allow Catholics owning advowsons to sell them to Anglicans ‘for valuable considerations’. The precise circumstances of the division are unclear, but it would appear that Clarges disapproved of the retention of Church livings in the hands of papists. Beyond this, no further activity can be credited to him. At the 1715 election the Whig management of the Cornish boroughs evidently precluded his continued representation of Lostwithiel and he did not on this occasion seek re-election elsewhere. He made further attempts to re-enter Parliament in 1722 and 1747, however, standing both times unsuccessfully as a Tory candidate for Westminster, formerly represented by his father. Despite the persistence of his Tory outlook he appears none the less to have been sufficiently acceptable to the Whig establishment to merit appointment as a gentleman of the privy chamber under George II. He had already served in the Middlesex lieutenancy under the Duke of Newcastle since 1716. Clarges died on 19 Feb. 1759, and, as decreed in his will, was buried in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor. His son having predeceased him in 1753, he was succeeded by his only grandson, Thomas†, in the baronetcy and estates, chief of which were the manors he had inherited from his father in the vicinity of Kesteven, Lincolnshire.3
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Andrew A. Hanham
- 1. Kimber and Johnson, Baronetage, ii. 384; Reg. St. Paul’s Sch. 332; Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 46; IGI, London; Clutterbuck, Herts. ii. 250.
- 2. Info. from Prof. R. O. Bucholz.
- 3. Swift Stella ed. Davis, 618, 646; Huntington Lib., Stowe mss 58(9), p. 260, James Hammond to Brydges, 12 Oct. 1711; PCC 85 Arran; S. M. Bond, Monuments of St. George’s Chapel, p. xvi.