CLERKE, Francis I (c.1665-91), of Ulcombe, Kent and Restoration House, Rochester

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1690 - by Sept. 1691

Family and Education

b. c.1665, 1st s. of Sir Francis Clerke† of Ulcombe and Rochester by his 2nd w. Elizabeth, da. and h. of John Cage of Brightwell Court, Bucks., and wid. of John Hastings of Woodlands, Dorset.  educ. Magdalen Coll. Oxf., matric. 10 Nov. 1681, aged 16; M. Temple 1683, called 1688. unmsuc. fa. 1686 or half-bro. 1687.1

Offices Held

?Cornet indep. tp. horse 1685.2


Both Clerke’s father and grandfather were lawyers, so it was natural that as the son of a second marriage he, too, should gravitate towards the law. Having entered the Middle Temple he appears to have broken off his studies in June 1685 to volunteer against Monmouth, since a ‘Francis Clerke’ was listed as a cornet of horse. The death, in quick succession, of his father and half-brother, John, enabled him to take control of Ulcombe and his family’s political interest in Rochester. For all that his father had been a staunch Tory, Clerke’s own attitude to the Revolution of 1688 is unknown, and he did not stand for election to the Convention of 1689. In 1690 he defeated Sir John Banks, 1st Bt.*, who, although also a Tory, was the Clerke family’s old rival for the parliamentary seat. Clerke’s own Toryism was implied by his description as ‘indifferent’ by Edward Harley*, his contemporary at the Temple. Other commentators may have been confused by his victory over Banks; thus, although the Marquess of Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) marked Clerke as a possible Court supporter in March 1690, he failed to categorize him by party. In December 1690, faced with a need to identify allies in case he was attacked in the Commons, Carmarthen again could not decide Clerke’s position with any certainty. To compound matters, in April 1691 Robert Harley* classed Clerke as a Country supporter, although this was modified by the letter ‘d’, which may of course indicate ‘dead’. Clerke may have spoken on 24 Apr. in the debate over the alterations made in the London lieutenancy, but the ‘Mr Clarke’ referred to by Grey was probably Edward Clarke I*. Clerke died during the summer recess of 1691, making his will on 23 June, when he described himself as ‘weak in soul and body’, but it was not proved until September. His Kentish estates ultimately passed to Gilbert Clarke, second son of Sir Gilbert Clarke*. Restoration House was bought by William Bokenham*.3

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Stuart Handley


  • 1. Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. liv), 36; PCC 93 Lloyd, 46 Exton.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1685, p. 209.
  • 3. Add. 70014, Edward to Sir Edward Harley*, 22 Feb. 1689–90; Grey, x. 73; PCC 128 Vere; Hasted, Kent, v. 392; Arch. Cant. xiv. 119.