MORE, Sir Cleave, 2nd Bt. (1664-1730), of Bank Hall, Walton, Lancs.
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Family and Education
b. 5 Mar. 1664, 5th but 1st surv. s. of Sir Edward More, 1st Bt., of Bank Hall by Dorothy, da. and coh. of Sir William Fenwick of Meldon, Northumb. educ. Westminster; Christ Church, Oxf. 1682. m. 1691, Anne, da. and h. of John Edmunds of Cumberlow, Herts., 1s. suc. fa. as 2nd Bt. Oct. 1678.1
Settled in Lancashire since the 13th century, More’s ancestors acquired extensive estates in and around Liverpool, and from the 14th century were prominent members of the corporation. More’s grandfather was the parliamentary diarist John Moore, MP for Liverpool from 1640 until his death in 1650. An Independent and colonel in the parliamentary army, Moore’s exertions on behalf of Parliament led him to accumulate a debt of £10,000 by his death, and, although More’s father lived in great style at Bank Hall and maintained extensive holdings in Liverpool, the estate was heavily encumbered with debts. More’s elder brothers died of smallpox in 1672, but when he, as the next survivor, inherited from his father in 1678 the estates were still in serious financial disorder. Since the 1670s the family estates had been mortgaged to More’s distant kinsman Sir John Moore†, a wealthy London merchant, and by 1691 More’s debt amounted to £12,650. He was later to claim that in the 1690s his estates were worth £30,000 after encumbrances. The parlous state of his finances is indicated by his marriage in 1691 to a Hertfordshire heiress, undertaken without her father’s consent and in the hope that he should have ‘her portion in expectation rather than in possession’.2
More attempted to use his extensive Liverpool estates to obtain a borough seat at the by-election in 1694, but failed ignominiously. Even his former tutor, the vicar of Walton, Thomas Marsden, wrote that ‘I should hate myself if the notion of a landlord should rob me of a principle of honesty. I shall not desert worthy Mr Brotherton [Thomas*] for such a useless spark’, and More desisted before the poll. His financial situation deteriorated further in the later 1690s, leading to disputes between More and Moore, and it seems likely that it was these problems which, in 1698, led More to obtain permission from Liverpool corporation to open two new streets in what was Old Hall, the Mores’ old residence at the north end of town. More stood against (Sir) William Norris at Liverpool in January 1701, but was comprehensively defeated, and his subsequent petition was not reported from the elections committee. His financial position did not improve, and following Sir John Moore’s death in 1702 More became involved in a legal battle with Moore’s cousin and executor, John Moore, over the mortgaged Liverpool estates. Nevertheless, More stood at Bramber in 1708, a notoriously corrupt and expensive borough, and though defeated at the poll, was declared elected by the Commons on 15 Jan. 1709. Early in 1709 he voted for the naturalization of the Palatines, but most of his brief parliamentary career was spent furthering a project to provide Liverpool with a water supply. In 1705 More had obtained permission to supply Liverpool with fresh water from the ‘copious springs’ on his estates, but a previous grant by the corporation, in 1695, of the right to establish a waterworks meant that More’s scheme required an Act of Parliament. His petition for such a bill, supported by the corporation, was presented on 2 Feb. 1710 and, with the support of Sir Robert Eden, 1st Bt., and the two Liverpool Members (Sir) Thomas Johnson and Richard Norris, the bill passed. More’s shortage of capital, however, prevented implementation of the scheme. He was listed as voting for the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell in February–March 1710, and did not stand at the following election.3
By this time More’s debts were out of control. In desperation he obtained a commission of lunacy against his father-in-law John Edmunds, who was placed in the custody of More’s friend (Sir) Charles Cox*, and despite being separated from his wife, More gained possession of her family’s Hertfordshire estates, said to be worth over £1,400 p.a. Edmunds, described as ‘very loyal and active in all elections’, was defended by Hertfordshire’s country gentlemen, and an appeal to the lord chancellor resulted in the commission of lunacy being quashed on the grounds that it had been obtained thanks to false testimony by bribed servants. More published a vindication of himself in a vain attempt to clear his name, but his hopes of recovering his financial position collapsed with the release of Edmunds. In 1712 he came to an agreement with John Moore to repay, on or before 29 Sept. 1714, the £15,000 mortgage which still lay upon his estates, but, in May 1714, as the payment date approached, he complained that he needed more time to raise the money to fulfil ‘that unreasonable agreement with Mr J. Moore’, an agreement made only because ‘necessity forced me’. It seems that More was unable to find sufficient funds, and by 1717 preparations were under way to sell his Lancashire estates. This did not take place, however, until 1725, when most of the estates were bought by the 10th Earl of Derby (James Stanley*). More died at St. Anne’s, Aldersgate, in London on 3 Mar. 1730.4
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Richard Harrison
- 1. IGI, Lancs.
- 2. M. F. Keeler, Long Parliament, 277; Trans. Hist. Soc. Lancs. and Cheshire cxxiv. 32–43; Liverpool RO, Moore mss 920MOO 1880, Thomas Marsden to Sir John Moore, 2 Mar. 1679[–80]; HMC 10th Rep. IV, 137; The Apology or Vindication of Sir Cleave Moore (1711), 4; The Commons 1660–90, i. 288–90.
- 3. HMC Kenyon, 284; Norris Pprs. (Chetham Soc. ser. 1, ix), 50; Moore mss 920MOO 1943, 2108, Daniel Lawton to John Moore, 31 Aug. 1697, 4 Mar. 1702[–3]; 2097, S. Edmonds to same, 21 June 1702; Liverpool RO, Norris mss 920NOR 1/65, Daniel Lawton to Richard Norris, 13 Dec. 1700; The Case of the Bramber Election 1 May 1708; J. Picton, Liverpool Mun. Recs. 1700–1835, pp. 25–28.
- 4. Add. 70421, newsletter 8 June 1710; Apology or Vindication of Sir Cleave More; Moore mss 920MOO 2138, agreement, 3 June 1712; 2141, More to Mr Martin, 16 May 1714; 2147, covenant, 6 Dec. 1717; E. Moore, Liverpool in King Charles II’s Time, p. xxx; VCH Lancs. iii. 38.