CLARKE, Godfrey Bagnall (c.1742-74), of Sutton, Derbys.
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Family and Education
b. c.1742, 1st s. of Godfrey Clarke by Anne, da. and h. of German Pole of Radbourne, Derbys. educ. Grand Tour (Italy) c.1764. unm. suc. fa. 30 Mar. 1774.
Clarke was a great friend of Gibbon, whom he first met at Lausanne in 1763. Supported by ‘all the Tory gentlemen’ and ‘almost all the leading gentlemen’ in the county,1 he was returned for Derbyshire after a contest in 1768. In Parliament he voted consistently with Opposition, but does not appear to have spoken. In 1774 he was returned without a contest.
On 13 Apr. 1774 Gibbon wrote to J. B. Holroyd:
If my esteem and friendship for Godfrey had been capable of any addition, it would have been very much increased by the manner in which he felt and lamented his father’s death ... He is now in very different circumstances than before; instead of an easy and ample allowance, he has taken possession of a great estate, with low rents and high encumbrances.
Clarke fell ill in August 1774, made a partial recovery in September, but at the end of November was ‘extremely ill’—in ‘very great if not immediate danger’. ‘I know not what to say about him’, Gibbon wrote on 17 Dec., ‘he is reduced to nothing, and his disorder is attended with every bad symptom.’ He died 26 Dec. 1774.
Ref Volumes: 1754-1790
Author: John Brooke
- 1. Ld. Frederick Cavendish to Devonshire, 17 Nov. 1767, Devonshire mss.