CLIVE, Richard (c.1693-1771), of Styche Hall, nr. Market Drayton, Salop.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



21 Nov. 1759 - Apr. 1771

Family and Education

b. c. 1693,1 3rd but 1st surv. s. of George Clive of Styche by Elizabeth Amphlett of Four Ashes, Salop. m. Rebecca, da. and coh. of Nathaniel Gaskell of Manchester, 6s. 7da.

Offices Held

Bankruptcy commr. 1758 (?).


Richard Clive, of old Shropshire gentry and a descendant of Robert Clive, who sat for Bridgnorth in the Long Parliament, was a first cousin of Sir Edward Clive, M.P., a distinguished judge and a friend of Hardwicke’s. Himself an attorney in the City, he had by 1757 practised ‘above thirty years’ in the court of Chancery, without much distinction: it was only his son’s achievements which enabled him, from 1756 onwards, to press Newcastle for ‘some preferment’ in his own profession: the post of registrar of the Excise or of a master in Chancery—‘for that purpose had I encouragement would put on the gown and might be called to the bar next term’.2 All he obtained was a commissionership of bankrupts. Lord Kinnoull wrote about him to Newcastle, 16 Oct. 1758:3

I believe he is an honest, hearty friend to you; but really the extraordinary success of his family seems almost to have overset his mind. It appeared so to people at Buxton this summer where he passed two or three days.

Unable to obtain a commission in the Guards for his son William, Richard Clive wrote to Newcastle on 21 Mar. 1760 with engaging naïvety: ‘I shall be much concerned when the Colonel comes to England (which I expect in a few months) to tell him I cannot prevail to get this young gentleman employed in his Majesty’s service.’4

When Robert Clive started remitting home vast sums of money, his father acted for him: in the joint names of Sir Edward Clive, Richard Clive, William Belchier, an intimate friend of Richard’s, and William Smyth King, £78,750 of Government stock was acquired by subscription in January 1759, and £73,000 in February-March; after Clive’s return, both holdings were transferred to him in March 1761.5

In November 1759 Richard Clive, by then in his middle sixties, was returned to Parliament by Lord Powis at Montgomery, obviously as a compliment to his son; and in the lists of Members in almanacs such as the Court and City Kalendar, Richard usually appears as father of Colonel (later Lord) Clive. No speech of his in the House is recorded; and his few recorded votes follow his son’s line: he voted with the Opposition over Wilkes on 15 Nov. 1763, and again with the Opposition on the Middlesex election, 8 May 1769.

Richard Clive died in April 1771.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. His yr. bro. Benjamin was b. 27 Dec. 1695.
  • 2. See his letter to Newcastle, 14 Jan. 1757, Add. 32870, f. 80.
  • 3. Add. 32884, ff. 397-8.
  • 4. Add. 32903, f. 440. For anecdotes about the ‘old rustic’ (which he was not), see also Horace Walpole to Mann, 7 May 1760, and to Lord Hertford, 29 Dec. 1763.
  • 5. Bank of England recs.