Graphic representing this web site Genealogy:

Charles Clarke 1795-1857

A graphic denoting the subject of this page.

Birth of Charles Clarke

Charles was born on 29 Jul 1795 in Gorleston , then in Suffolk, to Charles Clarke (1767–1835), a shipmaster, and Anne Knights, daughter of John Knights of Burgh Castle , Suffolk. According to ASC the Knights family originated from Bobbing in Kent. I have not verified this.


Alfred Inigo Fox.
A silhouette of Alfred Inigo Fox.

Charles Clarke met Alfred Inigo Fox whilst they were at Cambridge. He married Charles' cousin Lucy Clementina Clarke in 1816.

A sketch of Charles Clarke.
An early sketch of Charles Clarke, abt 1820.

Perhaps aged 21, he was seldom as happy as he looks here.

After attending Fauconberge School, Blyburgate, Beccles , Charles entered Caius College, Cambridge in November 1813. There he read divinity and mathematics [1] , reaching the level of 7th. wrangler . He graduated in 1820.

From 1816 until 1818 Charles maintained a diary in which he records his daily life. A full transcription may happen some day, but this entry for 1817 is of interest. Charles learns that his only sibling, Mary Ann, is better, but she dies.

The next mention is of his friend Alfred Inigo Fox , whose maternal grandfather, Robert Suckling, left a Will stipulating that Alfred would inherit the Suckling family estates only if he changed his surname to Suckling. Alfred wrestled with his conscience for perhaps several seconds before persuading Parliament to pass an act legitimizing the change [2] .

I could not understand why Charles' mother and his fiancé kept him away from the Christening of Fox's firstborn until I started to research Robert Alfred John Suckling (1842-1917): a grandson of Alfred Inigo. An account of the team he led at the church of St. Alban in Holborn reveals the extent to which the ecumenical views of the Sucklings departed from Anglican tradition. Anne's concern may have been for Charles' reputation.

Lastly, Charles claims to have read what must have been an early draft of Alfred's book: The History and Antiquities of the County of Suffolk A University student today likely spends the bulk of her time in lectures, online, and, possibly, the teaching laboratory. The activities recorded by Charles in his diary show that most of his day is with books. Eight hours is typical, but ten or even twelve is nothing to him.

When it did eventually appear in print, Alfred's Magnum opus weighed in at over 400 pages for volume 1 alone. Perhaps Charles is talking about chapters from that. So there it is. You have completed a first attempt at your life's work. Your first daughter is named Lucy. What next? Time to be considered having 'come of age', perhaps.

Another subject of frequent mention is Chapman's fee. Even at this early age, Charles experiences some difficulty opening his wallet. These payments, although supplied by his father, are all accounted for. The relationship between Chapman and Charles is sometimes rather frosty.

On his sight-seeing days out in town, Charles does not care to take a carriage anywhere. It's cheaper to walk; except that he gets through shoe leather rather quickly. No need for new shoes, though. He has patches cobbled onto the old ones.


Anne: wife of Charles.
Anne (Browne) Clarke: wife of Charles.

Studio of Thomas Ayers, Yarmouth. Likely taken after the death of Charles so, perhaps, circa 1860.

Charles was married on 21 Sep 1820 in Cringleford , Norfolk, to Anne Browne , the daughter of Alexander Browne of Hassingham in Norfolk.

Abstract of Marriage Settlement of Anne Clarke nee Browne

Abridgement by ASC .

This indenture of three parts made the 19th day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty between Charles Clarke the younger of Henstead in the County of Suffolk Bachelor of Arts scholar of Gonville and Caius College in the University of Cambridge of the first part Anne Browne of Cringleford in the County of Norfolk spinster of the second part and William Unthank [3] of Higham in the County of the City of Norwich Gentleman John Johnson Tuck [4] of Witton in the said County of Norfolk Gentleman Alfred Inigo Fox of Mettingham in the said County of Suffolk Clerk and William Creasy Ewing [5] of Cringleford in the said County of Norfolk Gentleman of the third part whereas a marriage is intended shortly to be solemnised between the said Charles Clarke and Anne Browne and whereas the said Anne Browne is possessed of Four Thousand Pounds part of the capital or joint stock of Navy 5 percentum annuities ... and by virtue of a cordacil to the last will and testament of Alexander Browne Gentleman her late father deceased bearing date the 26th May 1818 she is entitled to the sum of £500 payable to her after the death of Elizabeth Browne widow her Mother and which is thereby charged on the Rectory impropriate of Ilketshall St Andrew in the said County of Suffolk ... the said Anne Browne is also possessed of other personal estate of the value of £1500 ... and whereas by virtue of the last Will and Testament of Ann Neave bearing date 27th of June 1799 the said Charles Clarke is entitled to the sum of £900 ... and to the sum of £500 both to become payable after the death of Anne Clarke his Mother ... Also to £2100 by virtue of the last will and testament of Nathaniel Knights bearing date 12th of October 1794 and by virtue of a certain Indenture bearing date 24th of June 1803 between William Browne Gentleman of the first part Charles Clarke shipmaster and Ann his wife of the second part and Richard Dreyer [6] Clerk Thomas Baker Clerk and Samuel Clarke Gentleman of the third part ... the above mentioned sums to form a trust fund or marriage settlement for Anne Clarke, wife of Charles Clarke the younger

If you have heard enough about the Regency rolling in it then good news: Poland has been invaded. The arrival of WW2 and direct hits by the Luftwaffe onto ASC's automotive business in Clapham means that his genealogical notes come to an end right here, and were never to be resumed. His project had begun as a way to occupy his time during the depression of the 30's. After Reichskanzler Hitler began his project [7] , nobody had time for the nabobs of Norwich, nor would have for the next 45 years and RGSC's retirement.

The premature end of this transcription denies us little, perhaps. It was in the nature of most marriage settlements that they were mainly about money. Although this sounds like an arranged marriage, Charles' diaries suggest otherwise. However, did Charles love Anne or her dowry? His father, Captain Charles Clarke , was a huge fan of coverture . Wedding bells may ring but a Clarke hears only the chink of coin. Further clues follow.


The astronomer James South (1785-1867)
A studio portrait of a seated James South in later life, with a dog on his lap.

Studio of F. Joubert, Bayswater, London W.

Anne and three of her sons.
A studio portrait of a seated Anne Clarke with three of her sons. From left: Richard John (1833), James South (1825) and William Welham Clarke (1829).

With Anne, Charles had five daughters and six sons, who were brought up in the Rectory at Hulver. Unusually for the time, all survived into adulthood, although Elizabeth Martha died aged 21 from a cerebral aneurism. His sons tended to experience unrest with life in East Anglia and preferred overseas posts, even in conditions that resulted in their early deaths. The daughters married local gentry or men from the professions. The oldest lived child was the first, Mary Anne, who reached the age of 83.

Charles' second son was named James South in tribute to the ¢19 astronomer, James South. 'South' was still in use as a forename by the Clarke family into the ¢20. Alexander Browne was the name of Anne's father. Welham is named after Charles' grandmother. The Welham-Clarke family is extant. Edward Knights acknowledges Charles' maternal line.


Charles diary entry 14th Jun 1818.
Showing Charles diary entry 14th Jun 1818.

' The Magdalen ' was a refuge for 'fallen women' (a section of the poor of much concern to the Clergy).

Charles' home in Hulver.
The county of Norfolk described at Wikipedia. Norfolk The North Sea described at Wikipedia. The Hundred of Blything described at Wikipedia. Blything The Hundred of Mutford and Lothingland described at Wikipedia. Mutford and Lothingland The Hundred of Wangford described at Wikipedia. Wangford The Hundred of Hoxne described at Wikipedia. The Hulver Street Rectory as it is now used.

Three of Suffolk's 'Hundreds' meet where Charles lived.

After Wikipedia .

In 1822 Charles Clarke was ordained as a priest in the Church of England. In 1824 he was appointed Stipendiary Curate for the Parish of Mutford in Suffolk. He ministered at the church of St. Mary in Henstead for the remainder of his life.

Writes his grandson, A. S. Clarke (in 1939) -

It would seem as if a man with his talent for mathematics, was rather thrown away in a country parsonage! However, he probably led the sort of life he wanted, which is more than most people can say in these more strenuous days!

It is related of him that once in the time of a drought, one of his parishioners, meeting him in the village, asked if he would say a prayer for rain the following Sunday. To which request he replied "I will if you wish it, though I don't suppose it will do much good!"

Charles's mathematical skills were not left completely unused. Firstly, he formed a close association with the astronomer James South with whose computations Charles gave assistance. Charles's second son was named after James South, and use of the forename 'South' continued into the 20th century.

Secondly, Charles presented written evidence to a Westminster Commitee examining the operation of the ' Poor Laws '. His preface reads -

My Lords and Gentlemen,

I beg to send you a comparison of the management of the poor, and of its effects, in three adjacent hundreds in this county.

As a guardian of the poor in each of those hundreds, I have had opportunities of acquainting myself with their administration of the Poor Laws; which opportunities have not been diminished by acting as a magistrate for the district during the last few months [8] .

Residing also at their junction, and being an occupier, and therefore a ratepayer, in each of them, my attention has been for some time directed to the subject; and the above circumstances have enabled me to ascertain the effects of the systems respectively adopted on the morals and industry of the working class.

Hulver , near Beccles, Suffolk, January 1834.

I have etc
Charles Clarke.

There follows a toe-curling barrage of Gradgrindian statistical fact about the expenditure of his rates, up to, and including, what is served at breakfast, lunch and supper. If, despite your impoverishment, you have taken a bath today then rest assured; the expense of that too is recorded by Charles. A Christmastime caller at the Rectory, rattling a collection tin under his nose, would be asked nothing about Workhouses. Charles knows in minute detail exactly what each is costing him.

Leisure interests.

As suggested by ASC , Charles became a man of the cloth as much because of the life-style it afforded as he did through religious conviction. He ministered in Henstead because he could. Peers such as Alfred Inigo Fox, Sterling Moseley Westhorp and Sotherton Nathaniel Micklethwait trod similar paths.

The following essay was written on by Daphne Clarke for her adult education class. It describes what Charles and his contemporaries might have wanted in the garden.


Rose variety Country Parson .
Photo of the yellow rose variety Country Parson.

Not grown by Charles. It cost more than four pence.

One hundred and sixty-two years ago to-day, Great-Grandfather Clarke was planting ranunculus in his Suffolk garden. The entry in his diary for the 25th February, 1818, reads:

Planted 102 ranunculus which Mr. Banham sent me, according to his directions.

He was just one of the many ordinary people who were busy cultivating their gardens while the illustrious pioneers were acquiring new plants from abroad and new knowledge at home: and his diaries have bequeathed to his family a personal picture of life in Regency England. He was destined for the Church, and like many of his fellow-clergymen, was evidently interested in gardening and agriculture. The diary records only one visit to the Botanical Gardens while he was at Cambridge, but on his return home, the garden occupied much of his time. During one week in January, 1817, for example, he made the following entries:

John [9] went to Beccles for the trees from Mackay's this morning but could not plant them as the wind was too high. The standards very good plants: did not like the dwarfs so much.

Planted nineteen cherry trees myself in the garden this day - 10 Caroons; 4 May Dukes; 4 Black Hearts; and 1 White Heart.

(The last three varieties are still to be found in modern catalogues.)

Planted some gooseberry and currant bushes.

A flyer for Shakespeare's play Macbeth.
Scan of flyer for Shakespeare's Macbeth.

The cast was led by Edmund Kean. Charles Clarke most likely attended the performance.

The following year he planted his hundred and two ranunculus, of which, in 1792, there were reputed to be upwards of eight hundred kinds, and which were grown to an enormous extent by the old Florists, whose societies antedated our modern horticultural societies and provided the latter with a great deal of useful experience.

A colony of Flemish weavers held a florists' feast in Norwich in 1637, and it is probable that from there the love of flowers spread to other manufacturing centres all over the country. The artisan florists were dedicated, industrious men administering their societies with ability and proficiency. They studied the cultivation and propagation of their chosen flower in great detail, and set out rigid rules of size, colour, configuration and pattern by which it should be judged. Some of these rules were very arbitrary, and any plants that did not conform to them were discarded, although many of these rejects would be regarded as beautiful nowadays. However, they set standards and gained experience of organisation for which the Royal Horticultural Society must have been grateful when it was founded in 1804.

One of the most famous was the Paisley Society, the majority of whose members were weavers. Writing towards the end of the eighteenth century, a clergyman of that town declared that

The attention to flowers which is so conspicuous there, is in a particular degree an effort of the peculiar manufacturing habits of the people. It is well known that, not only for the execution of the most delicate ornamental muslins, but for the invention of patterns, the operative manufacturers of Paisley stand unrivalled. Their ingenuity is continually in exertion for new and pleasing elegancies to diversify their fabrics. Now, where such habits obtain, the rearing of beautiful flowers, which is an object very congenial to them, will easily be adapted, and pursued as a favourite amusement. On the other hand, it seems highly probable that the rearing of flowers, by a reaction, must tend to improve the genius for invention in elegant fancy muslins. The florists of Paisley have long been noted for the peacefulness of their dispositions, and the sobriety of their manners. The Florists' Club not only represses all irregularities at its weekly meetings, which dismiss at ten in the evening; but it would erase from its lists any disreputable name. It is pleasing to think, that not only the attachment of individuals to the culture of beautiful flowers, but the association of persons possessing this taste, seems to be favourable to social order.

Dean Hole, another cleric, whose experience of them prompted him to form the National Rose Society , often judged the exhibits at the shows held by the Florists' Societies.

I have always believed that the happiness of mankind may be increased by encouraging that love of a garden, that love of the beautiful, which is innate in us all. Get a man out of the dram and beer shops into the fresh pure air, ... give him an occupation which will add to his health and the comforts of his family, instead of destroying both, then build Revealed upon Natural Religion, and hope to see him a Christian.

After planting his ranunculus, Charles Clarke sowed the early peas Mr. Lincoln had given him. Then:

Set out my pipings of pinks and carnations in the little garden; and bought three layers of carnations at Mr. Penn's, at 4d. each.

Pinks were supreme favourites in the manufacturing districts and had an intense attraction for the working people. In 1767, only twelve sorts are listed, but in the early years of the nineteenth century Pinks were cultivated everywhere, and the Paisley Floral Society could show 70 or 80 of the most choice varieties at their shows. There was great rivalry and keen competition between the artisan growers of London, Manchester and Paisley.

4th March:

Planted the strawberries at the upper end of the garden - 3 rows of Hautboys.

This variety can no longer be found in catalogues: although it is defined in a modern dictionary as a large kind of strawberry. And it may be recalled that Hautboy was the variety discussed by the strawberry-picking party delineated with such enviable economy by Jane Austen in "Emma," published two years prior to this entry in the diary.

The best fruit in England - everybody's favourite - always wholesome. These the finest beds and finest sorts. Delightful to gather for oneself - the only way of really enjoying them. Morning decidedly the best time - never tired - every sort good hautboy infinitely superior no comparison - the others hardly eatable - hautboys very scarce - Chili preferred white wood finest flavour of all - price of strawberries in London - abundance about Bristol Maple Grove - cultivation - beds when to be renewed - gardeners thinking exactly different no general rule - gardeners never to be put out of their way - delicious fruit - only too rich to be eaten much of - inferior to cherries - currants more refreshing - only objection to gathering strawberries the stooping glaring sun - tired to death - could bear it no longer must go and sit in the shade.

It is doubtful whether Charles Clarke would have appreciated this particular cameo, for on the 21st June, 1817, he records:

Read a novel called 'Sense and Sensibility' - not worth reading.

An opinion shared, alas, by both his Great-Grandson and his Great-Great Grandson [10] . In any case, he was far too busy sowing his dahlias (another Florists' favourite); Scotch Fir seeds; French apple pips; and numerous vegetables, such as cauliflowers, Swedes, Scarlet runners, kidney beans, lettuces, cucumbers, radishes, mustard and cress.

At the time these diaries were being written, Humphry Repton, another native of East Anglia, was still alive. The return to flower gardens as a decorative feature within sight of the house was becoming apparent during the first decade of the nineteenth century, and Repton indulged this taste at places like Woburn and Ashridge. Not all the flowers grown by every-day Regency folk were considered suitable for stately homes. John Claudius Loudon, writing of the Auricula, said:

It is like the Tulip, Pink, etc., a poor man's flower, and a fine blow is rarely seen in the gardens of the nobility and gentry.

Nevertheless, Repton must surely have been gratified to have at his disposal such a comprehensive and distinguished choice of plants with which to restore to the hitherto unadorned parks, gardens and London squares the flowers and shrubs which the professional and working classes had done so much to foster and improve.


The Diaries of Charles Clarke. 1816-1818.
British Garden Flowers , by George M. Taylor.
Humphry Repton , by Kay N. Sanecki.


Charles Francis Clarke (1827-1862)
Photo showing Captain C. F. Clarke in Union Army uniform.

When Charles asked his father for money, he may have used this very cap.

Charles Clarke died from angina on , at the Rectory , Hulverstreet, aged 61. By that date he had seven grandchildren. The following is addressed to Charles' eldest son, Alexander -


With feelings of the greatest respect and unfeigned sorrow, I am requested by a large number of influential gentlemen of Beccles, and the neighbouring parishes, to request that they, with myself, may be allowed to attend the obsequies of your late lamented and highly esteemed Father. I speak the sentiments of all, when I say our desire to follow him to the grave approaches more the feelings of afflicted children to a dear and honoured parent, than to those of men mourning the loss of a common friend and neighbour. So deeply and sincerely was he respected and beloved, that no other manner of testifying our great grief and regret at such an irreparable loss, appears to commensurate with the mournful occasion. Without wishing to intrude too much at this moment, may I beg you to be kind enough to favour us with the wishes of yourself and family, as early as possible.

I am, Sir, yours very faithfully

George Fenn , mayor,


January 10th 1857

By then, Charles' son, Charles Francis, had absconded to the American West, but Frank's plans ran into difficulties, forcing him to seek financial support from his father. His letter is worded as might be any that sought blood from a stone. The other sons were almost as desperate to flee East Anglia, desk jobs, and Charles. Edward was in Australia. Richard and William were in India. Should we blame them?

Anne, sold the Mutford estate in 1858 and that at Henstead in 1859. The properties together realised £16,000. She went to live in Bergh Apton (where Charles' uncle Samuel 'Turnips' Clarke had farmed for several years), until her own death in 1873. Anne was also buried at Henstead.