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clarcana: Family History:

John Clarke 1672-1740

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John's father was Gregory Clarke 1642-1725 of Bungay , Suffolk, a prosperous tanner.

John was the only child of Gregory by his first wife Hannah Belward who died in 1673.


John Clarke was married to Honor Hamond circa 1696. Suckling claims that Honor was the 'daughter and co-heiress of Robert Hamond of Keswick , Norfolk.' The name Honor rippled down the Clarke distaff for several generations. Honor died at Henstead aged 64, and was buried there on the 24th.


ASC makes no comment on the timing of these last three deaths, but an outbreak of disease would seem plausible.


Writes ASC :

This is the John Clarke who inherited the family estates of his second cousin [1] John Clarke, only son of Thomas and Ann Clarke, who died sp in 1686.

From the Davy manuscript collection:

Extract from the Henstead church register beginning 1715. “By the will of Margaret Thorne, widow, late of Henstead, deceased, £5 given, the interest of which to be distributed yearly amongst the poor of the said parish. This sum committed to the trust of Mr. John Clarke, senior, 3rd of November 1721.”

In the Suffolk poll returns for 1702 the only name mentioned for Henstead, is that of John Clarke.

He left by will, the sum of £10, the interest to be distributed yearly amongst the poor of Henstead.

Extract from the Henstead register. Davy manuscript

“Received Mrs Hannah [2] Clarke, executrix of said John Clarke, the paid sum of £10. Martin Johnson.”


The Clarke table monuments at Henstead.
Photo of the old Clarke table monuments at Henstead.

Photo by ASC , circa 1930.

Presumably A. S. Clarke's six feet two inches of height, military bearing, and sternest gaze of disapproval, were unfamiliar to the clergy at St. Mary's , for he felt obliged to inform his readers that -

Before the Parish Church of Henstead underwent extensive - and in my opinion undesirable - restoration in the early 1900's there were several stones marking the graves of early members of the family. These were removed from the interior of the church, without permission, and were placed in the churchyard near the tower at the west end. One such stone near the pulpit, bore the following inscription:-

Here resteth the Body of
Honor Clarke
ye Wife of.
John Clarke, Gent.
who departed this Life
July 21st 1736, aged
64 Years
Here also resteth ye Body of
John Clarke, Gent, Husband
of above said, who departed,
this Life, the 30th March, 1740
aged 68 Years

Beyond the Font there was also a stone covering the resting place of Mary & Frances, daughters of the above. North of this stone again was that already mentioned, to the memory of Anne, the wife of William Pell.

Alas, the Clarke monuments continued to decay in line with the family fortunes. The paling around them was recycled during WWII, and no external text is readable today.