The swan used for the Clarke crest and moto Photo of RJC circa 1890.

Richard John Clarke 1833-1911


Richard John Clarke was born on 16th May 1833 at Hulver Hill near Henstead in Suffolk. He was the youngest son of Rev. Charles Clarke, MA, Curate of St. Mary's church Henstead, and Ann Clarke née Browne daughter of Alexander Browne of Cringleford, Norfolk.

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On the 20th June 1855 Richard J. Clarke sailed, together with his brother William, from Southampton for India abord the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company's paddle steamer Indus to take up an appointment with the East India Company. The journey was lengthy and arduous because the Suez Canal did not open until 1869.

He served within the Bengal Presidency on a variety of projects such as railways, under the title of 'Overseer or 3rd Class Engineer, NWP Punjab'.

In common with many of his fellow expatriates, he found the climate during the summer months unendurable and adopted the habit of retiring to the resort of Nainital in the foothills of the Himalayas. Even so, his health suffered and he might, like Willliam, have perished in India had he not returned to Britain where, it transpired, others hazards awaited.

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The Rectory, Hulver Street, Suffolk.
Agra Fort, India
Scan of road fund licence for R.J.Clarke.
Even then, if you wanted to go for a ride you first were taken for one.
3, Apsley Road, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. Apsley Road still exists, but has been redeveloped and no residence is identifiable with this one. If you assumed that the propensity of Chancellors of the Exchequer to clobber the road using public was a modern one then please see this document.
Photo of Lingwood Lodge, Norfolk.
Lingwood Lodge, Lingwood, Norfolk. It is shown here about 1930.
Lingwood Lodge , Lingwood, Norfolk. By the 1980s this offered holiday accommodation.

Photo of Bauleah House, Great Yarmouth.
'Bauleah House', 51, St. Nicholas Road, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. It is shown here about 1970.
Bauleah Cottage, Great Yarmouth. This later became the Bauleah House Hotel. By 2006 it had become a hostel run by the Herring House Trust. Now grade II listed. The name 'Bauleah' appears to derive from Rampur Boalia : the name given during the medieval period to the district in Bengal now known as Rajshahi.

Photo of 19, Northgate Street, Bury St Edmunds.
19, Northgate Street, Bury St Edmunds , Suffolk. It is shown here in 2013.
19, Northgate Street , Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. An east-facing, four-storey, mid-Victorian town house (on the assumption of unchanged house numbering).
Photo of 35, Lewes Road, Eastbourne.
35, Lewes Road, Eastbourne It is shown here about 1920.
35, Lewes Road , Eastbourne; an Edwardian villa built in the style of Norman Shaw . By 2005 this had been converted into a small hotel.

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Family and friends knew them as 'Dick and Bessie'.

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Anon (d. infancy)
William Welham Clarke (1879)
Charles John Clarke (1881)
Mary Augusta Elizabeth Clarke (1883)
Alexander South Clarke (1886)

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The gravestone of Richard John Clarke.
The gravestone of Richard John Clarke, wife Elizabeth and daughter Augusta.

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Battle of Bedfordwell Road

Eastbourne Gazette, 1st November 1911


Aged Gentleman Run Over.


Yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon the East Sussex Coroner (Dr. G. Vere Benson) held an enquiry at the Princess Alice Hospital, into the circumstances surrounding the death of Mr. Richard John Clarke, aged 78, of 35, Lewes-road, who was knocked down by a motor car on Sunday evening.

Mr. Lachlan MacLachlan was chosen foreman of the jury.

Mr. Alexander South Clark, of Westminster, son of deceased, stated that his father was a retired civil engineer. Witness last saw him alive on Sunday, October 23. He was able to go out walking alone, but had been very deaf for a long time. He was so deaf that he would not be able to hear a horn sounded in the street if it were any distance away. Deceased was quite aware of the dangers he experienced while out walking.

Edith Baker, domestic servant, employed at 35, Lewes road, said she had only known deceased a fortnight. About 6.20 on Sunday evening Mr. Clarke went out, saying he would be back at the usual time (8 o'clock).

Dr. A. L Heiser, of The Goffs, deposed that he was in the car with Dr. and Mrs. Briggs, the owner (Mr. Ormrod), Mrs. Heiser and her sister (Mrs. Coussens). Dr. Briggs, witness, and the chauffeur were sitting outside, the car having three seats in front. It was a 28-38- h.p. Lanchester car. They had come from Folkestone. They came up Whitley-road, and drew up to let a number of people go down Lewes road. Upon proceeding up Bedfordwell-road, just before 8 o'clock, the accident occurred about forty yards from Lewes-road. It was raining heavily and blowing hard. Witness saw man under an umbrella coming towards the car and crossing the road diagonally from the left of the, vehicle. The man was not far from the kerb and was about 24ft. from the car. Witness believed it was the sound of the horn which attracted his attention to deceased. The rain was in deceased's face and he held his umbrella in front of him, the handle being held horizontally. The car swerved towards the right and deceased walked on, apparently not noticing it. When in the middle of the road deceased stopped, being only a few yards off the car, and then took several rapid little steps as though the wind had dropped. He did not raise his umbrella. Deceased came right into the car, the end of the umbrella going through the wind screen. The car passed over deceased, but no wheel went over him. Witness thought the front axle hit him.

The Coroner-Can you give us any pace of the car?

Witness - It was about twelve miles an hour when I first noticed deceased. Witness, continuing, said that the car was pulled up, and Dr. Briggs and witness went back and found deceased lying on his side. He was not conscious. The ladies left the car, and deceased was placed in it and taken to the hospital.

By the juror - Deceased was lying about half a length of the car behind the vehicle,

By the Coroner - The driver was quite sober; he had only one glass of claret at luncheon.

Dr Fielden Briggs, of Devonshire-place, who was sitting in the mechanic's seat, said that deceased seemed to be struggling with the wind and rain. Whether it was the wind or the horn he heard, witness could not say, but deceased stopped in the middle of the road and then darted forward.

The Coroner and the jury then viewed the car, and on their return Dr. Briggs said that he did not think that the position in which he was sitting interfered with the driver's view.

George Williams, a painter, of Seaside, who was walking in Bedfordwell-road, and whose attention was directed to the spot by the crash, said that deceased was lying about three yards behind the car.

Joseph Edward Gray, of, Kilburn-terrace, Junction-road, chauffeur to Mr. Ormrod, of The Goffs, stated that he was driving the car. When he first saw deceased he was about twelve yards ahead, and witness, sounded his horn. When deceased stopped, witness thought it was to let him get by, but he came forward and was struck down. Witness had swerved to the right, and he would have had room to pass deceased if he had stopped still. Witness put the pace of the car at from 12 to 14 miles an hour. He attributed his failure to see deceased sooner to the fact that the rain was on the glass screens.

The Coroner - It seems to me that there you have the danger of glass screens.

Mr. A. E. Rook stated that deceased expired twenty minutes after, his admission to the hospital. His injuries included a dislocation of the right shoulder, a deep scalp wound over the right eye, and the fracture of several ribs on both sides.

The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death," and were of opinion that under the circumstances no blame attached to the chauffeur. They also expressed sympathy with the family.

Deceased, Who was twenty years in India, served in the Indian Civil Engineers during the Mutiny, and was one of the besieged for three months in the fort at Agra.

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R J Clarke goes for the Chopin ...

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Eastbourne Chronicle, 4th November 1911


CLARKE - On 29th October, at Eastbourne, suddenly, the result of an accident, Richard John Clarke, late U.S. India, youngest son of the late Rev. C. Clarke M.A., of Henstead, J.P. for the County of Suffolk, aged 78.


The late Mr Richard John Clarke, of 35, Lewes Road, whose sad death through being knocked down by a motor car has evoked widespread sympathy, came to Eastbourne to reside about six years ago. A member of an old Suffolk family he had an active and successful career as a civil engineer under government. It was while occupying this position, which he held for about 20 years that Mr. Clarke passed through the Mutiny in India. He was besieged for three months at Fort Agra.

The deceased gentleman was 78 years of age at the time of his death. Notwithstanding his advanced age Mr. Clarke had been very active and had been in the habit of taking long walks daily in all weathers. Somewhat reserved, perhaps, in manner, Mr. Clarke was at heart a very kindly, affable man, and by all who knew him he was highly esteemed.

The funeral took place on Thursday at Ocklynge. The body reposed in a polished oak coffin, which was almost hidden by beautiful wreaths and other floral tributes. The two eldest sons of the deceased are abroad, and could not, therefore, be present at the internment, where the chief mourners were Mr. A. South Clarke (son), Mrs. Lee-Barber (sister) Mr. Hugh W. Street (son-in-law), Mr. John Smyth (nephew), Mrs. Banks (sister-in-law), Mr. A. Borrett (brother-in-law), Dr. Habgood, Mr W. A. B. Clifton (representing his father, Mr George Clifton, late R.N., H.M.C.S.).

The service was conducted by the Rev. W. P. Jay (Vicar of St. Anne's). A list of the wreaths, crosses etc, is appended :-

Cross. To my dear husband, from his sorrowing wife.
Wreath. In ever loving memory of the best and kindest of fathers, from his devoted children.
Wreath. In loving remembrance, from A. L. Barber and family.
Wreath. With deepest sympathy, from John Smyth (Birmingham).
Wreath. With deepest sympathy, from Henry Smyth (Birmingham).
Wreath. In affectionate remembrance from Mr. and Mrs. Edward Gillett (Norwich).
Wreath. In loving remembrance, from Maggie.
Cross. In ever loving memory, from Mr. and Mrs. R. W. Gillett (Norwich).
In ever loving memory and heartfelt sympathy, Mr. and Mrs. H. H. Hopkins.
Wreath. In sad and in loving memory, from Arthur and Augusta Borrett. "Rest in peace."
Wreath. To dear uncle, with love and sympathy, from Ruth and Ivan.
Wreath. In affectionate remembrance of the best of uncles, Ida.
Deepest sympathy, from Walter, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Dendy.
In ever loving remembrance of uncle Richard, from Miss Clarke, Sydenham.
In affectionate remembrance, from Mrs. C. Banks.
Wreath. Misses Boult and Miss Allen. In affectionate remembrance of our dear, kind friend from all at Northwood, and much sympathy to dear Mrs. Clarke and family.
To the dear and honoured memory of R. J. Clarke Esq. "Crowned with the jewel of a noble life." from Miss S. F. Best, 26 Lansdowne Crescent, Cheltenham.
With kindest sympathy, from Mrs H. Ashburnham Newman and Daisy Newman, Eastbourne.
With deepest sympathy, from the maids at 35, Lewes Road.

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