Any problems with this Magna Carta lineage (to George Clark, farmer of Milford, Connecticut)?

+8 votes

Hi All,             

       After I discovered the baptism records of "farmer" George Clark III (of Milford, Connecticut) and his siblings, at Kimpton, Hertfordshire, I set about documenting a lineage back to Robert de Ros (de Roos) the Magna Carta Surety.  It now seems pretty solid, except there has been some concern expressed about his father (George II) being only 16 years old when he was married in 1610.   However, if the wife of George II was Grace "Lody"/Louday, then they were both about 16 years old, and the wedding took place less than two weeks after the 16th birthday of George Clark II.   And then son George III was baptized about 10 months later.          

       Even more importantly, the discovery that George Clark III was baptized at Kimpton is very significant because the mother of George Clark II (b. 1594), Elizabeth Bristow (b. 1569), was baptized at Kimpton.  George Clark II simply moved back to where his mother originated (just a couple of parishes away).  And over the weekend I discovered Elizabeth Bristow had a brother Phillipp Bristow who actually moved to Walkern (where his nephew George Clark II was married).  For more information, see my comment below (to Joe).  Anyway, below is a preliminary version of farmer George Clark's lineage back to Robert de Ros/de Roos (the Magna Carta Surety):  


Robert de Ros (1171?-1227), Magna Carta Surety.

Sir William de Ros (1193?-1258?)

Sir Robert de Ros (1223?-1285)

Joan de Ros (1262?-1348) md. Sir John Lovel (b. 1252?)

Sir John Lovel (1288-1314)

Isabel Lovel (1310?-    ) md. William Calthorpe

Sir Oliver Calthorpe (1332?-1399)

Sir William Calthorpe (1352?-1420) 

Sir John Calthorpe (1380?-1415)

Sir William Calthorpe (1410-1494)

Anne Calthorpe (1460?-    ) md. Sir Robert Drury 

Elizabeth Drury (1492?-1574) md. Sir Philip Boteler

Sir John Boteler (1514-1576)

Margaret Boteler (1546-1598) md. Nicholas Bristow 

Elizabeth Bristow (1569-1606) md. George Clark I (not II)

George Clark II (not III) (1594-1661)

George Clark III (not IV) (1611-1690)  ( )


WikiTree profile: George Clark
asked in Genealogy Help by Kenneth Kinman G2G6 Mach 4 (45.4k points)
edited by Kenneth Kinman


I did a spot check on some of the profiles on your proposed trail, and all the ones I looked at could use some TLC. I added a link for Richardson's Magna Carta Ancestry as a comment for Joan de Ros as a start for her.

Doug gave a link to the Magna Carta Project page, but also take a look at Base Camp - - you might find the Review Checklist helpful as a guide for editing profiles on your proposed trail.

Cheers, Liz

Thanks Liz,

       I added that to the Sources section.  I have been reluctant to do so in the profiles of people born this early (especially if Project Protected). I agree the such sources are very important, but there are so many "style rules", I sometimes hesitate to try adding sources worrying that I am going to get criticized for not following one of the many style rules.
ah. Yes, that happens. Sorry - I didn't realize you weren't aware of Richardson (he's the "go-to" source for the Magna Carta project) & just posted a link to the online Google book with page number in the comments. If I recall, the suggested format for citing him that's posted on the project pages is a bit different from the one I use. I'll edit it her profile for a full ref. I'll also see if I can find Lewis's entry for her & add a full ref for that too.

Cheers, Liz

P.S. If you add enough info so that someone else can find the same source (be it online or not), you've done good. I've been on WikiTree since 2012 & still get my source citations corrected by others on occasion. But at least the source was there to be corrected <grin>
pps - I should have looked at what you added before I posted. What you added was fine... I have an aversion to "raw" URLs in a profile, so I moved it to be clickable on the page number.

Ken i think you are learning quickly. [you have edited more than me! :)] Formatting issues are easier to fix once an article actually has some clear and believable links and sources. From what i can see so far this descent looks worth polishing up and checking carefully. If it works out ok i have a feeling there will be more than one Magna Carta descent.

13 Answers

+6 votes
Best answer

I see a lot of problems - if I was the profile manager I would disconnect George Clark III's parents at this point. I put the following in a research note in the profile.

William Clarke was lord of the manor of Graveley from 1565/6, succeeded by his son William and then the manor passed to a heiress Elizabeth Clarke who m. George Throckmorton (d.1696). The manor of Chesfield/Chisfield descended with Graveley, although if George really was directly related to William Clarke I don't understand why he wouldn't alienate it to his 2nd son. So if he wasn't a gentleman why was he marrying the da. of a gentleman? BHO Parishes: Graveley

The visitation of 1634 has George Clarke of Walkarne, Herts m. Elizabeth Bristow, his son William (above) m. Frances Bristow (prob. 1st cos, I didn't look for her parents), they had 3 sons William, Nicholas, and Francis, and no Georges; William being the one who had no sons and his da. inheritted. Clarke of Chesfield, Visitation of Herts

The better answer to the age question is there are two George Clarke's who are cousins in the parish or hundred - one is a gentleman's son on the main branch, whose baptismal record you found but prob. died died of the plague or as an infant s.p.since he's not in the visitation. The other is from a cadet branch, and was an illiterate husbandman or yeoman which is why his surname changes spelling on emigration and didn't own any property. Maybe the county has the manor court rolls you could see if George had some copyhold land in Kimpton, Watton-at-Stone or Walkern (I'll look in BHO).

This is yet another example where you have to look at social status with any date evidence. Gentlemen did not get married at age 16. Gentlemen did not raise carpenters or farmers. Gentlemen did not move move constantly for no reason. Gentlemen were literate. I don't think British genealogists make these mistakes since are so much more aware of class differences, even today.


answered by Kirk Hess G2G6 Mach 4 (49.2k points)
selected by David Douglass

I unfortunately agree with Kirk, and it is what I was alluding to in my answer above.  Regardless of which wife you assign to George Clark III, you can’t explain away the social class disparity and most importantly the age problem.  It is extremely unlikely that a man born in 1594 was married and having children in 1610.  While you can find many examples of woman marrying at this age (it was still unusual!) in this time period, it just wasn’t true for men.  They were not considered to have come of age, and could not hold property in their own right.

You have presented an argument as to why George Clark was baptized at one place, married at another, had children at another, and then died somewhere else.  While possible, it is unlikely.  The simpler explanation is that these George Clarks are different people.

Without very clear evidence from wills or land records, you have to conclude that the George Clark who baptized his children at Kimpton and was living at Wemsted when he made his will, is a different George Clark than the one bp. in 1594 at Graveley.  I agree with Kirk that the most likely explanation is that there is cousin relationship which remains unknown.

I also would disconnect George Clark III from his parents George Clark II and Elizabeth Bristowe.  Also, I think name of his wife remains unproven and the profile needs to reflect this.
I am not sure that we can be absolute about the children of gentlemen not being farmers or having a trade (although I admit carpenter is a long way from the more desirable city trades), especially if we talk about younger children and also if we talk about the modern era and most especially of all if we talk about a couple who took the colonial option?

Thanks Joe - I always appreciate your research suggestions - I second that concern about the spouses name.

Andrew - I'm not trying to assert that it's impossible, just improbable. Many journal articles and dissertations have been written about what happens to younger gentry sons. Here's a random preprint from Social History

Younger sons of gentlemen were expected to find their own fortunes, which was one of the reasons for the increase in matriculation at the Oxford and Cambridge in the early 17th cent. There's 8 George Clarkes' who matriculated from Oxford 1500-1714. There's 35 when I searched for George Clarke in ACAD, incl. one from Walkern.

Along with careers in the military, law or church, many younger sons sent to London to be apprentices for the great merchant companies. Gentry to poor husbandman seems out of character to me in the 17th cent. 

Kirk, you are not wrong. But just to name one obvious reason to see this as a non typical case: travelling across the ocean. I think that new possibility changed the typical patterns for some families. But even putting that new option aside, as to whether only University or a major city would be good enough this also depends a lot on just how well off a gentry family was? (And you can always have exceptional cases.)

Mind you, you are probably right that this is a cousin, so more than one generation removed from the main line. That would still be an interesting lead, with some chance of working it out.
+5 votes
Check the Magna Carta project page for sources considered reputable for establishing Magna Carta ancestry:
answered by Doug Lockwood G2G Astronaut (2.4m points)
+7 votes
Hi Ken,

First, congratulations on finding and correctly identifying the baptism of farmer George Clark and his siblings at Kimpton, Hertforshire.  There is no doubt that this baptism is that of the New England immigrant.

I am concerned about the next generation though.   You have George Clark III as being baptized on 23 April 1594, getting married at age 16 in 1610, marrying a 26 year old woman and having children when he is 17.  I know you recognized this and attempted to explain it, but I don’t buy it.  It would be so unusual that you need to have extraordinary proof that George Clark of Kimpton (father of farmer George IV Clark)is the same as the George Clark who was baptized in 1594.  I don’t see where there are any wills or clear baptism records to prove this.  You have obviously put much more time and study into this; can you explain why these two are the same other than they have the same name?
answered by Joe Cochoit G2G6 Pilot (166k points)
Hi Joe,

      Yes, that is going to be the toughest part in convincing people.  But I no longer believe that he married a 26-year-old (who is currently listed as his "uncertain" mother).  I now believe that he married Grace "Lody" (baptized as Grace Louday in a parish, Little Hadham, only 6 miles away from where the marriage took place). She too was baptized in 1594, so she too was 16 years old (not 26 years old as Grace Bodye was).  The following record for the 1610 marriage gives the bride's name as Grace Lody (which sounds very similar to Louday): .

And my overall reasoning is as follows: The mother of George Clark III, Elizabeth (Bristow) Clark was baptized in Kimpton Parish in 1569, and then gets married over in Bennington Parish, and they then go to Graveley Parish. All their children are baptized there and Elizabeth dies less than two weeks after the youngest child (Francis) is baptized.

Then son George Clark III (bp. 1594) leaves Graveley and reverses the path his mother took. He gets married in Walkern Parish (which is next to Bennington Parish) and then goes back to his mother's hometown of Kimpton where all his children are baptized. He eventually dies at Whempstead which is also close to Bennington. If you look at a map, all these places are very close to one another.        

 Once I saw that Elizabeth Bristow was also baptized at Kimpton, I was convinced that George Clark the farmer was her grandson, and everything else seems to be falling into place the more information I find.  I just recently discovered that Elizabeth (Bristow) Clark had a brother Phillipp Bristow (also baptized at Kimpton) who actually moved to Walkern (where his nephew George Clark was married in 1610). When I saw that, I yelled "bingo".
Do not forget baptisms were not always new borns.
Great job untangling all the George Clarks. I can't comment on higher up the genealogy tree but the Clarks just feel right now with the ages and locations in good agreement.
Think you are on the right track as to George Clarke still  think that you need to check for yourself the original registers, you are relying upon transcripts and finding aids,

 The Hertfrdshire  archives shows no Louday or Loday or Lody but 72 Bodys.  One  of these is for Grace Body which is for the 1610 marriage to  George Clarke (they don't index baptisms)
+4 votes
My interest is on the earlier bits, partly because I have done similar work improving Magna Carta lines to people such as those same Drurys.

A few ways I use Wikitree tools, using examples from this case:

1. Try the ancestry trees such as this one, starting at an interesting looking person such as (I like the "printable format" when working fast to look for leads, because easy to take in quickly). Look for lines of ancestry which seem promising, and then repeat the process with an ancestor further back as the new starting point. (Any line which does not stop around 1500 should be interesting!) Many of the lines you will find are wrong and need to be edited out, but some, when you check for sources, will be able to be extended.

2. Use the relationship finder tool on the Magna Carta folk, but do not look for the relationship to yourself because that is too many generations for it to handle. Again pick one promising looking ancestor. I will use the same one for a few more surety barons:

(BUT be careful because Wikitree is often wrong. This tool however helps us find those problems.)

Hope this is helpful to others. Main point: I am not saying believe these tools. I am saying use them for quality control and leads about what to work on.

answered by Andrew Lancaster G2G6 Mach 6 (69.7k points)
+2 votes

Hi all,

    I want to thank everyone for the feedback.  I am particularly interested in the information provided by Kirk Hess.  I was not aware of the Clarke of Chesfield pedigree chart in the Visitations of Hertfordshire, and it does cast more doubts that would need explaining.

     However, that pedigree is very short and scanty on details, and it only shows the eldest son of George Clarke and Elizabeth Bristow (and they had several sons). Their second son George was certainly born a gentleman, but that does not mean that he remained one.  He could easily have gone to Walkern as a young teenager since his Uncle Phillipp Bristow is known to have lived there.  There he could have fallen in love with a 16-year-old commoner (Grace Louday) and married her very shortly after his 16th birthday. That certainly would have displeased his father. And that would certainly explain why he went to Kimpton and not Chisfield to raise his family.  His Bristow relatives might have been more understanding and supportive in his choice of a commoner wife (and getting married so young).

      Therefore, I'm not ready to "throw in the towel" on this yet.  As for copyhold land, I only know of the "small parcel of copy hold land in old England lying in Mush [sic] Mundon in Hertfordshire" which was mentioned in the 1690 will of George Clark the farmer.  There could very well be other such land which was disposed of long before that.  


answered by Kenneth Kinman G2G6 Mach 4 (45.4k points)
edited by Kenneth Kinman
Any leads on where Mush Mundon is?

You might be able to research the manor court rolls for Greater/Little Munden for Herefordshire, although you might not get a lot of help remotely.

I admire your tenacity and we can imagine all sorts of crazy or unusual things happening but Occam's razor probably is a better tool and the simplest solution is these are different people.


I agree that Much Mundon is actually Great Munden, Hertfordshire.  And by the way, if you look at a map, Great Munden is almost exactly halfway between Little Hadham (where Grace Louday was baptized) and Walkern (where she seems to have been married in 1610 to George Clarke).
I would not give up either. Only way to find something no one found before is to find something not obvious. My gateway breakthrough was a person I left without checking for years because her name was so common that I thought there was no point (Ann Barnes). The middle name her family (Flack) gave to some children eventually pointed to her mother's family, and they luckily had lots of wills, being clergy. But we never would have found that if we had not started to look again at a "no hope" dead end.
+2 votes
I want to thank Matthew Fletcher for posting an image for the baptism of Grace Louday (Londay?), proposed to be the Grace "Lody" who married in 1610 to George Clarke in Walkern (about 6 miles away).  As he notes, the baptism date is actually 26 February 1594/95.  Therefore, she would have only been 15 years old when married in 1610.  It's beginning to sound potentially more and more like a sort of Romeo and Juliet story (except that they didn't die).

      One comment mentioned that children often weren't baptized immediately after birth.  Therefore, although George Clark the farmer was baptized in 1611, he could have been conceived months before the 1610 marriage at Walkern.  That means his parents may have "had" to get married when it was discovered that Grace was pregnant.  Perhaps another reason that they married so young.  Anyway, you can see the image of the baptism of Grace Louday (or Londay?) here:
answered by Kenneth Kinman G2G6 Mach 4 (45.4k points)
Ken - I'm pretty sure this is a textbook example of how an illegitimate child is born.  (maybe I can find preprint article for long baptisms and shotgun weddings in 17th Cent Herefordshire?)
I have several examples from the following century where the couple cohabited before the marriage, and I think it was quite common among the 'lower' classes, particularly in more outlying counties, but again it's a social class thing because it was much more rare within the gentry.  However the couples were all adults at the time, as a couple of people have written marriage at 15 or 16 was not common.

There have been a couple of suggestions in this G2G about looking at original records rather than secondary sources and I think that is the best way forward.

By the way, I think the surname is Louday, but not sure that it is Grace as the first name, the 'e' on the end of Grace, doesn't look like the 'e' on the end of George above.  Pity there isn't more of the page and there may be more comparisons available.
Hi John,

       I studied that image of Little Hadham baptisms. At first glance the last letter of Grace looks sort of like a "t" to us.  However, on this image the letter "t" (as at the end of Margaret and in Elizabeth) is a very tall "t" with a loop at the top.  So I ruled out "t".

       But then I studied all the words "the" following the names, and it usually has an "e" that looks sort of like an "o", as in the two "e"s in George.  However, in at least two baptisms (Mary and Willyam), the word "the" has an "e" that looks very much like the last letter of Grace.  So I think Grace is a good bet.  


"Edward, it appears died in England and left to George's children and grandchildren £150." - £150 is a lot of cash for a brother, so I think a better strategy is to find Edward. There's a slightly more prominent family in Bedingfield and Stevenage, sometimes spelled Clerke - the Alumni Cantabrigienses puts Clark, Clarke and Clerke in the same list so I assume they know what they are doing.

Also, he signed his will and was valued at almost £1000, which seems above average, I also look to see how many books they owned, they were both expensive and good indicator of literacy but no list was in that abstract.

+2 votes
Hi again,

      The youngest brother of George Clark the Farmer (1611-1690) was Daniel Clark (bp. 1628, Kimpton, Hertfordshire).  Daniel Clark was known to have had children named George and Sarah (they were named in their grandfather's will probated in 1661).  

       Tonight I found the baptisms of both George and Sarah (children of Daniel Clark).  And I was a bit surprised, but thoroughly delighted, that they were baptized at Great Munden, Hertfordshire (about 3 or 4 miles from Little Hadham, where their presumed grandmother, Grace Louday-Clarke was baptized).  The more records I find, the more confident I become that Occam's razor is actually cutting in favor of my hypothesis.

Daniel Clark's profile:
answered by Kenneth Kinman G2G6 Mach 4 (45.4k points)
edited by Kenneth Kinman

Except George's brother Daniel Clarke lived on Coleman Street, London, not Herts - I assume he was apprenticed to a Merchant company, that letter says he was a 'meal-man', which I assume is a Mercer. I still think you have the wrong parents.

Yes, he apparently lived in London late in life.  As I recall the record calling him "meal-man" (and living on Coleman Street, London) was after 1690 (perhaps about 1701, I'll have to check on the exact date).

In any case, he was clearly living in Great Munden, Hertfordshire, when his children George and Sarah were baptized in 1656 and 1658. They were therefore very young when they were mentioned in their grandfather's will, so Daniel may have had more children after that will was made. Not sure where Daniel was living between 1658 and the record about him living in London.

Here's an example of what usually happened: Thomas Clarke, MP of Brickendon (Herts) b. c.1672 was the son of Sir Edward Clarke, Lord Mayor of London and his 2nd wife, who bought an estate Brickendon in 1655 and the manor in 1682, just three miles from Hertford where his son Thomas was seated when he was a MP for almost 25 years. 

I wonder if Thomas was baptized at All Saint's Hertford (Brickendon didn't have a church), not London? Unfortuantely, Daniel doesn't seem to be nearly as prosperous (there certainly are a lot of Clarkes in Herts....)

The Arris family (see Thomas Arris MP) owned Great (aka Much) Munden 1629-1700, so if there was some copyhold land there should be a fine with some Clarke names on it.


Ken, I think you need to be careful that you are looking at the evidence clearly and not letting the fact that you want this theory to be correct get in the way.

From what I've read in this forum, there is no information that Daniel was "clearly living in Great Munden".  Certainly you have found baptisms for a George and Sarah the children of Daniel Clarke at Great Munden, and certainly Daniel could be the one you want him to be, but George and Sarah are common names, and as Kirk has pointed out, there are a lot of Clark/Clarke/Clerkes in Hertfordshire.

Hi John,

     I guess I didn't make clear how much evidence supports the connection:

 (1) Daniel Clarke has children George and Sarah baptized at Great Munden in 1656 and 1658.

(2) His father George Clarke makes his 1660 will at Whempstead (which is just 2 or 3 miles away) in which he gives "to third son Daniel Clarke five shillings and to his two children George and Sarah fifty shillings each."

(3) Furthermore, George Clarke actually had copyhold land in Great Munden (as is shown in the 1690 will of his son George).  

Ken I think the evidence is clear, it's the conclusions that I'm not sure about.

Also the baptism records appear to be transcriptions and they can often be a problem.  As Helen has suggested above, it's much better to look at the original records.
+2 votes
Hi all,

      The weblink that Kirk Hess posted for Alumni Catabrigienses was very helpful.  I didn't find anything on Edward, but I did find an entry on page 341 for George Clarke (the one who married Elizabeth Bristow) who appears in the Clarke of Chesfield pedigree in the Visitation of Hertfordshire (profile: Clarke-1441).

     His entry gives his age at admission which pretty well narrows down his year of birth.  And it says he succeeded to his father's estate in 1591, which verifies that his father did die in that year (although I still haven't been able to verify if his father died at Bennington or London).  

     And on page 342 there is an entry for the younger son John Clarke.  Walkern and Bennington are both mentioned in these entries in Alumni Catabrigienses.  I will definitely be using this source again in the future.  It provided a lot more details than the pedigree in the Visitations.
answered by Kenneth Kinman G2G6 Mach 4 (45.4k points)
PROB 11/77/496  

Will of William Clerke, Yeoman of Bennington, Hertfordshire   (viewable on ancestry uk or can be downloaded from TNA for a fee)

Probate 10 June 1591

Written 12 May 1591 ( one thousand, four score and eleven)

 It’s  fairly long and have only scanned so please double check, I may have got it wrong . Lots of  detail about various caveats,  rents  and when they are to be paid by his wife and younger son to his main heir, George

Wish to be buried in Bennington near to the place where George Clarke his father was buried.

Land tenements, hereditaments, houses in Bennington, and Walkern ,  the manor of Chesfield . Tithes of the manor of Boxbury (Walkern)

Wife, Cicely (her third and dower, land in Bennington and Wakern)

Heir, George who has a son Phillip  (so implies marriage before 1592 )

John younger son
+2 votes
Dear all,

       I think it is now clear that the main objection to the Magna Carta lineage that I posted is whether George Clark who was baptized in 1594 was married to Grace in 1610. And that objection rests mainly with  them having been married at such a young age.   

        It finally just occurred to me that they might not have been 16-year-olds.  If they were 2 or 3 years old when they were baptized, they would have been 18 or 19 years old when they married.  Does this seem to be a likely possibility?  How common was it in that time period to baptize children well after infancy?
answered by Kenneth Kinman G2G6 Mach 4 (45.4k points)
I think in that time period it would be very rare.  I have seen later records (1800s) but usually then either there will be some indication of how old the child was at the time of baptism and/or several children from the same family will be baptised on the same date.

The chances of both members of this couple being baptised late seems pretty unlikely, next to impossible.
Hi John,

     After a good night's sleep, I would agree.  After reviewing the facts, George Clarke (bp. 1594) couldn't have been born too much earlier, because his parents were married in 1592 and they had an older son William baptized in 1593.    

      However, learning this morning that Daniel Clarke (bp. 1628) had a son baptized at Albury, Hertfordshire, the baptism of Grace Louday at Little Hadham is even more significant, because those villages are just one mile apart (and not far from Great Munden).  This convinces me more than ever that Grace Louday (who was married 1610 at Walkern to a George Clark) is the mother of Daniel Clarke (bp. 1628) and his eldest brother George Clarke (farmer of Milford; bp. 1611).

       Now I just have to concentrate on whether Grace Louday's husband George Clark was the one baptized in 1594 or another (older) George Clark in the same general vicinity.  

+3 votes

 Any use or does it add problems? 

Will of John Clarke Yeoman of  Great Mundon, prob  granted 9th August 1708 (written 1698)

PROB 11/502/368


In the name of God Amen

I John Clarke of Great Munden in the County of Herts Yeomen being in health of body and sound and perfect minde and memory and designing to take a voyage suddenly to New England in the West Indies doe for the better settleing of my estate make this my last will as followeth viz

First I give devise and bequeathe unto my brother Daniel Clarke of London Mealman  All my lands tenements and hereditaments whatsoever and wheresoever the appurtenances and the revertion and revertions remainder and remaiders rents ,issues and profits thereof and all my Estate, Right Titles and Interest both in law and Equity of in and to the same To have and to hold the same unto my said brother Daniel his heirs and assignees for ever.

Item I give and bequeathe to my sister Martha Clarke fifteen pounds sterling the same being secured by a note under the hand of my said brother Daniel to me or my order for a girentee sume of money and alsoe I give unto my said sister Martha the moiety or half part of my linen wheresoever the same shall be. Item I give to my sister Joyce  the wife of John Brudenell only one shilling. Item I give to my father and Mother Daniel and Sarah Clarke the clock now standing at my house at Munden aforesaid. Item I give to Rachel my wife all her wearing Apparrell to be delivered to her after the death of her father and mother, John and Susan Osbourne and also a Guinea then to buy her a ring. Item I give to the poor of the said parish of great Munden  twenty shillings to be paid the Christmas next after my decease . Item all my store of cattle and other my goods, chattells and personal estate not herein before given after my legacies paid and funeral expences discharged I give and devise unto my brother  Edward Clarke and I doe hereby make and ordain my said brother Edward Clarke the sole executor of the my last will and testament . And I doe hereby revoke all former will and wills by me at any time heretofore made and doe declace and appoint this to be my last will and testament. In witness whereof I the said John Clarke the testator have hereunto set my hand and seale this thirteenth day of July anno Domini One thousand six hundred and ninety and eight.

John Clarke, signed sealed published and dexlaired by the testator and for his last will and testament in the presence of us Rob Gammon, Hester Cater[ ]  Goodman an Attourney in Bpshgate (Bishopsgate) Street London

answered by Helen Ford G2G6 Pilot (194k points)
edited by Helen Ford
Hi Helen,

       Thanks so much, that contains lots of useful information.  These are the children of Daniel (bp. 1628; profile Clark-4773).  I found baptisms at Great Munden for Martha and Joyce, but haven't found baptisms for Edward or Daniel Jr. yet.   

      Even more importantly, John himself was baptized at Albury, which is even closer (about 1 mile) to Little Hadham where their mother Grace Louday was baptized.  Fantastic!!!

      And the will also shows that it was Daniel Clarke Jr. who was the Mealman in London (not his father, Daniel bp. 1628).  I will do more searching on this family when I have time, but John's will is a gold mine of information.
Joyce could have been born in the 1670s

John Brudenell was a printer, in 'Little Britain' b c 1671, marr 21 April 1694 Joyce Clarke, buried 15 Aug, 1710 St James Clerkenwell  Admin. PRO Prob 6/86 5 Sept 1710  (London printers and printing houses, Michael Treadwell ) pdf found by chance with a google search.

     She was baptized 09 March 1672, and I have created a profile for her ( ).
+3 votes

After compiling more records for the Clarke family on Wikitree, I now present a pertinent timeline which seems to offer a lot of evidence that a 16-year old George Clark II was indeed married in 1610 at Walkern (especially see Questions and Conclusions after the 1611 entry):         

1591---The will of William Clerke, Yeoman of Benington, Hertfordshire (written 12 May 1591) was probated on 10 June 1591. It mentions his houses in Benington and Walkern, and the manor of Chesfield, so he was very successful yeoman.  His eldest son George Clarke I (1553-1616) inherits his estate.

1592--- George Clarke I is then married on 21 July 1592 in Benington, to Elizabeth Bristow (bp. 1569, Kimpton, Hertfordshire).  They settle at Chisfield Manor (which George had inherited from his father the previous year). and they baptized all their children at the nearby Graveley Parish Church.  

1594---George Clarke II is born at Chisfield Manor and baptized at Graveley.

1606---Elizabeth (Bristow) Clark dies less than two weeks after the youngest child (Francis) is baptized in 1606.  

1606-1610---Sometime after Elizabeth died, the Clarkes move back to Benington and/or nearby Walkern (where the family owned houses).

1610--- Someone named George Clark is married on 04 May 1610 in Walkern, to Grace "Lody"/Louday (bp. 1594/95, Little Hadham).  George Clarke II (bp. 1594) is about the same age as Grace and lives in either Walkern or nearby Benington.  Grace's hometown is very significant because one of her grandsons would be baptized at Albury (just one mile from Little Hadham).  

1611--- George and Grace have settled at Kimpton, Hertfordshire, and George Clarke III (1611-1690; immigrant to Connecticut) is baptized there 10 months after the marriage. 

QUESTIONS & CONCLUSIONS:  Why would they move west 8 miles to Kimpton, unless he is the George Clark (bp. 1594) whose mother Elizabeth Bristow was baptized at Kimpton.  George had an older brother, so he had little prospect of inheriting his father's estate.  If his father was displeased that George II had married a commoner (and at such a young age), they may have found more sympathy from his mother's relatives at Kimpton. And Elizabeth's brother, Phillipp Bristow was perhaps still living in Walkern in 1610, and suggested that they go to Kimpton.  

Conclusion:  I can find no other George Clark who has connections with both Walkern and Kimpton, so Occam's razor points to George II.  Such young marriages might be unusual, but they did happen, so unless someone can find another George Clarke the right age and with connections to both Walkern and Kimpton, I rest my case.



1616---George Clark I dies at Benington (eldest son William therefore inherits the estate).  

1620---George II's elder brother William Clark is married to Frances Bristow (who was perhaps his cousin) at Kimpton!!!

1666---George II and Grace's grandson, John Clark is baptized at Albury (just one mile away from where Grace was baptized in 1594/95).  



answered by Kenneth Kinman G2G6 Mach 4 (45.4k points)
edited by Kenneth Kinman
I'm going to play the devils advocate again.

According to the few details of William's will that Helen has posted above (has the whole will been checked? There could be crucial information) George Clarke I, was already married with a son Philip.  So was Elizabeth Bristow a second or later wife?  If so, what happened to the first wife and son Philip?

If not then George marrying at almost 40 years of age is unusual and are you sure that the George Clarke, son of William is the same as Goerge Clarke, husband of Elizabeth?

Not transcribed whole will, did double check the section on order of succession.  Also wondered about Philip. Will get back to it but it would take a long time to transcribe accurately.  Have transcribed will of brother John,

Will of John Clerk or Clerke, Gentleman of Bennington, Hertfordshire

PROB 11/104/243 26 June 1604

He wrote it in Nov. 1603, wife executrix, named Edith  on grant of probate.  Divided estate into seven portions, one for wife, two for son William, one each for daughters Anne, Edith and Elizabeth. All land to be sold after expenses and then divided.  Son to remain under mothers roof until aged 16 All children under the age of 16 . Brother George named overseer (will post transcript on profile or freespace page if you want)

Sorry Helen, I'd forgotten you had said how long William's will is, and you are right it will take a long time to transcribe.  But it definitely states that his son George is first heir, followed by George's son Philip, then William's second son John, and then third son (?) William.

There is a record of Georgius Clerke, marrying a Marian Phillips at Benington (or Bennington) 24 November 1574 (mentioned in both FreeREG & Hertfordshire County Council website).  This could fit as George's first wife, and mother of Philip?

The Hertfordshire County Council, has marriage of George Clerke, Gent, to Elizabeth Bristoe at Watton at Stone on 21 July 1592.  Yeomen aren't usually styled as Gent.  though they did seem to own quite a bit of land at this time.

Hi John,

      The 1574 marriage to Marian Phillips makes perfect sense since George would have been 21 years old, and the place also fits.  So I have created a profile for Marian ( ) and her son Philip Clarke.  I also changed the place of the George Clarke-Elizabeth Bristow marriage to Watton at Stone.  Thanks.

    I will also make some additions to the profile for John Clarke ( ).  As I noted in his profile, St. Peter's Church in Benington has "brasses" for John (1604) and his father William (1591).  Seems a bit strange that there would be a "brass" for John, but not one for his elder brother George (although I suppose there might be one for him elsewhere in the church).  

British History online has this mention of a George Clerke of Benington, yeoman (see )

In 1526 Hugh Brabham with his wife Margaret, in whose right he was evidently holding, sold the manor of Cromer to Thomas Catesby and others for £100. (fn. 62) This Thomas appears to have been the younger son of Sir Humphrey Catesby, kt., of Northamptonshire. (fn. 63) His heir was his elder brother Anthony Catesby of Whiston, co. Northants,(fn. 64) who in 1540 sold Cromer Hall to George Clerke of Benington, yeoman. (fn. 65)

In 1550 the homage presented George Clerke for cutting down trees in the highway at Cromer. (fn. 66) He transferred the manor in 1557 to his son Thomas Clerke of Stevenage, (fn. 67) whose title was disputed by John Austen, citizen and haberdasher of London, who called himself great-grandson of William Austen and his wife Katherine, who was daughter of Sir John Clerke, kt. (fn. 68) Thomas Clerke retained the manor until his death about 1597, when his next heir was his son William. (fn. 69) Thomas and William Clerke and Beatrice Clerke, widow, dismembered the manor, (fn. 70) 

Thanks Darlene,

      Wow, these are really interesting older records.  This almost certainly refers to the earliest known George Clerke in this lineage ( ) who was probably born about 1510.  All we knew about him was that his son William Clerke said in his 1591 will that he wished to be buried near his father George Clerke.  So now we have a brother for William (namely Thomas Clerk of Stevenage)

      What is even more exciting is that this George Clerke is somehow related to Sir John Clerke.  But perhaps not a direct descendant if daughter Katherine was the heir of Sir John Clerke.  In that case, this George Clerke may be a grandson of a brother of Sir John Clerke.  


John below links to the wider tree in the 1635 Visitation and also Darlene's link above.

Venn (Alumni Cantabrigiensis) which I know you have already looked at has  several Clarkes from Stevenage as well as those from Bennington/Walkern . All but one  went to the same college (Caius and Gonville)

 Starting from that I compiled an outline list which  absolutely needs double checking as I have amended things several times

 A History of Gonville and Keyes College pub 1849-1897 also by Venn frequently gives more detail  but some may be very speculative  (link below)

John of Stevenage father of

John (b. c. 1550?)  BA Christs 1571,  ordained 1573, MA Caius 1574, One of name  became Rector of Walkern 1604, death 1612, will proved 1613

See also.

History of Caius

TNA PROB 11/122/159  Will of John Clark, Clerk of Walkern, Hertfordshire  Date: 23 August 1613

 He was father of Robert, Phillip,(another one!)  Beatrice(she under 21  at time will written), husband of Alice

Thomas of Stevenage, described  in one entry of 'Alumuni' as gent and  'History of Caius' as of mediocris fortunae  

 father of

William, b. c.1552,school Eton (Eaton Socon? ), P 72 hist of Caius 

Edward,b.c. 1558, p.78, hist of Caius

Christopher b.c. 1561, Stevenage, P 91 hist of Caius

Francis, born Eaton Socon Beds, b.c.1563   hist of Caius p 91(he is Francis  'of Houghton and was knted 1624 and is on 1635 Herts visitation and also the 1624 Vist of London)

William of Bennington, mediocris fortunae,  father of 

George b.c. 1553, " A ‘George Clarke, of Linc. Diocese’subscribed for priest’s orders (Linc.) Ap. 8 1578. Perhaps the rector of Monks Risborough, Bucks., who had a license to marry Elizabeth Gouldwell,of Duxford, 15S4 (Ely Marr. Lic.). Rector of Scampton, 1587; and of Kirkby on Bain, 1597; both in Lincs"  Hist of Caius p 70

  John  b.c. 1557   poss later  adm Gray's Inn  hist of Caius  p 72

George of Bennington, Barrister ?? Father of 

 John  born  Hitcham, Bucks b.c 1556 (adm Kings) (This one is only a suggested as a possibility in Venn. Alumin  No trace found as yet, see below.) 

John of Stevenage, yeoman  father of

Edward, b.c. 1575 (adm Cauis) Hist of Caius  P142, ordained,  worked in Ireland, left will prob 1640 in Dublin   "He seems to have been a nephew of Sir Francis Clarke 1577 (v London Visitation 1633) "

Notes on Hitcham 

Have followed up in quite a bit of detail, found no link yet though the line does go back to a Sir John Clarke of Weston  d 1539,

 Vic County History for Hitcham  has some info (Sir John Clarke of  Weston father of  Nicholas Clarke d 1551, father of Sir William Clarke born before 1550 who had five sons including William (MP), Hercules and Sir Francis, bur Hitcham 1631 ). I haven't found a George but not found all names of sons.

Hi Helen,

     I've read that some people were often called mediocris fortunae in some records, but gentleman in other records.  I suppose people who were more wealthy (or associated with them) might call them mediocris fortunae, while most of the less wealthy just lumped them all together as gentlemen.  I suppose today's billionaires would consider multi-millionaires just "mediocris fortunae", but most of us wouldn't.

       I think that it was probably accurate that when George Clerke made his will in 1616, most people regarded him as a Gentleman (as he is labelled in the Hertfordshire County Council listings).  Perhaps his will shall indicate just how wealthy he actually was.
+2 votes

Hi all,

      I thought it would be very helpful to find information from the will of George Clerke (who died in April 1616;  At first I assumed it would mention his eldest son Philip (by his first wife), but I now believe that Philip probably died sometime between 1591 (mentioned in his grandfather's will) and 1616.  But it would be especially interesting to see if George says anything about his son George (bp. 1594).  Hertfordshire County Council shows two 1616 documents for George Clerke (see below).  I tried to find them on Ancestry in the Wills and Probate search, but no luck there.     

George Clerke




filed will


Add to list

George Clerke




registered will


answered by Kenneth Kinman G2G6 Mach 4 (45.4k points)
edited by Kenneth Kinman
+2 votes

Hi all,

      I just wanted to note that these first arguments presented in the "Best Answer" (above) are based on the following erroneous information (at BHO):   William Clarke was lord of the manor of Graveley from 1565/6, succeeded by his son William and then the manor passed to a heiress Elizabeth Clarke who m. George Throckmorton (d.1696). The manor of Chesfield/Chisfield descended with Graveley, although if George really was directly related to William Clarke I don't understand why he wouldn't alienate it to his 2nd son. So if he wasn't a gentleman why was he marrying the da. of a gentleman? BHO Parishes: Graveley .

        Erroneous because:  William Clarke ( ), Lord of Graveley from 1565/66, is not even known to have had a son William, and Graveley actually passed to his eldest son George. Then it was passed to George's son William (Sr.), and then to William (Jr.) in 1646, and then to his daughter Elizabeth (Clark) Throckmorton in 1663 (I have now traced this line on Wikitree).  Therefore, Elizabeth's inheritance of Graveley happened far too late to have anything to do with any possible alienation to the much earlier George.  BHO's error and omitting generations is unfortunate and very misleading. 

         As for George Clarke marrying Elizabeth Bristow (daughter of a Gentleman), it is now clear that these Clarkes were very successful Yeomen and often called "Gentleman".  And we now know that this George Clarke was a student at Cambridge University.  And we learned today that his grandfather (George Clerke) bought Cromer Hall in 1540 (before George Clarke was even born in 1553). 

       What initially seemed like problems earlier seem to be melting away one by one. I am hoping that the 1616 will of George Clarke will give information on his son George who was baptized in 1594.  That might help settle the issue one way or the other. Hopefully it will indicate that son George was still living, and if I'm lucky, maybe it will even say that son George was a resident of Kimpton.  



answered by Kenneth Kinman G2G6 Mach 4 (45.4k points)
edited by Kenneth Kinman

It's not BHO who is at fault, they just transcribe (?) older works and make them more searchable.  The mistake is actually in 'Parishes: Graveley', in A History of the County of Hertford: Volume 3, ed. William Page (London, 1912), pp. 85-90. The original can be seen here 

An earlier work which is used as a reference in the History of the County of Hertford; The Historical Antiquities of Hertfordshire, by Sir Henry Chauncy, volume 2. does have the correct (?) genealogy, the same as the Visitation of Hertfordshire - see here.  But it too has a mistake because it was definitely William, not his father George who bought Chisfield and Gravely according to the Feet of Fines.

According to Henry Chauncy, George Clerke of Benington, was also granted Boxbury Manor and his will apparently mentions 3 sons, William, Thomas and George.  See here

However I'm beginning to think we might have some different Clarke/Clerke families mixed in together.  For instance there are more George Clarkes in this genealogy.

Yes, I should have blamed the William Page book, rather than blaming the messenger (BHO).

Anyway, that Chauncy reference is very helpful, and I have modified the profiles of George Clerke and his sons (and placed them in the correct order).  Was glad to see the date of George's will given (08 October 1556), even though it didn't give the date that the will was probated.

I still need to find out more about William's wife Cicely, and whether she was Cicely Cartright or some other Cicely.  I've been so busy following up on all the great information being posted here, that I still haven't gotten back to the Cicely problem (Cicely Cartright perhaps married to a different William Clerke who living in Wrotham, Kent).

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