William was the son of Walter Clopton and his wife, Margaret Maidstone, the daughter of Robert Maidstone of Great Horkesley, Essex. He was baptized in Boxted, Essex on 19 April 1613, and that is likely to have been his birthplace.
William's father died in the winter of 1622/23 His father's will left his children, who were under 21, in the custody of their mother and her brother Robert, who were charged with "bringing up our children in the fear of God and in some honest course of living."
William was admitted on 12 April 1630 to Emmanuel College, Cambridge University, where he received a B.A. in 1634 and an M.A. in 1637.
After Cambridge, he became Rector of Great Horkesley in Essex. He filed a complaint that after serving for a quarter of a year by the order of the Earl of Manchester, he had received no compensation. A ruling on his complaint was handed down on 28 February 1646 stated that he should be given satisfaction forthwith for his services rendered. The situation in Great Horkesley was relieved the following year: on 26 November 1647 the House of Lords confirmed an application by the Assembly of Divines for authority to induct William to the Rectory of Markshall, Essex.
William's tenure at Markshall may have been uneventful for nothing further is recorded about him until 25 October 1654 when he was made Rector of Rettendon Essex, Oliver Cromwell formally certifying him "to be a fit person to preach the gospel and have granted him admission to the said rectory of Rettendon to be Incumbent thereof". This must have been quite a promotion for William: the Rectory was described in 1610 as consisting of "... a Mansion-House, with an Entry, a Hall, a Parlour and an under Bed-Chamber, and four other lower Rooms, three upper Chambers, a Garrett, and a Study, an Out-Kitchin, with four Rooms beneath, and one upper Chamber, two Barns, two Stables, at the End of each Barn one, a Barn-Yard, a Kitchen-Yard, a Bean-Garden, a Bee-Garden, an Herb-Garden, and two Orchards, in all two Acres : eight and fifty Acres of Glebe, besides other parcels called Great-Whitfield, Little-Whitfield, and the Parsonage-Mead, the Number of Acres not Specify'd." Rettendon was also the home of the Rev. Isaiah Sutcliffe, whose daughter Elizabeth, William probably met there.
Marriage and Children
Sometime before 1653, William married Elizabeth Sutcliffe. The marriage must have taken place before 11 October 1653, the date of the will of Elizabeth's father: in the will, her father names William as the husband of his daughter Elizabeth, and he bequeaths half of his property, the Manor of Eastwoodbury, to William after the death of Isaiah Sutcliffe's wife, Elizabeth Joyle, who was granted a life interest. Isaiah Sutcliffe made provision in his will to repay a loan of £150 made by William, with the loan incurring an interest rate of 5% until it was repaid. William and Elizabeth had two children:
Having been appointed Rector of Rettendon during the Puritan government of the Lord Protector, William's appointment became tenuous with the Restoration of Charles II in May 1660. When Parliament passed the Act of Uniformity in 1662, thousands of ministers protested against the restrictions that the act placed on many of the common forms of worship. More than 2,000 refused to swear the oaths required by the Act, and the Church of England ejected them from their offices. Among these ejected clerics was William Clopton. Thus ended his eight years of ministry to the people of Rettendon.
Final Years and Death
William and his family moved from Rettendon to the Manor of Eastwood in Essex. He lived until sometime after 24 October 1670 when he prepared his will, naming his wife Elizabeth Executrix; she proved the will in London on 14 June 1671. Elizabeth died at Paglesham, Essex in 1683.
Richardson, Douglas. Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 4 vols, ed. Kimball G. Everingham. 2nd edition. Salt Lake City: the author, 2011. See also WikiTree's source page for Magna Carta Ancestry.
Erwin, L L. The Ancestry of William Clopton of York County, Virginia, privately published, 1939
Weis, Frederick Lewis, with additions and corrections by Sheppard, Walter Lee Jr and Beall, William R. "The Magna Charta Sureties", 5th edition, Genealogical Publishing Company, 1999, p. 8. line 5-17