Simon Clarke 1579-1652
Sir Simon CLARKE 1579-1652
Son of Walter Clarke of Radclive, near Buckingham, and a member of an old Kentish family. On marrying Margaret Alderford in 1604, he moved to Warwickshire (where her father was lord of the manor of Abbots Salford), and in 1610 he purchased the manor of Salford Priors. Around 1616 he acquired more adjacent property and built a larger house at Broome Court, near Salford. He bought a baronetcy in 1617 and travelled in Europe ca.1620-23. He had a little involvement in county administration (e.g. as sheriff of Warwickshire in 1635) and paid for a number of improvements in Salford parish church . He supported the royalist cause during the Civil War (it is not clear whether he was directly involved in military action) and compounded for his estate for £800 in 1646. He is noted as an antiquary, and gave important support to Dugdale in gathering historical materials on Warwickshire; his interests were much focused around genealogy and heraldry, and the wish to demonstrate his lineage through ecclesiastical memorials, stonework and any other opportunities to display arms and family descent.
Clarke's brief will has no mention of books; his entire estate was left to his wife and son. The extent of his library is unknown and it is likely that much has been lost. Only one book with his armorial stamp is currently recorded (CUL Syn.4.63.64). He is known to have made manuscript collections of Warwickshire history, which were valued by Dugdale, although the only surviving manuscript known to have been in Clarke’s possession is the medieval cartulary of Kenilworth Abbey (now BL MS Harley 3650). There are references to his having had other medieval manuscripts in his possession.
Cambridge University Library Syn.4.63.64 (an English historical work of 1638) has two different gilt armorial stamps of Clarke on the upper and lower covers. It also has his inscription “Sr Simon Clarke 1640” on the titlepage, and the later inscription of Dorothy Skipwith, his second wife’s niece, suggesting retention of books in the family after Clarke’s death.
- British Armorial Bindings.
- Davis, G. R. C. Medieval Cartularies of Great Britain and Ireland. London, 2010.
- Styles, P. ‘Sir Simon Clarke’, Transactions and Proceedings of the Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society 66 (1945-46), 6-34.