Lord Arthur Clinton

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Arthur Pelham-Clinton
A studio, black and white photograph of three men, one is seated on an armchair, another is sitting on the floor beside him. The third is sitting behind them on a high stool and looks into the camera.
Arthur Pelham-Clinton (seated), with Thomas Boulton and Fredrick Park
Member of Parliament
for Newark
In office
11 July 1865 – 17 November 1868
Preceded by John Handley
Succeeded by Edward Denison
Personal details
Born (1840-06-23)23 June 1840
Died 18 June 1870(1870-06-18) (aged 29)
Nationality British
Political party Liberal
Relations Henry Pelham-Clinton, 5th Duke of Newcastle(father)
Henry Pelham-Clinton, 6th Duke of Newcastle (brother)
Lady Susan Vane-Tempest (sister)
Alma mater Eton College
Military service
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Navy
Years of service 1854–1870[1]
Rank Lieutenant

Lord Arthur Pelham-Clinton (23 June 1840 – 18 June 1870), known as Lord Arthur Clinton, was an English aristocrat and Liberal Party politician. A member of parliament (MP) for three years, he was notorious for involvement in the homosexual scandal and trial of Boulton and Park.

Early life

Clinton was the son of Henry Pelham-Clinton, 5th Duke of Newcastle and Lady Susan Harriet Catherine Hamilton. He had three brothers and a sister, Lady Susan Vane-Tempest, who became a mistress of King Edward VII of England in 1864, when he was Prince of Wales.

Clinton was educated at Woodcote School, Reading and then Eton College; he entered the Royal Navy in 1854 at the age of 14 and served during the Crimean War in the Baltic Campaign of 1854. He then served in the Naval Brigade during the Indian Mutiny and was present at the Capture of Lucknow. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1861.[2] In 1863, he was appointed to serve on HMS Revenge.[3] On 10 November 1864, his brother Lord Albert was court-martialled on board HMS Victory at Portsmouth. Charges of "desertion and breaking his parole" were upheld by the court and Lord Albert Pelham-Clinton was sentenced to be dismissed from the navy, although The Times reported that the case referred to Lord Arthur in error.[4][5]

Member of Parliament

Clinton was elected as an MP for Newark at the general election in July 1865,[6] a seat previously held by his brother Henry Pelham-Clinton, 6th Duke of Newcastle. He was declared bankrupt on 12 November 1868, with debts and liabilities reported to total £70,000.[7] (around £NaN in 2022 when adjusted for inflation) and stood down as a member of parliament at the subsequent, 1868 general election,[8] which took place between 17 November and 7 December. His successor was the philanthropist, Edward Denison.

Boulton and Park Scandal

In 1870, Clinton was living with Ernest Boulton, who had been dressed as a girl by his mother from an early age and was known to his friends as "Stella".[9][10] At this time, Clinton was still, nominally, a naval officer, but he was placed on the retired Navy List on 1 April 1870.[1]

Boulton and Frederick William Park often appeared in public in female dress and, on 28 April 1870, they were arrested and later charged "with conspiring and inciting persons to commit an unnatural offence" with Clinton and others.[11][12]

Clinton officially died on 18 June, the day after receiving his subpoena for the trial, ostensibly of scarlet fever but more probably a suicide.[13] But at the time there was considerable speculation that he had used his powerful connections – he was the godson of Prime Minister William Gladstone – to flee abroad. In his book Fanny and Stella biographer Neil McKenna cites circumstantial evidence suggesting that Lord Arthur did indeed live on in exile.[14] Boulton and Park were acquitted.[9][15][16][17]

Twelve years later, in 1882, a woman called Mary Jane Fearneaux was found to have been impersonating Clinton. She spent some years living as a man in Birmingham, claiming she was Lord Arthur and that the death was a fiction contrived by family and friends to avoid disgrace. While impersonating Clinton, she sometimes dressed as a woman, claiming this was a disguise to avoid attention after the notoriety of the Boulton and Park case.[18]

On 8 February 1882, she and a man called James Gething were charged with obtaining £2,000 from one man and £3,000 from another under false pretences.[19] In the subsequent trial, Gething was acquitted and Fearneaux changed her plea to guilty; she was sentenced to seven years in prison.[20]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 The London Gazette: no. 23603. p. 2008. 1 April 1870.
  2. Mair, Arthur Henry (1867). Debrett's Illustrated House of Commons and Judicial Bench. London: Dent. p. 44.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Naval And Military Intelligence". The Times (24594). 25 June 1863. p. 7. |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Naval And Military Intelligence". The Times (25027). 11 November 1864. p. 5. |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Naval And Military". London Daily News. 12 November 1864. p. 2. |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Robert Henry Mair, "Debrett's Illustrated House of Commons and the Judicial Bench", 1867, p.44
  7. "Court of Bankruptcy, Basinghall-Street, No. 12". The Times. London. 13 November 1868. p. 11. |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1977]. British parliamentary election results 1832–1885 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 215. ISBN 0-900178-26-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. 9.0 9.1 Pearsall (1971) 461-8
  10. Cocks (2003) 105
  11. Michael Diamond (2004) Victorian Sensation: Or, the Spectacular, the Shocking and the Scandalous in Nineteenth-Century Britain Anthem Press, 121–122. ISBN 1-84331-150-X
  12. Robert Aldrich, Garry Wotherspoon, "Who's who in gay and lesbian history: from antiquity to World War II", Routledge, 2001, ISBN 0-415-15982-2, p.66
  13. Laurence Senelick, "The changing room: sex, drag and theatre", Gender in performance, Routledge, 2000, ISBN 0-415-15986-5, p.303
  14. Edge, Simon (1 February 2013). "Fanny and Stella: The young men who shocked Victorian England". The Daily Express. London. Retrieved 10 February 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Edward William Cox (1875) Reports of cases in criminal law argued and determined in all the courts in England and Ireland, Volume 12 J. Crockford, Law Times Office
  16. Chris White (1999) Nineteenth-Century Writings on Homosexuality, CRC Press, 45. ISBN 0-203-00240-7
  17. Cocks (2003) 106
  18. "Alleged Extraordinary Fraud in Birmingham". Birmingham Daily Post (7364). 9 February 1882. |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Personating A Nobleman". The Times (30426). 9 February 1882. p. 12. |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "The Fearneaux Frauds". The Illustrated Police News (952). London. 13 May 1882. p. 2. |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Cocks, HG (2003). Nameless offences: homosexual desire in the nineteenth century. I.B. Tauros. ISBN 1860648908.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Pearsall, Ronald (1971). The Worm in the Bud: The World of Victorian Sexuality. Penguin.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Handley
Grosvenor Hodgkinson
Member of Parliament for Newark
With: Grosvenor Hodgkinson
Succeeded by
Edward Denison
Grosvenor Hodgkinson