Sir Gervase Clifton, 1st Baronet

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Arms of Clifton of Clifton, Nottinghamshire (Clifton Baronets): Sable semée of cinquefoils and a lion rampant argent

Sir Gervase Clifton, 1st Baronet, K.B. (25 November 1587 – 28 June 1666) was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1614 and 1666. He supported the Royalist cause in the English Civil War. He was educated at St John's College, Cambridge.[1]

Political career

In 1603, at the English coronation of King James I, Clifton was made a Knight of the Bath. He became a Justice of the Peace for Nottinghamshire in 1609, remaining until 1646.[2] In 1611 he was third on the list of creations for the new order of baronet.[2][3] He was active in local Nottinghamshire and national politics in both the reign of James I and Charles I. He was High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire in 1610 and High Steward of East Retford from 1616 to 1647.[2] During the reign of King James he was elected Member of Parliament for Nottinghamshire in 1614, 1621, 1624 and 1625.[4] He was County Treasurer from 1625 to 1626, and Deputy Lieutenant from 1626 to 1642.[2] In 1626, he was elected MP for Nottingham and in 1628, he was re-elected MP for Nottinghamshire in 1628. He sat until 1629 when King Charles decided to rule without parliament for eleven years.[4]

In November 1640, Clifton was elected MP for East Retford in the Long Parliament.[4] He took up arms in the King's cause in the Civil War. He was a Commissioner for the King at Newark and Oxford, and a Commissioner of Array for Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire in 1642. When King Charles called for members of the Long Parliament loyal to him to meet in session Oxford Clifton did so[2] and was disabled from sitting in parliament at Westminster. With the defeat of the Royalist cause in 1646 and the capture of the King, Clifton lost his political influence both nationally and locally. He was declared a "delinquent" and fined £7,625 (£Error when using {{Inflation}}: |end_year=2,022 (parameter 4) is greater than the latest available year (2,019) in index "UK". as of 2022) [5]. By the time sequestration of his estates was ended in 1650 he had paid off about half of the money. He was not active in politics again until after the restoration of the monarchy in 1660.[2]

After the Restoration he regained his influence in Nottinghamshire and, from 1660, served Justice of the Peace for Nottinghamshire, High Steward of East Retford and Deputy Lieutenant.[2] He was re-elected MP for Nottinghamshire in 1661 for the Cavalier Parliament.[6] He held all these positions until his death, aged 78, in 1666.[2]


Clifton was born to his mother Lady Anne Thorold three months after the death of his father Sir George Clifton, in 1587. The next year, with the death of his grandfather, Sir Gervase Clifton, he inherited the Clifton estates in Nottinghamshire.[2] His guardians were his uncle, William Thorold, and Lord Burghley,[2] although his early care fell to his maternal grandmother Lady Anne Thorold.[3] Later he was educated at St. John's College, Cambridge, and at the Inner Temple.[1]

Clifton was married seven times and had thirteen children.[2][3]

He married Lady Penelope Rich (died 26 October 1613), daughter of Robert Rich, 1st Earl of Warwick, and Lady Penelope Devereux. This marriage produced one son:

He married Lady Frances Clifford (died 1627), daughter of Francis Clifford, 4th Earl of Cumberland, and Grisold Hughes. This marriage produced six children

  • Margaret Clifton (d. Feb 1697/98)
  • Frances Clifton
  • Anne Clifton
  • Lettice Clifton (d. 1659)
  • Elizabeth Clifton
  • Clifford Clifton (1626–1670)

He married Mary Egioke (died 1630), daughter of John Egioke of Egioke Manor, Inkberrow, Worcestershire, by his wife Anne, daughter of Nicholas Huband, of Ipsley, Warwickshire.[7]

He married Isobel Meek (died 1637).

He married Anne South (died 1639), daughter of Sir Francis South of Kelstern, Lincolnshire.

He married Jane Eyre (died 1655), daughter of Anthony Eyre of Laughton-en-le-Morthen, Nottinghamshire, and Rampton, Nottinghamshire. This marriage produced four children:

Lastly, he married Lady Alice Hastings, daughter of Henry Hastings, 5th Earl of Huntingdon, and Lady Elizabeth Stanley, on 17 December 1656 at St. Andrew Undershaft, London.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Clifton, Gervase (CLFN603G)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Nottingham University
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Bruce
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Willis, Browne (1750). Notitia Parliamentaria, Part II: A Series or Lists of the Representatives in the several Parliaments held from the Reformation 1541, to the Restoration 1660 ... London. pp. 5V09AAAAYAAJ&pg&#61, RA2-PA229#v&#61, onepage&q&f&#61, false 229–239.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. UK CPI inflation numbers based on data available from Gregory Clark (2015), "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)" MeasuringWorth.
  6. Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "N" (part 3)[self-published source][better source needed]
  7. Phillimore, W.P.W., MA, BCL, (editor)The Visitation of Worcestershire 1569", London, 1888, p.52.


  • Bruce, Rosslyn (1906). The Clifton Book, Chapter III: The Cliftons of Clifton. Retrieved 31 August 2009
  • Biography of Sir Gervase Clifton, 1st Baronet (1587-1666), Manuscripts & Special Collections, University of Nottingham. Retrieved 31 August 2009. Sources used:
    • P.R. Seddon, 'Sir Gervase Clifton and the Government of Nottinghamshire 1609-1640', in Transactions of the Thoroton Society, vol. XCVII, 1993, 88-98
    • Basil Duke Henning (ed), 'Sir Gervase Clifton', in The House of Commons, 1660-1690 (London: Published for the History of Parliament Trust by Secker & Warburg, 1983)
    • P.R. Seddon, 'Marriage and Inheritance in the Clifton Family during the 17th century', in Transactions of the Thoroton Society, vol. LXXXIV, 1980, 33-43
    • A.H. Tricomi, 'Identifying Sir Gervase Clifton, The Addressee of [John] Marston's Letter, 1607', in Notes and Queries, 222 (1977), 202-203
    • W.H.G. Flood, 'A John Marston Letter' [to Sir Gervase Clifton], in The Review of English Studies 4 (1928), 887-88
    • F.W. Dobson, 'Note on a Letter of Cardinal Richelieu in the Clifton MSS', in Transactions of the Thoroton Society 16 (1912), 155-158
    • Lady E.M. Bruce, 'Ancient Documents and Letters [of Sir Gervase Clifton] at Clifton Hall', in Transactions of the Thoroton Society 15 (1911), 161-173
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Sir Perceval Willoughby
Sir John Holles
Member of Parliament for Nottinghamshire
With: Sir John Holles 1614
George Chaworth 1621
Robert Sutton 1624
John Stanhope 1625
Succeeded by
Sir Henry Stanhope
Sir Thomas Hutchinson
Preceded by
Robert Greves
John Martin
Member of Parliament for Nottingham
With: John Byron
Succeeded by
Viscount Newark
Charles Cavendish
Preceded by
Sir Henry Stanhope
Sir Thomas Hutchinson
Member of Parliament for Nottinghamshire
With: John Byron
Succeeded by
Parliament suspended until 1640
Preceded by
Parliament suspended since 1629
Member of Parliament for East Retford
With: Francis Pierrepont 1644
Charles Cavendish, Viscount Mansfield 1640-1644
Succeeded by
Francis Thornhagh
Sir William Lister
Baronetage of England
Preceded by
new creation
(of Clifton, Nottinghamshire)
Succeeded by
Sir Gervase Clifton