2017-07-21 00:43:39 UTC
For some time I have been interested in the origins of William Clifton (d 1564) of Barrington, Somerset.
In September 2004, I posted as follows:
“According to the very detailed Clifton of Clifton pedigree found in the Visitation of Notts 1569 William Clifton of Barrington was a younger son of Sir Gervase Clifton (d 1491) & his wife Alice Nevill. William only died 5 years before the visitation so one might have felt reasonably confident as to its' accuracy.
However, due to obvious chronological problems with this placement Richard Borthwick and I have been jointly engaged for some months in an attempt to verify William Clifton's origins.
This week the answer was provided.
A copy of the will of William Clifton of Buxton, Norfolk proved in the Consistory Court of Norwich in 1579 arrived in the mail during the week from the Norfolk Record Office. The testator made reference in his will to "my nephew Sir John Clifton of Barrington in the County of Somerset", to "Hester Sandys my niece", to "Theophilia daughter of my brother William Clifton my niece" and to "Jane daughter of the said William my other niece".
Sir John Clifton of Barrington, Hester Sandys, Theophilia Clifton and Jane Clifton were all indisputably children of William Clifton of Barrington (d 1564).
It is therefore clear that William Clifton of Barrington (d 1564) was brother of William Clifton of Buxton (d 1579).
The Norfolk Visitation records that John Clifton of Walsingham Parva had two sons, both named William. The eldest is simply recorded as "William Clifton" without any further particulars being given. The second is recorded as "William Clifton of Buxton".
William Clifton of Barrington was therefore the son of John Clifton of Walsingham Parva, Norfolk, not Sir Gervase Clifton of Clifton (d 1491).
This raises the question of the origin of John Clifton of Walsingham. That William Clifton of Barrington appointed "Sir Jarvis Clifton of Clifton Knight" as his executor and the fact, albeit relying on the Norfolk Visitation, that the Norfolk family used very similar arms to the Notts
family are highly suggestive of these Norfolk Cliftons being a cadet branch of the main Clifton line.
It is possible, on chronological grounds, that this John may have been a previously unnoticed son of Sir Gervase Clifton (d 1491), but that is pure conjecture at this stage.”
Unfortunately, in the intervening years, I have found no further evidence to identify the place of William Clifton’s proven father John Clifton of Walsingham Parva, Norfolk amongst the Clifton of Clifton family.
I did obtain a copy of John Clifton’s 21 March 1529/30 Consistory Court of Norwich will, but unfortunately he only refers to his wife and his son, and not his wider family.
However, the following circumstantial evidence continues to suggest a link with the Clifton of Clifton family:
1.William of Barrington and his descendants appear in the Clifton of Clifton pedigree in the 1569 Visitation of Notts, albeit incorrectly placed in that pedigree, which suggests that he was a member of that family, albeit of a junior branch.
2.William Clifton of Barrington appointed "Sir Jarvis Clifton of Clifton Knight", apparently Sir Gervase Clifton, of Clifton (1516-1588), as executor of his 1562 will.
3.As recorded in the Visitation of Norfolk, 1563, the Walsingham/Barrington Clifton’s used similar, if not identical arms, to the Clifton of Clifton family.
4.There is a Clifton of Walsingham pedigree in the 1563 Visitation of Norfolk which evidences that they were of ‘gentry’ status.
5.The eldest son of William Clifton (d 1564) of Barrington, Sir John Clifton (d 1593), named his own eldest son Gervase (who was later elevated to the peerage as ‘Baron Clifton of Leighton Bromswold’ and committed suicide in 1618).
The question remains as to how the Cliftons of Walsingham/ Barrington were connected to the Cliftons of Clifton?
Recently I came across a reference, apparently sourced from Stephen Glover’s ‘The History & Gazeteer of the County of Derby’, to William Clifton (d 1564) having been the son of Gervase Clifton of the Customs House, London, who in turn was a younger son of Sir Gervase Clifton (d.1508). ‘Collins Baronetage’ from 1720, and other similar sources, also state that “…and the younger, Gervase, was of the Custom House, London, & was grandfather of Gervase Clifton, who was summoned to parliament as a baron, 6 Jas. I”.
However, as discussed above, it is known that William (d 1564) was a son of John (d 1530) of Walsingham. However, the Glover reference has raised the possibility in my mind that John (d 1530) of Walsingham could have been a brother of Gervase Clifton of the Customs house, and thus a son of Sir Gervase (d 1508). This would make William (d 1564) the grandson of Sir Gervase (d 1508).
Chronologically, this theory could possibly work as Sir Gervase (d 1508) was married to his wife Anne Griffith in 1482 (date of their marriage settlement), with John (d 1530) being born in say 1485 and William (d 1564) being born in say 1505. The first reference to William Clifton (d 1564) that I have been able to find is a grant in 1526 to him, recorded as “William Clifton son & heir of John Clifton”, of a trading lease at Calais in 1526.
This placement also makes sense of William’s appointment of Sir Gervase Clifton (1516-1588) as executor of his 1562 will as, if correct, they would have been first cousins.
Any comments or additional evidence to assist with the above would be very much appreciated.