Clark, Charles (DNB00)

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CLARK, CHARLES (1800–1880), proprietor of the Great Totham press, was born at Heybridge, Essex, and educated at Witham Place school in the same county. He was bred a farmer, and resided for several years at Great Totham Hall, near Witham. Before 1859 he had removed to Heybridge, when he was buried on 27 March 1880, 74 (parish burial register). Possessed of some small literary impulse, Clark occupied his leisure in composing and printing with his own hands numerous hroadsides, consisting chiefly of satirical songs and parodies. These were intended for circulation among the author's friends, the farmers and alehouse keepers, and are for the most part exceedingly silly and indecent. The distribution of one of these squibs resulted in an action for libel. A very complete is in the library of the British Museum. More useful work was a series of well executed reprints of scarce tracts and extracts from rare books. One of Clark’s earliest attempts at printing was ‘A History, Antiquarian and Statistical, of the Parish of Great Gotham,’ 1831, 8vo, mostly written by his friend and neighbour G. W. Johnson. He also contributed to periodicals such as the ‘Literary Gazette,’ ‘Sportsman,’ and ‘Funny Herald.’ Clark spent the latter years of his life in almost complete seclusion at Heybridge, a circumstance which may account for the absence of any obituary notice in the local newspapers, in whose columns he had at one time been a constant writer. His interesting library, abounding in scarce tracts relating to the eastern counties, was disposed of before his death.

[Lowndes's Bibl. Manual (Bohn), vi. (Append), pp. 216-17; Olphar Hamst’s Handbook of Fictitious Names, pp. 29, 44, 107, 197; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Timperley's Encyclop. of Literary and Typographical Anecdote, p. 541; Notes and Queries, lst ser. v. 416, 621, 5th ser. iv. 464, 521. v. 17, 395; Egerton MSS. 2249, f. 109, 2250, ff. 15, 17.]

G. G.