Clarke, William (1623?-1666) (DNB00)

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CLARKE, Sir WILLIAM (1623?–1666), secretary at war, born in London, of obscure parentage, was admitted a student of the Inner Temple in 1645, and was called to the bar in 1653. He was appointed secretary at war on 28 Jan. 1661 (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1660–1, p. 490). He had previously acted for more than twelve years as secretary to General Monck. At the Restoration he was knighted and given the great lodge and sixty acres of land in Marylebone Park (Lysons, Environs, iii. 246). He attended Monck in his official capacity on board the Royal Charles in the expedition against the Dutch in the spring of 1666. A fight took place on 1 June, and continued for four successive days. On the second day Clarke's right leg was shattered by a cannon-ball. He ‘bore it bravely,’ but died two days later, aged 43. He was buried near the south door of the chancel of Harwich church, where a memorial to him was afterwards erected by his widow (inscription and plate in Taylor's Harwich, p. 39). Monck, in commending his widow and child to the favour of the king, wrote of Clarke that in him he had lost ‘a faithful and indefatigable servant,’ and that he ‘cannot express too much kindness to his memory’ (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1665–6, p. 471). Clarke married Dorothy, daughter and coheiress of Thomas Hyliard of Hampshire and Elizabeth Kimpton. By her he had an only son, George Clarke (1660–1736) [q. v.] Lady Clarke married secondly Samuel Barrow, M.D. (1625–1682), Milton's friend, chief physician to Monck's army in Scotland, and after the Restoration physician in ordinary to the king, advocate-general and judge-martial. His widow survived until 1695, and was buried near him in the south aisle of Fulham church. Her monument by Grinling Gibbons is said to have cost 300l. (Faulkner, Fulham, pp. 82–4).

Clarke's diary relating to naval affairs (23 April–1 June 1666) is preserved in the British Museum (Addit. MS. No. 14286).

[Haydn's Book of Dignities, p. 199; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1660–1, 1664–5, 1665–6, 1666–7; Taylor's Harwich, pp. 39–41; Pepys's Diary (Bright), iii. 463, 469; Lysons's Environs, ii. 370–1; Will reg. in P. C. C. 95, Mico; Masson's Life of Milton, vi. 714; Students adm. to Inner Temple, 1547–1660, ed. W. H. Cooke, p. 320.]

G. G.