Clinton, Geoffrey de (DNB00)

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CLINTON, GEOFFREY de (fl. 1130), chamberlain and treasurer to Henry I, appears to have been the founder of the great Clinton family, and was probably the creator of his own fortunes, though attempts have been made to show that he was descended from William de Tankerville, chamberlain of Normandy (Duedale, Baronage, i. 528). His name seems to occur for the first time in a charter of Henry I to Westminster Abbey—a document that cannot, from the names of the co-signatories, be dated later than 1123 {Monast. Anglic. i. 308). Foss assigns it to 1121 or 1122. Probably before 1136 Clinton founded the Benedictine priory of Kenilworth; his second charter to this establishment is witnessed by Simon, bishop of Worcester, who was consecrated in 1125 (Stubbs, Reg. Sacr.) In the charter to Kenilworth, Clinton styles himself respectively as chamberlain and treasurer to Henry I. In the 'Pipe Roll' of 30-I Henry I is is found holding pleas in no less than eighteen counties, and appears to have still retained the treasurership (Pipe Roll, 30-1 Henry I; Foss). About the same time (Easter 1130) we read that he was unjustly accused of treason, and was brought to trial at Woodstock. On this occasion David I, king of Scotland, sat in judgment as an English peer (Ord. Vit. viii. c. 22). There does not seem to be any satisfactory evidence as to the date of Clinton's death. According to Madox, a Geoffrey de Clinton was a baron of the exchequer in Stephen's reign ; but there is nothing to show whether this was our Geoffrey or his son. The direct descendants of Clinton (in the male line) seem to have become extinct in the reign of Henry III (Dugdale); but from his nephew Osbert were descended the Earls of Lincoln in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Earl Clinton of the eighteenth, and the Duke of Newcastle in the nineteenth (Nicolas). Clinton himself is included by Orderic Vitalis among the number of those 'men of ignoble stock' whom Henry I, 'so to speak, lifted up from the dust and exalted above earls and burghers.' As his name appears first on this list, it would seem that the historian intended the full force of his remarks to apply to Geoffrey, even to the charges of unjustly gotten wealth, and oppression (Ord. Vit. xl. c. 1). A second nephew, Robert, was ordained priest (21 Dec. 1129 a.D.) and next day consecrated bishop of the Mercians. He died in 1148 at Antioch.

[Dugdale's Baronage, i. 528-9; Nicolas's Historic Peerage, ed. Courthope; Orderic Vitalis ap. Migne's Cursus Patrologiæ, clxxxviii, 622, 789, 896; Henry of Huntingdon, ed. Arnold (Rolls Series), p. 252; Annals of Waverley in Luard's Annales Monastici (Rolls Series), ii. 222; Foss's Judges of England, i. 109, &c.; Hunter's Pipe Roll, 30-1 Henry I; Dugdale's Monasticon Anglicanum (ed. 1817-46), i. 308, vi. 152, 219, &c.; Madox's History of the Exchequer, i. 58, 69, ii. 812.]

T. A. A.