Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Clare, Ralph

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CLARE, Sir RALPH (1567–1670), an eminent royalist of Worcestershire, was the eldest son of Sir Francis Clare of Caldwall, and derived his pedigree from Osbert d°Abitot, who in the thirteenth century possessed various lands in that county. The estates descended in the female line to Simon Rice, a citizen of London, whose daughter and heiress married Simon Clare of Kidderminster, the father of Sir Francis Clare. Sir Ralph Clare was buried in the chancel of Kidderminster, where there is the following inscription: ‘Here lieth the body of the hon. Sir Ralph Clare, eldest son unto Sir Francis Clare in this county, servant unto Prince Henry, knight of the Bath at the coronation of King Charles I, whom he attended through all his glorious fortunes. Servant to King Charles the Second both in his banishment and return; who being zealous in his loyalty to his prince, exemplary in his charity to the distressed, and of known integrity to all men, full of days and fame departed this life the fourscore and fourth year of his age, and on 21st. April 1670.' In the cause of Charles he spent all his fortune. He took a prominent part in the defence of Worcester in 1642, and at the battle of Worcester in 1655 was taken prisoner and confined for a time in Worcester gaol. As his estates had been Ruined by his loyalty, a warrant was issued 30 Aug. 1664 for the payment to him of 3,000l. for services rendered to the last two kings (State Papers, Dom. 1663-4, p. 675). He was astrong supporter of episcopacy, and by his influence in Kidderminster did much to impede the labours of Richard Baxter, who says of him that he was the ruler of the vicar of Kidderminster, and all the business there was done by Sir Ralph Clare. At the Restoration he objected to Baxter’s retention of the living or curacy of Kidderminster, although Lord Clarendon engaged for a handsome stipend to be paid to Mr. Dance, the vicar. Baxter, though he suffered severely from Clare’s opposition, had a high appreciation of his character. He says: ‘He more to hinder my greater successes than a multitude of others could have done, though he was an old man of great courtship and civility, and very temperate as to diet, apparel and sports, and seldom would swear any louder than by his troth, and showed me much personal reverence and respect beyond my desert, and we conversed together with much love and familiarity.' There is an etching of Sir Ralph Clare in Nash's 'Worcestershire,' ii. 44, from an original picture in the possession of the late Francis Clare of Caldwall.

[Nash's Worcestershire, ii. 43-4, 53 and passim; Granger's Biog. History of England, 5th ed. v. 106-7; Richard Baxter's Works, ed. Orme, i. 216-19.]

T. F. H.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.66
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
388 ii 32 Clare, Sir Ralph: before In the cause insert He was M.P. for Droitwich in 1621 and for Bewdley in 1624, 1625, 1626, 1627-8
35 for 1655 read 1651