The Clarkes of Graiguenoe Park
And their kindred families
This website records the descendants of Rev Marshal Clarke. This remarkable man appeared in Tipperary society from Donegal in about 1780 with nothing behind him, and proceeded to found a major Anglo-Irish family having links with the families of Banner, Bowen, Blackall, Buckworth, Butler, Butler Kearney, Carden, Going, Gubbins, Hickman, Humphreys, Litton, Lloyd, Long, Maunsell, O'Brien, Roe, Sadleir, Swifte and Vincent. After a long life as clergyman, headmaster and landowner, he died a wealthy man.
Rev Marshal Clarke owed his success to the enterprising Hare (O'Hehir) family, not least to his wife Betty. This set the pattern for subsequent marriages, where the Clarkes established kinships with some of the great landed Irish and English families. In the heady era of industrial and agricultural expansion of the Golden Years of the nineteenth century, they prospered.
The Clarke family were a typical landed Anglo-Irish family. Although they adhered to the prevailing Church of Ireland, they wore their religious loyalties lightly and remained close to their Catholic Kinsmen. They were in the vanguard of the colonization of British Empire, and started enterprises throughout the world. They inter-married with the English gentry in an era where the vision was of a united British isles focused on global trade, but always felt themselves to be Irish. Although they were at the heart of the campaign for Home Rule, and a separate Irish identity, (a statue of a Cooper cousin stands even today in the Dial), they were seen by a few hotheads as representatives of English rule. In the heat of the struggle for Irish independence, they were persecuted, boycotted and, in one or two cases, murdered. We possess many of their everyday letters and papers from the nineteenth century that show them to be humane, enterprising and compassionate Irishmen completely at odds with the caricature of the grasping absentee landowner. One can only marvel at how propaganda could so often overcome truth; and how readily it is accepted as historical fact.
The descendants of Rev Marshal Clarke live all over the world. It is easy to lose touch with family living in a different continent, and is this website can help people with the bond of kinship to keep in touch, and help them in a knowledge of their ancestors, then it will have been worthwhile.
Articles and materials about the Clarke Family
In 1766, when he was 26 years old, Samuel Vernon set off on a tour of northern Europe with his good friend Edward Bridge. They travelled through France as far south as Paris (where Samuel made a special detour to visit the small town of Vernon) and then on to those countries now known as Belgium, Holland and Germany. They wrote a short account of their observations reproduced here
The men of this country seem strong and robust, but we cannot agree with those who have spoke in favour of the persons of the women, who we thought very plain, both of the ordinary and genteel rank.
I'd always wondered if the old family legends were true about Dr Johnson. It was said that the Rev. John Batteridge Pearson inherited much of Dr Johnson's
possessions, including his copy of the famous dictionary, his walking stick, his writing desk, and much of his fortune. It was said that the dictionary was later destroyed when a maid thought it was rubbish and tore out leaves of the book to light fires. Since John Pearson was in no way related to Dr Johnson, though they lived nearby, it seemed curious. Why had John Pearson been so favoured? Here is confirmation that it happened. The writing desk and dictionary are definitely still owned by a cousin.
Aleyn Lyell Reade
being opposed one day in conversation by a clergyman who came often to her house, and feeling somewhat offended, cried out suddenly, * Why, Mr. Pearson,’ said she, ‘ you are just like Dr. Johnson, I think: I do not mean that you are a man of the greatest capacity in all the world like Dr. Johnson, but that you contradict one every word one speaks, just like him.’
The first disturbance that was designed to drive Charles Clarke from his house was described in detail in this
court report taken almost verbatim from the trial of the main miscreants, a group of local farmers who wanted
the land for themselves
The Cork Constitution, Oct 4th 1908
It was as near a case as could be to highway robbery. It was much the same as if a person had a purse containing money in his pocket, and another insisted on taking it. in pursuance of a public meeting, that alleged he had a right to do so for the purpose of dividing it amongst his friends.'
A strange enthusiastic Nationalist meeting near Holycross, led by a priest, resolves to force Mr Clarke to sell his remaining 200 acres to the Estate Commissioners. They accuse him of operating a 'Grazing Ranch'.
The Nationalist, December 9th 1908
'In anticipation of a renewal of the recent disturbances over four hundred policemen were drafted into the village. They took up position on the approaches leading to Mr Clarke's mansion, which is one and a half miles distant from the meeting place.'
George Clarke was one of the 5,744 British officers and men killed in the Boer War. My grandfather, his brother, and later my father, his nephew, kept the few possessions sent back from South Africa in a box. I still have them.
In the box was a typescript bound volume, containing this fascinating account of
his adventures, leading up to his death in action. They are taken from many
letters to his family.
I searched the hill with my glasses and presently saw two heads appearing. I laid a gun at 5,000 yards on the two heads which kindly waited for me. I fired, and after waiting a few seconds saw them suddenly disappear and the shell burst behind them. Undoubtedly the heads were cut off by the passing shell.
One of the great excitements of tracing ones ancestors and relatives is to come across a bunch of letters, or an old diary, that brings a forgotten past back into sharp focus. Even aged thirteen, Mary Pearson was a witty and observant girl who wrote with a natural style. Her description of life in affluent Cheltenham of the 1850s is vivid and enjoyable.
We drank tea at the Maynards. Very pleasant evening; there were 18
persons, mostly old maids. The beginning of the time I sat with a great
fat old thing with nothing in her which I found very stupid. But
afterwards I was by two other ladies, both intelligent and
One of them was a Miss Pyecroft, or some such name and was full of
table-moving, book-turning and animal magnetism. She had that day been
seated with some others about a table and after 25 minutes it began to
shake, then to turn slowly, and at last to run round and round so rapidly
that none could keep up with it.
On 16th July Rear Admiral Marshal L Clarke ( MLC ) was in command of a group called Force C which consisted of 4 Cruisers of the 18th Cruiser Squadron ( Southampton, his Flag Ship, Sussex, Shropshire and Glasgow ) together with 8 destroyers (in two Divisions, D4 and D 3 ). ...They were heading back to Scapa Flow in the Orkneys. At night and in thick fog and changeable weather... Glasgow and one of the destroyers, Imogen, collided and Imogen sank with the loss of a score or more of her crew.
Clearly Captain D had not obeyed his orders and had handled the destroyers incompetently. If he’d done what he had been told to do and been where he ought to have been the accident would not have happened .But happen it did and MLC was the Senior Officer so, although in the circumstances it seems a bit Quixotic, he evidently decided that he ought to take “ entire responsibility”.
Edward John Long (1827-1905), was the first of Marshal & Betty Clarke's grandchildren to marry an American Indian. Edward J. Long's wife, Amanda Maria Wood (1835-1924) was half Iroquois Indian from New York State. Her sister, Cornelia "Neal" Wood O'Brien (1845-1934), hunted buffalo, made cowboys outfits for President Teddy Roosevelt & had him over to her place for dinner, when he was a young man out in Dakota Territory.
Neal, witnessed a tragic result of the strife between the settlers and the Dakota Sioux who were just then returning from the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
She was in the vicinity when Charles Nolin was massacred near Sturgis in 1876.
...Although Cornelia never saw Nolin, she did see the scattered mail by the three oak trees where the old Sidney and Fort Pierre Trails crossed the creekbed southeast of Sturgis, and the pile of boulders that marked Charles Nolin's fresh grave."
The story of Charles Pearson is one of great happiness and great tragedy. Charles Pearson's fears expressed in his diary are not realised, for his finances remain adequate and his daughters marry well and fruitfully. Harriet the invalid lives to provide him with seven of his thirteen grandchildren beginning with Edward later Viscount Grey of Fallodon. But both his sons-in-law die prematurely of pneumonia and his wife Jane dies at 71 in Brighton after a long and distressing illness never having lived at the house they eventually bought and furnished at 26, Promenade, Cheltenham.
"On Sunday morning last Harriet's cough returned; Mary with a cold;
railway shares unsaleable; balance at bankers nil! a prospect of
ministers being thrown out on the Navigation Bill; the whole continent
approaching confusion, the new orchestra in our church of doubtful
success; in short in every direction, a lowering sky, not made more
bright by recent family explanations on behalf of a persecuted niece."
A collection of photographs of the descendents, and cousins of Marshal and Betty Clarke, and the places they lived in
"These paintings and photos are all cherished, but scattered throughout the world. We need copies of them for the website so that all of us can enjoy them!"
Here you will find the family trees of the Clarkes, The Roe Family, the Vincent Family, the Humphreys family, The Hare Family, The Falconer family, The Bowens, the Butlers, the Curtis family, the Cross Family, the Kynaston Family, The Danvers Family, the Long family, The Meyrick Family, the Pearson family, the Richmond family and a host of others who are in some way associated with the Clarkes
Contributed by David Lindley
First published in the Irish Genealogist. This essay on Marshal Clarke caused a great deal of interest and led to contact with other branches of the family. It formed the basis of the later, privately published booklet 'The Clarkes of Graiguenoe Park' by Ralph Clarke and Vernon Clarke
Lt Col R L Clarke
"After dinner she and I retired to our room, and with many sobs and tears she told me she was going home to be married-her father had provided Mr. Clarke his head usher as her husband. He was a clergyman, but had no fortune but the place of usher and some farms he rented. ...Everyone was astonished that Mr. Hare would dispose of his daughter at fifteen years of age without any settled property."
This booklet was privately published in 1976. It developed from the friendship of two cousins, Ralph and Vernon. Vernon had written notes about his ancestry for his children, and Ralph had extended his own fathers' genealogical notes with a huge amount of dogged research. The result was this remarkable work.
J.V. Clarke and Lt Col R L Clarke
"There was no electric light and no mains water or drainage. Lighting was by oil lamps and candles, and the water supply was rainwater supplemented in dry periods by water brought by tank cart from the River Suir a mile away. Piped water from the river was laid on in 1915. There was a special donkey-drawn tank cart for drinking water that came from a spring near the river.