CLERE, Edward (1536-1606), of Ormesby, Norf.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. 15 June 1536, 3rd but 1st surv. s. of Sir John Clere. educ. ?Louvain 1546; St. John’s, Camb. matric. 1553; I. Temple, adm. Nov. 1555, ?LL.D. by 1557, adv. 2 Dec. 1557. m. (1) settlement 16 Dec. 1554, Frances, da. and h. of Sir Richard Fulmerston of Ipswich, Suff. and Thetford, Norf., 3s. 3da.; (2) Agnes, da. of Robert Crane of Chilton, Suff., wid. of John Smith of Halesworth, Suff., Francis Clopton of Melford, Suff. and of (Sir) Christopher Heydon (d. 10 Dec. 1579) of Baconsthorpe, Norf., 1s. suc. fa. 21 Aug. 1557. Kntd. 22 Aug. 1578.1

Offices Held

J.p. Norf. 1560, rem. 1561, q. 1583-d.; commr. sewers 1564, 1566, 1597, musters 1596-7; sheriff, Norf. and Suff. 1567-8, Norf. 1580-1; dep. lt. Norf. 1585.2


In March 1546 Edward Clere’s father obtained permission to send him and his two elder brothers to the university of Louvain in company with the son of a Norfolk neighbour, Sir William Woodhouse. Then a boy of nine, Edward Clere probably went abroad with his brothers, one of whom died at Florence and the other, soon after his return, at Pinkie. Thus left the heir to a considerable estate, Clere was trained for the law, entering the Inner Temple after a spell at Cambridge and marriage to a local heiress. Although he is not known to have taken a degree at Cambridge he was styled doctor when admitted as an advocate in 1557. By then his father had been killed in action and early in 1558 he obtained livery of his inheritance, although the bulk of it was held by his father’s executors until 1562. He had also inherited from his great-uncle Sir James Boleyn the manor of Blickling, which he was to make his home, and with the death of his father-in-law Fulmerston in 1567 he emerged as a leading figure in Norfolk. His ascendancy there was foreshadowed by his election to the last Parliament of Mary’s reign, doubtless the work of his father-in-law, who lived at Thetford, with the approval of his more distant kinsman the 4th Duke of Norfolk: his fellow-Member was his brother-in-law Walter Haddon.3

Clere sat in Parliament twice more under Elizabeth, but in 1572 he failed to become a knight of the shire. He signed the petition of 1583 on behalf of Puritan ministers and four years later Bishop Scambler of Norwich called him ‘a favourer of religion’. Clere made his will on 4 Apr. 1605 and died in London on 3 June 1606, being buried at Blickling.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. Date of birth given at fa.’s i.p.m.. C142/112/123. Vis. Norf. (Norf Arch.), ii. 267-8; Vis. Norf. (Harl. Soc. xxxii), 75; LP Hen. VIII, xxi; C. Coote, Civilians, 43.
  • 2. CPR, 1563-6, p. 40; 1569-72, p.217; APC, xiv. 242; xxvi. 53, 388; xxvii. 274.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, xxi; Harl. Soc. xxxii. 75; HMC Var. vii. 120; PCC 34 Wrastley; CPR, 1557-8, p. 78; 1566-9, p. 151.
  • 4. A. Peel, The Second Parte of a Register, i. 225; Strype, Annals, iii(2), 460; PCC 99 Stafford; Wards 7/6/13; Pevsner, N.E. Norf. and Norwich, 96.