CLARKE, James I (d.1612), of Norton Fitzwarren, Som.
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Family and Education
Prob. s. of John Clarke of Norton Fitzwarren. educ. St. John’s, Camb. 1566; New Inn; M. Temple 1572, called 1593. m. Ebbott, da. of William Lovell of Bishop’s Lydeard, at least 1s.
J.p. Som. by 1607.
It is not known whether Clarke owed his seat at Mitchell in 1589 to an outside patron or to an undiscovered connexion with the Arundell family of Trerice. He was probably the ‘Mr. Clarke’ who argued to a legal bill on 18 Feb. 1589, and who was appointed to the committee to discuss the Queen’s dislike of the purveyors bill on 27 Feb. 1589. No reason has been found for his late call to the bar, perhaps it was poor health. His appointment as reader in 1596 was ‘deferred by reason of bodily weakness’. In June 1599 he was fined for not reading, and the records describe him as ‘absent from chambers, 1607 to 1612, because of imbecility and weakness of body’. In this case, it is of course likely that he would have been removed from the commission of the peace, but no information on this point has come to light.
His name appears in several land transactions, probably as agent rather than principal, and he was a beneficiary under the will of Sir John Popham, but there is no indication that he was wealthy. His inquisition post mortem shows comparatively little land in Somerset, the only county mentioned, and in 1611 he conveyed his main manor, Norton Fitzwarren, to Sir Francis Popham and others ‘for the better advancement’ of his wife Ebbott. He died 9 Nov. 1612, and his will, now lost, was proved at Taunton. The heir was his son James, aged 26.
C142/278/159; 340/209; Q. Sessions Recs. Jas. I (Som. Rec. Soc. xxiii), 4, 10, 34, 51; D’Ewes, 434, 440; Som. Wills, ed. Brown, v. 108; vi. 74; PRO Index 6800, f. 248; CSP Dom. 1598-1601, p. 347; Taunton Wills (Brit. Rec. Soc. Index Lib. xlv), 150.