CLIFTON, Robert (1690-1762), of Clifton Hall, Notts.
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Family and Education
b. 1690, 1st s. of Sir Gervase Clifton, 4th Bt., by Anne, da. of Dudley Bagnall of Newry, Ireland. m. (1) 28 June 1723, Lady Frances Coote (d. 14 Apr. 1733), da. and h. of Nanfan, 2nd Earl of Bellomont [I], 1 da.; (2) 2 June 1740, Hannah (d. 16 May 1748), da. and coh. of Sir Thomas Lombe, alderman and sheriff of London, 1s.; (3) 11 Feb. 1756, Judith, da. of Capt. Thwaites of E.I. Co., s.p. K.B. 27 May 1725; suc. fa. as 5th Bt. 27 Feb. 1731.
Clifton belonged to an old Nottinghamshire family, who had frequently represented the county and East Retford. In 1727 he announced his intention of standing, with combined Whig and Tory support, both for the county and for Retford against the sitting Members, but gave up the county on the understanding that he would be brought in on a compromise for Retford.1 In his first Parliament he supported the Government, serving on the gaols committee of the House of Commons. Re-elected unopposed in 1734, he continued to support the Government till 1737 when, though reputed to be ‘much a dependent on Sir Robert Walpole’, he voted for an increase in the Prince of Wales’s allowance.2 For the rest of that Parliament he acted with the Opposition.
At a contested election at Retford in 1741, Clifton, who had recently re-married, was assisted by his mother-in-law, Lady Lombe. She told Newcastle’s agent that
had she but known Sir Robert Clifton but two years sooner, your Grace would not have refused him your Grace’s interest at Retford or elsewhere for that he is now as great a Whig as any in the world and he shall be so for that he would be ruled by her and I believe everybody knows her ladyship is very staunch to the good cause.
Though she gave £40 or £50 for a vote and declared that Clifton should not lose ‘for a thousand pounds more’,3 he came out bottom of the poll.
In 1746 the 1st Lord Egmont noted:
Sir Robert Clifton, who was ... imprisoned for debt, I see abroad again. He married the daughter of the Lady Lombe and, as the report goes, separated himself from her to lie with the mother freely. This unworthy old lady is as extravagant as he is, and both contributed to beggar each other. He has taken home his wife again, so that ’tis to be hoped he repents himself of his errors.4
In 1747 Clifton took soundings at Retford but received discouraging replies.5 In 1758 he applied to Newcastle for his interest to succeed Lord Howe at Nottingham, once more receiving no encouragement.6 He died 7 Dec. 1762.
Ref Volumes: 1715-1754
Author: Romney R. Sedgwick
- 1. Sir Robt. Sutton to St. Andrew Thornhagh, and Wm. Levinz to the same, 1 Aug. 1727, Foljambe mss (précis in HMC 15th Rep. V, 143-4).
- 2. HMC Egmont Diary, i. 49, 55; ii. 360.
- 3. J. Bristowe to Newcastle, 13 & 22 Apr. 1741, and John White to Newcastle, 15 Apr. 1741, Add. 32696, ff.307, 347, 322.
- 4. HMC Egmont Diary, iii. 317.
- 5. John White to Newcastle, 20 June 1747, Add. 32711, f.423.
- 6. Clifton to Newcastle, 23 Aug. 1758, and Newcastle to Clifton, 23 Aug. 1758, Add. 32833, ff.70, 72.