CONSTABLE, Sir Thomas Aston Clifford, 2nd bt. (1807-1870), of Burton Constable, Yorks. and Tixall Hall, Staffs.
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Family and Educationb. 3 May 1807, o. s. of Sir Thomas Hugh Clifford (afterwards Constable), 1st bt., of Tixall and Mary Macdonald, da. of John Chichester of Arlington, Devon. m. (1) 27 Sept. 1827, Marianne (d. 13 Dec. 1862), da. of Charles Joseph Chichester of Calverleigh Court, Devon, 1s.; (2) 15 May 1865, Rosina, da. of Charles Brandon, s.p. suc. fa. as 2nd bt. 25 Feb. 1823. d. 22 Dec. 1870.1
Sheriff, Yorks. 1840-1.
Constable belonged to the old Catholic family of Clifford. His father, Thomas Hugh Clifford, born in 1762, was the first son of Thomas Clifford (1732-87), youngest and posthumous son of Hugh, 3rd Baron Clifford (1700-32). Thomas Hugh Clifford, whose brother Henry became a prominent Catholic lawyer and reformer, was educated at the Jesuit academy at Liege and in Paris. From his mother (d. 1786) he inherited the Aston estate in Staffordshire. He made a name for himself as a botanist and topographer and gave hospitality at Bath to French émigrés, including Louis XVIII, on whose request in 1815 the regent created him a baronet. In 1821 he succeeded to the Yorkshire estates of his kinsman Francis Constable at Burton Constable, near Hull, and Wycliffe, near Darlington. He took the name of Constable shortly before his death at Ghent on 25 Feb. 1823.2 On coming of age in 1828 his only son, this Member, took possession of landed property which included 12,600 acres around Burton Constable, worth £17,000 a year in rents. He was also hereditary lord of the siegniory of Holderness.3 At the general election of 1830 he stood for the venal borough of Hedon, five miles south of Burton Constable, and was returned unopposed with the backing of the Tory corporation.4 The Wellington ministry listed him as one of the ‘doubtful doubtfuls’, while Brougham considered him likely to side with the Whig opposition, but he was absent from the decisive division on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830. The Tory Lord Ellenborough noted on 5 Mar. 1831 that Constable had ‘deserted to us’,5 and he voted against the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reform bill, 22 Mar., and for Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. At the ensuing general election Constable, the only Catholic Member to oppose reform, came in unopposed for Hedon.6 He voted against the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July, its third reading, 19 Sept., and passage, 21 Sept. 1831. On 6 Oct. he was given a month’s leave on account of a family illness. He was absent from the division on the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831, but divided against going into committee on it, 20 Jan., the enfranchisement of Tower Hamlets, 28 Feb., and the third reading, 22 Mar. 1832. His only other known votes were against government on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 12 July 1832. He presented a petition for the abolition of slavery, 22 Nov. 1830, but is not known to have spoken in debate.
Constable retired from Parliament at the 1832 dissolution. He remained a staunch Conservative, but devoted himself to the improvement and expansion of his estates. He died in December 1870 and was succeeded by his only child Frederick Augustus Talbot Constable (1828-94). His personal estate was sworn under £45,000 at York, 15 Feb. 1871.