William Clifford 1590-1655

From Book Owners Online

William CLIFFORD 1590-1655

Biographical Note

Son of James Clifford of Gloucestershire. BA Magdalen College, Oxford 1612, MA 1618. Vicar of Curdworth, Warwickshire 1619-26, rector of Yarlington, Somerset 1628-34, of Frampton, Dorset 1634, of East Knoyle, Wiltshire from 1646 (replacing the ejected Christopher Wren, father of the architect). Two of his sons were nonconformist ministers (after the Restoration, one resigned and the other was ejected and imprisoned); his will begins with a lengthy preamble about the protestant faith as established by Parliament, and it is clear that the family was strongly puritan.


Clifford's will contains extensive instructions regarding his books, most of which ("all my bookes and studdy with all my manuscripts excepting some few") were bequeathed to his elder son Samuel, on condition that he paid his brother Isaac ten pounds "to buy him bookes". Isaac received "my Scapule [Scapula] Lexicon, Bellarmines hebrew grammer and all such bookes he hath already of mine at Oxford (where Isaac was a student at the time of making the will)". Samuel was also required to clear William's outstanding book bills with two booksellers, estimated at £3 8s. His daughter Arthrune was left three medical books in English, and his grandson Samuel his "best Bible". We do not know the extent of Clifford's library, but it was clearly important to him. It may be noted that the elder son Samuel, who received most of the books, was also left books by his cousin Abraham.