Godfrey Clarke 1559/60?-1634

From Book Owners Online

Godfrey CLARKE 1559/60?-1634

Biographical Note

The Clarkes were a gentry family based at Somsersall Hall, near Chesterfield, Derbyshire; the estate was acquired during the 16th century. The male heirs typically went through Oxford without taking a degree, before going on to study law at one of the Inns of Court , but Godfrey is not recorded in the university lists. Father of Gilbert Clarke (1592/3-1650).


The growth of a family library and its passage down the generations can be seen in probate documents. Godfrey had books valued at £6 13s 4d in “a room called the studie”, while the probate inventory of his son Gilbert (d.1650) shows books held in several places in the house, valued at £10 11s. Gilbert’s son Godfrey (d.1670) left a library in the study valued at £30, together with “certain old law books and other books in the closet in the dining room” valued at £3 6s 8d; his inventory also refers to “a frame for books with curtains”.

Characteristic Markings

None of the family’s books have been identified.


  • Hoare, P. (gen.ed.), The Cambridge history of libraries in Britain and Ireland. 3 vols. Cambridge, 2006, II 176;
  • Henning, B. The House of Commons 1660-1690, London, 1983. 1660-1690.
  • Milward, R. ‘Books and booksellers in late 17th century Chesterfield’, Derbyshire Miscellany 10 (1985), 119-45, p.129.