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Rev. Joseph Clay 1800-1839

Ancestor of the Bonham Clays

This Joseph Clay was the second son of Joseph Clay and Sarah Spender, and the younger brother of Henry Clay.  He was born at Burton on 1 August 1800 and educated at Repton and St John's College, Cambridge, to which he was admitted on 2 February 1818 as a Scholar.  He became a B.A. in 1822 and M.A. in 1825.  He was Vicar of Newhall, near Burton, and also of Stapenhill.  On 19 March 1835, he married, at Great Warley, Essex, Agnes Bonham, daughter of General Pinson Bonham of Great Warley Place.  He was 35 and she was 29;  they had three children :-


Agnes Margaret,                              born 1836 and died unmarried 1856 aged 20,

Elizabeth,                                          born 20 February 1837, who married Colonel Edmund Southey (1828-1882)  and had a daughter and three sons

Joseph Bonham,                              born 10 February 1839. 


It was 24 October 1839, when his son was eight months old, that Rev. Joseph took a cruise to the Eastern Mediterranean "for his health." The family “oral tradition” is that, one Sunday morning, while sailing through the Red Sea, he was preaching a sermon on the text “In the midst of life we are in death” – and half-way through he dropped dead!   So the trip did not help.  His death was registered in Cairo. He was 39.


Agnes Clay, née Bonham

Agnes Bonham was the elder daughter of General Pinson Bonham, and was born 26 November 1806 in Barbados in the West Indies, where her father was serving at the time.  He later became Governor of Surinam from 1811 to 1816, when the colony was surrendered to the Dutch.  Following his twenty two years of service in the West Indies, he was granted a pension for his distinguished services.  He finally retired to Great Warley Place which he had inherited from his father, and died there in 1855 in his 93rd year.  His wife (Agnes's mother) was Agnes, daughter of John Braithwaite Skeete, and she died at Great Warley place in 1852 at the age of 71.  See Berry's "Essex Pedigrees."

Agnes died in Upper Norwood on 21 January 1880, aged 73.




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