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123313 Charles John 1828-1910

Charles John Clay, the third and youngest son of Henry Clay and Sarah née Spender, was born on 21 August 1828 in Burton-on-Trent, and baptised there on 23 August 1828.  The husband of his Aunt Caroline, Rev. Charles Fynes-Clinton (related to the Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyme) was his godfather and after whom he was named, hence the name Charles came into the Clay family.  He was educated at Repton[1] and matriculated on 20 May 1847 aged 18, when he went up to University College, Oxford, where he obtained his B.A. in 1851.  He then became a barrister of the Inner Temple on 30 April 1855, see Foster's "Men at the Bar".  He was described at marriage as of Silverhill House, but later moved to Stapenhill House.  He was made a Director of Bass, Ratcliff & Gretton, brewers, and was also a Banker.  He described himself in 1871 Census as "Brewer (Merchant)". 

Charles John shared Branston Hall with his brother Joseph before he married, which took place when he was nearly 41, on 6 July 1869 in Tatenhill, Burton-on-Trent.  The ceremony was performed by Rev Philip Arden Cooper, uncle of the bride, (Agnes Lucy) "Aggie" Arden, then aged nearly 31;  he was ten years less 2 days older than she was.  She gave her place of residence at the time as Rangemore, Tatenhill.

Witness to the marriage were :‑
     Henry Clay                   groom's father, then aged nearly 73;
     William Arden               bride's uncle;
     Edward T. Arden           bride's brother, then aged just 32;
     Caroline E. Mynors        groom's sister, then aged 38;
     Arthur Bass                  family friend[2], later the first Lord Burton;

Charles John and Aggie had four sons :-

Arthur (Joseph)                                born in April 1870.

Gerard  (Arden)                                born in March 1871

Ernest (Charles)                               born in December 1872

Wilfrid (Henry)                               born in February 1874.

Three days after her last confinement, on 17 February 1874, Aggie was dead.  Family tradition has it that her husband came home from work to find her bleeding to death, and the midwife in a drunken stupor on the floor, although a contemporary note records that she died "suddenly."

Charles John bought Stapenhill House from his brother Joseph for £3500 in 1877.  Later he moved to Holly Bush, Newborough, which he bought.  He was a J.P. for both Derbyshire and Staffordshire.

His deceased wife's still unmarried sister, Margaret Isabella Arden, two and a half years her senior, came to take care of the four little mother-less boys, then all under five;  they called her "Aunt Mardit".  But tragedy struck again only four years later, when she died after a fall from a horse in 1878.

Five years after that, when he was 55, Charles John Clay was married again, on 6 September 1883 in Church Broughton, Derby, by Rev. Walter Baskerville-Mynors - husband of Charles John's sister Caroline, who had been a witness to his first marriage (see above). The marriage was to Elizabeth Teasdale Smith (called "Mitty" by her step-children, and "GreenMama" by her step-grandchildren), who was then aged 29.  She was the daughter of Mark Smith and Margaret nee Teasdale, and was born in Alnwick, Northumberand, in Q3, 1854.  In 1881, she was governess to  four-year-old Alice T Bott, the daughter of Richard Bott and his wife Emily T. nee Clay,Charles John's other sister. The Botts lived in Church Broughton, Derbyshire, where the weddong took place - possibly becauuse both Mitty's parents were dead.

By her, Charles John had two daughters :-

Elizabeth Mildred                            born 1886, died on 2 October 1899 in Newborough, Burton-on-Trent at the age of 13.  The tower of Newborough Church was built by her father as a memorial to her.

(Adelaide) Hilda                              born on 12 August 1887 in Whitby, Yorks.3] 

On 6th June 1912, Hilda, her half brother Arthur and his wife Bridget, and her youngest half brother Wilfrid  set off to drive across Europe (and the Alps) to Italy, and arrived back on 6th July - here is an edited account of that trip.

Hilda was married on 12 November 1913 in St Peter's Eaton Sq., to Henry (Francis) Clifford, the heir to Frampton Court and its estates, at Frampton-on-Severn, Gloucestershire, which has been in the Clifford family for nearly a thousand years.  Henry Clifford was born in Frampton on Q3, 1871, the son of Henry James Clifford and Annie (Frances) nee Green (1844 - 1938) - he had a brother Walter who died in infancy, and seven sisters.

At the age of 45, while serving with the Gloucestershire Yeomanry at Rafa, in Palestine, Henry was killed in action on 9 January 1917 and was buried in Kantara Military Cemetery.  Henry Clifford and Hilda had a daughter, (Henrietta Hilda Elizabeth) “Henriette” Clifford, born on 8 April 1917, after her father's death.  Hilda married again, on 22 June  1932, Col. (John Alfred Tennant) "Jack" Miller of the 14/20th Hussars, born 13 November 1887, and she went out to India with him in the 1930's.  They had no children.

On 5 September 1939 Hilda’s daughter Henriette married Peter (Frazer Sinclair) Clifford né Haggie, born 5 October 1913 in Gateshead district, Durham / Tyne and Wear (died 3 June 1984), the only son of Oswald Sinclair Haggie (1885–1924) and Victoria Violet Frazer (1893–1936) - after her husband's early death at 39 (when Peter was 11), Peter's mother married Gregory M Knight (1877-1958), but she also died young, at 43, when Peter was 23.


Peter served in India in the same Regiment as his step-father-in-law Jack Miller, and  in WWII he served in tanks, in th D-Day Normandy invasion, then in Italy.   

By deed poll of 06.01.1943, Henriette and Peter changed their surname from Haggie to Clifford, her maiden name.

Peter passed out from the Royal Military College, Sandhurst

01.02.1934  commissioned, 14th/20th King's Hussars- Royal Armoured Corps (Lucknow (1937) & Secunderabad (1939). India)

Cadet         ?
2nd Lt.       01.02.1934 [62564]
Lt.               01.02.1937
A/C apt.    22.06.1940-21.09.1940
T/C apt.     22.09.1940-22.01.1942
Squadron Commander, Western Desert, N Africa in WWII:
WS/Capt.  23.01.1942
Capt.          01.02.1942
A/Maj.       23.10.1941-22.01.1942
T/Maj.       23.01.1942-31.01.1947
Maj.           01.02.1947 (retd 06.05.1947)

06.05.1947 - 05.10.1963 Regular Army Reserve of Officers [age limit]
Maj. TA     23.06.1948, seniority 05.10.1947
23.06.1948 - 01.04.1950 Royal Gloucestershire Hussars- Territorial Army
12.04.1951 - 14.08.1953 Royal Gloucestershire Hussars - Territorial Army
MID 22.03.1945 NW Europe

High Sheriff, Gloucestershire, 1962-1965.

After retiring from the Army, Peter ran the Frampton estate;  he died in Gloucestershire on 3 June 1984 at the age of 70.  Peter and Henriette had three sons, David, Rollo and Robin, the last two are married and have children. 

Jack Miller died 29 October 1972 in Frampton-on-Severn at the age of 84. Hilda had died two weeks earlier, also at Frampton-on-Severn at the age of 85;  they had been married for 40 years.  One of the last "public" family functions that Hilda and Jack attended was the wedding on 2 October 1971 of her "great half nephew" Robin Clay, who, with his sister Gill had stayed with them at Frampton during school holidays in the 1950's.  Henriette died in 2003; Gill and Robin Clay and their mother Betty attended the memorial service. Betty was the wife of Gervas, the elder son of Hilda's half-brother Gerard, see near the top of this Page.

Charles John Clay died on 14 April 1910 at Holly Bush, Newborough, Burton-o-T at the age of 81, and was buried five days later at Newborough. See his Obituary from the Derby Mercury.


(Agnes Lucy) "Aggie" née Arden.

Aggie was born on 19 August 1838 at Longcroft Hall, Yoxall

     Sponsors at her baptism were :

     Edwin Fell  - a Walter William Fell was the husband of her father's sister Emma Catherine, but Edwin is unknown.

     Mrs Henry Cooper - Elizabeth nee Palmer, wife of her mother's brother, Rev. Henry Cooper.

     Mr & Mrs Bott - her father's much older brother, John, married Susannah Bott, but it is not known who these Botts were.

Aggie was the daughter of Rev. Thomas Arden, whose family has been traced back to before the Conquest, and Isabella Mary Cooper, the daughter of Rev. Edward Cooper the younger and Caroline Isabella Powys.  The Rev. Edward Cooper was the son of Rev. Edward Cooper the elder and his wife Jane Leigh, whose sister Cassandra Leigh was the mother of Jane Austen.  Caroline Isabella Powys was the daughter of Phillip Lybbe Powys and Caroline Girle, who became known as "The Oxfordshire Diarist" - her diaries were published in 1899 by Longmans.


We have  a “pocket” book entitled “Church Services” inscribed:

Agnes L. Clay
From Mrs. Bass
Aug: 19, 1869

…which is a month after her wedding, so presumably given to her on their return from honeymoon.

Aggie was very short - less than 5 ft. - witty and amusing.  As recorded above, she died suddenly, three days after her last confinement, on 17 February 1874 at Stapenhill, Burton-on-Trent, at the age of 35, and was buried four days later at Stapenhill Church.  In October that year her widower placed a white marble stone in Stapenhill Churchyard to her memory, inscribed "Living with Jesus".


Elizabeth Teasdale née Smith

Charles John's second wife, Elizabeth, was born on 12 August 1854? in Durham, the third daughter of Mark Smith, Junior, of Alnwick, Northumberland.  She became governess to the children of Arthur and Lilian Bott - Arthur's mother was Emily Clay, Charles John's younger sister.  In 1883, when she was 29, Elizabeth married the 55-year-old Charles John, and brought up their two daughters with her four stepsons, the youngest of whom was 12 years older than the eldest daughter.  Her husband died in 1910, when she was 56.  By this time, the elder three of her stepsons were married, and her elder daughter had died, so she and the two remaining children, Wilfrid and Hilda, left Holly Bush, which had been bequeathed to Arthur, the eldest son, and they moved to Manceter in Leicestershire.  Later, she and her daughter Hilda moved to Bournemouth, and lived with her younger sister.  After Hilda married in 1913, or perhaps after the death of Hilda's husband in 1917, she moved to Frampton Court, Hilda's home in Frampton‑on‑Severn, Gloucestershire.  She died on 21 November 1941 at the age of 87, at Frampton Court. 

Elizabeth was known to her Bott charges as "Mittie", and this nickname was carried over into her married life.  She had a sense of humour and a twinkle in her eye, but was thought by her step-sons to be very prim, and they admitted that they rather laughed at her behind her back.  She was also sometimes referred to by them as "Greenmama". 


[1]  Rugby School Register claims he went THERE 3.8.42 aged 14

[2]  Later the second son of the marriage, Gerard, was to marry the daughter of Arthur Bass's wife's 3rd cousin.

[3]  Why Whitby ???

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