Clarke family

Jump to their son Arthur Walter Clarke‘s page.

Both Charles Clarke & Sophia Stoddart were tutors at Cheltenham College, residing in Montague House (not listed as one of their current houses), at the time of their wedding, which took place on 30 Jul 1853 in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England:

The certificate shows Walter Clarke to be Charles’s father and Charles Stoddart to be Sophia’s (their son Arthur’s marriage certificate in Queensland states that her mother’s full name was Catherine Charlotte Sophia Stoddart). Despite the family possessing letters dating back to the 1860s, we have not uncovered much information about their lives.

At some stage Charles gained a B. A. and M. A. at Gonville and Caius College, University of Cambridge. From letters quoted below it appears he studied classics and mathematics, was fluent in French, German and Italian, knew Hebrew and Sanskrit and was musically competent.

On 21 Dec 1865 he was ordained a Deacon of the Anglican Church by John, Bishop of Lichfield in the Church of Eccleshall, Staffordshire; and on Wed 29 Jun 1870 he was ordained a Priest by Bishop Henry Hutton Parry, Bishop [in charge of the diocese of] Barbados, having worked on the island for some four years. Written in the left margin of his first ordination certificate is At the request of the Lord Bishop of Barbados. These certificates and the following testimonials were passed down the family:

It reads:

By the Tenor of these Presents, We John by Divine Permission BISHOP of LICHFIELD, do make it known unto all Men, that on St. Thomas day the twenty first day of December in the Year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty five. We the Bishop before mentioned, solemnly administering Holy Orders, under the protection of the Almighty, in the Parish Church of Eccleshall, in the County of Stafford, did admit our beloved in Christ Charles Clarke, B. A. of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge (of whose virtues and pious Life and Conversation, and competent Leaning and Knowledge in the Holy Scriptures, We were well assured) into the Holy order of Deacons, according to the manner and form prescribed and used by the Church of England; and him, the said Charles Clarke, did then and there rightly and canonically ordain Deacon, he having first in our presence made and subscribed the Declaration of Assent; and taken and subscribed the Oath of Allegiance and Supremacy provided to be made, subscribed, and taken by “The Clerical Subscription Act, 1865.

It reads:

By the Tenor of these Presents, We Henry Hutton Parry by Divine Permission BISHOP in charge of the diocese of LICHFIELD, do make it known unto all Men, that on Wednesday the twenty ninth day of June being the Feast of Saint Peter in the Year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy. We the Bishop before mentioned solemnly administering Holy Orders under the protection of the Almighty in the Cathedral and Parish Church of Saint Michael in the City of Bridgetown in the Parish of Saint Michael in the Island of Barbados did admit our beloved in Christ the Reverend Charles Clarke Master of Arts, of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge (of whose virtues and pious Life and Conversation, and competent Leaning and Knowledge in the Holy Scriptures, We were well assured) into the Holy order of Priest according to the manner and form prescribed and used by the Church of England and him the said Charles Clarke did then and there rightly and canonically ordain Priest he having first in Our Presence freely and voluntarily subscribed to the thirty-nine Articles of Religion and to the three Articles contained in the thirty-sixth Canon and he likewise having taken the Oath of Supremacy. In Testimony, whereof We have caused our Episcopal Seal to the hereto affixed the day and year above written, and in the twenty third year of our Consecration.

In 1870 Bishop Parry penned the following letter of testimonial:

The testimonial reads:

The Rev. Charles Clarke M. A. has been connected with this Island for about four years last past, first as Tutor of Codrington College [Ed. an Anglican theological college in St. John, Barbados, see and latterly as Head Master of the Grammar School attached to the College. The English Testimonials that he holds are a guarantee for his Scholarship and [various?] attainments, to which my testimony could add little weight. I will only state that from what I have myself seen and known of himself and his work [now] I feel satisfied it would not be easy to find one who ??? all the qualities of a good Teacher and is better fitted to maintain a first class position any Educational Institution that might be place under his charge. I shall be very sorry lose such a man from our numbers: and regret much that we are not able to make the Income of his present post sufficient to induce him to remain.

Being engaged fully during the time that he has been here in College and School work, Mr Charles has not taken any part as a Clergyman in parochial work – but he has been in the habit of assisting on Sundays at various Churches of the Island, and is generally acceptable as a Preacher.

H. H. Parry, Bishop in charge of the Island of Barbados.
Barbados June 3rd 1870

There is also this testimonial by John Parry (and presumably related to Bishop Parry):

The testimonial reads:

The Reverend Charles Clarke M. A. of of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge having informed me that he is a candidate for a Chaplaincy, with Tuition attached, in the Isle of Porto Rico, I have much pleasure in bearing my testimony to the very high qualifications which he possesses for such an appointment.

Mr Clarke came out to this Island from England in ’66, having been appointed by the Society to the Propagation of the Gospel to the Tutorship of this College, and in the course of the same year as the Head Mastership of the Codrington Grammar School becoming vacant and being offered to him by the College Council and being accepted by him, I was appointed by the Society to succeed him as Tutor of the College and came out in Feb. ’67; and from that time to the present I have known him intimately.

Of his sound, comprehensive and thorough intelligent scholarship, in Classics and Mathematics, and of his rare ability as a Teacher, I do not consider it necessary to speak, as these are sufficiently attested by his University degree and by Testimonials given him by excellent judges in England. I will, therefore, confine myself to matters coming more especially within the range of my own observation and knowledge.

Beside being a Classic and a Mathematician, Mr Clarke is an excellent French, German and Italian scholar, and also has knowledge of Hebrew and Sanskrit and, I may add, of Music.

Of his great success as a Teacher and his power of carrying his Pupils along with him and interesting them, I have had ample experience, having been present at several public examinations of the School; and I would particularly mention that I took part, as Examiner, in a public examination held lately, when I found the results to be most satisfactory, showing that Mr. Clarke must have taken the greatest pains with the Pupils. And not only does Mr Clarke’s great devotions to his duties extend to his school work within school hours, but, what is most important, he laso takes the verygreatest care of the moral and physical welfare of his pupils.

I have frequently heard him preach, and consider that the high reputation which he has in this Island, as an attractive and sensible preacher, is thoroughly deserved.

I will only add that Mr. Clarke’s gentlemanly manners and bearing are such that they cannot fail to secure for elsewhere, what they have done here, the regard and good will of pupils and of all who may have to do with him.

John Parry B. A.
Late Scholar of Corp. Chr. College, Cambridge, and Tutor of Codringtom College, Barbados.

The Rev. Charles Clarke was appointed principal of Harrison College, St. Michael, Barbados when the school opened on June 4, 1871 but was succeeded by Mr. Horace Deighton in 1872.

It is uncertain where the family moved to after 1972. However, we know that Charles passed away prior to 1886 when the announcement of his son’s forthcoming marriage was announced. Their son was Arthur Walter Clarke (b. 20 Apr 1854 in Cheltenham, England, d. 31 May 1893 in Brisbane, Australia).

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