Manuscripts and Special Collections

Biography of Sir Gervase Clifton (d.1588)

Gervase was the eldest son of Sir Robert Clifton, of Clifton and Hodsock, and his second wife Anne Clifford. He succeeded his father in 1518, at the age of around two.

Gervase the gentle,
Stanhope the stout,
Markham the lion,
and Sutton the lout

Gervase was a favourite of successive Tudor monarchs and was dubbed 'Gervase the Gentle' by Queen Elizabeth I, in a rhyme referring to four Nottinghamshire gentlemen.

He was knighted in 1538, and went with King Henry VIII to France in 1544, participating in the seige of Boulogne. He was also at the Battle of Pinkie in 1547. He was a Justice of the Peace and Sheriff of Nottinghamshire at various times. He was succeeded by his four-month old grandson Gervase Clifton, later 1st Baronet, in 1588. 

According to his Inquisition Post Mortem Sir Gervase's estate included properties in Clifton, Glapton, Gedling, Hodsock, Carlton in Lindrick, Little Hodsock, Holme, Fleecethorpe, Woodhouse, Oldcoates, Woodhouse Leas, Kilsett, Hollins, Wigthorpe, Blyth, Wilford, Broughton, Willoughby, Bunny and Stanton on the Wolds, Nottinghamshire, and Claypole, Lincolnshire.


He married 1stly, in 1530, Mary (d 1564), daughter of Sir John Nevile of Chevet, Yorkshire, and had:

  • Elizabeth, m Peter Frecheville of Staveley, Derbyshire
  • Robert, died in childhood
  • Anthony, died in childhood
  • Gervase, died in childhood
  • Frances, died in childhood

He married 2ndly, after 1564, Winifred, widow of Sir George Pierrepont of Holme Pierrepont, Nottinghamshire (who d 1564), daughter and heiress of William Thwaites of Oulton, Suffolk (Winifred later married Sir Edward Gawsell of Wallington, Norfolk), and had:

  • George (1567-1587), m Winifred, daughter of Sir Anthony Thorold of Marston, Lincolnshire, and had:

Sir Gervase Clifton was also the guardian of his stepson Sir Henry Pierrepont (1546-1616), of Holme Pierrepont.

Archive Collections

  • Title deeds, settlements, estate and legal papers relating to Sir Gervase Clifton's ownership of his estates are part of the Clifton collection held in Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham



Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

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