Manuscripts and Special Collections

Biography of Sir Gervase Clifton, 2nd Baronet (c.1612-1676)

Gervase was the only son of Sir Gervase Clifton, 1st Baronet, and his first wife Penelope. His mother died when he was infant, and his father went on to marry six more times and have many children. He studied at Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1629 he went on the Grand Tour with his tutor, the philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679).

Returning to England, he was appointed as a J.P. for Nottinghamshire in 1635. However, his impulsive behaviour was in contrast to the gentlemanly style of his father, and caused conflict between them. He was described by Dr Robert Thoroton in his History of Nottinghamshire (1676) as "the wretched unfortunate, who was his father's greatest foil".

In 1639 it emerged that he was in debt and had borrowed money on the security of his wife's jointure estates. He was imprisoned in 1640 for assaulting two men serving a writ on him.

In 1648 Gervase agreed to relinquish his rights to the Clifton estates in favour of his younger half-brother Clifford. Gervase succeeded his father as 2nd Baronet in 1666. The baronetcy eventually passed to Clifford's son William, who had also inherited the estates since Sir Gervase Clifton had no surviving children.


He married in 1633 Sara, daughter of Timothy Pusey of Selston, Nottinghamshire. They had no surviving children, although two daughters died in infancy.

Archive Collections

  • Title deeds, settlements, estate and legal papers relating to Sir Gervase Clifton and the Clifton estates, are part of the Clifton collection held in Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham. In particular, there is an extensive series of family correspondence from the time of Sir Gervase Clifton, some of which sheds light on the difficulties between father and son (series Cl C).



Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

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