(Partly taken from the "Nottingham Guardian,")

In the present day Col. Hervey Bruce and Mrs. Bruce have a regard for the traditions of the place delightful to the antiquarian spirit.

At Clifton Hall the old oak panelling which gives the drawing-room its distinction and shows the fireplace to proper advantage, was discovered beneath coatings of paint, and carefully cleaned, through the sound judgment of the present owners. The uniform, gold Peninsular medal, and orders of Sir Arthur of Clifton, K.C.B., and a banner of the 1st Royal Dragoons, which he commanded at the battle of Waterloo, have been brought out from the portmanteaus in which he left them, and form in a glass case a most interesting pendant to his portrait in the hall. The same spirit of appreciative inquiry led Mrs. Bruce to undertake the examination of a large sack, which stood some six feet high, crammed with papers and parchments, in an upper store-room, where it had been undisturbed for at least a century, for there was nothing near it bearing a later date than 1805. The contents of the sack appeared to have been crumpled up at some time and stuffed into it like waste paper, for when turned out they thickly covered the floor of a good sized room, some of them having suffered considerably from damp and decay. It was a work requiring great patience to smoothe them all out and dry them by the aid of an iron, but now the hundreds of documents are in excellent condition and reduced to order.


To some are attached impressions of Great Seals of different Sovereigns, and in one or two instances these are still in very good condition. It is known that "gentle Sir Gervase," as he was alliter-atively styled by Queen Elizabeth, held positions of influence in the Courts of Henry VIII., Edward VI., Mary and Elizabeth, and the seals of all these Sovereigns are to be found among these deeds, as well as one of Richard II., with the exceptionally fine figure of the King seated upon the throne in his Coronation robes.

The earliest personal letter is dated July 1555, and is addressed to Sir John Constable, great grandfather of Sir Gervase Clifton (1st Bart.)


There is a series of letters of the greatest interest to Sir Gervase Clifton (1st Bart.) from Thos. Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, before and during the time he was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, when he practised the policy of "Thorough" for which he was impeached, and finally with King Charles' consent (the darkest act and the most bitterly repented in all his kingship) beheaded. These letters begin "My dear brother," for Sir Gervase to whom they are addressed and Strafford married sisters, and are of a most frank and intimate nature.

Here is a fragment from one of Stafford's letters written from Westminster in 1631, in reply to a letter from Sir Gervase, suggesting resignation from King Charles' service:—

"To counsel his Maty to remove yourself, whose abilities and affections are soe well knowen unto me, I may not doe itt with faithe to my maister when soe doing my owne understanding tells me I should doe him a great disservice in laying aside soe able a Minister. Nay when you thinke better of itt, lesse inwards vpon your owne ease, more outwarde vpon the duties we oughe the publicke. I asseure myself you will not desire itt. I desire my service may be remembered to my Lady, with my wifes respects to you both."

Here is the conclusion of another written from Ireland in 1638, when Strafford was Lord Lieutenant:—

. . . Here am I in my hermitadge, a place of retirement wher my greatest conuersation woodes and deare. and I should thinke me self happy if I could longer hide myself from the importunity of my imployment, but for the present that must not be. but to laboure and trauell I must soe againe, being the portion only I looke for in this life. I thanke god his Maty is graciously pleased with my poore indeauoures, wch sustaines me all along, els had I fainted long agon in the blacke streams of mallice and enuy, in wch I have soe long waided vp to the chinn. This is my comfortt alsoe that all my ennimies are not able to deade me in my affection to my friends, but that I can serue them wth chearfull and quicke spiritts, and amongst thos your self in the immutable qualety of

Yor euer most faithful brother
And humble seruant

Sir Thomas Wentworth. Bart., K.G.. Baron Raby and Earl of Strafford was ignobly delivered up, and executed in May, 1641, at the age of 47. "The Strafford Club" at Oxford, which claims early, if not contemporary origin, perpetuates his memory, and endeavours to foster among future legislators the same unswerving devotion to loyalty and sound principles : the present writer cherishes with tender satisfaction the memory of having been president of this club in 1895.


A very curious letter from this Statesman who became Cardinal in 1622, and was Minister of State to the King of France (1624-1642), has for its purpose the introduction of a Benedectine

Monk named Matthew Camprey: "one of the least vicious persons I ever got among all I have conversed with." It concludes thus:—

"Sir it is that desire to advertise you that you are obliged more than any to take special notice of him to afford him all imaginable respect, and to say nothing in his presence that may offend or displease him in any sort for I will and do and truly say I love him as myself and assure you there cannot be a more convincing Argument of an unworthy Person in the World than to be capable of doing him an Injury. I very well know that as soon as you cease to be a stranger to his virtues and shall be acquainted with him you will Love him as well as I do and you will thank me for this advice the assurance I have of your Civility doth hinder me to write any further of him or to say any more upon this subject.

I am your
Affectionate friend,


Here is a letter from King Charles I. written from Nottingham in 1642 and addressed "To our trusty and well-beloved Sir Gervase Clifton, Knt."


Trusty and well beloved. Wee greet you well. Much it concerns vs now to provide for our owne personall and ye publique safety. Our Enemies have of late so Traitrously declared themselves and declined all Accomodacon that Wee are assured that Our loyall and well affected Subjects wil bee as ready to give vs as Wee to crave all timely assistance. And because by ye seizing of our Magazine our great want is of Armes Wee have thought fit to pray you (of whose good affecion Wee are very well assured) out of your Store to spare Vs as many as conveniently you can leaving onely a competent number for defence of yr house from some small party. All our loving Subjects security being now more involved in ye defence our Army can give them than any particular resistance they can make. What you furnish us with Wee intend for ye guard of Our person and to procure ye peace of this Our King-dome, and shall cause to bee carefully restored or a valuable satisfaction to be given for them at ye end of ye Service. Given at our Court at Nottingham ye last day of August 1642.

All ye armes you shall thinke fit to send Vs Wee desire may bee sent to Nottingham Castle, to bee delivered to our Storekeeper there.

The response made to His Majesty's appeal is acknowledged in the following terms:—

"September the 3, 1642

For the daie and yeare abovesaid inte his Mates Magazine at Nott Castle for his Mates use, of Sr Gervase Clifton Kt and Baronett eight great saddles with bittes, bridles and other accoutremts belonging to them and eight compleate currissiers wth six cases of pistolls and 2 cases of petronells wth Holsters, 6 Musketts wth rests 20 compleate corsletts and 20 spikes. I saie Recd as aforesaid these by me

When Oliver Cromwell's Parliament overcame the Royalists Sir Gervase Clifton was fined £4,000 (a very large sum then) for his devotion to the Royal Cause. This was paid in four instalments during the years 1649 and 1650, and there are among the papers the receipts signed by Cromwell's Treasurers for the money paid by Sir Gervase "as a fine for his delinquency to the Parliament."


There is an interesting letter to Sir Gervase from King Charles I. dated October 16th, 1634, in which he approves of a proposed marriage between Sir John Suckling, the poet, and Anne, daughter of Sir Henry Willoughby, and a great heiress, but complains that Sir Henry does not allow Sir John to pay his addresses to his daughter, and bids Sir Gervase and Sir Thomas Hutchinson intervene to further the King's wishes, and particularly to ascertain the disposition oi the gentlewoman herself. The delicacy of this mission will be understood from a contemporary description of Suckling provided by his friend Davenant. "He was the greatest gallant of his time, the greatest gamester both for bowling and cards so that no shopkeeper would trust him for sixpence, as to-day for instance, he might by winning be worth £200, and the next day he might not be worth half so much, or perhaps he sometimes minus nihilo. He was of middle stature and slight strength, brisk, round eye, reddish faced and red-nosed (ill-liver) his head not very big, his hair a kind of sand colour."

The Lady Anne was determined to thwart the scheme, and appealed to another suitor, Sir John Digby, a powerful man and an expert swordsman, to help her to obtain Suckling's written renunciation of all claim to her hand. The rivals met in London on the road, argued, quarrelled and proceeded to blows and the unhappy Suckling was "cudgelled into a handful." Suckling died in 1642 unmarried, and a "man of broken fortunes."