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Notes by Norman Hidden about the Clarke and Passion families in the 16th century.

The 3 adjacent properties which in 1552 seem to have been connected with the Clydesdale/ Hidden family by possible descent from William Bocher appear in 1573 as belonging (a) to William Grove & John Harrold (now burnt & void) quit rent 4d, (b) to Nicholas Passion two tenements + 7½ acres, quit rent 3s 2d. The increase in quit rent is not at present explicable.

The properties which John Bocher once held had already by 1552 passed to others & in particular the tenement adjacent to the Swan "late in the tenure of Thomas Clydesdale" with 7½ acres of land had become Stephen Yonge's . (Quit rent 6½d.) In 1573, however, it appears as a freehold belonging to the almsmen of Lambourn, with 4 acres of land (2 in Middle field, 2 in West Brook) The difference in quit rent may be explained by an entry in the 1609 survey, where the lessee (Thomas Sare) of the Almsmen pays 2½d for an additional acre "shooting on Squire Hedge in Pidden", which, however, is his own freehold. The Almshouse at Lambourn in whose hands the property remained from pre 1573 onwards was the John Isbury charity foundation at Lambourn.

In his will (dated 1568,probate 1570) John Clarke of Ardington made a bequest to his son Henry "on condition that he shall not trouble the poor almsmen of Lamborne for an annual rent that I lately assured unto them". It follows that this gift was pre 1568. We do not know where the property was, but it is possible that it may have been the house & land in Hungerford which had once been held by Thomas Clydesdale.

John Clarke had an interest in Hungerford & in the Hidden/Clydesdale family since he championed Anthony Hidden als Clydesdale in his struggle to win back the manor of Hidden which had been seized by his uncle Henry Clifford M.P. In this struggle, involving two lawsuits, Anthony's financial backer was John Clarke of Ardington, a yeoman, with substantial land-holdings there. It was John Clarke who provided the 400 marks which Anthony had to produce in his attempted negotiated settlement with Clifford. This attempted settlement was disturbed by Clifford's demand for more money, to be paid (like the earlier 400 marks) in coin of the realm. Only merchants could provide cash in such bulk & although Clarke was a well to do yeoman he himself would not have access to such amounts, except by loan or mortgage. Why did Clarke undertake these commitments on behalf of Anthony, and how could Anthony repay him?
One answer to this query may lie in a remark made by Griffith Curteys, a deponent in the lawsuit. In his deposition taken 10 May 3 Elizabeth I (= 1561}, Curteys states that at Easter twelve months previously he was sent "to make a conveyance of Mr.Clifford’s interest which he had to the farm & manor of Hidden to one Clarke, to the use of Anthony Hidden who must pay a great piece of money for it. The articles are already agreed upon for the said Clarke mindeth to marry his daughter to the said Anthony." This sounds reasonable enough but, of course, it would not procure Clarke the immediate wherewithal to buy out Clifford, a sum which for those days & such persons was "a great piece of money".

The possibility must arise, therefore, that in order to finance his cause, Anthony was able to mortgage to Clarke or via Clarke some of the family property in Hungerford, viz. that portion of it which passed from the family between 1552 & 1573 & which has been described above. It is an immediate objection to this theory that these particular properties did not belong to Anthony but, presumably, to his eldest brother Thomas. However, the loss of the manor & the need to regain it had consequences for the family as a whole & not least for Thomas who was farming the Soley portion of it.

The decree restoring the manor to Anthony upon payment of an agreed sum to Henry Clifford was issued 27 April 1562. If a marriage between Anthony & Clarke's daughter were to take place one would expect it to occur following this decree & upon successful conclusion of the case. We do not have a record of Anthony's marriage, but he had a son Anthony, baptised 8 May 1565; and a daughter Joan baptised 23 Feb 1564. His wife's name was Marrian, buried 13 May 1580. John Clarke in his will in 15&8 refers to his six daughters by name & it is clear that all six are married. None is named Marrian, but one is named Mary & Marrian may be considered a variant for Mary.

However, it is by no means certain that this marriage took place, for the Hungerford parish register has another entry altogether, stating that 8 Oct 1562 Robarte Passion of London married Marian Clarke of Ardington. The Passion family appear as well-to-do inhabitants in the town of Hungerford, the most prominent of them, Nicholas, being a clothier and also a property investor. It is Nicholas Passion who in 1573 owns the freehold of the two remaining "Bocher" tenements, formerly Thomas Clydesdale's. In his will (1582} he leaves his estate to his son Robert the younger. In 1577 he was a deponent (DL4/19/23} & gave his age then as 76.

In his will John Clarke left £10 to Alice Pacient , his daughter, also a bequest of £6.13.4. to Anthony Pacient, "son to my daughter Pacient", when he reached the age of 20 years. Pacient is clearly a variant spelling for Passion; it would seem, therefore, that Robert Passion married Alice, not Marrian Clarke. This is confirmed by a Hungerford parish register entry 1 Oct 1567 — baptised Anthony, son of Robert Passion. "Old Robert Passion" was buried 17 March 1598/9, just a few months after his wife – “Alice, wife of Robert Passion", buried 17 June 1598. If Alice was Robert Passion's wife how could the error in the parish register have occurred? The early entries, it should be remembered, were copied onto parchment in 1599 from earlier records kept on paper. Inevitably, in copying some forty years of entries, mistakes could & did occur. The existence of the bishop's transcripts from 1589 onwards sometimes enables us to see a mistake which has actually occurred. Thus in 16l6 the Parish Register has these consecutive entries:

14 Oct John Langefelde m. Margaret Pearse
24 Oct John Westland m. Elizabeth Mundy
The bishop's transcript, however, has the following consecutive entries:
24 Oct John Westland in. Margaret Pearse
18 Nov Edward Wynde m. Elizabeth Mundy

It is easy to see what has happened in copying the entries; and one would like to hazard a guess that something similar may have happened in the case of Anthony Hidden & Robert Passion, e.g. Robert Passion m. Alice Clarke of Ardington, Anthony Hidden m. Marrian Clarke of Ardington.

See also:

- The Passion Family