CLERE, Benjamin (by 1517-79 or later), of Langenhoe and Colchester, Essex.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1517, 2nd s. of John Clere. m. Thomasin, at least 1s.1

Offices Held

Chamberlain, Colchester 1539-40, bailiff 1541-2, 1544-5, 1548-9, 1553-4, 1558-9, 1562-3, 1565-6, 1570-1, 1575-6, alderman by 1548.2


Benjamin Clere was one of the executors of his father’s will, which was proved in February 1539, and under which he received a legacy of £80. He was then living at Langenhoe. He evidently followed his father into the cloth trade and prospered in it, for he was one of the Colchester men assessed at £100 for the loan of 1556, although his reluctance to pay evoked a Council order to do so or to explain in person. His municipal career was also a duplication of his father’s and he entered Parliament at about the same age as John Clere had done. If he was merely seeking to emulate his father his disappearance from the Commons thereafter may have been due as much to lack of interest as of opportunity.3

In March 1567 Clere, with one of the bailiffs and other leading townsmen, was fined 2s.6d. by the justices of the assize for his part in a riot in Colchester; the disturbance was apparently fomented by Thomas Lucas following a dispute about municipal property rights. Between 1558 and 1579 Clere and his son Benjamin were also defendants in Chancery to complaints of malpractice at Colchester hospital, of which the younger Benjamin had been appointed master while still a boy with, it was alleged, consequences injurious to the foundation and its inmates; Clere rebutted the allegation that his son had been removed from school and put to farming with the claims that he had used the boy’s help in his business while he was bailiff and that he intended to enter him at Cambridge. Clere seems to have died intestate. When his younger brother Nicholas made his own will in February 1579 he appointed Clere supervisor and left him 40s. but as there is no later reference to Clere in the borough records he probably did not long survive this mention.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: D. F. Coros


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference, Essex RO, D/DU457/4. PCC 25 Dyngeley; Colchester Oath Bk. ed. Benham, 173; Cal. Colchester Ct. Rolls, ed. Harrod, passim.
  • 2. Colchester Oath Bk. 159, 160, 163, 166, 167, 172, 179, 182; Colchester town hall, Benham mss 25 passim; C3/132/67.
  • 3. PCC 25 Dyngeley; APC, vi. 5.
  • 4. Essex RO, Ass. 35/9/2/28; C3/132/67; PCC 25 Bakon ptd. H.F. Waters, Gen. Gleanings in Eng. ii. 1163-4.