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Clark

Clark or Clarke quite a common name nationally and there were several families of Clark(e) in Chewton Mendip and especially Litton. The ‘e’ on the end of the name may be significant now but it is a minor variation on the spelling compared to other family names so it is assumed that the spelling was interchangeable untill the 19th century.  The name probably derived from ‘Cleric‘ but you may have to go back to the middle ages before you discover churchmen.  Clarks are listed in the 18th century poor relief records  as both recipients
Hannah Clark was a widow of 43 when she took a lease on a holding in Chewton Mendip in 1766. Her sons were John aged 12 and Samuel aged 9. The location of the farm is not certain and there may be a discrepancies in the ages.  Lewis Thiery was also taking out leases at the same time and there was a link  by marriage to the Thiery family.
A Samuel and Sarah Clark have a fine gravestone in Chewton Mendip and a succession of Samuel Clarks preceded him as overseers and rate payers who were probably his father and grandfather.
 Clement Clark was the son of Samuel  served in the 94th Company of Royal Marines at Chatham in 1813 (when aged 19). No reason has been given for his discharge. This information was obtained from the National Archives Attestation Forms ADM 157/12/3.
 A Samuel Clark served on board HMS Agamemnon between 10/08/1804 – 27/10/1806 which means he was at the battle of Trafalgar and makes a unique contribution to the military history of Chewton Mendip. His ships pay book number was SB18 and achieved the rank of lieutenant. He could have been either Clement’s father or brother but the late relationship is more likely. Conditions on Royal Navy ships were so bad that the Royal Navy relied upon press gangs to keep them manned. The Samuel who is buried in Chewton Mendip was born in 1758 and it is unlikely that a landsman in his forties would have thrived in such harsh conditions.
 A database dedicated to Royal Navy  called Three Decks adds a ‘e’ to his name but confirms that he served on HMS Agamemnon and adds that he fought at the third battle of Finisterre on 22nd July 1805 and that he was at Trafalgar. He also fought an action of St Domingo on  6th February 1806. This source confirms he was promoted to lieutenant when he was discharged. Robert Kingsmill is an example of how a successful naval lieutenant could build on success at sea. This Samuel was less fortunate because although prize ships were taken at Trafalgar, most of the sunk on the way back to Britain.
 Clarks continued to live in Chewton Mendip and Litton but no direct descendents of this family of Clarks have been discovered in the area.
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