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John Clopton

John Clopton[1, 2, 3]

Male 1423 - 1497  (74 years)

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  • Name John Clopton 
    Born 1423  Long Melford, Suffolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Occupation prime benefactor of the Holy Trinity Church 
    Died 1497  Long Melford, Suffolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I713  Main
    Last Modified 30 Sep 2009 

    Father Sir William De Cloptone, Knight,   b. 1383, Long Melford, Suffolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aug 1446, Long Melford, Suffolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 63 years) 
    Mother Margery Francis,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Family ID F311  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Alice D'arcy,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    +1. Sir William Clopton,   d. 28 Feb 1530
    Last Modified 30 Sep 2009 
    Family ID F309  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 1423 - Long Melford, Suffolk, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 1497 - Long Melford, Suffolk, England Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Photos
    John Clopton
    John Clopton
    John Clopton 1423

    Clopton - Antique Pedigree
    Harleian Clopton Pedigree
    See this person on the Clopton Pedigree from the Harleian Manuscript collection in the British Museum in London. Click on red dots superimposed on chart to link to other entries in this database.

  • Notes 

    • John Clopton (1423-1497), son of William Clopton, was a close friend of the Earl of Oxford, and was arrested with him in 1461 for treason and imprisoned in the Tower of London. (It was the height of the Wars of the Roses, and Edward of York had just seized the English throne, so "treason" here means loyalty to the previous regime.) The Earl and his son were executed, but John Clopton was released, and returned to Kentwell. Shortly afterwards he extended his father's work on the north side of the church, and later became the chief organiser, fund raiser and benefactor of the church rebuilding scheme. The church was finished in 1496, (more or less as we see it today) and John Clopton is buried there between the Clopton Chapel and the Sanctuary.

      Notes from

      John Clopton was the son and heir of William Clopton and his second wife Margery Francis. He was born in 1423 at Kentwell, Long Melford, County Suffolk. He married Alice D'Arcy, the daughter of Sir Robert D'Arcy of Maldon in Essex and Lady Alice Fitzlangley Ungoe. Sir Robert's grandfather, Henry D'Arcy, was Sheriff and later Mayor of London. Lady Alice was the daughter and heiress of Henry Fitzlangley of Maldon and the widow of Robert Ungoe.

      John died in 1497. They had five children: Sir William Clopton, Knight and heir; Sir Edmund Clopton, "Knight of the Rhodes," Edward Clopton of Glemsford, Suffolk; Anne Clopton Rokewood; and Dorothy Clopton Curson.

      A particularly interesting reference to John is found in The Paston Letters, edited by Richard Barber, a collection of correspondence between members of the Paston Family of Norfolk from 1422-1509, now preserved at the British Museum. A marriage contract is being discussed between daughter Elizabeth Paston and John Clopton. John seems almost to have agreed to terms presented in 1454 by John Paston, her brother, and her mother, Agnes. A draft settlement was drawn up granting Elizabeth 400 marks on her marriage and John's share was to be lands worth 40 pounds a year. At this stage negotiations break down and we hear no more of the proposed marriage.

      Poor Elizabeth! Stubbornly she refused to accept other marriage proposals forced on her by her family. And her mother, an equally determined woman, kept Elizabeth shut up so she could not see or speak to any man. Even conversations with servants in the house came under suspicion. A cousin, Elizabeth Clere, became so concerned and wrote to Elizabeth's brother in London: "Your sister was never in so great sorrow as she is nowadays. She has since Easter (three months) for the most part been beaten once a week or twice, sometimes twice in one day, and her head broken in two or three places." Elizabeth did finally marry at the age of thirty.

      During the War of the Roses, John, a staunch Lancastrian, remained loyal to King Henry VI after his Yorkist cousin who was crowned as King Edward IV had defeated him. After having lost at the Battle of Towton, King Henry retreated to Scotland, and his wife, Queen Margaret, fled to the continent in search of allies. It was rumored she had raised an army of 120,000 men which soon would invade England. Considered politically important and accused of corresponding with Queen Margaret, John was arrested, charged with treason and sent to the Tower of London. Arrested with him were his fellow East Anglian magnets, John, Earl of Oxford and his son, Aubrey deVere; Sir Thomas Tuddenham, Sir John Montgomery, and Sir William Tyrrell. Sir John Montgomery and Sir William Tyrrell were Alice D'Arcy's brother-in law. John was acquitted but his four companions were beheaded February 22, 1461.

      After his arrest John abandoned his Lancastrian leanings and embraced the Yorkist cause quickly and with much enthusiasm. He organized men and ships in East Anglia to protect the coast should there be an invasion along the Suffolk coast. This saved his life and placed him in a position of favor with the court. This action carried with it no stigma, as trading sides was a common practice.

      John Clopton was the principal benefactor of Long Melford's Holy Trinity Church. Known as the "Jewel in the Crown of Suffolk," Holy Trinity Church is an exquisite example of Perpendicular Architecture. One of certainly a prime candidate for the honor. Fifty men were summoned to attend the coronation of Edward V on the 22nd of June to receive knighthood. Ninth on the list was that of John Clopton. He was to be inducted into the Order of the Knights of the Bath, the second highest Order of Chivalry in England. The chilling aspect is that while John was polishing his armour, adjusting the plums in his helmet, and gathering the necessary regalia to present himself for this solemn occasion, the nephew of his wife, Sir James Tyrrell, was busy plotting murder. Upon the death of Edward IV on April 9, 1483, the 12-year-old Edward became king and his uncle, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, was made protector of the realm. But he and his younger brother were caught in a conflict between Gloucester and his mother's nobles. The two princes were taken prisoners in the Tower of London. The young Edward was deposed by his Uncle Richard who was crowned Richard III. and some time after June 26, 1483, they disappeared. Skeletons found in the Tower in 1674 are thought to be those of Edward and his brother. And John Clopton never became a knight.

      John died in 1497. The year before had seen his church completed, although the famous Lady Chapel was unfinished. He is buried along with his wife in a tomb located between the Chantry Chapel and the Chancel. The top of the tomb is now used as a credence table for Holy Communion services at the High Altar. An arch covers the space above it on which are frescoes of the family. There is also a picture painted on the underside of the arch of Jesus holding a cross saying "Everyone who lives and believes on me shall never die."

      Notes from

      A widower with five children, John Clopton, courted young Elizabeth Paston.  She refused his marriage proposal, and her parents locked her in a dark room without food and almost beat her to death.  Bloody but definitely unbowed, she held her ground.  John would spend the rest of his long life overseeing the construction of Long Melford's Holy Trinity Church.  And Elizabeth, why, she married twice, and became one of the wealthiest women in England.  In 1485, John was summoned to be made a Knight of the Bath at the coronation planned for the young Edward V.  However, while John was shining his armor, his kinsman was busy plotting murder, and John's chances of becoming a knight died along with the little Princes in the Tower.

  • Sources 
    1. [S2] JSH Feb 13 2003 gedcom, John S. Howell, Jr.

    2. [S24] Clopton Family Association, (The Clopton Family Association -, which was replaced by

    3. [SAuth] John Spencer Howell, Jr., John Spencer Howell, Jr., (