At their meeting last August in Kennebunkport, the Board of Governors discussed the advisability of, at least, hunting, although the prospect of success was doubtful. for the lineage of John Clough in England. Our founder was born in 1613, and every clue to his birthplace seems to point to Salisbury or that vicinity in Wiltshire.
Like most of the twenty thousand Englishmen who migrated to New England between the years 1620 and 1640, John Clough was a Puritan, yet he was even more of a dissenter than the Pilgrims or the Puritans of the Bay Colony; John Clough was a Presbyterian, a member a religious sect that was forbidden to assemble in England by order of the King in 1610.
John Clough sailed from his native England without publicity. He fulfilled the legal requirements by registering for his “certificate” or passport with the Master of the Rolls. If any trace of his lineage can be found, the record of his registration must be discovered since this is the only authentic evidence that will distinguish him from other men who bore the same name.
When Mr. and Mrs. Paul Wright —see page 225 of the Clough Book —were visiting with her Aunt Jane S. Clough at Merrimac last summer, they discussed the possibility of research in England. Mr. Wright mentioned his cousin who makes genealogy a hobby, and Mr. Wright suggested that this relative might add our family to his list.
The Board of Governors assented to this idea, and data was sent to Mrs. Beatrice Wright for the meager evidence we could offer to this cousin of her husband. After a few weeks, Mrs. Wright wrote that this cousin was in Scotland, far from the sources for research. It seemed impossible for him to assist us.
However, Mrs. Wright made a suggestion of unusual promise. She had conversed with Sir Arthur Cochrane, K.C.V.O., Clarenceux King of Arms in the College of Arms in London, about research for John Clough.
Sir Arthur told Mrs. Wright that he would attempt this study if he was so authorized by the John Clough Society. This, of course, meant if our Society is willing to bear the expense, which is usually a considerable sum. Nevertheless, as Mrs. Wright stated in her letter, there is no source in England that is of higher authority than the College of Arms, and if there is any record of our John Clough, it will be there.
This letter sent your president to her encyclopedia for information. There she learned that the College of Arms was established by King Edward VII in the fourteenth century to preserve the records and pedigrees of those families who were awarded coats-of-arms by the King or the church. Later, as it would be designated in this country, accumulated the most complete genealogical library of records in England and continues these duties of the present day.
The College of Arms consists of an Earl at its head, and three kings in England, each king being responsible for a section of England. The Clarenceux King, named for the son of King Enward VII, presides over southern England, where Mrs. Wright has her home in Sussex.
The members of the Board of Governors were consulted by letter. A unanimous consent was returned that instructed your president to accept the offer of Sir Arthur. Accordingly, a letter with data enclosed was air-mailed to Sir Arthur in February. Soon a reply arrived which stated:
“Thanks for your letter of February 13th. I should be delighted to make some research on behalf of your Society with regard to the lineage of your ancestor, John Clough. I must point out however, that I cannot, for obvious reasons, guarantee any definite results, and can only add that I will do may best in the matter. I would suggest, in the first instance, my making a search in the records and Collections of the College as to any pedigree or a note of a pedigree entered here, with a casual consideration of any pedigrees of the name I discover, and my next step would naturally depend on what was discovered. In order to pay the out of pocket expenses I would like you to send me say 100 dollars on account and I would ask you for a similar amount from time to time when the money is exhausted, if you wish to proceed further. It would possibly help me if you could send me a photostat copy of John Clough’s Will, and, if there are any, copies of a tombstone to his memory or entry in a burial register, or any other indication as to his age at death and probable year of birth. I therefore await your reply.”
A draft was sent to Sir Arthur and his secretary acknowledged its safe arrival in England. We are awaiting news of any discoveries in England.
This detailed information will prepare the members of our Society for possible action that you may see fit to consider for a vote at the reunion In Plymouth in August. While we may not ascertain definite results in our search for John Clough, if we decide to invest more of our money in this project, we can learn about the early founders of the Clough Family in England and the station in life that this family attained. Several branches were awarded a coat-of-arms. Richard Clough of Salisbury, England, was granted this honor in 1612, about the time that our ancestor was born.