Augustus Clifford

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Sir Augustus Clifford

Sir Augustus Clifford.jpg
Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod
In office
25 July 1832 – 8 February 1877
MonarchWilliam IV
Queen Victoria
Preceded bySir Thomas Tyrwhitt
Succeeded bySir William Knollys
Personal details
Augustus William James Clifford

(1788-05-26)26 May 1788
Died8 February 1877(1877-02-08) (aged 88)
Palace of Westminster, Westminster, London, England
Lady Elizabeth Frances Townshend
(m. 1813; died 1862)
RelationsWilliam Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire (father)
Lady Elizabeth Foster (mother)
ChildrenWilliam John Cavendish Clifford
AwardsCompanion of the Order of the Bath
Knight Bachelor
Military service
AllegianceUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch/service Royal Navy
Years of service1800-1866
RankGeneric-Navy-O11.svg Admiral of the Red

Admiral Sir Augustus William James Clifford, 1st Baronet, CB (26 May 1788 – 8 February 1877) was a British Royal Navy officer, court official, and usher of the Black Rod.

Personal life[edit]

Clifford was born in France in 1788, the illegitimate son of William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire (and 7th Baron Clifford) (1748–1811), and Lady Elizabeth Foster (1759–1824), daughter of Frederick Hervey, 4th Earl of Bristol. Not long after his birth, his mother brought him to England, to be wet-nursed by Louisa Augusta Marshall, wife of the Rev John Marshall, curate at Clewer, near Windsor, Berkshire. Clifford was educated at Harrow School, 1796-99. His parents married in 1809, their respective spouses having died.

He married, on 20 October 1813, Lady Elizabeth Frances Townshend (2 August 1789 – 10 April 1862 Nice), sister of John Townshend, 4th Marquess Townshend. Each of his sons, Capt William RN, Robert and Charles succeeded their father in turn as the second, third and fourth (and final) baronets.

Clifford was a patron of the arts, and formed a unique collection of paintings, sculpture, etchings, engravings, and bijouterie. He died at his residence in the House of Lords in 1877.

Naval career[edit]

Clifford entered the Royal Navy as a midshipman in May 1800, and was promoted to a lieutenancy in 1806. He served at the reduction of Ste. Lucie and Tobago in 1803, and throughout the operations in Egypt during 1807. He was at the capture of a convoy in the Bay of Rosas in 1809 (for which he received a medal) and in the operations on the coast of Italy 1811–12.

After this, as captain,[1] he was for many years actively employed in naval duties, being several times mentioned in the London Gazette for his courage in cutting-out expeditions and on other occasions. For some time he was engaged in attendance on the Lord High Admiral, the Duke of Clarence, afterwards William IV. Clifford recommissioned HMS Herald on 27 May 1826 to carry the Duke of Devonshire on an embassy to Russia. In 1828, in another vessel, Clifford took Lord William Bentinck out to India as governor-general. This was his last service afloat; he was not actively employed after 1831.

He reached the rank of rear-admiral 23 March 1848,[2] vice-admiral 27 September 1855,[3] Admiral of the Blue 7 November 1860, and Admiral of the Red 1864, becoming retired admiral 31 March 1866.

Political career[edit]

He was Member of Parliament for Bandon 1818–20; for Dungarvan, 1820–2; and again for Bandon from 23 July 1831 to 3 Dec. 1832. He was nominated a Commander of the Order of the Bath on 8 December 1815, knighted on 4 August 1830, and created a baronet on 4 August 1838. His half-brother, the 6th Duke of Devonshire (then Lord Chamberlain), appointed him on 25 July 1832 Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, which office he held, much to his satisfaction, until his death. On various occasions between 1843 and 1866 he acted as deputy lord great chamberlain of England, in the absence of Lord Willoughby d'Eresby.



  1. ^ 23 July 1812. The Navy List.
  2. ^ The Navy List, 1848.
  3. ^ The Navy List, 1856.

Further reading[edit]

  • O'Byrne, William Richard (1849). "Clifford, Augustus William James" . A Naval Biographical Dictionary . John Murray – via Wikisource.
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Clifford, Augustus William James". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
William Sturges Bourne
Member of Parliament for Bandon
Succeeded by
James Bernard, Viscount Bernard
Preceded by
George Walpole
Member of Parliament for Dungarvan
Succeeded by
George Lamb
Preceded by
Francis Bernard, Viscount Bernard
Member of Parliament for Bandon
Succeeded by
William Smyth Bernard
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt
Black Rod
Succeeded by
Sir William Knollys
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
New title Baronet
of the Navy
Succeeded by
William, 2nd Baronet