Baron Clinton

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Arms of de Clinton, Barons Clinton: Argent, six crosses crosslet fitchée sable three two and one on a chief azure two mullets or pierced gules

Baron Clinton is a title in the Peerage of England. It was created in 1298 for John de Clinton.

Creation and early history[edit]

The peerage of Baron Clinton was created in 1298 for Sir John de Clinton, 1st Baron Clinton, a knight who had served in the Scottish and French wars. The peerage was created by writ, which means that it can descend through both male and female lines. It is thus one of the most ancient English titles still in existence. The first Baron's great-great-great-grandson, the fifth Baron, fought on the Yorkist side in the Wars of the Roses. He was attainted in 1461 but late restored to his title. His great-great-grandson, the ninth Baron, was created Earl of Lincoln in 1572. The titles remained united until 1692 upon the death of his great-great-great-grandson, Edward de Clinton, fifth Earl of Lincoln and 13th Baron Clinton. The earldom was inherited by the late Earl's cousin, the sixth Earl (see the Earl of Lincoln for later history of this title) while the barony fell into abeyance between the issue of his two aunts, Lady Margaret Clinton (d. 1688) and Lady Arabella Clinton, the daughters of Theophilus de Clinton, 4th Earl of Lincoln and 12th Baron Clinton.

Barony into first abeyance[edit]

Hugh Fortescue, Earl Clinton (d. 1751). Collection of Countess of Arran, Castle Hill
Arms of Fortescue: Azure, a bend engrailled argent plain cottised or. Motto: Forte Scutum Salus Ducum ("A Strong Shield is the Salvation of Leaders")[1]

The abeyance of 1692 was terminated in 1721 in favour of Hugh Fortescue (d. 1751), fourteenth Baron Clinton, the grandson of Lady Margaret Clinton (d. 1688), the eldest daughter of Theophilus de Clinton, 4th Earl of Lincoln and 12th Baron Clinton (d. 1667). Lady Margaret had married Hugh Boscawen (1625–1701), MP, of Tregothnan in Cornwall, and their daughter Bridget Boscawen (d. 1708) married Hugh Fortescue (1665–1719) (son of Arthur Fortescue by Barbara Elford) and had issue Sir Hugh Fortescue (d. 1751).[citation needed] In 1746 he was created Baron Fortescue, of Castle Hill in the County of Devon (with remainder to his half-brother Matthew Fortescue) and Earl Clinton, with remainder to the heirs male of his body. The Earl was childless and on his death the earldom of Clinton became extinct but his two baronies continued. He was succeeded in the barony of Fortescue (according to the special remainder) by his half-brother, the second Baron Fortescue (see Earl Fortescue for later history of this title). The barony of Clinton was inherited by his second cousin Margaret Rolle, 15th Baroness Clinton, the granddaughter of Lady Arabella Clinton, the younger daughter of Theophilus de Clinton, 4th Earl of Lincoln and 12th Baron Clinton (d. 1667). Margaret Rolle was the widow of Robert Walpole, 2nd Earl of Orford (d. 1751) and the daughter of Samuel Rolle, the son of Robert Rolle (d. 1660), MP, of Heanton Satchville, Devon, by his wife Lady Arabella Clinton. She was succeeded by her son, George Walpole, third Earl of Orford and sixteenth Baron Clinton (d. 1791). He was childless and on his death in 1791 the earldom passed to his uncle, the fourth Earl of Orford (see the Earl of Orford for later history of this title), while the barony of Clinton became dormant.

Barony dormant[edit]

The barony which had been dormant since 1791 was successfully claimed in 1794 by the late Earl of Orford's cousin Robert George William Trefusis (1764–1797), who became the seventeenth Baron Clinton. He was fourth in descent from Bridget Rolle (1648–1721), the sister of Samuel Rolle and daughter of Robert Rolle (d. 1660) by Lady Arabella Clinton, the younger daughter of the fourth Earl of Lincoln. Bridget Rolle had married Francis Trefusis of Trefusis in Cornwall, and had issue Samuel Trefusis (1677–1724), whose great-grandson was the 17th Baron Clinton.[citation needed] The latter's younger son, the nineteenth Baron, represented Callington in the House of Commons, in which role he was notable. He was succeeded by his son, Charles Henry Rolle Hepburn-Stuart-Forbes-Trefusis, 20th Baron Clinton (1834–1904). He served as Under-Secretary of State for India from 1867 to 1868 in the Conservative administrations of the Earl of Derby and Benjamin Disraeli and was also Lord Lieutenant of Devonshire. In 1867 Baron Clinton assumed by Royal licence the additional surnames of Hepburn-Stuart-Forbes, which were those of his father-in-law. His son, the twenty-second Baron, held minor office in the coalition government of David Lloyd George and served as Lord Warden of the Stannaries. On his death in 1957 the barony fell into abeyance between his two daughters Hon. Harriet Trefusis and Hon. Fenella Trefusis.

Barony into second abeyance[edit]

Arms of Trefusis: Argent, a chevron between three spindles sable

The abeyance of 1957 was terminated in 1965 in favour of Gerald Neville Mark Fane Trefusis, the twenty-third Baron Clinton and present holder of the title. He is the only son of Captain Charles Nevile Fane (who was killed in the Second World War), eldest son of the aforementioned Hon. Harriet Trefusis (d. 1958) and her husband Major Henry Neville Fane (1883–1947), grandson of Rev. Arthur Fane (1809–1872),[citation needed] Prebendary of Salisbury, Rector of Fulbeck, Lincolnshire, 2nd son of General Sir Henry Fane (d. 1840), GCB, of Fulbeck Hall, commander-in-chief of the army of the East India Company, grandson of Thomas Fane, 8th Earl of Westmorland. Baron Clinton had already in 1958 assumed by deed poll the additional surname of Trefusis.


The family seat is Heanton Satchville, Huish, near Merton in North Devon, which was built in 1782 as "Innis House" by Sir James Innis, Duke of Roxburgh, and was purchased by the 18th Baron Clinton in about 1805, renamed Heanton Satchville, which burned down in 1935 and was rebuilt.

After the death of Hon. Mark Rolle in 1907, Bicton House became the main residence of the 21st Baron Clinton until his death in 1957,[2] where much grand entertaining occurred until the start of World War II and where a herd of 150 deer were kept in the park. The Duke and Duchess of York spent part of their honeymoon there.[3]

The 1st Baron resided at Maxstoke Castle, Warwickshire, the inheritance of his wife. The 5th Baron exchanged it for lands in Northamptonshire. The 9th Baron's chief seat was in Lincolnshire on an estate which was the inheritance of his wife Elizabeth Blount.[4] The seat of the 14th Baron Clinton was Castle Hill, Filleigh, rebuilt by him in the Palladian style. The seat of the 15th Baroness was Heanton Satchville, Petrockstowe, the ancient Rolle seat, although she spent the later part of her life on the Continent, having left her first husband, and died in Pisa.[5] Her son the 16th Baron largely abandoned that residence in favour of Houghton Hall in Norfolk. Although he had the legal power to do so, he did not end the tail-male of the Rolle estates, and the estates thus passed to the Trefusis family not to his own heirs male the Lords Cholmondely, heirs to the Walpole estates, who unsuccessfully claimed the Rolle estates from the 18th Baron Clinton in a lengthy court case.[6] Heanton Satchville, Petrockstowe became the seat of the 17th Baron only for a short time as it burnt down in 1795 and he died two years later. His son the 18th Baron when he came of age purchased Innes House on the other side of a marshy valley in the parish of Huish and renamed it Heanton Satchville.

Barons Clinton (1298)[edit]

Earls of Lincoln (1572)[edit]

Barons Clinton (1298; Reverted)[edit]

Barons Fortescue and Earls Clinton (1749)[edit]

Barons Clinton (1298; Reverted)[edit]

The heir apparent is the present holder's son the Hon. Charles Patrick Rolle Fane-Trefusis (b. 1962)
The heir apparent's heir apparent is his son Edward Charles Rolle Fane-Trefusis (b. 1994)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Debrett's Peerage, 1968, p. 461.
  2. ^ Delderfield, p. 80.
  3. ^ Delderfield, Eric R., West Country Historic Houses and their Families, Newton Abbot, 1968, p. 11, Bicton House.
  4. ^ Lauder, Rosemary, Devon Families, Tiverton, 2002, pp. 65–66.
  5. ^ Lauder, Rosemary, Devon Families, Tiverton, 2002, p. 67.
  6. ^ Lauder, Rosemary, Devon Families, Tiverton, 2002, p. 69.
  7. ^ Margaret Rolle (d. 1781), daughter of Samuel Rolle (d. 1719) of Heanton Satchville, Petrockstowe, who was at the time of her inheritance of the title Baroness Clinton the wife of her second husband Sewallis Shirley, son of Robert Shirley, 1st Earl Ferrers.


Further reading[edit]

  • Austin, Anne (1999). History of the Clinton Barony 1299–1999. Exeter: Privately Published.