Ralph Clarke (British politician)

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Ralph Clarke
Member of Parliament for East Grinstead
In office
Preceded by Henry Cautley
Succeeded by Evelyn Emmet
Personal details
Born Ralph Stephenson Clarke
(1892-08-17)17 August 1892
Died 9 May 1970(1970-05-09) (aged 77)
Citizenship United Kingdom
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Rebekah Mary Buxton (m. 1921)
Children Three
Residence Borde Hill

Colonel Sir Ralph Stephenson Clarke, KBE, TD, DL (17 August 1892 – 9 May 1970)[1] was a British Conservative Party politician who served as Member of Parliament (MP) for East Grinstead from 1936 to 1955.

He was elected to the House of Commons at a by-election in July 1936, after East Grinstead's Conservative MP Henry Cautley was ennobled as Baron Cautley.[2] Clarke held the seat until he stood down at the 1955 general election.[3]

He was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant (DL) of West Sussex in 1932,[4] and in the 1955 New Year Honours, he was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE), "for political and public services".[5]


Clarke was the son of Colonel Stephenson Clarke. He married Rebekah Mary Buxton, daughter of Gerald Buxton and Lucy Ethel Pease, on 15 December 1921, and they had three children.[6] His wife was from the Pease family of Darlington; Lucy's father was Joseph Whitwell Pease and her maternal grandfather was Alfred Fox, who created Glendurgan Garden.

The Stephenson Clarkes were the founders[7] in 1730 of Stephenson Clarke Shipping, Britain's oldest shipping company.[8] In 1892, Ralph Clarke's father purchased a 200-acre (0.81 km2) estate at Borde Hill, near Haywards Heath in West Sussex, and from about 1912 began collecting trees and shrubs began by financing plant-collecting expeditions to the Himalayas and China.[9] Ralph Clarke took up residence there is 1949, after the death of his father, and opened the gardens to the public in 1965.[9]


  1. ^ "House of Commons constituencies beginning with "E" (part 1)". Leigh Rayment's House of Commons page. Retrieved 2009-11-27. 
  2. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1974]. British parliamentary election results 1885–1918 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 481. ISBN 0-900178-27-2. 
  3. ^ "UK General Election results May 1955: East Grinstead to Fife East". Richard Kimber's political science resources. Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  4. ^ "No. 33835". The London Gazette. 14 June 1932. p. 3875. 
  5. ^ "No. 40366". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 1955. p. 11. 
  6. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "Colonel Sir Ralph Stephenson Clarke". ThePeerage.com. Retrieved 27 November 2009. [unreliable source]
  7. ^ "The Stephenson Clarkes". Great Gardens of Sussex. Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  8. ^ "About Us". Stephenson Clarke Shipping Limited. Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  9. ^ a b Borde Hill Garden. "History". Archived from the original on 10 June 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2009. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Henry Cautley
Member of Parliament for East Grinstead
Succeeded by
Evelyn Emmet