CS Clarke and his sisters and brothers were born at New Parks, a farming estate on the outskirts of Leicester.
A history of the property states that “by 1781 the property belonged to a Mr Clarke” – this Mr Clarke was John Clarke of Wigston Hall (in Wigston, close to Leicester). He was a large amount of property by his unmarried cousin Elizabeth Clarke, the only daughter of a wealthy Leicester business man. Included in this property were the Peatling Hall and New Parks estates. Despite the many overlaps in their family histories, this Clarke family doesn’t seem to be in any way related to CS Clarke’s family.
After John Clarke’s death in 1793, Robert Clarke (CS Clarke’s father’s father) leased the property from John Clarke’s widow Sarah (nee Worthington) and moved his family there some time after 1794.
The estate was eventually inherited by John Clarke of Wigston’s son (also named John Clarke). He was very wealthy, having inherited his father’s considerable fortune, but in 1818 was persuaded to enter into a banking venture with Joseph Phillips of Leicester. After a serious recession in the hosiery trade in 1843 the bank failed and the four partners (Clarke, Phillips, Mitchell and Smith) were declared bankrupt. John Clarke was forced to sell off almost all his property, New Parks included. As a consequence, not long after his birth in 1843, Charles Septimus Clarke’s family were forced to move from the country estate into central Leicester. This is where they were still living when several years later both his parents died as the result of contracting cholera.
A large part of the New Parks property was purchased by a Thomas Stokes who built New Parks House (pictured) in 1845, “in a prominent position on a wooded hill overlooking the River Soar and the town of Leicester.” Although this house is still standing, the eventual fate of the Clarke family home is not known.
- “New Parks House” by Brian Johnson from the Leicestershire And Rutland Family History Society 159, March 2015