Fonds CLA - Personal Papers of Henry Mordaunt Clavering

Identity area

Reference code

GB 2014 WS-05-CLA


Personal Papers of Henry Mordaunt Clavering


  • 1846-1850 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

1 archive folder

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Name of creator


Biographical history

CLAVERING, HENRY MORDAUNT, second son of Maj. -Gen. Sir John Clavering KB, Commander-in-Chief, Bengal, and his first wife Lady Diana West, dau. of John West, 1st Earl De La Warr KB, General in the Army; b. 16 Dec 1766; adm. 20 Sep 1779 (Clapham); University Coll. Oxford, matr. 15 Jun 1782; Grand Tour (Italy) 1789-90; Ensign, Capt. O’Connor’s Independent Co., 7 Feb 1794; Lieut., Capt. Wolfe’s Independent Co., 12 Feb 1794; Capt., 13 Feb 1794; Maj., 98th Foot, 30 Jul 1794; Lieut. -Col., Argyll Fencibles, 19 Aug 1795; Brevet Col., 29 Apr 1802; Brig. -Gen. (local rank in S. America) 22 Apr 1807; retd., 11 Nov 1824; some interesting extracts from his letters to his old schoolfellow John Benn (qv), relating to their school-days, are printed in Elizabethan xi, 175-6, 185-7; m. 1st, 5 Feb 1788 Lady Augusta Campbell, elder dau. of John Campbell, 5th Duke of Argyll (S), Field-Marshal in the Army; m. 2nd, ---; d. 18 May 1850.

Archival history

Formerly in the possession of the Hardy family (a dynasty of archivists). Whilst a pupil at the school, W.H.C Hardy (later Le Hardy) showed the letters to John Sargeaunt, who published excerpts in The Elizabethan (July and August 1905). In 1955 Le Hardy, now Middlesex County Archivist, having lent the letters to Vicars Bell for political and social research, presented them to the school via Lawrence Tanner; the school bursar had failed to acknowledge a previous letter from Le Hardy!

Content and structure area

Scope and content

A series of letters from Henry Mordaunt Clavering to John Benn, written between April 1846 and May 1850; Clavering was by then blind, so the hand is that of an amanuensis. There are many reminiscences about the school in the late 1770s and early 1780s, and many references to Old Westminsters both then and now. HMC is also interested in the current state of the school – the numbers, the curriculum (changing under Liddell), the physical environs and the Latin Play. Each correspondent had clearly kept up his classics, for there are numerous Latin quotations. Medical matters feature prominently, both ailments and their treatment (hardly surprising, according to HMC, given their age). The letters show a keen and wide-ranging interest in other matters – food prices, the impact of the new rail roads, Ireland and the Irish rebellion, religion, literature (but he abominates fiction), and social and political issues (e.g. the make-up of the government, the Chartist Riots, rebellious movements both at home and in Europe, the Repeal of the Corn Laws).

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System of arrangement

The letters have been arranged chronologically.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Access to collection items is granted to bona-fide researchers, by prior appointment, subject to the overriding provisions of relevant legislation, including Data Protection.

Conditions governing reproduction

A reprographics service is available to researchers subject to the access restrictions outlined above. Copying will not be undertaken if there is any risk of damage to the item. Copies are supplied in accordance with Westminster School's Policy on Archive and Heritage Collections, and under provisions of any relevant copyright legislation. Permission to reproduce images of items in the custody of Westminster School must be sought from its Governing Body.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

  • Latin

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