Uncles, aunts and cousins

William had seven aunts and two uncles who were living in his lifetime. There was at least one more aunt (Elizabeth Anne Courtenay) who had died before he was born.

His grandfather Thomas Clack had two wives: Ann, his first wife, died in 1726 and he then married a woman named Elizabeth. Thomas died in 1761; Elizabeth died in 1764. There were at least 6 children from the two marriages.

The notion that Thomas Clack pimped his daughters seems to have started as a spiteful insinuation from William Beckford. Among the ‘malicious rakings’ of his Liber Veritatis, Beckford wrote:  ‘The newly acknowledged Earl of Devon’s Mother, Fanny Clack, owed her birth to a publican at Wallingford whose sign at least displayed the symbol of innocence, for it was the sign of the Lamb. Honest Tom Clack was blessed with several lovely daughters and being of a kind disposition was well known to indulge his customers, especially the young members of the neighbouring university with whatever they liked best that his home afforded.

Anna Eliza Bray was more respectful to the Clack family: ‘One of the Lords Courtenay (the father of the present Viscount I believe ) fell in love with a most beautiful and amiable girl, the daughter of an inn-keeper at one of the universities where he was a student. He married her; and extending his kindness towards her family, he brought her brother, Mr. Clack, up to the church, and gave him the living of Moreton. This gentleman was as well informed as he was deserving, and possessed a good library’.

William’s Courtenay grandparents also had 6 children. Lady Frances Courtenay died in 1761; sir William Courtenay became the first viscount Courtenay a few days before he died in 1764.

William’s aunts and uncles were:

  • Ann Clack [?]-1789.
  • Richard Clack 1725/6-1780.
  • Elizabeth Clack 1735-1803.
  • Sarah Clack [?]-1802.
    • Frances Clack 1739-1782 – William’s mother.
    • William Courtenay 1742-1788 – William’s father.
  • Elizabeth Anne Courtenay 1745-? [died young].
  • Thomas Clack 1745-1805.
  • Mary Courtenay 1746-1783.
  • Frances Courtenay 1748-1828.
  • Lucy Courtenay 1749-1786.
  • Charlotte Courtenay 1751-1826.


Five of William’s aunts became and remained widows: his mother’s sisters Ann, Elizabeth and Sarah, and his father’s sisters Charlotte and Frances. Two of his aunts did not marry: his father’s sisters Elizabeth Anne (who died young) and Mary.

  • 1750 Elizabeth Clack married William Honywood (27 June at Bix, Oxfordshire); widowed in 1764 .
  • 1752 Sarah Clack married Charles Palmer (in December at London, within the Rules of the Fleet); widowed in 1764.
    • 1762 William’s parents Frances Clack and William Courtenay marry.
  • 1764 Ann Clack married Thomas Lock; widowed in 1787.
  • 1770 Frances Courtenay married sir John Wrottesley; widowed in 1787.
  • 1772 Thomas Clack married Bridget Diana Stone; she died before him in 1799.
  • 1776 Richard Clack married Martha [?]; he died before her.
  • 1777 Lucy Courtenay married John Cotes; she died before him and he married again.
  • 1782 Charlotte Courtenay married in 1782 lord Loughborough (Alexander Wedderburn; earl of Rosslyn from 1801); widowed in 1805.


William had 6 sets of cousins (not counting his aunt Charlotte’s son who died as an infant). The family name of a cousin’s husband is given in [square brackets].

  • Clack
    • Charlotte Bridget (1783-1835)
    • Edward Robert (1786-1855)
    • Elizabeth (d. 1859)
    • Frances Diana [Holland] (1774-1854)
    • John (1784-1862)
    • Lucy Harriet [Ambler] (d. 1869)
    • Mary Ann (1791-1864)
    • Richard (d. 1803)
    • Thomas (1774-1852)
    • William Charles (1782-1865)
  • Cotes
    • Charlotte (1784-1859)
    • Lucy Elizabeth (1783-1835)
  • Honywood
    • Annabella [Dobyns Yate] (1753-1808)
    • Edward (1763-1812)
    • John (1757-1806)
    • William (1759-1818)
  • Lock(e)
    • Charles (d. 1800)
    • Harriet [Drake-Brockman] (1771-1815)
    • John (1771-1837)
    • Thomas (1767-1846)
    • William Thomas (d. 1817)
    • another daughter who died in England at Bristol in August or September 1786.
  • Palmer
    • Charles Harcourt (1760-1838).
  • Wedderburn
    • son born 2 October 1793, died 1794
  • Wrottesley
    • Caroline Gertrude (1775-1777)
    • Charles (1783-1848)
    • Charlotte [Helyar; Gordon] (1779-?)
    • Edward (1785-1814)
    • Frances (1773-1814)
    • Henry (1772-1825)
    • Hugh (1782-1830)
    • John (1771-1841)
    • Louisa (1780-1842)

Richard and Martha Clack do not seem to have had any children.

William Beckford (1760-1844) is sometimes called a cousin of William’s but their family relationship was much more distant than that: Beckford was a cousin once removed of William Courtenay (1777-1859) who became earl of Devon in 1835.

In 1774 the reverend Henry Reginald Courtenay married lady Elizabeth Howard. He was a cousin of the second viscount Courtenay (their fathers were brothers); she was a cousin of William Beckford (her mother and his father were siblings). William Courtenay (1777-1859) was their eldest son. Like William Beckford and unlike the first three viscounts Courtenay, this William Courtenay and his descendants had among their ancestors Bathshua Beckford and her husband Peter Beckford who was Speaker of the Jamaican House of Assembly in the early 18th century.

Deaths and wills

The name of an aunt before her marriage is given in [square brackets].

  • 17?? Elizabeth Anne Courtenay
  • 1780 Richard Clack
    • 1782 Frances [Clack] lady Courtenay
  • 1783 Mary Courtenay
  • 1786 Lucy [Courtenay] Cotes
    • 1788 William lord Courtenay
  • 1789 Ann [Clack] Lock
  • 1802 Sarah [Clack] Palmer
  • 1803 Elizabeth [Clack] Honywood
  • 1805 Thomas Clack
  • 1826 Charlotte [Courtenay] lady Rosslyn
  • 1828 Frances [Courtenay] lady Wrottesley

For information about the wills left by these people, with transcripts of a few of the shorter wills, visit the page Wills of other people 1: lists and Wills of other people 2: transcripts.

For death notices and obituaries, visit William’s obituaries with notices of other deaths.


Joseph Carless: Hereford Cathedral Nave, 1833. Collection of Hereford Cathedral Library and Archives.


Richard Clack was organist at Hereford cathedral from 1754 to 1779; Thomas Clack attended the cathedral school from 1756 to 1763.

Page history

  • 2018 July 9: first published online.
  • 2020 April 2: reviewed; link for image added.
  • 2020 April 25 : Cousins first entries of birth and death dates added.
  • 2020 April 28: Cousins entries for Cotes births & deaths added.
  • 2020 May May: Cousins entries for Honywood births & deaths added.
  • 2020 May 23: Cousins entries for Wrottesley births & deaths added.
  • 2020 June 10: Cousins dates for Wedderburn child added.
  • 2021 May 4: Beckford’s insinuation about Thomas Clack added.
  • 2021 August 5: more information added in Marriages for Elizabeth Clack.
  • 2022 July 5: Anna Eliza Bray’s comments on the Clack family added.

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