Sir William Clarke
|Secretary at War|
|Preceded by||Office created|
|Succeeded by||Matthew Locke|
Sir William Clarke (died 1666) was an English politician. Born about 1623 in London of obscure parentage, he was admitted as a student to Inner Temple in 1645 and called to the bar in 1653. On 28 January 1661 he was appointed Secretary at War, after having served for at least the previous twelve years as secretary to General Monck. Clarke served as Secretary to the Council of the Army, 1647–1649, and Secretary to General Monck and the Commanders of the Army in Scotland, 1651-1660. Clarke served as the Secretary at War from 1661 to his death in 1666, as a casualty of war with the Dutch. With the Restoration, both Monck and Clarke had great favour with Charles II, who bestowed knighthood upon Clarke and gave him the use, for a term of some years, of the great lodge and 60 acres within Marylebone Park. His widow was Dorothy Clarke, and they had one son, George Clarke.
The Clarke Papers are Sir William's working papers for 1623/24 to 1666, bequeathed by George Clarke, Sir William's son, to Worcester College, Oxford. These papers, an important primary source for the English Civil War and the Interregnum, were first brought to wide public attention by the historian Charles Harding Firth. He edited and published a four volume selection entitled The Clarke Papers (1891–1901). The papers themselves are 51 bound volumes with a large amount of unbound material. In 2005, the historian Frances Henderson published a new selection of Clarke's working papers taken from the large collection of his writings in shorthand.