Thomas Clark 1793 – 1864

Thomas Clark (1793-1864) was a brother of the John Clark. By 1810 he had moved to Bridgwater, and set himself up as a grocer. He married Elizabeth Bull in 1833, and by her had one son, who died soon after his birth,. She died in 1837. Their grave marker may be seen in the Quaker burial ground at Bridgwater.

Clark became one of the Anstice, Baker and Bowen circle soon after arriving in Bridgwater, and a later friend of his was the Revd J. C. Collins of Saint Johns, with whom he used to go botanising.

Clark’s was a meticulous botanist, and wrote a paper on the rare plants of the turf moors, published in 1856 by the Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society.

His nature diary 1853-1864 is in Blake Museum. As well as notes about the plants he kept a meticulous record of the weather. He died at his residence, Halesleigh, Wembdon; now the Quantock Gateway Hotel.

His neice, Margaret Thompson Sturge recalled him: ‘In his boyhood [Father (Francis James Thompson)] had gone on long walks with Uncle Thomas Clark, and John Collins (Incumbent of St John’s Church), who were great friends, and very good botanists…[ Rev Collins’ daughter, Mrs Escott, recalled] how once, on finding a rare flower, Uncle exclaimed ‘I have found it, I have found it John Collins, Eureka’. When I was about 18, my kind uncle Thomas Clark gave me that pretty little microscope, in a red case, which many will remember. He had made good use out of it in his younger days, but had lately bought a much more powerful instrument. I remember many a pleasant evening at Halesleigh, when he would show us hidden wonders by its aid. Father had a great love and reverence for this uncle, who helped to lead him from the study of Nature, to a fuller knowledge of Nature’s God’.


Edward H Milligan, Biographical Dictionary of British Quakers in Commerce and Industry, 1775-1920, 2007, p 110

A P Woolrich 26 January 2011. Additions MKP 2020.