John Creemer Clarke was a clothing manufacturer in Abingdon who went on to become Mayor of Abingdon from 1869-1870 and MP for Abingdon from 1874-1885. He was somebody who paid for some important Abingdon community buildings.
Trinity Church was built in 1875 thanks to his generosity, and was once called Clarke’s Chapel.
He lived at Waste Court, now part of Abingdon School.
He also paid for the Cottage Hospital to be built on Bath Street, nearby in 1885. As at Trinity four foundation stones were laid, and inscribed by people close to him.
The ground floor of the hospital contained two large, and two small wards, and a dispensary. Upstairs there was a convalescent room. There was also a south facing lawn where patients could sit out and convalesce. Back then the hospital would have been supported by voluntary contributions, and the Abingdon Herald listed every week who had given what in the way of help. ‘Abingdon Cottage Hospital thank Mrs Budgett for eggs, Mrs Hathaway for cakes & magazines, & Mr Townsend for illustrated papers.’
The Cottage Hospital was where Mercers’ Court, part of Abingdon School now stands – off Bath Street where you can see through railings and arches to a fountain.
John Creemer Clarke’s final stone monument is in the Old Cemetery in Abingdon and is dated 1895. It has the inscription ‘The memory of the just is blessed’.
It is a large monument with surrounding kerbstones, on which there are several inscriptions to family members, the most recent in the 1970s. I wonder whether he still has relatives living in Abingdon.