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CLAPHAM, DAVID (d. 1551), translator, eldest son and heir of John Clapham, the fourth son of Thomas Clapham of Beamesley, Yorkshire, was probably born in that county. Wood assumes that, ‘after he had spent some time in trivials,’ he ‘did solely addict his mind to the study of the civil law’ at Oxford, though it does not appear whether he took a degree in that faculty. It is certain, however that he was a member of the university of Cambridge, where he proceeded bachelor of the civil law in 1533. He practised as a rector in the ecclesiastical courts at Doctors’ Commons, and his abilities brought him into favour with Sir William Cecil, secretary of state to Edward VI, and other noted men. Bale, who knew him well, tells us that ‘præter legis peritiam, in qua plurimum excellebat, in diversis eruditus fuit’ (De Scriptoribus, i. 717). He died at his house, near Doctors’ Commons, on 14 July 1551, and was buried in the church of St. Faith, under St. Paul’s Cathedral. He left several children by Joan, his wife. Thomas, his eldest son, was for some time seated at Helpston, Northamptonshire.

He translated from the Latin of Cornelius Agrippa into English:

  1. ‘A Treatise of Nobility,' London, 1542, 4to.
  2. ‘The Excellency of Womenkind,’ London, 1542, 8vo.
  3. ‘The Commendation of Matrimony,' London, 1545, 8vo. Dedicated to Gregory Cromwell, son of Lord Cromwell.

[Tanner’s Bibl. Brit.; Wood’s Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), i. 191; Cooper’s Athenæ Cantab. i. 105; Ame's Typogr. Antiq. (Herbert), 449; Cat. Libb. Impress. Bibl. Bodl. (1843), 1. 28; Cal. of State Papers (1547-80), 21; Bridge’s Northamptonshire, ii. 515; Dugdale’s St. Paul’s, 127; Addit. MS. 5865, f. 195 b.]

T. C.