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HOLLES, JOHN, second Earl of Clare (1595–1666), son of John Holles, first earl of Clare [q. v.], was born at Haughton, Nottinghamshire, 13 June 1595. In the parliament of 1624, and the first two parliaments of Charles I, Holles, styled after 1624 Lord Haughton, represented East Retford (Lists of Members of Parliament, 1878, i. 459, 465, 470). On 24 Sept. 1626 he married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Horace, lord Vere of Tilbury (Markham, The Fighting Veres, p. 434). At the siege of Bois-le-Duc in 1629 Haughton served as a volunteer under the command of his father-in-law (ib. p. 436). He succeeded to the title of Earl of Clare in October 1637, but appears to have found his inheritance considerably encumbered. When the king summoned him to fulfil his feudal service in the war against Scotland, he professed his willingness, but complained that he was impoverished by nine children and a debt of 9,000l. (21 Feb. 1638; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1638–9, p. 491). Clare was one of the six peers charged by the great council in September 1640 to raise a loan, but was excused on the plea of illness, and took part instead in the negotiations with the Scots (Rushworth, iii. 1302; Hardwicke, State Papers, ii. 215, 222, 283). In early life he had been intimate with Strafford, his brother-in-law, and was one of the party in the lords which desired some compromise by which the earl's life might be saved. He endeavoured in the course of the trial to put forward an innocent interpretation of Strafford's words as reported by Vane (Rushworth, Trial of Strafford, p. 545). On the other hand, when the lords and commons quarrelled about ecclesiastical affairs in August 1641, he sided with the five popular peers who protested against the vote of the lords (Gardiner, History of England, x. 16). During the civil war ‘he was very often of both parties, and never advantaged either’ (Life of Colonel Hutchinson, ed. 1885, i. 165). Clare was so far trusted by the popular party that the commons nominated him for lord-lieutenant of the county of Nottingham (Commons' Journals, ii. 459). Nevertheless, he followed the king to York, signed the engagement of 13 June 1642 promising to defend the king's person and prerogative, and the declaration of 15 June protesting that Charles had no intention of making war on the parliament (Clarendon, Rebellion, v. 342, 346). Clare then obtained the king's leave to go to London to look after his private affairs, and took his seat in the House of Lords again. During his stay with the parliament, says Clarendon, he ‘never concurred in any malicious counsel against the king, but was looked upon as a man not only firm to the principles of monarchy, but of duty to the person of the king. He was a man of honour and of courage, and would have been an excellent person if his heart had not been set too much upon the keeping and improving his estate’ (ib. vii. 187). When the peace propositions brought forward by the lords in August 1643 were rejected by the commons, and the king's successes seemed to prognosticate his speedy triumph, Clare deserted the parliament, and made his way to Oxford (Lords' Journals, vi. 178; Clarendon, vii. 174). The king received him with great favour; he took part in the siege of Gloucester, charged at Newbury, and was permitted to take his seat with other peers at councils of war (ib. vii. 242). In March 1644 Clare again changed sides, protesting to the House of Lords that ‘the cause only and no other particular by-respects had brought him back,’ and that what he had observed at Oxford had ‘opened his eyes to understand the goodness of the cause’ (Letter of 2 April 1644, Lords' Journals, vi. 495). During his absence Clare's estates had naturally been sequestered by the parliament, but he was discharged from his delinquency by orders dated 13 and 17 July 1644 (Cal. of Committee for Advance of Money, p. 627). In spite of the repeated efforts of his friends, he was not, however, readmitted to his seat in the House of Lords (Sydney Papers, ed. Blencowe, pp. 7, 10, 19; Lords' Journals, vi. 718). Henceforth he played no part in public affairs. At the Restoration he was appointed one of the council established for the supervision of the colonies (Doyle, Official Baronage, i. 393). He succeeded in retaining his recordership of Nottingham, and also procured the grant of a free market to be held three times a week in Clement's Inn Fields, Middlesex (3 Aug. 1661; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1661–1662, p. 58; cf. Howell, Londinopolis, 1657, p. 344).

Clare died on 2 Jan. 1665–6, and was buried in St. Mary's Church, Nottingham. He left one son, Gilbert, who succeeded him, and several daughters (Collins, p. 168).

Gilbert Holles, third Earl of Clare (1633–1689), born 24 April 1633, was an active member of the country party during the reigns of Charles II and James II. Clare bailed Monmouth when he was arrested in 1682. He was also one of those peers who petitioned for the continuance of the parliament of 1679 and against the calling of a parliament at Oxford in 1681. In 1685 he protested against the bill reversing Lord Stafford's attainder, and his last public action was to subscribe the petition for the immediate calling of a parliament which was presented to James II on 17 Nov. 1688. He died 16 Jan. 1688–9. He married Grace, daughter of William Pierrepont of Thoresby, Nottinghamshire, second son of Robert, earl of Kingston. His son John (1662–1711) is separately noticed.

[Collins's Historical Collections of the Noble Families of Cavendish, Holles, &c., 1752; Clarendon's History of the Rebellion, ed. Macray; several letters of Clare's are printed in the Fairfax Correspondence and the Strafford Letters.]

C. H. F.