Show ContentsClive History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Clive is derived from the Old English word "clif," which means cliff, rock, or steep descent. It is thought to have been a name used for someone who lived near a sloping cliff or the bank of a river. As such, the surname Clive belongs to the class of topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees.

Early Origins of the Clive family

The surname Clive was first found in Shropshire and Cheshire. The latter county "in the hundred of Northwich, is Clive, from whence their ancestor Warin assumed his name in the time of Henry II. About the reign of Edward II the family removed to Huxley, also in Cheshire, Henry de Clive having married the co-heiress. " [1]

The Shropshire branch claim descent from the village and civil parish so named. "James Clive with the heiress of Styche, of Styche, they settled in Shropshire at that place, which is in the parish of Moreton-Say, and has remained uninterruptedly in the Clive family." [1]

Henry de Cliff (d. 1334), the English judge, "is first mentioned as accompanying the king abroad in May 1313; and on 11 May 1317, as a master in chancery, he had charge of the great seal at the house of the Lord Chancellor, John de Sandale, Bishop of Winchester. There is another master in chancery in Edward II's reign of the same name, probably a brother. " [2]

Early History of the Clive family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Clive research. Another 138 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1725, 1774, 1767, 1558, 1514, 1522, 1523, 1522, 1529, 1526, 1532, 1711, 1728, 1729, 1731 and 1734 are included under the topic Early Clive History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Clive Spelling Variations

Compared to other ancient cultures found in the British Isles, the number of Welsh surnames are relatively few, but there are an inordinately large number of spelling variations. These spelling variations began almost as soon as surname usage became common. The most obvious reason was the challenge of translating from Welsh into English. As a result, people could not specify how to spell their own names leaving the specific recording up to the individual scribe or priest. Those recorders would then spell the names as they heard them, causing many different variations. Later, many Welsh names were recorded in English. This transliteration process was extremely imprecise since the Brythonic Celtic language of the Welsh used many sounds the English language was not accustomed to. Finally, some variations occurred by the individual's design: a branch loyalty within a family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations were indicated by spelling variations of one's name. The Clive name over the years has been spelled Cliffe, Cliff, Clive, Cleeves, Cleave, Cleaves and many more.

Early Notables of the Clive family (pre 1700)

Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was William Clyffe (d. 1558), English divine, educated at Cambridge, where he graduated LL.B. in 1514, was admitted advocate at Doctors' Commons on 16 Dec. 1522, graduated LL.D. in 1523, was commissary of the diocese of London between 1522 and 1529. In 1526, he was appointed Archdeacon of London and three years later, Prebendary of Fenton in the church of York in 1532. [2] Catherine Clive, daughter of William Raftor, an Irish gentleman, was born in London in 1711. Displaying a natural aptitude for...
Another 92 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Clive Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Clive migration to the United States +

Many people from Wales joined the general migration to North America in the 19th and 20th centuries, searching for land, work, and freedom. Like the many other immigrants from the British Isles, they made a significant contribution to the development of Canada and the United States. The Welsh and their descendents added a rich cultural tradition to the newly developed towns, cities, and villages. An investigation of the immigration and passenger lists has revealed a number of people bearing the name Clive:

Clive Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Imo Clive, who arrived in Virginia in 1663 [3]
Clive Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Henry Clive, who arrived in Baltimore Maryland in 1823

Australia Clive migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Clive Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Susan Clive, English convict who was convicted in Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "Duchess of Northumberland" on 25th November 1852, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [4]

New Zealand Clive migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Clive Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • James Clive, aged 50, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "City of Auckland" in 1872
  • Mary Clive, aged 50, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "City of Auckland" in 1872

Contemporary Notables of the name Clive (post 1700) +

  • Edward E. Clive (1879-1940), Welsh actor from Monmouthshire who appeared in over 95 features
  • Lord Robert Clive of Plassey (1725-1774), 1st Baron Clive, known as Clive of India, English soldier and colonial administrator; he was born in the parish at Styche Hall and is buried in the church at Moreton Say
  • Lieutenant-General Sir George Sidney Clive GCVO KCB, CMG, DSO (1874-1959), British Army officer, Military Secretary
  • George Clive DL JP (1805-1880), British barrister, magistrate and Liberal politician
  • George Clive (b. 1779), British politician
  • Caroline Wigley Clive (1801-1872), English writer who used the pseudonym "V"
  • Colin Clive (1900-1937), English stage and screen actor best remembered for his portrayal of Dr. Frankenstein in Frankenstein (1931) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
  • John Clive (1933-2012), English author and actor from North London, best known for his roles in the Carry On series, Yellow Submarine, The Pink Panther Strikes Again and A Clockwork Orange
  • Nigel Clive, Middle East Advisor
  • Catherine "Kitty" Clive (1711-1785), English comic actress

HMAS Sydney II
  • Mr. Alfred Walter Clive (1921-1941), Australian Stoker from Cottesloe, Western Australia, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [5]

The Clive Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: In cruce glorior
Motto Translation: I glory in the cross.

  1. Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  2. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  4. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 22nd July 2021). Retrieved from
  5. HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from on Facebook