William Clarke was born in Shropshire and educated at Shrewsbury School before attending St. John's College, Cambridge (B.A. 1715; Fellow 1717-25; M.A. 1719). He was afterwards chaplain to the Duke of Newcastle, rector of Buxted, Sussex, and chancellor of the church of Chichester (1770). Clarke married the daughter of William Wotton, author of Reflections upon Ancient and Modern Learning (1694), a leading participant in the Ancients-Moderns debate. Plagued by debts, Wotton was later forced to reside with his son-in-law. With William Bowyer, Clarke translated Joseph Trapp's Lectures on Poetry into English. There is an extensive biography in John Nichols's Anecdotes (1812-15).
Elements of the civil law. 1730.
The connexion of the Roman, Saxon, and English Coins. 1767.