Ruddington-born Charles Clifton was a fast round-arm bowler, a useful bat and a good fielder who played in local cricket for Nottingham Commercial in 1866 but two years later moved to London to take up the post of pavilion clerk at Lord’s.
In the five years that he held that appointment, he played a number of games for the MCC, none at First-Class level, including one of those 19th Century oddities – a 12-a-side fixture, Married of MCC v Single of MCC – in May 1869. Clifton was in the Singles side and scored 12, batting at number 12. Presumably, therefore, he had yet to marry but when he did, his wife was the daughter of Jemmy Grundy, one of Nottinghamshire’s best all-rounders of the Victorian era.
Clifton made his First-Class debut for Notts, playing as an amateur, v Surrey in July 1873, scoring 12 and 45, and played eight more matches without improving on that performance. He also represented the North v South in 1875. His First-Class record shows 168 runs at 10.50 and nine catches taken; he did not bowl in First-Class cricket.
Charles Clifton was born in Ruddington on 13 January 1846 and when in Nottingham was initially employed by the Midland Railway but is believed to have set up a wine and brewing business in Nottingham and Burton Joyce around 1873 - to no great success as a year later he is listed in the local press among the declared Bankrupts.
This was by no means his only appearance in the local papers. In 1867, his batting and fielding for Richard Daft's XI in the Commercial Club's opening fixture was praised by the Midland Counties Express but three years later there was a far more sombre occasion. Clifton was one of the witnesses at the inquest on his team-mate George Summers who was struck on the head while batting against MCC in 1870 and died three days later; Clifton's evidence was that Summers could not have avoided the blow and the inquest found no blame attached to the bowler, Platts of Derbyshire.
In 1878, Clifton was again a witness - in a robbery trial involving the theft of a pair of boots from one Alfred Shaw of Burton Joyce; whether these were cricket boots, the Nottinghamshire Guardian report does not say but given the principals - a third witness was John Selby - it is a distinct possibility.
In addition to his time as clerk at Lord's, Clifton was in Nottinghamshire again in 1875, serving as President of the Raleigh Club, a Working Mans' Club on Raleigh Street, and a resident of Burton Joyce at the time. In 1881 he and Annie were living in Sneinton and a year later he was clerk to A T Wootton (and apparently witness to some dodgy electioneering). By 1891, he was apparently living with a Sarah Walsh in Radford and an 'agent for beer' but he was evidently reconciled with Annie and living in London in the early 1900s, in Kilburn, and working as a commercial clerk and collector. Clifton died in Willesden, North London, in the final quarter of 1912.
Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 138