Biography of Robert Clive

Portrait of Robert Clive

Robert Clive was a civil leader and military commander with the British East India Company during the eighteenth century and is often known as “Clive of India”.

When and Where was he Born?

29th September 1725, Styche, near Market Drayton, Shropshire, England.

Family Background:

Robert Clive was the eldest son of Richard Clive of Styche. His mother was the daughter of Nathaniel Gaskell of Manchester.


Merchant Taylor’s School, London.

Statue of Robert Clive
Statue of Robert Clive in Shrewsbury market place (copyright Anthony Blagg)

Timeline of Robert Clive:

1743: Clive is sent to Madras, India by the East India Company. Captured by the French.

1746: He escapes from the French.

1751: Robert Clive seizes Arcot, the Capital of Chanda Sahib. He holds it for eight weeks with a small force until relieved. He goes on to capture other French strongholds.

1753: He returns to England and marries Margaret Maskelyne.

1755: He returns to India as Governor of Fort Saint David.

1756: Clive defeats the pirate stronghold of Gheriah.

1757: He recovers Calcutta after some British prisoners of war are incarcerated in the “Black Hole of Calcutta” on the 20th June. His Army from the British East India Company defeats the Mughal Nawab, Sirajud Dawlah at The Battle of Plassey on the 23rd June. He then installs Mir Jakar as the new Nawab and becomes the virtual ruler of Bengal.

1759: Clive repulses Dutch colonial efforts.

1760: He returns to England and enters Parliament (1760-74).

1762: Clive is raised to the Peerage.

Statue of Clive of India in London
Statue of Clive of India in King Charles Street, 
Whitehall, London
 (copyright Anthony Blagg)

1764: He returns to India as Governor and Commander in Chief of Bengal to quell the disorder, which had grown up in his absence. He reforms the Civil Service in Bengal and is credited with beginning the empire of British India.

1767: Clive returns to England in shattered health to a storm of parliamentary enquiries.

When and Where Did he Die?

He committed suicide on the 22nd November 1774, London, England after allegations of corruption were investigated by parliament.

Age at Death:



1753 to Margaret Maskelyne.

Site of Grave:

St. Margaret’s Church, Moreton Say, Shropshire, England.

Places of Interest:


Lived at No 14, The Circus, Bath.


British Library.


Walcott Hall, Lydbury North, Bishops Castle was built for Clive.


The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum, The Castle, Stirling.


Regimental Museum of the First Queens Dragoon Guards, Cardiff Castle.
Powis Castle, Powys has a Clive Museum.

Powis Castle
Robert Clive’s eldest son married into the Herbert Family of Powis Castle and there is a Clive Museum of many Indian artefacts there today (copyright Anthony Blagg)