Seb Coe’s connection to Hyde traced by “Who Do You Think You Are?”

Date Released - 11/08/2011

THE new series of the BBC One genealogy programme “Who Do You Think You Are?” has uncovered a link between Hyde and Olympic gold-medallist Sebastian Coe, chair of the organising committee for the 2012 London Olympics.

When the episode is aired at 9pm on Wednesday, August 24, it will show that the former MP’s great-great-great-great-grandfather was George Hyde Clarke of Hyde Hall.

Lord Coe discovered that his ancestor earned a fortune through ownership of a Jamaican sugar plantation. However, this revelation proved more bitter than sweet as the estate workforce comprised more than 500 slaves.

More surprises were in store. Although George was married to Catherine Hussey of Denore, Ireland, by whom he had two children, he also fathered six illegitimate children by four other women. His domestic arrangements in Jamaica were interesting, as it is believed he lived jointly with his wife, Catherine, and his mistress, Sophia, with whom he had an affair lasting 15 years.

George returned permanently to Hyde in 1789-9 and became a patron of Denton Chapel (Denton St Lawrence). During his tenure as a justice of the peace in Cheshire and Lancashire, in 1811, he contributed to the suppression of the Luddite disturbances.

The archive of the Clarke family is available for consultation at Tameside Local Studies and Archives and includes diaries, correspondence and legal documents.

Cllr Jackie Lane, Tameside Council’s assistant executive member for heritage and tourism, said: “I always find ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ to be an absolutely fascinating programme. Tameside has links with all sorts of famous people and it’s great to know we can add Sebastian Coe to the list.”

For more information, telephone 0161 342 4242 or visit www/

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