Bold, brash and bouncy he may be, but when Top Gear guru Jeremy Clarkson
first clapped eyes on his family tree he was devastated to discover
that most of his ancestors seemed to have lived their lives decidedly
in the slow lane.
"Take the Clarkson name back to its Yorkshire roots and they all come
from within a few miles of each other," he says despairingly.
"I'm the product of 200 years of interbreeding - I'm surprised I haven't
got one eye!" He has - and it's on the main chance.
Clarkson also uncovers the fact that one of his forbears is not only
called Kilner, but was a glass manufacturer - the inventor of the world-renowned
and still used Kilner jar perhaps?
Leaving his wife Francie and their three children Emily, Finlo and
Katya at home in the Cotswolds, Clarkson leaps into his trusty metal
steed and sets off to uncover the lost family fortune.
His great, great-grandfather Caleb Kilner hit on the idea of the screw-topped,
rubber-sealed jar as a way of preserving food and its trademark can
be traced back to the 1890s.
"Selfishly, I'm quite keen to find out what happened to the money,"
says Clarkson impishly. "Is there somewhere a dusty piece of paper that
says Jeremy Clarkson is owed £48bn?"
But the glass manufacturing industry proved to be as fragile as its
wares and Clarkson discovers little left standing of the might that
was once the Kilner glass empire.
He does track down the current owner of the jar's patent though - and
decides he may have to punch him!
Peace breaks out at their meeting however and the man with a mania
for the mechanical feels a sense of pride in his roots.
"It's just thrilling to know that my ancestors were part of the most
extraordinary superpower the world has ever seen," he says. "Part of
that patchwork quilt of ingenuity."