de Clare

The Clare family were a prominent Anglo-Norman noble house that held at various times the earldoms of Pembroke, Hertford and Gloucester in England and Wales, as well as playing a prominent role in the Norman invasion of Ireland.

House of Clare
Noble House
CoA Gilbert de Clare.svg
CountryEngland

Wales

Lordship of Ireland

  • Leinster
FounderRichard fitz Gilbert
TitlesVarious
Style(s)Earls, Barons, and Knights
Estate(s)Various Earldoms, Baronies and over 190 Manorial Lordships

They were descended from Richard Fitz Gilbert, Lord of Clare (1035-1090), a kinsman of William the Conqueror who accompanied him into England during the Norman conquest of England. As a reward for his service, Richard was given lands in Suffolk centred on the village of Clare. As a result, Richard and his descendants carried the name of ‘de Clare’ or ‘of Clare’.

OriginsEdit

 
Stained glass window in Tewkesbury Abbey depicting Lord Gilbert de Clare.

The Clare family derived in the male line from Gilbert, Count of Brionne, whose father Geoffrey, Count of Eu was an illegitimate son of Richard I, Duke of Normandy by an unknown mistress. Gilbert de Brionne was one of the guardians of William II, who became Duke of Normandy as a child in 1035. When Gilbert was assassinated in 1039 or 1040, his young sons Baldwin and Richard fitz Gilbert fled with their guardians to Baldwin V, Count of Flanders; they returned to Normandy when William married Baldwin's daughter in 1053, and William took them into high favour. After the conquest of England, Richard fitz Gilbert received extensive estates, notably including Clare and Tonbridge. From his holding the former, the family he founded are usually referred to by historians as 'de Clare' (of Clare)."[1] Historical sources are vague and sometimes contradictory about when the name Clare came into common usage, but Richard fitz Gilbert (of Tonbridge) is once referred to as Richard of Clare in the Suffolk return of the Domesday Survey.[2] His brother Baldwin de Meules was left in charge of Exeter on its submission (1068) and made sheriff of Devonshire. Large estates in Devonshire and Somersetshire are entered to him in Domesday as "Baldwin of Exeter" or "Baldwin the Sheriff".[3]

EarldomsEdit

 
Elizabeth de Clare, 11th Lady of Clare, founder of Clare College, Cambridge

On his death, Richard's English estates passed to his son Gilbert fitz Richard de Clare (1055-1117), while a younger son, Robert Fitz Richard, would give rise to a lineage that became Barons FitzWalter. A younger son of Gilbert fitz Richard, also named Gilbert, establishing himself in Wales, acquired the Earldom of Pembroke in 1138 and Lordship of Striguil. Earl Gilbert's nephew of the senior line, the son of his older brother, Richard Fitz Gilbert de Clare (1090-1136), would likewise be made an Earl. Gilbert fitz Richard (d. 1152) was named Earls of Hertford, perhaps in 1138 but at least by 1141, and subsequently the family would sometimes use the style of Earls of Clare.[3][4][5] The first Earl of Hertford died without issue and was succeeded by his brother, Roger de Clare, 2nd Earl of Hertford, from whom the later Earls of Hertford descended.

The son of Gilbert fitz Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Pembroke, was Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke (died 1176), known as Strongbow, a leader of the Norman invasion of Ireland. His only son died while still a minor, and Strongbow's many Irish and Welsh possessions passed with his daughter Isabel, to her husband, William Marshal.[6] Some of these lands would be brought back into the family via the marriage of one of the coheiresses of Isabel de Clare and William Marshal, Isabel Marshal, to her distant cousin, Gilbert de Clare, 4th Earl of Hertford (died 1230). He also inherited from his mother the estates of his maternal grandfather, William Fitz Robert, 2nd Earl of Gloucester (died 1183), including the earldom and honour of Gloucester and the lordship of Glamorgan.

The family continued to hold both Earldoms until the early 14th century, when Gilbert de Clare, 8th Earl of Gloucester died without issue and the Earldoms became extinct, while his lands were divided among several sisters. Richard de Clare, a member of a junior line that had become lords of Thomond, in Ireland, would be summoned to Parliament in 1309, and hence is held to have been made Lord Clare. But, the death of his infant son in 1321, shortly after his own death, brought an end to the last of the lines typically called de Clare, though the male line persisted at least a century later in the Barons FitzWalter.

Coat of armsEdit

 
Arms of Richard de Clare II, Earl of Hertford and Gloucester, Founders book of Tewkesbury Abbey, c. 1525

The early Clares appear to have used a coat of arms that was chevronny, as seen in the seals of Gilbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke, and of his niece, Rohese, Countess of Lincoln. Richard 'Strongbow', 2nd Earl of Pembroke, would simplify this to a coat with three chevronels, matching the three red chevrons on a gold background that would be the arms of the Clare Earls of Hertford.[7]

Genealogical treeEdit

Tree of Clare
Richard I
Duke of
Normandy
† 996
Geoffrey
Count of Eu
† 1015


House of
Clare
Gilbert
Count of
Brionne and Eu
† 1040
Richard
fitz Gilbert

Lord of Bienfaite,
Orbec, Clare and
Tonbridge, joint
Chief Justiciar
of England

c. 1090
Baldwin
fitz Gilbert

Lord of Sap and
Meules, baron of
Okehampton

Sheriff of Devon
† 1090
Robert
fitz Baldwin





William
fitz Baldwin

baron of
Okehampton

Sheriff of Devon
fl. 1096
Richard
fitz Baldwin

baron of
Okehampton

Sheriff of Devon
† 1137
Adelise
fitz Baldwin

eventual heiress



[? Matilda]
fitz Baldwin
= William
fitzWimund

= Ranulf
Avenel
Roger
fitz Gilbert
de Clare

Lord of Bienfaite
and Orbec
† 1131
Gilbert
fitz Richard
de Clare

Lord of Clare,
Tonbridge and Cardigan
† 1117
Walter
fitz Richard
de Clare

Lord of
Netherwent
c. 1138
Richard
fitz Richard
de Clare

Abbot of Ely


Robert
fitz Richard

Lord of Little
Dunmow (Essex)
† 1136
Richard
fitz Gilbert
de Clare

Lord of Tunbridge
and Cardigan
† 1136
Gilbert
fitz Gilbert
de Clare

Earl of
Pembroke

† 1148/9
Baldwin
fitz Gilbert
de Clare

Lord of
Bourne
† 1154/1166
Barons
FitzWalter





Richard
fitz Gilbert
de Clare

Strongbow
Earl of
Pembroke
† 1176
Gilbert
fitz Richard
de Clare

Earl of Hertford
† 1152
Roger
fitz Richard
de Clare

Earl of Hertford
† 1173
Rohaise
de Clare

=Gilbert
de Gant

Earl of
Lincoln
Alice
de Clare

= Cadwaladr
ap Gruffydd

prince of
Gwynedd
Lucy
de Clare

= Baldwin
de Redvers

Earl of
Devon
Richard
de Clare

Earl of
Hertford
† 1217
Aveline
de Clare

† 1164
= Geoffrey
fitz Piers

Earl of Essex
Isabel
de Clare

=William Marshal
Earl of
Pembroke
† 1220
Gilbert
de Clare

of Striguil
Earl of
Pembroke
† 1185
Mathilde
de Clare

= Rhys Gryg
prince of
Deheubarth
† 1234
Gilbert
de Clare

Earl of
Hertford and
Gloucester
† 1230
Isabel
Marshal

coheiress of
her mother
other
coheiresses



Isabel
de Clare

† 1264
= Robert
de Brus
Richard
de Clare

Earl of
Hertford and
Gloucester
† 1262
Bruce
Kings of
Scotland





Gilbert
de Clare

the Red Earl
Earl of Hertford
and Gloucester
Guardian of
England
† 1295
Bogo
de Clare

clergyman
† 1294




Thomas
de Clare

Lord of
Thomond
Chancellor
of Ireland
† 1287
Gilbert
de Clare

Earl of
Hertford and
Gloucester
† 1314

Eleanor
de Clare

= Hugh
Baron
Despenser

=William
de la Zouche

Margaret
de Clare

= Piers
Gaveston
Earl of
Cornwall

= Hugh de
Audley
Earl of
Gloucester
Elizabeth
de Clare

= John de
Burgh

=Theobald
de Verdun
=Roger
Baron
d'Amory
Gilbert
de Clare

Lord of
Thomond
† 1308
Richard
de Clare

Lord Clare
Lord of
Thomond
† 1318

Maud
de Clare

= Robert
Baron Clifford

= Robert
Baron Welles


Margaret
de Clare

= Gilbert de
Umfraville
= Bartholomew
Baron
Badlesmere


(coheiresses)Thomas
de Clare

† 1321
(coheiresses)

NotesEdit

BibliographyEdit

  • J. C. Ward, "Fashions in monastic endowment: the foundations of the Clare family, 1066–1314", Journal of Ecclesiastical History, vol. 32.4 (1981), p. 427–451.
  • J. C. Ward, "Royal service and reward: the Clare family and the crown, 1066–1154", Anglo-Norman Studies, vol. 11 (1988), p. 261–278.
  • Michael Altschul, A Baronial Family in Medieval England: The Clares, 1217–1314, The Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1965. See online summary.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Richard Mortimer, Clare, Richard de [Richard fitz Gilbert] (1030x35–1087x90), magnate, in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online by subscription.
  2. ^ Suffolk return of the Domesday Survey (c. 1086) (ed. A. Rumble, Suffolk, 2 vols (Chichester, 1986), 67 ~ 1
  3. ^ a b Round 1911.
  4. ^ R. H. C. Davis, King Stephen (1977), p. 136, and p. 129.
  5. ^ Frank Barlow, The Feudal Kingdom of England, 1042–1261 (4th edition 1988), p. 213.
  6. ^ Round 1887.
  7. ^ J. H. Round, "The Introduction of Armorial Bearings into England", The Archaeological Journal, volume 51, pp 43-48 [1]
Attribution
  • Round, John Horace (1911). "Clare (family)" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. 6 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 423–424.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  •   This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainRound, John Horace (1887). "Clare, de". In Stephen, Leslie (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 10. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 375–376.