Richard de Clare, Steward of Forest of Essex

Richard de Clare (after 1281 – 10 May 1318) 1st Lord Clare was the son of Thomas de Clare, Lord of Thomond and Juliana FitzGerald.

A descendant of Strongbow, he succeeded his older brother, Gilbert, in 1308 as Lord of Thomond. In 1309, and then again between 1312 and 1316, he was sheriff of Cork. Forced to put down a number of rebellions, he was eventually killed while commanding his forces at the Battle of Dysert O'Dea near what is now Ennis, County Clare. According to legend, the day before his death, Richard de Clare beheld a woman dressed in white on the river's edge washing bloody clothing and armor. When he asked whose clothes they were, she replied, "yours," and then vanished. This woman was believed to be a banshee foretelling his death the next day when he lay dead with his clothes caked in blood on the battlefield of Dysert O'Dea (Lewis Spence, The Magical Arts in Celtic Britain 81(1999)).

Richard was succeeded by his son Thomas, who was born in 1318 and died three years later. A series of inquisitions post mortem that were held following a writ issued on 10 April 1321 established that Thomas' heirs were his father's sisters; Margaret, the wife of Bartholomew de Badlesmere and Maud, the wife of Sir Robert de Welle. As well as stewardship of the Forest of Essex, Thomas' estate included numerous properties in Ireland.[1]


  1. ^ Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, 1st series, Vol. 4, No. 275.