Richard (Clare) de Clare
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Richard (Clare) de Clare (abt. 1153 - bef. 1217)

Richard "Earl of Clare, 3rd Earl of Hertford" de Clare formerly Clare
Born about in Tonbridge Castle, Kent, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 1177 [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died before in Tonbridge Castle, Kent, Englandmap
Profile last modified | Created 28 Jun 2014 | Last significant change: 17 May 2020
09:41: Michael Cayley edited the Prefix for Richard (Clare) de Clare (abt.1153-bef.1217). (Removed sir in prefix field. Anachronistic) [Thank Michael for this | 2 thank-yous received]
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Magna Carta Surety Baron
Richard de Clare was one of the twenty-five medieval barons who were surety for Magna Carta in 1215.
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Richard de Clare, Knt., 3rd Earl of Hertford (also styled Earl of Clare), of Clare, Suffolk[1][2]

Blazon for Richard Earl of Clare, Hertford and Gloucester: Or, three chevronels gules.[3]


Born about 1153[3] at Tonbridge Castle, Kent, England[4]
Son and heir of Roger de Clare, 2nd Earl of Hertford, by Maud, daughter and heiress of James de Saint Hilary, of Field Dalling, Norfolk.[2]
Married Amice of Gloucester, second daughter and co-heiress of William Fitz Robert, 2nd Earl of Gloucester, and Hawise, daughter of Robert de Beaumont, Earl of Leicester. Amice's maritagium included the town of Sudbury, Suffolk and 6-1/2 knights fees in Kent.[2]
Sometime before Michaelmas 1198, they were separated by order of the Pope on grounds of consanguinity.[1] "The kinship was presumably due their common descent from Harleve of Falaise, mother of William the Conqueror, King of England, they being related in the 5th and 6th degrees of kindred though Harleve. They were apparently considered divorced by Trinity term 1200, when Amice was called 'former wife of the Earl of Clare.' The issue of the validity of their marriage was presumably resolved, as Amice styled herself in later charters 'Countess of Clare.' Regardless, they appeared to have been estranged at the time of Earl Richard's death, as her charters make no mention of her husband, but only their son and heir, Gilbert."[2]
  1. Gilbert de Clare, Knight, Earl of Gloucester and Hertford,[5] born about 1180, married Isabel Marshal on 9 October 1217[1]
  2. Richard de Clare (murdered in London, 4 May 1228)[6][1]
  3. Roger de Clare, married Alice de Dammartin (no issue)[6][1]
  4. Henry de Clare[2][1]
  1. Maud de Clare, married William de Brewes[6][1][7]
  2. Hawise de Clare, married Geoffrey de Say, Knt.[8][1]
  3. [Joan (?)] de Clare, married as his second wife Rhys Gryg,[8] "lord of Dynevor or Ystradtywi, Prince of South Wales"[9][1][10]
Died between 30 October (date of will) and 28 November 1217 (date will proved)[1] at Tonbridge Castle.[11]
"Following his death, Tonbridge Priory petitioned the bishop to grant indulgence 'to all who prayed for the soul of Sir Richard de Clare, formerly Earl of Hertford, whose body lies in the church of St. Mary Magdalen of Tonbridge, and the souls of all faithful departed deceased and those who have assisted in the building or upkeep of the lights' of the church of St. Mary Magdalen in Tonbridge. His widow, Amice, caused the earl's body to be carried to Tewkesbury Abbey, Gloucestershire, where it was buried in the choir of the Abbey."[2]

Brief Biographical Summary

Richard de Clare, 3rd Earl of Hertford (but generally styled Earl of Clare),[2] had the majority of the Giffard estates from his ancestor, Rohese.[3] "The most substantial of all the additions Earl Richard made to the family estate, however, came as a result of his marriage to Amicia, second daughter and eventual sole heiress of William, earl of Gloucester. The Gloucester inheritance was a vast one, comprising over 260 knights’ fees in England and extensive lands in Wales and the Marches."[12] He and Amice, "Countess of Gloucester"[13][14] (c.1160-1220), married about 1172.[3][15]
Richard and his father-in-law William were both suspected of complicity, if not direct involvement, in Earl Hugh le Bigod's rebellion in 1173-74. Clare subsequently supported the king, when the king's son, Henry, whom he had crowned during his own lifetime, rebelled against his father.[2]
In 1173 Richard succeeded his father, Roger de Clare, as 3rd Earl of Hertford.[13] Earl Richard was present at the coronation of King Richard I at Westminster, 3 September 1189.[3] "At the start of the reign of King Richard I, the barony of Long Crendon, Buckinghamshire (which had escheated to the crown in 1164) was divided between him and William Marshal, later Earl of Pembroke."[2]
"In 1198 he excused himself from personal attendance on the king at Hertford",[2] on 27 May 1199 was present at the coronation of King John. He was also present at the homage of King William of Scotland at Lincoln.[3]
"Richard de Clare, appointed to the Twenty Five,"[12] played a leading part in the negotiations for Magna Carta. He sided with the Barons against King John, even though he had previously sworn peace with the King at Northampton, and his castle of Tonbridge was taken.[13] In 1215, his lands in counties Cambridge, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex were granted to Robert de Betun.[3] Both he and his son, Gilbert, were among the Barons excommunicated by Pope Pope Innocent III on 16 December 1215. On returning to fealty 5 October 1217, he had restitution.[2]
Shortly after Earl Richard's death in 1217, his son and heir, Gilbert, assumed the combined titles of earl of Gloucester and Hertford. Countess Amicia lived out her last years in retirement, probably at Clare.[12] She is said to have died 1 January 1224/5.[2]

Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Biography

by Professor Nigel Saul

"The de Clares were one of the great baronial families of twelfth- and thirteenth-century England, holding wide estates in eastern and western England and beyond. For a while the senior branch, based at Tonbridge (Kent), was eclipsed in fame and fortune by a brilliant junior branch which established itself in South Wales and the Marches. Richard FitzGilbert de Clare of this branch, known to history as ‘Strongbow’, was the leader of the semi-official Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland in Henry II’s reign and obtained a grant of the lordship of Leinster from the king in 1171. This cadet branch became extinct in the male line on the death of Strongbow’s son Gilbert in 1185 and the family’s estates were later taken over by the Marshal earls of Pembroke.

"Richard de Clare, appointed to the Twenty Five, of the senior branch of the family, was the son of Roger de Clare (d. 1173), lord of Tonbridge, who was in turn the younger brother and successor of Gilbert II (d. 1152), to whom King Stephen had granted the title earl of Hertford in or around 1138. In the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries the earls used the title ‘of Hertford’ interchangeably with that of earl of Clare.

"For over four decades until his death in 1217 Earl Richard was the effective head of the house of Clare. He does not appear to have been especially active, however, playing little part in national affairs either in the last years of Henry II’s reign or in that of Richard the Lionheart. He only emerged as a figure of political importance towards the end of his life in the crisis of John’s reign, when he was appointed to the Twenty Five, most probably in recognition less of his personal qualities than his family’s exalted standing in the realm.

"Earl Richard’s greatest and most lasting achievement was to add to the already considerable wealth and landed endowment of his line. In 1189 at the beginning of Richard’s reign, in a major acquisition, he received a grant of half of the honor (or feudal lordship) of the Giffard earls of Buckingham, which had escheated to the crown over twenty years before following the death of the last earl, Walter. The Lionheart effected an equal division between Earl Richard and his cousin Isabel, daughter of Strongbow and wife of William Marshal, earl of Pembroke, both of whom claimed descent from Roesia, Walter’s aunt and wife of Richard FitzGilbert de Clare, first founder of the family.

"In 1195 Earl Richard made another substantial, though less perhaps important, addition to his family’s inheritance when he obtained the feudal honor of St Hilary on the death of his mother Maud, Earl Roger’s widow. The honor, for which Richard offered £360 to the Crown, included lands in Norfolk and Northamptonshire.

"The most substantial of all the additions Earl Richard made to the family estate, however, came as a result of his marriage to Amicia, second daughter and eventual sole heiress of William, earl of Gloucester. The Gloucester inheritance was a vast one, comprising over 260 knights’ fees in England and extensive lands in Wales and the Marches. The story of its partition among the three daughters and co-heiresses is long and complex. Mabel, the eldest of the three, was married to Amaury de Montfort, count of Evreux in Normandy, while Isabel, the third and youngest, was married to the future King John. Mabel’s marriage was childless and on her husband’s death her lands passed to Isabel. John, however, on becoming king, divorced Isabel so that he could marry the Poitevin heiress Isabella of Angouleme, giving his now ex-wife in marriage to Geoffrey de Mandeville, another of the Twenty Five, and charging him 20,000 marks for the privilege. After Geoffrey died in 1216 her hand was taken by a third husband, Hubert de Burgh, but she herself died in 1217, and her estates passed to Amicia and her husband, Earl Richard. Earl Richard survived Isabel by only six weeks and did not live to secure formal seisin of her estates and title. It was left to his son and heir Gilbert, another of the Twenty Five, to succeed to the vast Gloucester inheritance. Shortly after his father’s death Gilbert assumed the combined titles of earl of Gloucester and Hertford. Countess Amicia lived out her last years in retirement, probably at Clare, having been separated from her husband, for reasons unknown, since 1200.

"Earl Gilbert was an active participant on the baronial side in the civil war that followed in the wake of King John’s rejection of Magna Carta. He fought with Louis and the French at the battle of Lincoln in May 1217 and was taken captive by none other than William Marshal, the Regent, whose daughter, Isabel, he was later to marry. In 1225 he was a witness to Henry III’s definitive reissue of Magna Carta. In 1230 he accompanied Henry on his expedition to Brittany, but died on the way back at Penros, in the duchy. The earl’s body was brought by way of Plymouth to Tewkesbury, where he was buried before the high altar of the great abbey. A monument, now lost, was erected to his memory by his widow.

"By a strange irony, the de Clare family, like their predecessors in the Gloucester title, was to come to an end in 1314, after the death of the last earl, in the succession of three daughters and coheiresses and the partition of the family estates between them."

~ Biography courtesy of Professor Nigel Saul and the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Committee


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 5 vols., ed. Kimball G. Everingham (Salt Lake City, Utah: the author, 2013), Vol II, pp 176-185 CLARE #4., #5. Richard de Clare, Knt., #6.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, Royal Ancestry series, 2nd edition, 4 vols., ed. Kimball G. Everingham (Salt Lake City, Utah: the author, 2011), Vol I, p 446 CLARE #1. Richard de Clare, Knt.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Wikipedia: Richard de Clare, 3rd Earl of Hertford
  4. Sources needed for birth information, but c1153 is reasonable and Tonbridge Castle is likely, as it was the de Clare family's (see Tonbridge Castle).
  5. Magna Carta Ancestry, pp 448-451
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Magna Carta Ancestry, p 448
  7. Cawley's Medieval Lands (Richard Clare; see also Briouse) shows Matilda/Joan as m (1) William de Briouse, (2) in 1219 "Rhys ap Rhys 'Gryg/the Hoarse', son of Rhys ap Gruffydd & his wife Gwenllian of Powys". Richardson's Royal Ancestry [II:180-183 CLARE 5.v. and 5.vii.] shows them as two different daughters.)
  8. 8.0 8.1 Magna Carta Ancestry, p 449
  9. Richard's daughter who married Rhys Gryg in 1219 had two sons by him: Maredudd ap Rhys Gryg (whose son Rhys married Ada Hastings) & Howel ap Rhys Gryg (Magna Carta Ancestry, p 451)
  10. Cawley's Medieval Lands treats Joan and Maud as one person (see Joan's profile for details).
  11. Tonbridge Castle is not specifically stated, but is likely, considering his body lay "in the church of St. Mary Magdalen of Tonbridge".
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 From the biography of Richard and Gilbert de Clare by Professor Nigel Saul, posted by the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Committee (see full biography above).
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Charles Cawley. Entries for Richard de Clare and son Gilbert de Clare (accessed 26 May 2018). "Medieval Lands": A prosopography of medieval European noble and royal families © by Charles Cawley, hosted by Foundation for Medieval Genealogy (FMG). See also WikiTree's source page for MedLands.
  14. Richardson notes: "In Amice's own charters which have survived, she refers to herself solely as Countess of Clare (i.e., Hertford), and never as Countess of Gloucester".
  15. There is no support for the Wikipedia dates for Amice:
    • born 1160 (not given in Royal Ancestry and Medieval Lands, although 1160 fits with son born c1180, which is suggested by both of those sources).
    • married about 1172 (Medieval Lands suggests 1180; a date is not given in Royal Ancestry, but the narrative implies a marriage prior to 1173-74: "He and his father-in-law, William, Earl of Gloucester, were both suspected . . . in Earl Hugh le Bigod's rebellion in 1173-74").
    • died 1220 (contradicted by both Royal Ancestry and Medieval Lands, which have "allegedly died 1 January 1224/5" and January 1225, respectively).
See also:
  • Sir Richard de Clare, Magna Charta Surety, 3rd Earl Hertford, Earl of Clare, Lord of Clare, Tewksbury, & Glamorgan, "Our Royal, Titled, Noble, and Commoner Ancestors and Cousins" (website, compiled by Mr. Marlyn Lewis, Portland, OR)
  • Dictionary of National Biography (Smith, Elder & Co., London, 1885-1900), page 367
  • Frederick Lewis Weis, Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England between 1623 and 1650, 6th ed. (Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, MD, 1988)
  • Frederick Lewis Weis, The Magna Charta Sureties, 1215, 4th ed. (Lewis Publication: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, Maryland, 1991)
  • Recs-Tewkesbury, Gloucs, Hist. Blechingly Lambert vol. 1 p. 42, 43
  • Falaise Roll p. 80, 81
  • John S Wurts, Magna Charta Barons, pp 89, 90, 57, 58, 422
  • Eng V vol. 2, p. 386, vol. 3, p. 242-44, vol. 4, p. 670, vol. 6, p. 499-502


This page has been edited according to Style Standards adopted by January 2014. Click the Changes tab to see edits to this profile; from that list, click WikiTree IDs other than Clare-651 to see changes to those profiles prior to being merged.

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Magna Carta Project

As a surety baron, Richard de Clare's profile is managed by the Magna Carta Project. See Clare-651 Descendants for profiles of his descendants that have been improved and categorized by the Magna Carta project and are in a project-approved trail to a Gateway Ancestor. See this index for links to other surety barons and category pages for their descendants. See the project's Base Camp for more information about Magna Carta trails and this page for more information about trails for the Clares. Liz Shifflett is the primary project contact for this profile (see this page for other project profiles with member contacts).

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Comments: 25

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I think we are over-using this profile, so I'll write a G2G post with the aim of trying to summarize some of the terminology complexities in the 11th, 12th and 13th century, and suggestions about how to worth with them in practice.
posted by Andrew Lancaster
I tend to agree with Andrew for at least the medieval period. The orders of knights evolved over a period. And after knights bachelor began to exist - as the then lowest rank of English knight - there can, I think, be no presumption that any already existing knight became a knight bachelor. For knights banneret - a higher rank of knight - we seem to have at least a partial list at Wikipedia: List of Knights Banneret. It is all quite complicated. There is a purported list of knights bachelor, effectively from 1336, in Shaw’s Knights of England but I would want someone more expert than me to check that Shaw had got his ranking of knights right.
posted by Michael Cayley
These concepts evolved and were not very clear for a long time. But I would think that just being alive in the time knights bachelor existed is still not really a good explanation as to why it is a category on any specific profile, even later. Any fact like that should have a source?
posted by Andrew Lancaster
Michael's comment said "knights bachelor are known to have existed in the 13th century during the reign of Henry III - after Richard de Clare’s death - and are not known to have existed earlier."

The profile for Henry III has his reign as "19 Oct 1216 – 16 Nov 1272". So... the overlap is small, and Henry was only 9 (his profile says he was born 1207), but Richard was alive.

Before I look at removing the category from other profiles, I'd like to confirm the date parameters. If Edward III, then 1327; if Henry III... ?


posted by Liz (Noland) Shifflett
I think we need to be careful about treating knight as a title in this period. As you say Joe, for the people with higher titles, in practice we can dodge the question. Words like knight and baron settled into completely new meanings in this century, having gone into flux in the previous one.
posted by Andrew Lancaster
From a private message:
Knight Bachelor would not have been used until the reign of Edward III.

posted by Liz (Noland) Shifflett
The other categories already on him cover him fine. He was a knight and a Sir because of his position in the peerage as an Earl. He was not a Knights bachelor.
posted by Joe Cochoit
Folks that know more about all this than I do decided that Knights would be categorized using Category:Knights bachelor ... if "Richard de Clare, Knt." should not be categorized under Category:Knights bachelor, what category would be appropriate?
posted by Liz (Noland) Shifflett
I think the position may be that knights bachelor are known to have existed in the 13th century during the reign of Henry III - after Richard de Clare’s death - and are not known to have existed earlier. I choose my words in that sentence very carefully. I agree that, if that is the position, the category ought really to be removed from this profile.
posted by Michael Cayley

Richard is 25 degrees from Jaki Erdoes, 23 degrees from Wallis Windsor and 11 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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