Gilbert de Clare, 1st Earl of Pembroke

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Gilbert de Clare
1st Earl of Pembroke
2nd Lord Marcher of Cardigan
2nd Lord Marcher of Striguil
Fitz Gilbert de Clare.png
The Coat of Arms associated with the Irish Branch of House de Clare and the Earls of Pembroke
Hereditary
ReignEarl of Pembroke
PredecessorNone - New Creation
SuccessorRichard de Clare
Spouse(s)Isabel de Beaumont
Noble familyHouse de Clare
FatherGilbert de Clare, 2nd Baron of Clare
MotherAlice de Claremont
Born21 September 1100
Tonbridge Castle, Kent, Kingdom of England
Died06 January 1148
Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire, Wales
BuriedTintern Abbey, Monmouth, Monmouthshire, Wales

Gilbert de Clare, 1st Earl of Pembroke (1100-1148), was the son of Gilbert de Clare, 2nd Baron of Clare (1065-1117) by his wife Alice de Claremont (1058-1117).[1] He married Isabel de Beaumont (1102-1147) and had three children by that marriage. He was created Earl of Pembroke in 1138 and was commonly known as Strongbow but his son Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke is much more readily associated with that nickname. He held and acquired a plethora of estates and titles during his lifetime that would eventually be distributed to his children after his death. He was a formidable Lord Marcher in Wales and the Welsh cursed his name and that of his family.

Life

Seal of Gilbert de Clare, 1st Earl of Pembroke

In 1136 Gilbert de Clare, 1st Earl of Pembroke led an expedition against Exmes and burned parts of the town, including the church of Notre Dame, but was interrupted by the forces of William III, Count of Ponthieu and escaped the resulting melee only after suffering heavy losses.[2] Gilbert de Clare was a powerful Norman Baron, that is, a tenant-in-chief in England, and inherited the estates of his paternal uncles, Roger de Clare and Walter de Clare, which included the Baronies and Castles of Bienfaite and Orbec in the Duchy of Normandy. Upon the death of his Uncle, Walter de Clare he acquired the Lordship of Nether Gwent and the Castle of Striguil. Gilbert de Clare earned the title of Earl of Pembroke and received property in Pembrokeshire from his successful marauding in Wales in 1138. However, one of Gilbert's cousins revolted against King Stephen, who promptly seized his lands. Fearing Gilbert de Clare might follow his cousin's lead, King Stephen seized his lands also. After Stephen's defeat at Lincoln on 2 February 1141, Gilbert de Clare was among those who rallied to Empress Matilda when she recovered London in June, but he was at Canterbury when Stephen was recrowned late in 1141.

He then joined Geoffrey's plot against King Stephen of England for seizing his lands, but when that conspiracy collapsed, he decided to pledge allegiance to King Stephen of England, being with him at the siege of Oxford late in 1142. His relationship with King Stephen was always on shaky groun. In 1147 he rebelled when King Stephen of England again when the King refused to give him the castles surrendered by his nephew Gilbert de Clare, 1st Earl of Hertford, whereupon the King marched to his nearest castle and nearly captured him. However, Gilbert de Clare appears to have made his peace with King Stephen before his death the following year.[3][4] Gilbert de Clare and brother of Richard de Clare, 3rd Baron of Clare, having obtained from King Henry I of England a license to enjoy all the lands he should win in Wales, marched a large force into Cardiganshire and brought the whole country under subjection; here he soon afterwards built two strong castles and, his power increased. After his death, his son, Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke also known as "Strongbow", succeeded to his numerous titles, but without any land to support them.

Titles

Gilbert de Clare held many titles during his lifetime. He acquired the Marcher Lordship of Cardigan in Wales thus automatically becoming the Lord of Cardigan Castle. He also acquired the Marcher Lordship of Striguil as well as becoming the 2nd Lord of Striguil Castle. The Barony of CLare was inherited by his brother. When his uncle Walter de Clare, 1st Lord of Nether Gwent died he inheritied his Barony of Nether Gwent. Walter de Clare never rmarried and died childless. He also held lands and titles in the Duchy of Normandy being the Baron of Orbec and Bienfaite.

Spelling Variations

The surname Clare was first found in Suffolk where Richard Fitz Gilbert, 1st Baron of Clare (1030-1091) held no less than ninety-five lordships in Suffolk, all attached to his chief lordship of Clare in the same county. To this family we owe the name of an English town, an Irish county, royal dukedoms (such as Clarence), Clare College, Clare Castle, Clare Bridge, Caerphilly Castle countless de Clare Priories, and various other villages, buildings, and momuments in Wales, Ireland and England respectively. Prior to the advent standardized dictionaries and the printing press the English language was fraught with surname variations of the same families. Sound was what guided spelling in the Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the de Clare family name include Clair, Clare, Clere, O'Clear, O'Clair and others.

Family

He married Isabel de Beaumont, daughter of Sir Robert de Beaumont, 1st Earl of Leicester by his wife Elizabeth of Vermandois, and had three children by that marriage:

Isabel de Beaumont had previously been the mistress of King Henry I of England.[7]

References

  1. Richardson, D., & Everingham, K. G. (2005). Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Coloncial And Medieval Families. Genealogical Publishing Com.
  2. George Edward Cokayne, The Complete Peerage; or, A History of the House of Lords and All its Members from the Earliest Times, Vol. X, Eds. H. A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, & Howard de Walden (London: The St. Catherine Press, Ltd., 1945), p. 348, & footnote (a)
  3. Paul Dalton, Graeme J. White. King Stephen's Reign (1135-1154)King Stephen's Reign (1135-1154) (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2008), pp. 88-89
  4. J. H. Round, Geoffrey de Mandeville (Longmans, Green, 1892), p. 158
  5. George Edward Cokayne, The Complete Peerage; or, A History of the House of Lords and All its Members from the Earliest Times, Vol. X, Eds. H. A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, & Howard de Walden (London: The St. Catherine Press, Ltd., 1945), Appendix H, p. 100
  6. Hudson, J. (1994). William Marshall: Court, Career and Chivalry in the Angevin Empire, 1147-1219. The English Historical Review, 109(431), 412-414.
  7. George Edward Cokayne, The Complete Peerage; or, A History of the House of Lords and All its Members from the Earliest Times, Vol. VII, Eds. H. A. Doubleday & Howard de Walden (London: The St. Catherine Press, Ltd., 1929), p. 526, footnote (c)