Richard de Clare, 3rd Earl of Hertford

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Richard de Clare
3rd Earl of Hertford
5th Lord Marcher of Cardigan
6th Baron of Clare
6th Baron of Tonbridge
De Clare.png
Coat of Arms Associated with House de Clare
Earl of Hereford1173-1217
PredecessorRoger de Clare, 2nd Earl of Hertford
SuccessorGilbert de Clare, 4th Earl of Hertford
SpouseAmice FitzWilliam, 4th Countess of Gloucester
FamilyHouse de Clare
FatherRoger de Clare, 2nd Earl of Hertford
MotherMaud de St. Hillary
Tonbridge Castle, Kent, Kingdom of England
BuriedTonbridge Priory
OccupationPeerage of England

Richard de Clare, 3rd Earl of Hertford (1153-1217) was the son of Roger de Clare, 2nd Earl of Hertford (1116–1173) by his wife Maud de St. Hillary. He married once to Amice FitzWilliam, 4th Countess of Gloucester (1140-1225), daughter of William Fitz Robert, 2nd Earl of Gloucester by his wife Hawise de Beaumont and had four children by that marriage.


Richard was the son of Roger de Clare, 2nd Earl of Hertford and Maud, daughter of James de St. Hillary.[1] More commonly known as the Earl of Clare, he had the majority of the Giffard estates from his ancestor, Rohese de Giffard.[2] He was present at the coronations of King Richard I at Westminster Abbey, 3 September 1189, and King John of England on 27 May 1199. He was also present at the homage of King William of Scotland as English Earl of Huntingdon at Lincoln. For over four decades until his death in 1217 Richard de Clare, 3rd Earl of Hertford was the effective head of the House de Clare. He does not appear to have been especially active, however, playing little part in national affairs either in the last years of King 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 of his family’s exalted standing in the realm.

His 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 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 de Clare, 4th Countess of Pembroke, daughter of Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke]] 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. By a strange irony, the de Clare family, in the manner of their predecessors would 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.

Magna Carta

He sided with the Barons against King John of England, even though he had previously sworn peace with the King at Northampton, and Tonbridge Castle was taken. He played a leading part in the negotiations for Magna Carta, being one of the twenty five sureties. On 9 November 1215, he was one of the commissioners on the part of the Barons to negotiate the peace with the King. In 1215, his lands in counties Cambridge, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex were granted to Robert de Betun. He and his son were among the Barons excommunicated by the Pope in 1215. His own arms were: Or, three chevronels gules.


He married the second daughter, and co-heiress, of William Fitz Robert, 2nd Earl of Gloucester by his wife Hawise de Beaumont. Sometime before 1198, Richard de Clare and his wife Amice were ordered to separate by the Pope on grounds of consanguinity. They separated for a time because of this order but apparently reconciled their marriage with the Pope later on. Together they had four children by that marriage:


  1. George Edward Cokayne, The Complete Peerage of England Scotland Ireland Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant Extinct or Dormant, eds. H. A. Doubleday; Howard de Walden, Vol. V (London: The St. Catherine Press, Ltd., 1926), p. 736
  2. I. J. Sanders, English Baronies: A Study of Their Origin and Descent 1086–1327) (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1963), pp. 34, 62