Richard de Clare, 3rd Baron of Clare

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Richard de Clare
3rd Baron of Clare
3rd Baron of Tonbridge
Fitz Gilbert de Clare.png
Coat of Arms Associated with House de Clare
Lord of Clare1117-1136
PredecessorGilbert de Clare, 2nd Baron of Clare
SuccessorGilbert de Clare, 1st Earl of Hertford
SpouseAlice de Gernon
FamilyHouse de Clare
FatherGilbert de Clare, 2nd Baron of Clare
MotherAdeliza de Claremont
Clare Castle, Suffolk, Kingdom of England
Died15 April 1136
Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Kingdom of England
BuriedAbbey of Saint Peter
OccupationPeerage of England

Richard de Clare, 3rd Baron of Clare (1094-1136), was the eldest son of Gilbert de Clare, 2nd Baron of Clare (1066-1117) by his wife Adeliza de Claremont (1058-1117).[1] He married Alice de Gernon (1094-1128) and had five children by that marriage. He was an Anglo-Norman nobleman, a Marcher Lord in Wales, and was the founder of Tonbridge Priory in Kent. He inherited all his father's lands in England and Wales.


Directly following the death of Henry I of England, hostilities increased significantly in Wales and a rebellion broke out.[2] Robert was a strong supporter of King Stephen of England and in the first two years of his reign Lord de Clare attested a total of twenty-nine of that King's charters.[3] He was with King Stephen when he formalized a treaty with King David I of Scotland and was a royal steward at Stephen's great Easter court in 1136.[3] He was also with Stephen at the siege of Exeter that summer and was in attendance on the king on his return from Normandy. At this point, Richard de Clare apparently demanded more land in Wales, which Stephen was not willing to give him.[3]

Murder in the Forest

In 1136, Richard de Clare had been away from his Marcher Lordship in the early part of the year. He returned to the borders of Wales via Hereford in the company of Brian Fitz Count, but on their separating, Richard ignored warnings of the danger and pressed on toward Ceredigion with only a small force.[4] He had not gone far when, on 15 April, he was ambushed and killed by the men of the Kingdom of Gwent under Iorwerth ab Owain and his brother Morgan, grandsons of Caradog ap Gruffydd, in a woody tract called "the ill-way of Coed Grano", near Llanthony Abbey, north of Abergavenny.[5] Today the spot is marked by the 'garreg dial' (the stone of revenge).[6] He was buried in Tonbridge Priory,[7] which he founded.[1]


The news of Richard's death induced Owain Gwynedd, son of Gruffudd ap Cynan, king of Gwynedd to invade his Marcher Lordship. In alliance with Gruffydd ap Rhys of Deheubarth, he won a crushing victory over the Normans at the Battle of Crug Mawr, just outside the Lordship of Cardigan. The town of Cardigan was taken and burnt, and Lord de Clare's widow, Alice, took refuge in Cardigan Castle, which was successfully defended by Robert fitz Martin. She was rescued by Miles de Gloucester, 1st Earl of Hereford, who led an expedition to bring her to safety in the Kingdom of England.[1]


Richard de Clare married Alice de Gernon of Chester (1094-1128), daughter of Ranulph Le Meschin, Earl of Chester (1070-1128) by his wife Lucy de Taillebois, Countess of Chester(1070-1136) and had five children by that marriage:


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 George Cokayne,The Complete Peerage of England Scotland Ireland Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant Extinct or Dormant, Vol. III, Ed. Vicary Gibbs (London: St Catherine Press, 1913), p. 243
  2. David Walker, Medieval Wales (Cambridge UK & New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990), p. 45
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Jennifer C. Ward, 'Royal Service and Reward: The Clare Family and the Crown, 1066-1154', Anglo-Norman Studies XI. Proceedings of the Battle Conference 1988, Ed. R. Allen Brown (Woodbridge, The Boydell Press, 1989), p. 274
  4. John Horace Round, Studies in Peerage and Family History (Archibald Constable and Co., Ltd., 1901), p. 211
  5. The historical works of Giraldus Cambrensis, Ed. Thomas Wright (London: H.G. Bohn, 1863), p. 365
  6. Anna Tucker, Gwent (Princes Risborough: Shire, 1987), p. 40
  7. James Foster Wadmore, The priory of s. Mary Magdalene at Tonbridge (London: Michell & Hughes, 1881), p. 8