Clare, Richard de (1222-1262) (DNB00)

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CLARE, RICHARD de, eighth Earl of Clare, sixth Earl of Hertford, and seventh Earl of Gloucester (1222–1262), the son of Gilbert, seventh earl of Clare [qv.], by Isabella, the daughter of William Marshall, earl of Pembroke, was born 4 Aug. 1222. On his father's death, when he became Earl of Gloucester (October 1230), he was entrusted first to the guardianship of Hubert de Burgh (Tewkesbury Annals, i. 66, 77, 83); on Hubert's fall to Peter des Roches (c. October 1232); and in 1235 to Gilbert, earl Marshall. About 1236 Hubert de Burgh was accused of having been a party to Richard's secret marriage with his daughter Margaret. He denied all knowledge of the transaction, and the question seems to have been speedily solved by the death of Margaret in 1237 (Tewkesbury Annals, p. 102; Worcest. Ann., p. 428; Matt. Paris, vi. 63, 64; Land of Morgan, p. 126). On 2 Feb. 1238 Gloucester married Maud de Lacy, daughter of John de Lacy, earl of Lincoln (Tewkes. Ann. 106; Pat. Rolls, 17 b). In August 1240, though not yet of age, he recovered possession of his estates in Glamorgan, of which county he was sheriff two years later. About this time Gloucester appears to have been on very friendly terms with his step-father, Richard, earl of Cornwall (Matt. Paris, iv. 229). In 1244 the king despatched him on a disastrous expedition against the Welsh, and knighted him next year at London (ib. 358, 418). Two years later (March 1246) he joined in the letter of the barons to Innocent III. In 1247 he had made arrangements for a tournament with Guido de Lusignan, the king's brother, but was forbidden to carry out his intention by royal mandate; the same year (November) he held a great tournament in honour of his brother William's knighthood at Northampton (ib. iv. 533, 633, 649). In February 1248 he was present at the parliament in London, and in 1249 went on a pilgrimage to St. Edmund's at Pontigny, returning about 24 June.

Up to this time the young earl appears to have acted with the popular party; but he now began to waver, and in the course of the year fought in the Brackley tournament on the side of the foreigners in enormem suæ famæ læsionem et honoris (Matt. Paris, v. 5, 83; Tewkes. Ann. pp. 138-40). This winter he kept Christmas with royal state on the Welsh borders. Early in 1250 he visited the pope at Lyons in company with the Earl of Cornwall, and was honoured with a seat at the papal table. From Lyons he went on a pilgrimage to St. James at Compostella, and returned on 15 July (ib. pp. 47, 111, 117; Tewkes. Ann. p. 141). Being in want of money, he took in 1251 an auxilium from his tenants for the dower of his daughter, although he did not know to whom he should marry her (Tewkes. Ann. p. 146, with which cf. 137, 139). In 1252 he defended the Earl of Leicester from the charges of oppression in Gascony, and in the same year went abroad to redeem the honour of his brother William, who had been defeated in a tournament. Some months later he bound himself under a penalty of 11,000l. to marry his son Gilbert [qv.] to Henry III's niece, Alice of Angoulême (Matt. Paris, p. 289; Tewkes. Ann. p. 151).

Dazzled by the prospect of a royal alliance, he seems once more to have swayed towards the king's party, and in the spring of 1253 he crossed the Channel with William of Valence for the betrothal festivities at Paris, where he and his companion were seriously injured by the French knights at a tournament. Returning to England (c. 11 June) he found the king collecting troops at Portsmouth. He seems to have been pressed by Henry to aid in the expedition. This request he refused with anger, and left the kingdom for Ireland, where, however, he did not stay long (Matt. Paris, v. 366; Tewkes. Ann. 153). In the parliament of 1254 (27 Jan.) he declared that he would succour the king if in danger, but would lend no help to the conquest of fresh territory. On 26 Aug. he went to Gascony and was present at Prince Edward's marriage at Burgos (September 1254) (Burt. Ann. 323). A little later (October 1254) he accompanied Henry on his visit to Paris, and with him crossed over to England before the beginning of the year (27 Dec.). It was probably just after his return that, with the assent of all the lords, he refused to serve abroad till the king had restored all the rights of his order fully; at the same time he made a special complaint of Henry's improvident generosity to his eldest son (Matt. Paris, 484; Tewkes. Ann. p. 155; cf. Stubbs, ii. 67 n.).

In August 1255 he was despatched to Edinburgh for the purpose of freeing the young king and queen of Scotland from the hands of Robert de Ros. The romantic incidents of this mission are told at large by Matthew Paris (Rymer, i. 558; Matt. Paris, pp. 50, 56). Next year (July) he was sent to Germany with full powers to negotiate with the princes of the empire for the election of the Earl of Cornwall (Pat. Rolls, 28 a). From Germany he hastened back to England to be present at the parliament of mid-Lent 1257, and in the summer commanded part of the royal army in South Wales, but without success (Rymer, i. 595; Dunst. Ann. p. 203; Matt. Paris, pp. 622-5; Wykes, p. 117). In the London parliament of Easter 1258 William de Valence roundly accused him of being in league with the Welsh, who had spared his lands in their ravages a few years before (Matt. Paris, v. 676; cf. Wykes, 111).

Gloucester, who had, as Matthew Paris tells us, gone over to the king's side in 1255, now became the second leader of the baronial party. In the Mad parliament his name occurs at the head of the baronial half of the twenty-four commissioners chosen to reform the state; he was also a member of the council of fifteen and one of the twenty-four commissioners of the aid. It was in the summer of this year (c. July 22) that he nearly lost his life, having been poisoned, as was supposed, by his steward, Walter de Scottiny, who was hanged for this offence at Winchester (26 May 1259). Richard's brother William died from the effects of the draught, and the earl only escaped with the loss of his nails, teeth, and skin (Matt. Paris, pp. 704, 738; Stubbs, ii. 82; Burt. Ann. p. 460). In January 1259 Gloucester swore the king of the Romans to observe the new constitution.

From this point Gloucester's career is full of contradictions. Now in attendance on the king, now at variance with De Montfort, and now with Prince Edward, it seems impossible to find any consistency in his conduct. He was present at the London parliament of 9 Feb. 1259 (Matt. Paris, p. 737), and towards the end of March was joined with Leicester in the negotiations for the surrender of Normandy (Matt. West 566; Royal Letters ii. 138). It was perhaps before starting on this mission that the quarrel between these two nobles broke out. It has generally been supposed that Gloucester would have been content with narrowing the royal power in the interests of the baronage; whereas the Earl of Leicester was desirous of extending the benefits of reform to the under tenants. About March 1259 Leicester left the country in anger, declaring that he could no longer work with so unstable a comrade. Passing over to France, Gloucester again quarrelled with Leicester, and the rivals were only reconciled by the efforts of their common friends, who feared for the ill effects of such an open rupture on the minds of the French delegates (Matt. Paris, v. 741, 745). De Montfort seems to have spent the summer abroad, but Gloucester soon returned, and was at Tewkesbury on 20 Aug. (Matt. West. p. 367; Tewkes. Ann. p. 167). He was now, in the absence of Leicester, the leading political figure in England, and for the moment seemed the truer patriot to the country at large, as he certainly was the more trusted counsellor of the king. According to Dr. Stubbs it is to the spring of this year that the popular lines are to be assigned (Rishanger, p. 19):

O comes Gloverniæ, comple quod cepisti;
Nisi claudas congrue, multos decepisti

Gloucester's prominent position towards the end of 1259 is shown by the fact that the 'communitas bacheleriæ Angliæ' presented their petition for the expedition of the schemes of reform promised in the Mad parliament to him and Prince Edward (13 Oct.) Dr. Stubbs seems to consider that Simon de Montfort was at the back of this movement, while Gloucester was the recognised leader of the obstructive party (Burt. Ann. p. 471). This view is perhaps hardly consonant with the fact that the earl was now apparently on the friendliest terms with the king, whom he seems to have accompanied abroad (14 Nov.), and on whom he was certainly in attendance at Luzarches and St. Omer on 16 Jan. and 19 Feb. 1260. Meanwhile De Montfort on his return was coming to terms with Prince Edward, and the latter was even suspected of aiming at the crown (Royal Letters, pp. 150, 155; Burt. Ann.; Wint. Ann. p. 98). Gloucester seems to have crossed before the king, who on reaching England (c. 23 April) flung himself into the city of London, keeping the gates closed and only giving admittance to Gloucester and other of his particular friends (Liber de Ant. Leg. ii. 44). Gloucester seems to have been the leading spirit in the charges now brought against the Earl of Leicester—charges so frivolous that Matthew of Westminster refuses to waste his space in enumerating them (373, &c.) Parliament was prorogued, the dispute was accommodated (22 June), or stood over for the time, and Gloucester's energies seem to have been directed in August towards the Welsh war (Pat. Rolls, p. 32; Rymer, ed. 1816, p. 398). In the winter of 1260-1 Gloucester was once more abroad in attendance on the king, and was present at the burial of Louis IX's son (14 Jan. 1261) (Tewkes. Ann. p. 168; Royal Letters, ii. 148). The same year another quarrel broke out between him and Prince Edward, 'propter novas consuetudines — et propter alias causas inter se motas.' Probably the Gloucester claim upon Bristol, which Henry had conferred upon the prince in 1254, was a fertile cause of these continual disputes (Tewkes. Ann. with which cf. p. 158)

Meanwhile Henry had been preparing for his great blow; he had already received the papal absolution and was fortifying the Tower of London (c. February 1261). It would seem from the words of one chronicler that Gloucester, 'qui quasi apostavit,' was at first disposed to sanction the king's proceedings, tending as they must have done to weaken the power of his rival, who, according to another writer, was now forced to quit the kingdom for a time (Dunst. Ann. p. 217; Oseney Ann. p. 129; Rymer, ed. 1816). But the common danger soon brought the two nobles together, and it was in their joint names that the knights of the shire were summoned to meet at St. Albans (21 Sept. 1261). We may infer that Gloucester was a party to the peace signed at London (21 Nov.), after which Simon went abroad (Pat. Rolls, p. 32; Select Charters, p. 405; Oseney Ann. p. 129); but it is noteworthy that he was not one of the arbitrators appointed by the terms of this agreement. Next year he died at one of his manors (Eschemerfield), near Canterbury (15 July 1262), and was buried at Tewkesbury 28 July. Rumour said that he had been poisoned at the table of Peter of Savoy (Dunst. Ann. 219)

By his wife Maud, Gloucester had several children, of whom the most noteworthy were (1) his successor Gilbert (the 'Red') [q. v.], (2) Thomas de Clare, the friend of Prince Edward (d. 1287), (3) Boso or Bono the good, a canon of York. Of his daughters, Margaret married Edmund, a younger son of Richard, earl of Cornwall, and Roesia married Roger Mowbray in 1270 (Land of Morgan, pp. 141-2; Pat. Rolls, 31 a).

Gloucester was the most powerful English noble of his time. In addition to his father's estates, which amounted to nearly five hundred knights' fees for his honours of Gloucester, Clare, and Giffard, and the barony of Glamorgan, in 1245 he came into the inheritance of a fifth of the lands of the great house of Marshall (‘Land of Morgan,’ Journ. Archæol. Soc. xxxv. 333, xxxvi. 131). When a young man he is described as being ‘elegans, facundus, providus,’ and the ‘hope’ of the English nobility. But the promise of his youth was belied as soon as his interest taught him the advantage of a royal connection. Avarice, according to the popular impression, was the leading characteristic of his mind. Matthew Paris does not hesitate to accuse him of selling his daughter into marriage like any common ‘usurer;’ and Simon de Montfort charged him more than once with the most wanton deceit. To the men of his own day he appeared as one pre-eminently skilled in the laws of his country, and in this capacity was deputed (1256) to inquire into the crimes of the sheriff of Northampton, to hear the charges brought against the mayor of London, and even to conduct the assize of bread in the same city (Matt. Paris, v. 580; Liber de Antiq. Leg. p. 40, &c.). But there is no evidence that he ever rose above the position of a baron striving for the utmost letter of his own rights whether against king or tenant. He seems to have been extravagant, and was not unfrequently obliged to borrow money. He was a great lover of tournaments, at which, however, he was by no means uniformly successful. He does not seem to have been a munificent patron of religion, although one chronicler records that he went to the Holy Land in 1240 (Matt. West. p. 302). He is also said to have introduced the Austin Friars into England, and certainly gave Walter de Merton two manors for his new foundation; but he figures more frequently as a litigant with ecclesiastical bodies than as their guardian. He seems to have been genuinely attached to his brother William, and to his step-father, Richard of Cornwall.

[Annals of Margam, Tewkesbury, of Winchester, Waverley, Dunstable, Burton, Oseney, Wykes, and Worcester in Annales Monastici, ed. Luard, i-iv. (Rolls Series); Matthew Paris, ed. Luard (Rolls Series); Royal Letters, ed. Shirley (Rolls Series), ii.; Rymer's Fœdera, ed. 1704 and 1816; Matthew of Westminster (Frankfort, 1601); Rishanger, ed. Halliwell (Camd. Soc.); Liber de Antiquis Legibus, ed. Stapleton (Camd. Soc.); Stubbs's Constitutional History, ii., and Select Charters (1875 and 1876); Clark's Land of Morgan, in the Journal of Archæological Society, xxxv. xxxvi.; Prothero's Simon de Montfort; Dugdale's Monasticon, ed. 1816; Patent Rolls.]

T. A. A.