Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Clare, Richard de (d.1090?)

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CLARE, RICHARD de (d. 1090?), founder of the house of Clare, was a son [see Clare, family of] of Count Gilbert. Though here, for convenience, inserted among the Clares, he was known at the time as Richard de Bienfaite, Richard the son of Count Gilbert, Richard FitzGilbert, or Richard of Tonbridge, the last three of these styles being those under which he appears in 'Domesday.' He is, however, once entered (in the Suffolk 'invasiones') as Richard de Clare (Domesday, ii. 448 a). It was probably in 1070 that, with his brother, he witnessed a charter of William at Salisbury (Glouc. Cart. i. 387). On William's departure for Normandy he was appointed, with William of Warrenne, chief justiciar (or recent), and in that capacity took a leading part in the suppression of the revolt of 1075 (Ord. Vit. ii. 262). He is further found in attendance on the king at Berkeley, Christmas 1080 (Glouc. Cart. i. 374), and again, with his brother, at Winchester in 1081 (Mon. Angl. iii. 141). The date of his death is somewhat uncertain. Ordericus (iii. 371) alludes to him as lately (nuper) dead in 1091, yet apparently implies that at this very time he was captured at the siege of Courcy. From Domesday we learn that he received in England some hundred and seventy lordships, of which ninety-five were in Suffolk, attached to his castle of Clare. In Kent he held another stronghold, the castle of Tunbridge, with its appendant Lowy (Lega), of which the continuator of William of Jumièges asserts (viii. 37) that he received it in exchange for his claim on his father's comté of Brionne, while the Tintern 'Genealogia' (Monasticon Anglican. v. 269) states that he obtained it by exchange from the see of Canterbury, which is confirmed by the fact that, in later days, it was claimed by Becket as having been wrongly alienated, and homage for its tenure exacted from the earls (Materials, iii. 47, 251). By Stapleton (ii. 136) and Ormerod (Strig. 79) it has been held that he received the lordship of Chepstow as an escheat in 1075, but for this there is no foundation. The abbey of Bec received from him a cell, afterwards an alien priory, at Tooting (Mon. Angl. vi. 1052-3). He married Rohaise, the daughter of Walter Giffard the elder (Ord. Vit. iii. 340), through whom his descendants became coheirs to the Giffard estates. She held lands at St. Neot's (Domesday), and there founded a religious house, where her husband is said to have been buried (Mon. Angl. v. 269). She was still living as his widow in 1113 (ib. iii. 473), and is commonly, but wrongly, said to have married her son-in-law, Eudes the sewer (Eudo Dapifer). By her Richard FitzGilbert left several children (Ord. Vit. iii. 340). Of these Roger, mentioned first by Ordericus, was probably the eldest, though he is commonly, as by Stapleton (ii. 136), styled the 'second.' He had sided with Robert in the revolt of 1077-8 (Ord. Vit. ii. 381), and is said by the continuator of William of Jumièges (viii. 37) to have received from Robert the castle of Hommez in exchange for his claims on Brionne, but it was, according to Ordericus (iii. 343), his cousin Robert FitzBaldwin who made and pressed the claim to Brionne. Roger, who witnessed as 'Roger de Clare' (apparently the earliest occurrence of the name) a charter to St. Evreul (Ord. Vit. v. 180) about 1080, was his father's heir in Normandy, but left no issue. The other sons were Gilbert (d. 1115?) [q. v.], the heir in England, Walter [see Clare, Walter de], Robert, said to be ancestor of the Barons FitzWalter (but on this descent see Mr. Eyton's criticisms in Add. MS. 31938, f. 98), and Richard a monk of Bec (Ord. Vit. iii. 340), who was made abbot of Ely on the accession of Henry I (ib. iv. 93), deprived in 1102, and restored in 1107 (Eadmer, v. 143, 185). There was also a daughter Rohaise, married about 1088 to Eudes the sewer (Mon. Angl. iv. 609).

[Ordericus Vitalis, ed. Société de l'Histoire de France; William of Jumièges and his Continuator; Domesday; Monasticon Anglicanum (new ed.); Eadmeri Historia (Rolls Ser.); Cartulary of St. Peter's, Gloucester (ib.); Materials for the History of Becket (ib.); Add. MSS. (Brit. Mus.); Stapleton's Rolls of the Norman Exchequer ; Ormerod's Strigulensia.]

J. H. R.