Margaret de Clare, Countess of Cornwall

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Margaret de Clare, of Gloucester

Birthplace: Tunbridge, Kent, England
Death: Died in Harwell, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, England or France
Place of Burial: Chertsey Abbey, Surrey, England
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Richard de Clare, 6th Earl of Gloucester and Maud Matilda de Lacy
Wife of Edmund, 2nd Earl of Cornwall
Sister of Isabel de Clare; Gilbert de Clare, 7th Earl of Gloucester; Robert (Richard) De Clare; Thomas de Clare, Lord of Thomond; Bogo de Clare, Clerk and 3 others

Managed by: Hannelore Caulk Scheu
Last Updated:

About Margaret de Clare, Countess of Cornwall

Margaret de Clare

Margaret de Clare was born circa 1249.1 She was the daughter of Richard de Clare, 5th Earl of Gloucester and Matilda de Lacy. She married Edmund of Cornwall, 2nd Earl of Cornwall, son of Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall and Sanchia of Provence, on 6 October 1272 at Ruislip Chapel, Middlesex, England.1 She and Edmund of Cornwall, 2nd Earl of Cornwall were divorced in February 1293.1 She died in February 1313.1 She was buried at Chertsey Abbey, Surrey, England.

See also:

Margaret de Clare, the aunt

Margaret was born in 1249 or 1250, daughter of Richard de Clare, earl of Gloucester (1222-1262) and Maud de Lacy, daughter of the earl of Lincoln (died 1288/89). Her siblings were: Gilbert 'the Red', earl of Gloucester; Thomas, lord of Thomond; Bogo, a rich and scandalous cleric; Isabel, who married William VII, marchese of Montferrat; Rohese, who married Sir Roger Mowbray; and the oddly-named Eglentina, died young.

On 6 October 1272, Margaret married Edmund, earl of Cornwall, at Ruislip in Middlesex. Edmund was born on 26 December 1249, son of Henry III's brother Richard of Cornwall and Sanchia, sister of Eleanor of Provence - which means that he had all four grandparents in common with Edward I, and was also the first cousin of Philip III of France and of Charles 'the Lame', king of Sicily. Edmund succeeded his father as earl of Cornwall on Richard's death in April 1272, his elder half-brother Henry of Almain having been murdered in Italy in March 1271 by two of Simon de Montfort's sons.

Unfortunately, Margaret and Edmund's marriage proved utterly disastrous. Although Margaret was pregnant in January 1285, she must either have miscarried or suffered a stillbirth, and the couple's childlessness may have contributed to their awful marital difficulties. [1] Margaret accused of Edmund of cruelty and neglect and even alleged that she went in fear of her life from him - whether that's true or not, I don't know. [2] Certainly Edmund refused to cohabit with Margaret - at least from 1285 onwards - and their marriage became the subject of a papal investigation in 1289. The following year, John Pecham, archbishop of Canterbury, excommunicated Edmund. The couple officially separated in 1294 and Edmund granted Margaret lands worth £800 annually for the rest of her life, while Margaret took vows of chastity, to last until Edmund's death.

Edmund died shortly before 25 September 1300 at the age of fifty, and his heart and flesh were buried in early 1301 at Ashridge Priory in Hertfordshire, which he had founded in 1283. Sixteen-year-old Edward of Caernarfon attended the funeral, representing his father Edward I. Edmund's bones were later buried at Hailes Abbey in Gloucestershire, which his father Richard had founded in 1246 and where he (Richard) and Edmund's mother Sanchia were buried. Countess Margaret continued to live quietly and somewhat obscurely, and never remarried. In 1303, she lent £69 to her nephew Gilbert de Clare - son of Margaret's brother Thomas, lord of Thomond - and in March 1308, was granted all the 'liberties' that her former husband and his father "were wont to use in their lands" by Edward II. [3]

On 1 November 1307, Margaret's niece married Piers Gaveston and became countess of Cornwall, so that there were, confusingly, two Margaret de Clares, countesses of Cornwall. On 5 August 1309, after Piers Gaveston had returned from his second exile and was restored to the earldom, Margaret was ordered to "render fealty" to Piers and her niece for the dower lands she held in Rutland. [4] Margaret was living at Harewell in Berkshire in late 1311, when Queen Isabella sent her letters there. Isabella also dispatched "various precious goods" to Margaret's very pregnant niece Margaret Gaveston (Isabella's niece by marriage) at Wallingford. [5] Margaret died shortly before 16 September 1312, in her early sixties, and was buried at Chertsey Abbey. The lands granted to her by Edmund passed to Edward II; not because he was king, but to him personally, as Edmund of Cornwall's heir - because Edmund had no children, nieces or nephews, his nearest male relative was his first cousin Edward I, and then Edward II. The order to the escheator this side Trent calls them "the lands which Margaret, countess of Cornwall, deceased, held in dower of the king's inheritance." Edward granted Margaret's lands immediately to Margaret Gaveston, recently widowed, to hold for her sustenance until he could make other provision for her.

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Margaret de Clare, Countess of Cornwall's Timeline

Tunbridge, Kent, England
October 7, 1272
Age 23
Ruislip, Middlesex, England
September 16, 1312
Age 63
Harwell, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, England or France
Age 63
Chertsey Abbey, Surrey, England
February 25, 1933
Age 63
February 25, 1933
Age 63
February 25, 1933
Age 63
February 25, 1933
Age 63
February 25, 1933
Age 63
June 16, 1933
Age 63