Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke

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Richard "Strongbow" de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke

Also Known As: "Strongbow", "Richard Fitz-Gilbert", "Richard Fitzgilbert de Clare", "2nd Earl of Pembroke", "Lord of Leinster", "Justiciar of Ireland"
Birthplace: Tonbridge, Kent, England
Death: Died in Dublin, Leinster, Ireland
Place of Burial: Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin County, Dublin, Ireland
Immediate Family:

Son of Gilbert 'Strongbow' FitzGilbert de Clare, 1st Earl of Pembroke and Isabel de Beaumont, concubine #15 of Henry I, Countess of Pembroke
Husband of Eva MacMurrough, Countess of Stirgoil
Partner of Unknown mistress of Richard de Clare
Father of Isabel de Clare, 4th Countess of Pembroke; Gilbert FitzRichard de Strigoil, 3rd Earl Pembroke; Joan FitzGilbert de Clare; Joan de Clare; Thomas De Newburgh, Norton and 2 others
Brother of Agnes Fitzgilbert de Clare; Baldwin De Clare and Basilia de Clare
Half brother of Isabel Hedwig fitzRoy and Matilda Princess FitzRoy, Abess of Montvilliers

Managed by: Private User
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About Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke

"Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke (of the first creation), Lord of Leinster, Justiciar of Ireland (1130 – 20 April 1176). Like his father, he was also commonly known by his nickname Strongbow (French: Arc-Fort). He was a Cambro-Norman lord notable for his leading role in the Norman invasion of Ireland."


Links:,_2nd_Earl_of_Pembroke (which gives slightly different dates)


Citations / Sources:

[S2] Paget Heraldic Baronage, Paget, Gerald, (Manuscript, filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1957), chart no. 130 Clare, FHL microfilm 170063, 2/2.

[S2] Paget Heraldic Baronage, Paget, Gerald, (Manuscript, filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1957), chart no. 358 Marshall, Earls of Pembroke, FHL microfilm 170066.

[S6] G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume II, page 387. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.

[S6] Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume X, page 357.

[S7] #44 Histoire de la maison royale de France anciens barons du royaume: et des grands officiers de la couronne (1726, reprint 1967-1968), Saint-Marie, Anselme de, (3rd edition. 9 volumes. 1726. Reprint Paris: Editions du Palais Royal, 1967-1968), FHL book 944 D5a; FHL microfilms 532,231-532,239., vol. 2 p. 482.

[S11] Alison Weir, Britain's Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy (London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999), page 68. Hereinafter cited as Britain's Royal Families.

[S12] #497 Die Nachkommen Karls des Großen (1964), Brandenburg, Erich, (Frankfurt am Main: Zentralstelle für Deutsche Personen- und Familiengeschichte, 1964), FHL book 940 D5be., Tafel 6 gen 14 no. 31.

[S18] Matthew H.C.G., editor, Dictionary of National Biography on CD-ROM (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 1995), de Clare, Richard. Hereinafter cited as Dictionary of National Biography.

[S25] #798 The Wallop Family and Their Ancestry, Watney, Vernon James, (4 volumes. Oxford: John Johnson, 1928), FHL book Q 929.242 W159w; FHL microfilm 1696491 it., vol. 1 p. 203.

[S39] Medieval, royalty, nobility family group sheets (filmed 1996), Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Family History Department. Medieval Family History Unit, (Manuscript. Salt Lake City, Utah : Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1996), FHL film 1553977-1553985..

[S54] #21 The complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom, extant, extinct, or dormant, Cokayne, George Edward, (Gloucester [England] : Alan Sutton Pub. Ltd., 1987), 942 D22cok., Band 10-p. 352.

[S71] Domesday Descendants, Keats-Rohan, K.S.B., (The Boydell Press, Woodbridge, 2002), 942 D3kk., p. 235.

[S106] #388 The House of Cornewall (1908), Liverpool, Cecil George Savile Foljambe, (Hereford: Jakeman and Carver, 1908), FHL book 929.242 C815L; FHL microfilm 1,426,037 it., p. 25.

[S138] MS. 6614E - Davies of Cringell (MFU #11617), (National Library of Wales manuscript number 6614E. Salt Lake City, Utah: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1950.), FHL microfilm 104381 item 8., no page numbers.

[S171] #799 Norfolk Archaeology: or, Miscellaneous Tracts Relating to the Antiquities of the County of Norfolk (1847-), Norfolk and Norwich Archaelogical Society, (Norwich: Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society, 1847-), FHL book 942.61 B2a., vol. 6 Hastings Pedigree.

[S766] #2226 Limbus Patrum Morganiae et Glamorganiae: Being the Genealogies of the Older Families of the Lordships of Morgan and Glamorgan (1886), Clark, George Thomas, (1 volume in 2. London: Wyman, 1886), FHL microfilm 990,307 items 2-3., p. 389.

[S1800] #771 The History of the Princes, the Lords Marcher and the Ancient Nobility of Powys Fodog and the Ancient Lords of Arwystli, Cedewen and Meirionydd (1881-1887), Lloyd, Jacob Youde William, (6 volumes. London: T. Richards, 1881-1887), FHL book 942.9 D2L; FHL microfilms 990,213-990,214., vol. 1 p. 101.

[S2416] #12627 Genealogy of Shropshire [by Joseph Morris] (filmed 1966), Morris, Joseph, (10 volumes. Manuscript filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1966), vol. 1-2 FHL microfilm 504,551; vol.3-4 FHL microf., vol. 6 p. 2943.

[S2434] #2105 Heraldic Visitations of Wales and Part of the Marches Between the Years 1586 and 1613 by Lewys Dwnn (1846), Dwnn, Lewys; transcribed and edited with notes by Sir Samuel Rush Meyrick, (2 volumes. Llandovery: William Rees, 1846), FHL book 942.9 D23d; FHL microfilm 176,668., vol. 2 p. 55 fn. 3. -------------------- Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke (of the first creation), Lord of Leinster, Justiciar of Ireland (1130 – 20 April 1176). Like his father, he was also commonly known by his nickname Strongbow (Norman French: Arc-Fort). He was a Cambro-Norman lord notable for his leading role in the Norman invasion of Ireland.


Richard was the son of Gilbert de Clare, 1st Earl of Pembroke and Isabel de Beaumont. Richard's father died in about 1148, when he was about 18 years old, and Richard inherited the title Earl of Pembroke. It is probable that this title was not recognized at Henry II's coronation in 1154. As the son of the first Earl, he succeeded to his father's estates in 1148, but was deprived of the title by King Henry II of England in 1154 for siding with King Stephen of England against Henry’s mother, the Empress Matilda. Richard was in fact, called by his contemporaries Earl Striguil, for his marcher lordship of Striguil where he had a fortress at a place now called Chepstow, in Monmouthshire on the River Wye. He saw an opportunity to reverse his bad fortune in 1168 when he met Diarmait Mac Murchada, the deposed King of Leinster.

Dispossession of the King of Leinster

In 1167, Diarmait Mac Murchada was deprived of the Kingdom of Leinster by the High King of Ireland - Rory O'Connor (Irish: Tairrdelbach mac Ruaidri Ua Conchobair). The grounds for the dispossession were that MacMurrough had, in 1152, abducted Derbforgaill, the wife of the King of Breifne, Tiernan O'Rourke (Irish: Tighearnán Ua Ruairc). To recover his kingdom, MacMurrough solicited help from the King of England - Henry II. The deposed king embarked for Bristol from near Bannow on 1 August 1166. He met Henry in Aquitaine in the Autumn of 1166. Henry could not help him at this time, but provided a letter of comfort for willing supporters of Mac Murchada's cause in his kingdom. However, after his return to Wales he failed to rally any forces to his standard. He eventually met the Earl of Striguil (nicknamed "Strongbow") and other barons of the Welsh Marches. Mac Murchada came to an agreement with de Clare: for the Earl’s assistance with an army the following spring, he could have Aoife, Mac Murchada's eldest daughter in marriage and the succession to Leinster. As Henry’s approval or license to Mac Murchada was a general one, the Earl of Striguil thought it prudent to obtain Henry's specific consent to travel to Ireland: he waited two years to do this. The license he got was to aid Mac Murchada in the recovery of his kingdom of Leinster.

The invasion of Leinster

An army was assembled that included Welsh archers. It was led by Raymond FitzGerald (also known as Raymond le Gros) and in quick succession it took the Viking-established towns of Wexford, Waterford and Dublin in 1169-1170.[9] Strongbow, however, was not with the first invading party, only arriving later, in August 1170.

In May 1171, Diarmuid Mac Murchada died and his son, Donal MacMurrough-Kavanagh (Irish: Domhnall Caemanach mac Murchada) claimed the kingdom of Leinster in accordance with his rights under the Brehon Laws. The Earl of Striguil also claimed the kingship in the right of his wife. The old king's death was the signal of a general rising, and Richard barely managed to keep Rory O'Connor out of Dublin. At this time Strongbow sent his uncle, Hervey de Montmorency, on an embassy to Henry. This was necessary to appease the King who was growing restive at the Earl's increasing power. Upon his return, de Montmorency conveyed the King's terms - the return of Strongbow's lands in Normandy, England and Wales as well as leaving him in possession of his Irish lands. In return, de Clare surrendered Dublin, Waterford and other fortresses to the King. Henry's intervention was successful and both the Irish and Cambro-Norman lords in the south and east of Ireland accepted his rule. Strongbow also agreed to assist the King in his coming war in France.

Marriage and issue

By an unknown mistress, Richard had:

  • Aline de Clare,[b] she married William FitzMaurice FitzGerald, baron of Nass[14]
  • Basilia de Clare, she married Robert de Quenci, Constable of Leinster[14]

About 26 August 1171 in Waterford, Strongbow married MacMurrough's daughter, Aoife MacMurrough.[15] Their children were:

  • Gilbert de Clare, 3rd Earl of Pembroke, a minor who died in 1185[16]
  • Isabel de Clare, 4th Countess of Pembroke, who became Countess of Pembroke in her own right in 1185 (on the death of her brother) until her own death in 1220.

King Henry II had promised Sir William Marshal that he would be given Isabel as his bride, and his son Richard I upheld the promise one month after his ascension to the throne. The earldom was given to her husband as her consort.[18] Marshall was the son of John the Marshal, by Sibylle, the sister of Patrick, Earl of Salisbury.

Strongbow's widow, Aoife, lived on and was last recorded in a charter of 1188.


Strongbow was the statesman, whereas Raymond was the soldier, of the conquest. He is vividly described by Giraldus Cambrensis as a tall and fair man, of pleasing appearance, modest in his bearing, delicate in features, of a low voice, but sage in council and the idol of his soldiers.[19] He was first interred in Dublin's Christ Church Cathedral where an alleged effigy can be viewed. Strongbow's actual tomb-effigy was destroyed when the roof of the Cathedral collapsed in 1562. The one on display dates from around the 15th century, bears the coat of arms of the Earls of Kildare and is the effigy of another local Knight. Strongbow is actually buried in the graveyard of the Ferns Cathedral where his grave can be seen in the graveyard.

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Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke's Timeline

Tonbridge, Kent, England
Age 31
Age 45
August 26, 1171
Age 46
Waterford, England
Age 47
Pembroke, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Age 48
Pembroke, Dyfed, Wales
Age 49
Pembroke, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Age 50
Dublin, County Dublin, Leinster, Ireland
April 20, 1176
Age 51
Dublin, Leinster, Ireland
Age 51
Waterford, Waterford, Ireland