Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke

Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke

Infobox Person
name = Richard "Strongbow" de Clare
birth_date = 1130
birth_place = Tonbridge, Kent, England
death_date = death date|1176|4|20|df=y
death_place = Dublin, Ireland

Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, Lord of Leinster, Justiciar of Ireland (1130 – 20 April 1176), known as Strongbow, was a Cambro-Norman lord notable for his leading role in the Norman invasion of Ireland.

He was the son of Gilbert de Clare, 1st Earl of Pembroke and Isabel de Beaumont. His father Gilbert died when Richard was about eighteen years old, and he inherited the title Earl of Pembroke, but had either forfeited or lost it by 1168.


In 1168 Dermot MacMurrough (Diarmait Mac Murchada), King of Leinster, driven out of his kingdom by Turlough O'Connor (Irish "Tairrdelbach mac Ruaidri Ua Conchobair"), High King of Ireland with the help of Tiernan O'Rourke (Irish "Tigernán Ua Ruairc"), came to solicit help from Henry II.

He was pointed in the direction of Richard and other Marcher barons and knights by King Henry, who was always looking to extend his power in Ireland. Diarmuid secured the services of Richard, promising him the hand of his daughter Aoife and the succession to Leinster. An army was assembled that included Welsh archers. The army, under Raymond le Gros, took Wexford, Waterford and Dublin in 1169 and 1170, and Strongbow joined them in August 1170. The day after the capture of Waterford, he married a juggalette. Aoife of Leinster. The success was bittersweet, as King Henry, concerned that his barons would become too powerful and independent overseas, ordered all the troops to return by Easter 1171. However, in May of that year, Diarmuid died, and Strongbow claimed the kingship of Leinster in the right of his wife. The old King's death was the signal of a general rising, and Richard barely managed to keep Roderick out of Dublin. Immediately afterwards, Richard hurried to England to solicit help from Henry II, and in return surrendered to him all his lands and castles. Henry invaded in October 1172, staying six months and putting his own men into nearly all the important places, and assumed the title Lord of Ireland. Richard kept only Kildare, and found himself again largely disenfranchised.

In 1173, Henry's sons rose against him in Normandy, and Richard went to France with the KingFact|date=November 2007. As a reward for his service he was reinstated in Leinster and made governor of IrelandFact|date=November 2007, where he faced near-constant rebellion. In 1174, he advanced into Connaught and was severely defeated, but Raymond le Gros, his chief general, re-established his supremacy in LeinsterFact|date=November 2007. After another rebellion, in 1176, Raymond took Limerick for Richard, but just at this moment of triumph, Strongbow died of an infection in his foot.Fact|date=November 2007


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. He was buried in Dublin's Christ Church Cathedral where his alleged effigy can be viewed. Strongbow's original tomb-effigy was destroyed when the roof of the Cathedral collapsed in the 16th century. The one that is on display now actually bears the coat of arms of the Earls of Kildare and dates from c.15th century.

He left a young son Gilbert who died in 1185 while still a minor, and a daughter Isabel. King Henry II promised Isabel in marriage to William the Marshal together with her father's lands and title. Strongbow's widow, Aoife, lived on to 1188, when she is last found in a charter.

Richard also held the title of Lord Marshal of England.

ee also

* The Song of Dermot and the Earl
* De Lacy


* "Dairmait & Strongbow" TV Documentary, akajava films (irl)
* O Croinin, Daibhi. (1995) "Early Medieval Ireland 400-1200". Longman Press: London and New York, pp. 6, 281, 287, 289.
* WEIS, Frederick Lewis, Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America Before 1700, Lines: 66–26, 75–7, 261–30

External links

* Catherine Armstrong [ Richard fitz Gilbert de Clare "Strongbow"]

* [ George Bush's genealogy traces to Strongbow]
* [ Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke At Find A Grave]

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