Thomas de Clare, Lord of Thomond

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Thomas de Clare
1st Lord of Thomond
CoA Gilbert de Clare.svg
Arms of the de Clare Family
Lord of Thomond1276–1287
PredecessorNew Creation
SuccessorGilbert de Clare, 2nd Lord of Thomond
Titles and styles
1st Lord of Inchiquin and Youghal
Tonbridge Castle, Tonbridge, Kent, England
Died29 August 1287
Thomond, Ireland
Family de Clare
Spouse(s) Juliana FitzGerald
Father Richard de Clare, 6th Earl of Hertford, 2nd Earl of Gloucester
Mother Maud de Lacy
OccupationPeerage of England

Thomas de Clare, 1st Lord of Thomond, 1st Lord of Inchiquin and Youghal (1244×1247 [1]  29 August 1287) was a Hiberno-Norman peer and soldier. He was the second son of Richard de Clare, 6th Earl of Gloucester and his wife Maud de Lacy, Countess of Gloucester. In 1272 he served a term as Lieutenant of the Duchy of Aquitaine. [1] On 26 January 1276 he was granted the Lordship of Thomond by Edward I of England; he spent the next eight years attempting to conquer it from the O'Brien dynasty, kings of Thomond.

Richard de Clare, 5th Earl of Hertford, 6th Earl of Gloucester, 2nd Lord of Glamorgan, 8th Lord of Clare was son of Gilbert de Clare, 4th Earl of Hertford and Isabel Marshal. He was also a powerful Marcher Lord in Wales and inherited the Lordship of Glamorgan upon the death of his father. He played a prominent role in the constitutional crisis of 1258–1263.

The Lieutenant of the Duchy of Aquitaine was an officer charged with governing the Duchy of Aquitaine on behalf of the King of England. Unlike the seneschalcy of Gascony, the lieutenancy was not a permanent office. Lieutenants were appointed in times of emergency, due either to an external threat or internal unrest. The lieutenant had quasi-viceregal authority and so was usually a man of high rank, usually English and often of the royal family.

Thomond kingdom in south Ireland

Thomond was a kingdom of Gaelic Ireland, associated geographically with present-day County Clare and County Limerick, as well as parts of County Tipperary around Nenagh and its hinterland. The kingdom represented the core homeland of the Dál gCais people, although there were other Gaels in the area such as the Éile and Eóganachta, and even the Norse of Limerick. It existed from the collapse of the Kingdom of Munster in the 12th century as competition between the Ó Briain and the Mac Cárthaigh led to the schism between Thomond and Desmond. It continued to exist outside of the Anglo-Norman controlled Lordship of Ireland until the 16th century.



Thomas was born in about 1245 in Tonbridge, Kent, England, the second eldest son of Richard de Clare and Maud de Lacy. [2] He and his brother Bogo received gifts from King Henry III when they were studying at Oxford from 1257–59. [3] Thomas was a close friend and intimate advisor of Prince Edward of England, who would in 1272 accede to the throne as King Edward I. Together they took part in the Ninth Crusade. He held many important posts such as Governor of Colchester Castle (1266) and Governor of The City of London (1273). He was made Commander of the English forces in Munster, Ireland and created Lord of Inchiquin and Youghal. On 26 January 1276, he was granted the entire lordship of Thomond by King Edward.

Tonbridge market town in Kent, England

Tonbridge is a market town in Kent, England, on the River Medway, 4 miles (6 km) north of Royal Tunbridge Wells, 12 miles (19 km) south west of Maidstone and 29 miles (47 km) south east of London. In the administrative borough of Tonbridge and Malling, it had a population of 40,356 in 2015.

Henry III of England 13th-century King of England and Duke of Aquitaine

Henry III, also known as Henry of Winchester, was King of England, Lord of Ireland, and Duke of Aquitaine from 1216 until his death. The son of King John and Isabella of Angoulême, Henry assumed the throne when he was only nine in the middle of the First Barons' War. Cardinal Guala declared the war against the rebel barons to be a religious crusade and Henry's forces, led by William Marshal, defeated the rebels at the battles of Lincoln and Sandwich in 1217. Henry promised to abide by the Great Charter of 1225, which limited royal power and protected the rights of the major barons. His early rule was dominated first by Hubert de Burgh and then Peter des Roches, who re-established royal authority after the war. In 1230, the King attempted to reconquer the provinces of France that had once belonged to his father, but the invasion was a debacle. A revolt led by William Marshal's son, Richard, broke out in 1232, ending in a peace settlement negotiated by the Church.

Edward I of England 13th and 14th-century King of England and Duke of Aquitaine

Edward I, also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots, was King of England from 1272 to 1307. Before his accession to the throne, he was commonly referred to as The Lord Edward. The first son of Henry III, Edward was involved early in the political intrigues of his father's reign, which included an outright rebellion by the English barons. In 1259, he briefly sided with a baronial reform movement, supporting the Provisions of Oxford. After reconciliation with his father, however, he remained loyal throughout the subsequent armed conflict, known as the Second Barons' War. After the Battle of Lewes, Edward was hostage to the rebellious barons, but escaped after a few months and joined the fight against Simon de Montfort. Montfort was defeated at the Battle of Evesham in 1265, and within two years the rebellion was extinguished. With England pacified, Edward joined the Ninth Crusade to the Holy Land. The crusade accomplished little, and Edward was on his way home in 1272 when he was informed that his father had died. Making a slow return, he reached England in 1274 and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 19 August.

That same year, he jointly commanded a Norman army along with Sir Geoffrey de Geneville, Justiciar of Ireland against the Irish clans of County Wicklow. They were joined by a contingent of men from Connacht led by his father-in-law Maurice FitzGerald, 3rd Lord of Offaly. Thomas and Justiciar de Geneville's forces attacked the Irish at Glenmalure, but they were soundly defeated and suffered severe losses. [4]

Geoffrey de Geneville, 1st Baron Geneville lord of Vaucouleurs

Geoffrey de Geneville, 1st Baron Geneville also known as Geoffrey de Joinville, was an Anglo-French noble, supporter of Henry III, who appointed him Baron of Trim, County Meath, and, subsequently, a staunch supporter of Edward I.

County Wicklow County in the Republic of Ireland

County Wicklow is a county in Ireland. The last of the traditional 32 counties to be formed, as late as 1606, it is part of the Mid-East Region and is also located in the province of Leinster. It is named after the town of Wicklow, which derives from the Old Norse name Víkingaló, which means "Vikings' Meadow". Wicklow County Council is the local authority for the county. The population of the county was 142,425 at the 2016 census.

Connacht province in Ireland

Connacht, formerly spelled Connaught, is one of the provinces of Ireland, in the west of the country. Up to the 9th century it consisted of several independent major kingdoms.

Civil War in Thomond

Civil war raged in Thomond between the rival factions of the O'Brien dynasty. In 1276, Brian Ruad, the deposed King of Thomond appealed to Thomas for support to help him regain his kingdom from his great-nephew Toirrdelbach MacTaidg O' Brien, who had usurped the throne. In return for his aid, Brian Ruad promised that Thomas would be allowed to colonise all the land between Athsollus in Quin and Limerick. [5] Together, Thomas and Brian Ruad expelled Toirrdelbach MacTaidg O'Brien and recaptured Clonroad which the latter had taken from Brian Ruad. O'Brien escaped to Galway where he elicited the help of his cousin William de Burgh, and in 1277 together with the assistance from clans, MacNamara and O'Dea they defeated the combined forces of Thomas and Brian Ruad. The latter fled to Bunratty Castle, but Thomas had his former ally hanged and drawn for treason. [6] The civil war continued for the next seven years, with Thomas supporting Brian Ruad's son Donnchad against Toirrdelbach; however, following the drowning death of Donnchad in 1284, Toirrdelbach emerged the victor. Thereafter until his death in 1306, Toirrdelbach MacTaidg O'Brien ruled as undisputed King of Thomond and Thomas had no choice but to accommodate him. O'Brien rented part of Bunratty Manor at £121 per annum. [6] In 1280, Thomas embarked on a castle-building project at Quin, but was disrupted in his efforts by the O'Briens and MacNamaras. Thomas also reconstructed Bunratty Castle in stone, replacing the earlier wooden building.

Limerick City in Munster, Ireland

Limerick is a city in County Limerick, Republic of Ireland. It is located in the Mid-West Region and is also part of the province of Munster. Limerick City and County Council is the local authority for the city. The city lies on the River Shannon, with the historic core of the city located on King's Island, which is bounded by the Shannon and the Abbey River. Limerick is also located at the head of the Shannon Estuary where the river widens before it flows into the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 94,192, Limerick is the third most populous urban area in the state, and the fourth most populous city in Ireland.

Galway City in Connacht, Ireland

Galway is a city in the West of Ireland, in the province of Connacht.

Bunratty Castle castle

Bunratty Castle is a large 15th-century tower house in County Clare, Ireland. It is located in the centre of Bunratty village, by the N18 road between Limerick and Ennis, near Shannon Town and its airport. The castle and the adjoining folk park are run by Shannon Heritage as tourist attractions.

Marriage and children

In February 1275, he married Juliana FitzGerald, the 12-year-old daughter of Maurice FitzGerald, 3rd Lord of Offaly and Maud de Prendergast. [7] During their marriage, Thomas and Juliana lived in Ireland and in England. For instance, on 5 May 1284 the King notified his bailiffs and lieges in Ireland of the attorneys who were to act in Ireland on behalf of the couple as they were then in England. This arrangement was to continue for three years, except when Thomas and Juliana went to Ireland. [8]

Maurice FitzMaurice FitzGerald was an Irish magnate born in Ireland; a soldier, and Justiciar of Ireland from 1272 to 1273. His family would come to epitomize the ideal of cultural synthesis in Ireland, becoming More Irish than the Irish themselves, fusing Gaelic and Norman customs in Irish identity. "But others say that he never enjoyed that lordship himself, but passed it the son and grandson of his eldest brother Gerald."

Maud de Prendergast, Lady of Offaly, was a Norman-Irish noblewoman, the first wife of Maurice FitzGerald, 3rd Lord of Offaly, Justiciar of Ireland, and the mother of his two daughters, Juliana FitzGerald and Amabel. She married three times; Maurice FitzGerald, 3rd Lord of Offaly was her third husband.

Thomas and Juliana had four children:

Maud de Clare, Baroness de Welles was the eldest daughter of Thomas de Clare, Lord of Inchiquin and Youghal, Lord of Thomond, Lord of Bunratty Castle (1245–1287) and Juliana FitzGerald (1236–1290). She married two times. Her first marriage was to Robert de Clifford, 1st Baron de Clifford, 1st Lord of Skipton (1274–1314) on 3 November 1295 by which she had four children. Her second marriage was to Sir Robert de Welles, 2nd Baron Welles, Constable of Pendragon Castle (1297–1326) on 16 Nov 1315. They had no children. She was born in 1276 in Tewkesbury, Tewkesbury Hundred, Gloucestershire, England and moved to Badlesmere to be near her sister, Margaret de Clare, Baroness Badlesmere. She died in Badlesmere in 1327 twice a widow.

Robert de Clifford, 1st Baron de Clifford 13th and 14th-century English nobleman, sheriff, and baron

Robert de Clifford, 1st Baron de Clifford, of Appleby Castle, Westmorland, feudal baron of Appleby and feudal baron of Skipton in Yorkshire, was an English soldier who became 1st Lord Warden of the Marches, responsible for defending the English border with Scotland.

Robert de Welles, 2nd Baron de Welles, Constable of Pendragon Castle was the son of Adam de Welles, 1st Lord of Welles (1249–1311) and Joan d'Engayne (1265–1315). He married Maud de Clare, daughter of Thomas de Clare, Lord of Thomond (1245–1287) in 1315 without royal licence. It is said that he did, in fact, have a daughter by Maud de Clare, but historical evidence remains elusive. The Barony de Welles passed to his brother, Adam de Welles, 3rd Baron Welles (1304–1345) on his death. He is buried at Greenfield Priory, Greenfield, East Lindsey District, Lincolnshire, England.


When evidence was taken in 1302 to prove the age of his son Gilbert, it was established that Thomas had died on 29 August 1287. [9] A mid-18th century compilation known as the Dublin Annals of Inisfallen states that Thomas was killed in battle against Turlough son of Teige and others. However, none of the earlier records of his death indicate that Thomas met a violent end. Some of the witnesses to Gilbert's age in 1302 referred to the date of Thomas' death in their calculations but all were silent as to its circumstances. This and much other evidence on the subject has been set out and evaluated by Goddard Henry Orpen of Trinity College, Dublin. [10] Thomas was succeeded as Lord of Thomond by his eldest son, Gilbert who was six years old. His widow Juliana, aged 24 years, would go on to marry two more times.


Related Research Articles

The Battle of Dysert O'Dea took place on 10 May 1318 at Dysert O'Dea near Corofin, Ireland. It was part of the Bruce campaign in Ireland. The Norman Richard de Clare attacked the Gaelic Irish chieftain Conchobhar Ó Deághaidh, chief of the Cineal Fearmaic and ally of Muirchertach Ó Briain, but he was defeated.

de Lacy De Lacy Family

de Lacy is the surname of an old Norman family which originated from Lassy, Calvados. The family took part in the Norman conquest of England and the later Norman invasion of Ireland. The name is first recorded for Hugh de Lacy (1020–1085). His sons, Walter and Ilbert, left Normandy and travelled to England with William the Conqueror. The awards of land by the Conqueror to the de Lacy sons led to two distinct branches of the family: the northern branch, centred on Blackburnshire and west Yorkshire was held by Ilbert's descendants; the southern branch of Marcher Lords, centred on Herefordshire and Shropshire, was held by Walter's descendants.

Walter de Lacy, Lord of Meath Irish noble

Walter de Lacy was lord of Meath in Ireland. He was also a substantial land owner in Weobley, Herefordshire, in Ludlow, Shropshire, in Ewyas Lacy in the Welsh Marches, and several lands in Normandy. He was the eldest son of Hugh de Lacy, a leading Cambro-Norman baron in the Norman invasion of Ireland.

Richard de Clare 1st Lord Clare was the son of Thomas de Clare, Lord of Thomond and Juliana FitzGerald.

Margaret de Clare, Baroness Badlesmere was a Norman-Irish noblewoman, suo jure heiress, and the wife of Bartholomew de Badlesmere, 1st Baron Badlesmere.

Egidia de Lacy, Lady of Connacht, was a Cambro-Norman noblewoman, the wife of Richard Mór de Burgh, 1st Baron of Connaught and Strathearn (c.1194–1242), and the mother of his seven children, including Walter de Burgh, 1st Earl of Ulster. She was also known as Gille de Lacy. Egidia was the daughter of Walter II de Lacy by his second wife Margaret de Braose.

Juliana FitzMaurice, Lady of Thomond was a Norman-Irish noblewoman, the daughter of Maurice FitzGerald, 3rd Lord of Offaly, and the wife of Thomas de Clare, Lord of Thomond, a powerful Anglo-Norman baron in Ireland, who was a younger brother of Gilbert de Clare, 6th Earl of Hertford. Juliana was married three times; Thomas being her first. She is sometimes referred to as Juliane FitzMaurice.

Maud de Lacy, Baroness Geneville was a Norman-Irish noblewoman and wealthy heiress who inherited half the estates of her grandfather Walter de Lacy, Lord of Meath, upon his death in 1241. The lordships of Trim and Ludlow passed to her second husband Sir Geoffrey de Geneville, 1st Baron Geneville by right of his marriage to her; although she helped to rule and administer the estates in an equal partnership. She is sometimes referred to as Matilda de Lacy.

Domnall Mór Ua Briain, or Domnall Mór mac Toirrdelbaig Uí Briain, was King of Thomond in Ireland from 1168 to 1194 and a claimant to the title King of Munster. He was also styled King of Limerick, a title belonging to the O'Brien dynasty since Brian Boru's annexation of the Norse city in the 10th century.

Barnabas O'Brien, 6th Earl of Thomond, son of Donogh O'Brien, 4th Earl of Thomond; succeeded his brother as earl, 1639; was lord-lieutenant of Clare, 1640–41: had his rents seized, 1644; admitted a parliamentary garrison to Bunratty Castle and went to England: joined Charles I; successfully petitioned parliament for £2,000 spent in the parliamentary cause.

Donogh O'Brien, 4th Earl of Thomond and Baron of Ibrickan was an Irish nobleman and soldier noted for his loyalty to the Kingdom of Ireland. His long-term objective, achieved after decades, was to obtain an official acknowledgment that County Clare, where his possessions were situated, was part of the province of Munster, to free it from the jurisdiction of the Connaught government under which it had been placed.

Ela Longespee, Lady of Ashby was a wealthy heiress and daughter of Stephen Longespée, Justiciar of Ireland, and Emmeline de Riddlesford, granddaughter of Walter de Riddlesford. She was the wife of Sir Roger La Zouche, Lord of Ashby.

The Lordship of Meath was an extensive seigniorial liberty in medieval Ireland that was awarded to Hugh de Lacy by King Henry II of England by the service of fifty knights and with almost royal authority. The Lordship was roughly co-extensive with the medieval kingdom of Meath. At its greatest extent, it included all of the modern counties of Fingal, Meath, Westmeath as well as parts of counties Cavan, Kildare, Longford, Louth and Offaly. The Lordship or fiefdom was imbued with privileges enjoyed in no other Irish liberty, including the four royal pleas of arson, forestalling, rape, and treasure trove.

Ennis Friary

Ennis Friary was a Franciscan friary in the town of Ennis, County Clare, Ireland. It was established in the middle of the 13th century by the ruling O'Brien dynasty who supported it for most of its existence. Following the suppression of the monasteries in the 16th century, the friary continued to function for a while despite the loss of its lands. In the early 17th century, the buildings were handed over to the Church of Ireland as a place of worship. It was used as such until the late 19th century. After the construction of a new Church of Ireland building, the friary fell into ruin. Managed by the Office of Public Works since the late 19th century, it was formally returned to the Franciscan Order in 1969.

Toirdhealbhach Mór Ó Briain was King of Thomond (1276-1306) and the main protagonist of Seán mac Ruaidhri Mac Craith's epic Cathreim Thoirdhealbhaigh describing his struggles against the Norman Thomas de Clare.


  1. 1 2 Robin Frame (2005), "Clare, Thomas de (1244x7–1287), magnate and administrator", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  2. G. E. Cokayne, The Complete Peerage
  3. Michael Altschul (1965). A Baronial Family in Medieval England: The Clares, 1217–1314. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press. p. 177.
  4. Annette J. Otway-Ruthven, A History of Medieval Ireland, pp.201–202, Google Books, retrieved on 12-11-09
  5. Joe Power, Normans in Thomond, retrieved 12-11-09
  6. 1 2 Power, Normans in Thomond
  7. Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, 1285–1292, No. 1142 summarises a Final concord made on 18 February 1274/5 in which Maurice Fitz Maurice (which was the patronymic version of the name of Juliana's father) agreed that specified property would come to Thomas and his heirs begotten of Juliana his wife if Maurice died without male heirs of his own. This arrangement appears to have been Thomas and Juliana's marriage settlement.
  8. Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, 1252–1284, No. 2210.
  9. Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, 1st series, Vol. 4, No. 54.
  10. Goddard Henry Orpin, Ireland Under The Normans, Vol. 4, pp. 99–104.
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
New creation
Lord of Thomond
Succeeded by
Gilbert de Clare