de Clare, 3rd Earl of Hertford is the son of Richard Fitz Gilbert
de Clare and Alice de Gernon.
He was the brother of Gilbert de Clare, Lord of the Manor of Standon
in the twelfth century. Gilbert de Clare gave the church and lands
of Standon to the Knights Hospitallers who were a group of monks.
Roger de Clare succeeded to the earldom when his brother Gilbert
died without issue. In 1164 he assisted with the Constitutions of
From his munificence to the Church and his numerous acts of piety,
was called the "Good Earl of Hertford".
He married (ca. 1150), Maud de St. Hilary (1132-24 Dec 1193),
daughter of James de St. Hilary and Aveline.
In 1156 Roger received from Henry II a grant of whatever lands
he could conquer in South Wales. Later that year he entered Cardigan
and took the castles of Humfrey, Aberdovey, Dineir and Rhystud.
Seven years later Prince Rhys and his Welsh Army attempted to win
back this land. His early success resulted in a fresh English invasion.
Soon after inheriting his estates Roger came into conflict with
Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Becket argued that
some of the manors in Kent should come under his control. Roger
disagreed and refused to give up this land. Becket sent a messenger
to see Roger with a letter asking for a meeting. Roger responded
by forcing the messenger to eat the letter.
In 1164, Becket was involved in a dispute over land. Henry II ordered
Becket to appear before his courts. When Becket refused, the king
confiscated his property. Henry also claimed that Becket had stolen
£300 from government funds when he had been Chancellor. Becket
denied the charge but, so that the matter could be settled quickly,
he offered to repay the money. Henry refused to accept Becket's
offer and insisted that the Archbishop should stand trial. When
Henry mentioned other charges, including treason, Becket decided
to run away to France.
Becket eventually agreed to return to England. However, as soon
as he arrived on English soil, he excommunicated (expelled from
the Christian Church) the Archbishop of York and other leading churchmen
who had supported Henry while he was away. Henry, who was in Normandy
at the time, was furious when he heard the news and supposedly shouted
out: "Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?" Four
of Henry's knights, Hugh de Morville, William de Tracy, Reginald
Fitz Urse, and Richard Ie Bret, who heard Henry's angry outburst
decided to travel to England to see Becket.
On the way to Canterbury the four knights stopped at Bletchingley
Castle to see Roger of Clare. When the knights arrived at Canterbury
Cathedral on 29th December 1170, they demanded that Becket pardon
the men he had excommunicated. When Becket refused, they hacked
him to death with their swords.
Roger de Clare fathered seven children: Mabel de Clare, Richard
de Clare, James de Clare, Eveline (Aveline) de Clare, Roger
II de Clare, John de Clare, Henry de Clare.
There is a first school, Roger de Clare School, in the village
of Puckeridge, Hertfordshire, named after Roger de Clare
He died in 1173 in Oxfordshire and is buried in Eynsham Priory,
Roger de Clare, 3rd Earl of Hertford, is our 28th Great Grandfather