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Margaret de Clare

Margaret de Clare

English noble
The basics
Gender female
Birth October 1292 (Kent, South East England, England, United Kingdom)
Death April 9, 1342 (Staffordshire, West Midlands, England, United Kingdom)
Mother: Joan of Acre
Father: Gilbert de Clare7th Earl of Gloucester
Spouse: Piers Gaveston1st Earl of Cornwall
The details

Margaret de Clare, Countess of Gloucester, Countess of Cornwall (12 October 1293 – 9 April 1342), was an English noblewoman, heiress, and the second eldest of the three daughters of Gilbert de Clare, 6th Earl of Hertford and his wife, Joan of Acre, making her a granddaughter of King Edward I of England. Her two husbands were Piers Gaveston and Hugh de Audley, 1st Earl of Gloucester.

Marriage to Piers Gaveston

She was married to Piers Gaveston, the favourite of her uncle Edward II on 7 November 1307. At the time of her marriage she was 14 years of age. According to the Vita Edwardi Secundi, this marriage was arranged by the King "to strengthen Piers and surround him with friends". Lord Gaveston celebrated the marriage with a lavish tournament at Wallingford Castle. The marriage of such a high-born heiress to a foreigner did not please the English nobility and engendered a great deal of unpopularity. Their daughter, Amy de Gaveston, was born on 6 January 1312 in Tonbridge Castle, Kent, England. It is alleged that they had another child named Joan de Gaveston born around 1310, but there is little evidence outside of hearsay to validate this claim. There are also claims that Amy was born to a mistress of Piers Gaveston. However, the evidence is circumstantial and the official records list Amy de Gaveston as born to Lord de Gaveston and Lady de Clare thus, it is fancy speculation.

King Edward arranged a lavish celebration after the birth of this little girl, complete with minstrels. However, Piers Gaveston was executed only six months later, leaving Margaret a widow with a small child. Her dower rights as Countess of Cornwall were disputed, and so King Edward instead assigned her Oakham Castle and other lands. She joined the Royal household and in 1316 accompanied the King in his journey from London to York.

Inheritance and second marriage

Following the death of their brother, Gilbert de Clare, 7th Earl of Hertford, at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, Margaret and her sisters, Elizabeth and Eleanor de Clare received a share of the inheritance. Margaret was now one of the co-heiresses to the vast Gloucester estate, and King Edward arranged a second marriage for her to another favourite, Hugh de Audley, 1st Earl of Gloucester. She was High Sheriff of Rutland from 1313 to 1319. On 28 April 1317 Margaret de Clare wed Hugh de Audley, 1st Earl of Gloucester at Windsor Castle. They had one daughter:# Margaret de Audley, born between January 1318 and November 1320.

Despenser War

Hugh and Margaret were among the victims of their brother-in-law, Hugh the younger Despenser. In his rashness and greed for the Clare lands, he robbed Margaret of much of her rightful inheritance. In 1321, Hugh de Audley joined the other Marcher Barons in looting, burning, and causing general devastation to Despenser's lands which subsequently became the Despenser War. Hugh was captured at the Battle of Boroughbridge in 1322, and was saved from a hanging thanks to the pleas of his wife. He was imprisoned, and two months later Margaret was sent to Sempringham Priory in Lincolnshire. She remained there until 1326, when Hugh escaped prison and she was released from Sempringham.

Countess of Gloucester

Hugh and Margaret were reunited sometime in 1326. In summer 1336, their only daughter, Margaret Audley, was abducted by Ralph Stafford, 1st Earl of Stafford. Her parents filed a complaint, but King Edward III of England supported Stafford. He appeased Hugh and Margaret by creating Hugh Earl of Gloucester. Margaret was henceforth styled Countess of Gloucester.


Margaret died on 9 April 1342 and her sister Lady Elizabeth de Clare paid for prayers to be said for her soul at Tonbridge Priory located in Kent, England, where she was buried.


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Marriage to Piers Gaveston Inheritance and second marriage Despenser War Countess of Gloucester Death Ancestry
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