25 January, 2015

Robert Clifford and Maud de Clare

A post about Robert, Lord Clifford (c. 1 April 1274 - 24 June 1314) and Maud de Clare (c. late 1270s - before 13 March 1327), and their children.

Robert Clifford was born around or a little while before 1 April 1274: the Inquisition Post Mortem of his father taken in Westmorland on 16 January 1283 (Cal Inq Post Mortem 1272-1307, p. 291) says that Robert would be aged nine at Easter in the eleventh regnal year of Edward I, which was 18 April 1283, and Easter Sunday in 1274 fell on 1 April.  His father was Roger Clifford the younger, who drowned in the Menai Strait on 6 November 1282 when Edward I's bridge from the Welsh mainland to Anglesey collapsed, and his mother was Isabel Vipont, one of the two daughters (the other was Idonea) and co-heiresses of Robert Vipont, sheriff and landowner of Westmorland.  The famous Rosamund Clifford, mistress of Henry II in the twelfth century, was the sister of Robert's great-great-grandfather Walter.  The Cliffords had long been a Marcher family, but the Vipont inheritance and grants from Edward II to Robert shifted their centre of power to the north of England.  Edward II gave Robert the North Yorkshire castle of Skipton in 1310, and it remained in the family until 1676.

Robert's father Roger, who drowned in 1282, was the son and heir of Roger Clifford the elder, who outlived his son.  Robert inherited the Clifford lands after his grandfather's death, and had livery of them on 3 May 1295, some weeks after he turned twenty-one.  (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)  In or before 1295, he married Maud de Clare, niece of Gilbert 'the Red' de Clare, earl of Gloucester and Hertford.  Maud's father Thomas de Clare, lord of Thomond in Ireland, was Gilbert the Red's younger brother; her mother was the Anglo-Irish noblewoman Juliana FitzMaurice.  Maud's sister Margaret married Bartholomew, Lord Badlesmere, who became steward of Edward II's household and was given the traitor's death in April 1322 after joining the Contrariant rebellion against the king.  Their brother Gilbert married Hugh Despenser the Younger's sister Isabel and died in 1307, and their other brother Richard died in 1318.  When Richard's young son Thomas died in 1321, Maud and Margaret were his heirs.  The four de Clare siblings Maud, Margaret, Gilbert and Richard were the first cousins of Edward II's nieces and nephew Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester, Eleanor, Margaret and Elizabeth.  Maud was probably born in the late 1270s or thereabouts, and thus was about five years younger than her husband Robert Clifford and about sixteen when they married.

Robert Clifford was one of the four noblemen who besieged Piers Gaveston at Scarborough Castle between 10 and 19 May 1312 (with Henry Percy and the earls of Pembroke and Surrey), but was generally loyal to Edward II and on good terms with him.  He fought for Edward at Bannockburn and on the first day of the battle led the advance party, with Henry, Lord Beaumont, which sustained heavy losses against the schiltrons of Thomas Randolph.  On the second day of the battle, Robert was killed, the second highest ranking Englishman to die at Bannockburn after Edward II's nephew the earl of Gloucester, who was the first cousin of Robert's wife Maud.  His body was returned to England with full honours, and he was buried at Shap Abbey in Westmorland.  Robert seems to have been, if I may put it colloquially, a bit of a hottie, and intelligent besides: the poet of the Siege of Arms of Caerlaverock wrote in 1300 (when Robert was twenty-six) "If I were a maiden, I would give him my heart and body, So good is his fame," and declared "I well know that I have given him no praise of which he is not worthy. For he exhibits as good proofs of wisdom and prudence as any I see."

Maud was taken prisoner in late 1315 by John 'the Irishman', who took her to Barnard Castle in County Durham.  Edward II sent five knights and thirty-six men-at-arms to rescue her, led by his friend and the later steward of his household, Sir William Montacute.  Romantically, Maud married Sir Robert de Welle or Well or Welles, one of her rescuers, somewhat in haste, as Edward II soon afterwards fined them for marrying without his permission and temporarily confiscated her lands.  Montacute and the other men had returned to Edward at Clipstone in Nottinghamshire by 6 December 1315, after effecting the rescue; the king had heard of Maud and Robert's marriage by the 16th, on which date he seized Maud's lands and goods.  (Fine Rolls 1307-1319, p. 266; Patent Rolls 1313-1317, p. 551; Close Rolls 1313-1318, p. 367; Close Rolls 1318-1323, pp. 84, 269; SC 8/317/E267).  I haven't been able to find an accurate date for Maud's death, but it happened sometime before 13 March 1327, when her castles, lands and manors in Ireland, currently in the king's hands owing to the minority of Maud's son and heir Roger, were granted to her sister Margaret Badlesmere.  (Fine Rolls 1327-1337, p. 35)  It's also tricky to follow the career of her second husband Sir Robert de Welle, as there were several men alive in England during Edward II's reign with that name; one of them, possibly Maud's husband, was sent by Edward as an envoy to Robert Bruce in late August 1326, and thus was obviously still high in the king's favour very near the end of his reign.  (Patent Rolls 1324-1327, p. 315).

I can't quite figure out the order of birth of the de Clare siblings.  Gilbert was certainly born on 3 February 1281, which is demonstrated in his proof of age in 1302, and Richard was born between 1283 and 1285.  I'd long assumed that Maud was the eldest child, born probably in the late 1270s, married in or a little before 1295 and had her first (surviving, at least) son in 1299 or 1300.  I'd also thought that Margaret was the youngest de Clare sibling, born shortly before their father Thomas's death in August 1287.  Margaret's first child Margery Badlesmere was born sometime between 1304 and 1308, though before Margaret married Bartholomew Badlesmere she had been married to Gilbert Umfraville, son of the earl of Angus, who died childless in about 1303.  However, there's a petition in the National Archives, presented by Margaret in 1327, which says that Maud was her younger sister, and an entry on the Fine Roll of 14 March 1324, relating to Margaret and Maud as the heirs of their little nephew Thomas (died 1321), calls Margaret the 'senior heir', i.e. older than Maud.  (SC 8/32/1559; Fine Rolls 1319-1327, p. 269).  Given the pattern of their childbearing, it still seems more likely to me that Maud was a few years older than Margaret, so I'm a tad confused about this.  Anyway, there are two contemporary documents which state that Margaret was the elder sister, so I shall have to accept it, and assume that Margaret was not born in 1287 but ten or so years before that, and that when she gave birth to her youngest child Margaret Badlesmere sometime after 1314 or even as late as 1318, she was forty or thereabouts.

Robert Clifford and Maud de Clare had four children:

- Roger, Lord Clifford (2 February 1299/21 January 1300 - 23 March 1322)

Roger was the elder son of Robert and Maud, and only fourteen or fifteen when his father was killed at the battle of Bannockburn; Robert's Inquisition Post Mortem says Roger was born either on (or shortly before) 2 February 1299 or 21 January 1300.  (Cal. Inq. Post Mortem 1307-1327, pp. 300-307) Edward II granted Roger and his brother-in-law Henry Percy all the lands of their late fathers in 1318 and 1319, although they were both still underage, "for the defence and safety of the said castles against the Scots, the king's enemies."  (Fine Rolls 1307-1319, pp. 370-371, 378, 404)  In 1321 Roger joined the Contrariant rebellion against Edward II, perhaps following the example of his uncle by marriage Bartholomew, Lord Badlesmere.  The Vita Edwardi Secundi (ed. N. Denholm-Young, p. 109) claims that Hugh Despenser the Younger had in some way disinherited Roger's mother, Maud.  I am unaware of any evidence which confirms this, and in fact Maud's husband Robert de Welle seems to have been a close ally of the Despensers, and Hugh's wife Eleanor was Maud's first cousin (not that that would necessarily have stopped him, of course).  Roger surrendered to Sir Andrew Harclay after the battle of Boroughbridge on 16 March 1322, and was hanged in chains a week later at the fortification in York which has borne his name ever since: Clifford's Tower.  He was only in his early twenties at the time of his execution.  He didn't marry, and his heir was his brother Robert.

- Robert, Lord Clifford (c. 7 November 1305 - 20 May 1344)

Younger son of Robert Clifford and Maud de Clare, and heir to his brother Roger executed in 1322.  The IPMs of Robert's mother and his brother Roger taken in Yorkshire on 12 February and 1 May 1327 (CIPM 1327-1336, pp. 29-30, 41-42) say that he had turned twenty-one 'on Friday after All Saints day last past', which I make 7 November 1326 (the feast day of All Saints, 1 November, fell on a Saturday in 1326), putting his date of birth on or about 7 November 1305.  Robert showed his indignation at his brother's execution and at the general state of affairs in England after the Contrariant rebellion by besieging and capturing Tickhill Castle in Staffordshire in April 1326, in company with the fifteen-year-old John Mowbray, whose father John, Lord Mowbray was executed with Robert's brother Roger Clifford in York in March 1322. (Close Rolls 1323-1327, p. 569)  The constable of Tickhill, William Aune, was a friend and ally of Edward II and their capture of the castle was thus intended to cause trouble for the king.  I have to admit I really like the idea of these two hot-headed, angry young men, aged only fifteen and twenty, getting together and deciding to seize a castle - and succeeding, at least for a while.

Robert was restored to his rightful inheritance after Edward II's downfall.  Probably in 1327, he married Isabella Berkeley, sister of Thomas, Lord Berkeley of Gloucestershire, who acted as the former Edward II's custodian at Berkeley Castle in 1327.  Robert and Isabella's second son and heir Roger was born on 10 July 1333; their eldest, Robert, died as a teenager in the 1340s.  Robert, the elder, died on 30 May 1344 (CIPM 1336-1346, pp. 381-385) in his late thirties, when his first son Robert, who was then still alive but died not long afterwards, was said to be 'sixteen and a little more'. Robert, Lord Clifford and Isabella Berkeley were the ancestors of the later Clifford lords; the famous Henry, Lord Clifford, the 'Shepherd Lord' (died 1523), was their great-great-great-great-grandson.

- Idonea (or Idonia or Idoine), Lady Percy (early 1300s - 24 August 1365)

Probably named after her paternal grandmother Isabel Vipont's sister Idonea Vipont, who married Edward II's steward John Cromwell and who lived until 1334.  Idonea Clifford married Henry, Lord Percy, who was born on 1 February 1301 and who was the nephew of Edmund Fitzalan, earl of Arundel, as well as the son of the Henry, Lord Percy who with Robert, Lord Clifford besieged Piers Gaveston at Scarborough in May 1312.  Idonea's date of birth is not recorded, but it seems to me that she was younger than Roger and older than Robert, perhaps born in about 1302 or 1303.

Her eldest son Henry, Lord Percy was born in about 1320 and married Henry of Lancaster's youngest daughter Mary, and she also had at least four daughters, Eleanor, Isabella, Margaret and Maud, and another son Thomas Percy, bishop of Norwich, whose successor on his death in 1369 was Hugh Despenser the Younger and Eleanor de Clare's grandson Henry Despenser.  Idonea was the grandmother of three earls: Northumberland (Henry Percy, born in 1341 and died in 1408), Worcester (Thomas Percy, died 1403) and Westmorland (Ralph Neville, died 1425, son of her daughter Maud Percy).  She was the great-great-grandmother of Edward IV and Richard III.

- Margaret (c. early 1300s - 4 August 1382, married Peter Mauley, lord of Mulgrave)

The longest surviving but most obscure of Robert Clifford and Maud de Clare's children, and there's not too much I can say about her.  I don't know where she fits into the birth order of the Clifford children, and I don't know anything much about the family she married into, the Mauleys, except that they were lords of Mulgrave near Whitby in North Yorkshire.  Their name was often Latinised in contemporary documents as Malo Lacu.  Edward II's steward Sir Edmund Mauley, who was killed at Bannockburn, was presumably a member of the same family.  Margaret's husband Peter came from a long line of Peter Mauleys: he was known in contemporary documents as le quynt, 'the fifth', and their son, yet another Peter Mauley, was le sysme, 'the sixth'.  Her husband died on 18 January 1355 (CIPM 1352-1360, pp. 214-216) leaving their son Peter as his heir; the younger Peter was then said to be twenty-four, so must have been born in about 1330/1331.  Peter the fifth's 1355 IPM states that Margaret "immediately after the death of the deceased, her husband, took the mantle, veil and ring from the suffragan of the archbishop of York and swore and vowed chastity before him and many others, to live chastely without a husband all her life."  (Ibid., p. 216)

According to various websites, Margaret Mauley née Clifford died on 4 August 1382, but I can't confirm this as I don't have any of the chancery rolls or inquisitions post mortem for Richard II's reign.  She must have been pretty elderly when she died, and given the date of her death was probably the youngest of her siblings.

5 comments:

Anerje said...

Enjoyed finding out about Robert Clifford and Maud de Clare. It's interesting when you read about people you don't know about and then see familiar names - like Bartholomew Badlesmere who keeps on popping up!

Jerry Bennett said...

Hi Kathryn,

Thanks again for very interesting post. Something I came across some time ago, referring to Roger Clifford's anger at Hugh Despenser, was that Despenser tried to disinherit Maud from one or more of her Welsh or Marches estates, rather than their Northern manors. It was in an article on the Cliffords in the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Architectural Society (CWAAS) That would tie in with other disputes between Despenser and the Marcher lords.

I loved the story of the attack on Tickhill castle. Do we know the eventual outcome of this, because it is the first time I have read of it. As neither of the young men lost their lives over it, presumably Edward and Hugh Despenser were in a forgiving mood at the time. It raises a whole mass of questions though. Why Tickhill, which appears to be some distance from any of their manors? Did they have a personal dispute with William Aune? It all appears to be quite mysterious.

If any of your readers are in the Eden valley, can I recommend a visit to Robert Clifford's former castle at Appleby, which is open to the public and has been kept in pretty good condition since his day.

Kathryn Warner said...

Thanks, Anerje! Yes, BB does seem to crop up a lot, doesn't he? :-)

Hi Jerry! There's an order on the Close Roll dated 30 April 1326, to three justices in Yorkshire, to enquire "what malefactors and other disturbers of the peace, together with John Moubray and Roger [sic] de Clifford, the king's rebels, and other rebels, lately besieged and captured the king's castle of Tickhill, and perpetrated other felonies and evil deeds...". I've never seen another ref to this.

Tickhill was a royal castle (had been Piers Gaveston's) and William Aune was a great friend and ally of Edward II, and used the king's favour to do some rather unpleasant things. There's more info in my post about him. It was two young men who'd suffered the loss of their father and brother respectively, trying to create trouble for Edward.

Sami Parkkonen said...

Enjoyable again. What does amaze me time and time again is that how these wars and rebellions and others were almost family things. It is strange from todays perspective.

Carla said...

Skipton Castle is another Clifford castle that's well worth a visit. Appleby Castle used to have a rare breed animal park in the grounds - don't know if it still does.

Sami - the family aspect is a prominent feature of medieval wars, maybe even the dominant feature. I've seen the Wars of the Roses described as a series of Mafia revenge killings, and I can see the point.