Margaret de Clare

From Academic Kids

Margaret de Clare (1293-April 1342) was one of the three daughters of Gilbert de Clare, 3rd Earl of Gloucester and his wife, Joan of Acre. and thus a granddaughter of King Edward I of England.

She was married to Piers Gaveston, the favorite of her uncle Edward II, in October 1307. According to the Vita Edwardi Secundi, this marriage was arranged by the king "to strengthen Piers and surround him with friends." The marriage of such a high-born lady to a foreigner was not popular among the English nobility. They had one child:

  1. Joan Gaveston, born probably January 12/18th, 1312, at York.

King Edward threw a grand celebration after the birth of this child, 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 Okham castle and other lands. She joined the royal household and in 1316 accompanied the king in his journey from London to York.

Following the death of their brother, Gilbert de Clare, 8th Earl of Hertford, at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, Margaret and her sisters, Elizabeth and Eleanor de Clare each 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 favorite, Hugh Audley.

On April 28, 1317 Margaret de Clare wed Hugh Audley at Windsor Castle. They had one daughter:

  1. Margaret Audley, born between January 1318 and November 1322.

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 joined the other Marcher barons in looting, burning, and causing general devastation to Despenser's lands.

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. She remained there until 1326, when Hugh escaped prison and she was released from Sempringham. In the meantime, her daughter Joan Gaveston had been sent to Amesbury priory. A marriage was arranged for Joan with the son of Thomas Multon, but the girl died in early 1325.

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 died in April 1342 and her sister Elizabeth de Clare paid for prayers to be said for her soul at Tonbridge priory.

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