See also

Richard (1035-1090)

1. Richard Fitz Gilbert, Earl of Clare, Lord of Beinfaite, Orbec and Tonbridge, son of Gilbert (Giselbert) "Crispin", Count of Brionne and EU (c. 980-1040) and Constance de EU ( - ), was born in 1035 in Normandy. He married Rohese Giffard in 1054. He died in 1090 in St. Neot's Priory, Huntingdonshire.


Richard FitzGilbert was the founder of the early Anglo-Norman noble family the de Clares. Known as "de Bienfaite", "de Clare", and "de Tonbridge", he accompanied his reputed kinsman William the Duke of Normandy into England, and was rewarded with no less than one hundred and seventy six lordships and large grants of land in England, including the right to build the castles of Clare and of Tonbridge, in return for his service at the Battle of Hastings, and general assistance in conquering the Saxon. Served as Joint Chief Justiciar in William's absence, and played a major part in suppressing the revolt of 1075.

Richard took the name Earl of Clare from one of his lordships in Suffolk, where parts of the wall of Clare Castle still stand. The modern Irish county of County Clare was historically part of the North Munster Gaelic kingdom of Thomond, dominated by the O'Briens, Kings of Thomond. The region was granted to the De Clare family in 1275 and they became Lords of Thomond. When the boundaries of the modern County Clare were fixed by Sir Henry Sidney in 1565, it was named after the De Clares.

His parents were Gilbert "Crispin", Count of Brionne and his mistress Constance de Eu. Gilbert was married to Gunnora d'Aunou, and some sources list her as Richards mother. Richard's father is also sometimes listed as Robert I "the Devil", father of William the Conqueror. Sources as far back as the Annals of the Four Masters claim that Richard's great grandson, Richard "Strongbow", was the direct descendant of Robert "the Devil". Gilbert "Crispin" is a descendant of Robert's cousin, but not Robert himself. One thing can be sure, Richard was a close and trusted friend of the King.


Rohese Giffard and Richard Fitz Gilbert, Earl of Clare, Lord of Beinfaite, Orbec and Tonbridge had the following children:


Gilbert Fitz Richard , Earl of Clare, Tonbridge and Cardigan (1065-1115). Gilbert was born in 1065. He married Adelize (Alice) de Claremont in 1086. He died in 1115.

Second Generation

2. Gilbert (Giselbert) "Crispin", Count of Brionne and EU was born circa 0980. He died in 1040. He married Constance de EU.



Some sources say Gislebert was the son of Godfrey of Brionne and Eu, others that he was the son of Gilbert, Baron of Bec. Still others claim that his father was Crispin de Bec (b. 940). Some say he was the son of an illegitimate child of Richard the Fearless. Gislebert's mother was apparently Haloise de Guines (b. 942).


Whatever his parentage, he inherited Brionne, becoming one of the most powerful landowners in Normandy. He married Gunnora d'Aunou (Gunmore d'Ainon) in 1012. He had children by his wife and a mistress. The name "Crispin" is said to have referred to the family's erect curly hair.

Gislebert was a generous benefactor to Bec Abbey founded by his former knight Herluin in 1031.

When Robert I, Duke of Normandy died in 1035 his illegitimate son William inherited his father's title. Several leading Normans, including Gilbert of Brionne, Osbern the Seneschal and Alan of Brittany, became William's guardians.


A number of Norman barons including Raoul de Gacé would not accept an illegitimate son as their leader. In 1040 an attempt was made to kill William but the plot failed. Gilbert however was murdered while he was peaceably riding near Eschafour. It is believed two of his killers were Ralph of Wacy and Robert de Vitot. This appears to have been an act of vengeance for wrongs inflicted upon the orphan children of Giroie by Gilbert, and it is not clear what Raoul de Gacé had to do in the business. Fearing they might meet their father's fate, his sons Richard and his brother Baldwin were conveyed by their friends to the court of Baldwin, Count of Flanders.


Gilbert was the great progenitor of the illustrious house of Clare, of the Barons Fitz Walter, and the Earls of Gloucester and Hertford.


3. Constance de EU has few details recorded about her.


Constance was Giselbert's mistress.


Gilbert (Giselbert) "Crispin", Count of Brionne and EU and Constance de EU had the following children:



Richard Fitz Gilbert, Earl of Clare, Lord of Beinfaite, Orbec and Tonbridge (1035-1090)