Richard de Bienfaite

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Richard de Bienfaite (* before 1035 - † April 1090 ), also called Richard of Tonbridge , Richard de Clare or Richard Fitz Gilbert , was Seigneur de Bienfaite et d' Orbec , later Lord of Clare and Tonbridge . He was one of the most important Anglo-Norman barons and one of the advisers to William the Conqueror .


He was the son of Gilbert de Brionne († 1040), Count of Eu and perhaps also Count of Brionne . His father was Wilhelm's guardian for a short time during his troubled minority. After Gilbert de Brionne by Robert in 1040 or early 1041 Giroie and Raoul de Gacé had been killed, his two sons Richard and were Baudouin brought to Flanders and - with the loss of their property in Normandy - the protection of Count Baldwin V assumed. After about 15 years in exile, Richard and Baudouin returned to Normandy on the occasion of the wedding of Duke Wilhelm II with Mathilde , the daughter of Count Baldwin, where Duke Wilhelm transferred several places to them at the request of his father-in-law Baldwin of Flanders: Meules and Le Sap for Baudouin as well Bienfaite and Orbec for Richard. Brionne, on the other hand, remained in the duke's possession, but the two brothers have since been considered close followers of the duke.

Richard was part of the council with which the Duke discussed a conquest of England in Bonneville-sur-Touques in the spring of 1066 , but there is no evidence that he himself participated in the invasion and the Battle of Hastings . However, he was soon called back as a witness in royal charters and William was given rich estates in England. He received 176 estates mainly in Suffolk and seven other counties. 95 of these estates in Suffolk formed the honor of the Clare family , an unusually large area in the hands of a master for the time. In Kent he built Tonbridge Castle , in Suffolk Clare Castle . In 1086 he is mentioned in the Domesday Book as the baron who ranks ninth among the wealthy of the country. Some of his lands had previously been owned by the Diocese of Rochester and the Archdiocese of Canterbury, which is why Richard got into an argument with Archbishop Lanfranc , who was only settled by his son Gilbert .

When the uprising of Counts Ralph de Guader , Earl of Norfolk and Suffolk , Roger de Breteuil, 2nd Earl of Hereford , broke out in 1075 , Richard and William de Warenne, 1st Earl of Surrey of King William were rulers of England ( Joint Chief Justiciar ) has been used. With the support of Odo von Bayeux and Geoffroy de Montbray , they were able to defeat the rebels in a battle near Fagaduna, probably near what is now Beachamwell in Norfolk. Ordericus Vitalis reports that the losers had their right foot amputated. Ralph de Guader was able to escape, but his wife Emma resisted a three-month siege of Norwich Castle with some of his followers before she surrendered to her husband in Brittany.

Richard de Bienfaite was buried in St Neots ( Cambridgeshire ), the priory founded by his wife . He left generous donations to Le Bec Abbey . As in most of the first generation Anglo-Norman inheritance, his eldest son Roger succeeded him in the Normandy possessions, while the younger Gilbert de Clare received the English property.

Richard de Bienfaite is the founding member of one of England's most powerful families, the Clares , whose members became Earls of Hertford , Pembroke and Gloucester .


He married Rohese Giffard († after 1113), daughter of Gautier Giffard , Seigneur de Longueville ( House of Giffard ), and Ermengarde, daughter of Gérard Flaitel and sister of Guillaume Flaitel, the bishop of Évreux - a marriage allegedly arranged by the king. Rohese was the sister of Walter Giffard, 1st Earl of Buckingham (since 1097). Her dowry consisted of estates in Huntingdonshire and Hertfordshire . Your children were:

  1. Roger († after 1131), Seigneur de Bienfaite et d'Orbec
  2. Rohese de Clare († 1121) ∞ Eudes de Rye , Seneschal (Dapifer);
  3. Gilbert († around 1117) Lord of Clare and Tonbridge, later Cardigan  ;
  4. Robert († 1137), Lord of Little Dunmow (Essex), ∞ Mathilde, daughter of Simon I. de Senlis  ;
  5. Gautier († 1138), Lord of Nether Gwent (South Wales), ∞ Isabelle, daughter of Ralph de Tosny;
  6. Avice, ∞ Raoul de Fougères ( House Fougères )
  7. Richard († 1107), monk in the Abbey of Le Bec (France), after 1100 abbot of Ely (England)
  8. Adèlise († after 1125), ∞ Gautier II. Tirel , Seigneur de Poix , who killed King Wilhelm II in a hunting accident
  9. Daughter ; ∞ Raoul de Tillières, Seigneur de Tillières ;
  10. Daughter ; ∞ Baudry Le Teutonique ( Courcy House )


  1. Ordericus Vitalis , Histoire de la Normandie , Ed. Guizot, 1826, vol. II, livre III, p. 115
  2. Ordericus Vitalis , Histoire de la Normandie , éd. Guizot, vol. III, livre VIII, p. 298
  3. See also: Companion of Wilhelm the Conqueror
  4. See Domesday Book and [1]
  5. including Norfolk, Essex, Devon, Surrey, Kent, Cambridgeshire.
  6. The Norman sovereigns usually gave their vassals dispersed and therefore difficult to defend property to deter rebellion
  7. George Edward Cokayne ea: The Complete Peerage , vol. III, p. 242
  8. C. Warren Hollister, The Greater Domesday Tenants-in-Chief , Domesday Studies, Ed. JC Holt (Woodbridge), 1987, p. 219-248.
  9. Histoire de la Normandie , vol. II, livre IV p. 253
  10. ^ Michael Altschul, A Baronial Family in Medieval England: The Clares, 1217-1314 , The Johns Hopkins press, Baltimore, 1965. La meilleure étude à ce jour sur la famille de Clare.
  11. perhaps a member of a younger line of the Tosny family .


Web links