Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke

Richard Fitz Gilbert de Clare, called Strongbow (* 1130 in Tonbridge, Kent, England; † April 20, 1176 in Dublin, Ireland) was, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, Lord of Striguil, Lord of Leinster and marshal of England. He became known as a military leader during the campaign in East Ireland 1169-1171 under King Henry II of England.


Richard came from the Norman noble family Clare, who had come with William the Conqueror to England. He was the son of Gilbert de Clare, 1st Earl of Pembroke (also known as Gilbert de Clare FitzGilbert ), and his wife Isabel de Beaumont. His uncle was Richard de Clare FitzGilbert.


After the death of his father in 1148 he inherited the title and estates in Wales, but in 1168 he lost again. He was, however, determined by King Henry II to prepare an expedition to Ireland. He should support Dermot MacMurrough, the king of the Irish part of the kingdom of Leinster, in the recovery of his reign against Irish rebels. In 1170 he sat from England to Ireland and took Waterford and Dublin. Richard married in the same year Aoife, the daughter of Dermot MacMurroughs.

For Henry II of England Strongbow was but now become too powerful. He therefore called back his troops. When Dermot MacMurrough now died without a male heir, Richard, was named Strongbow, his successor from the right of his wife ( jure uxoris ). Thus the rule of the Anglo-Normans began in Ireland. But immediately there was an uprising, the Richard could only suppress troublesome. He had to seek the help of Henry II, who undressed him of all his offices in 1171 and in 1172, himself accomplished an expedition to Ireland.

1173 the king was, however, again dependent on the help Strongbow, as his sons Henry the Younger, Richard the Lionheart and John Lackland rebelled against their father. Strongbow was reinstated in his offices and defended his possessions against the Irish insurgents.

As Strongbow died in 1176, the title passed to his minor son Gilbert, who died in 1185 at the age of 12 years. The title was later given to the new husband of his daughter Isabel, Sir William Marshal, who founded the second line of the Earls of Pembroke.