Clare ~ English Honour


CLARE, English Honour.

Thomas Hawley, Clarenceux King of Arms as depi...

Thomas Hawley, Clarenceux King of Arms as depicted in the initial letter of a grant of arms to John Fennar in 1556. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Clare in Suffolk lies between Cambridge and Ipswich, or more locally, between Haverhill and Sudbury.   It had been a stronghold in the Kingdom of East Anglia, and after the Conquest William I gave it to a kinsman, the descendant of a bastard son of Duke Richard I of Normandy.

The family came to be known as Clare and their many estates up and down the country formed the Honour of Clare. The senior line became Earls first of Hertford and then of Gloucester as well, and Lords of Glamorgan;  a junior line became Earls of Pembroke and lords of Chepstow (Strigoil), and briefly, before Henry II stopped it, Kings of Leinster.   The senior line died out in the male line in 1314.

Clare itself came into royal hands and in the form of Clarence became the title of a Royal Dukedom. The Clarenceux King of Arms, whose jurisdiction is England south of the Trent, takes his name from the Dukedom, whose history was generally miserable.   Of the five Dukes, the first and the fifth died young, the second was killed in battle and the third drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine. Only the fourth reached old age and the Crown, as William IV.

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