Monday, August 4, 2014

An Expensive Bride

de lacy Coat of Arms
de Clare Coat of Arms
Maud de Lacy was an "independent-minded" woman of the 13th century. (To be fair, there were two independent-minded women named "Maud de Lacy" in the 13th century. Today we will discuss the English one.) The Maud de Lacy I have in mind lived from 1223 to 1289 and was the daughter of John de Lacy, the 2nd Earl of Lincoln, a Surety Baron of the Magna Carta.*

The Lincoln title belonged to her mother, Margaret de Quincy, not her father. Maud might have someday inherited the title, but her mother named a different heir: Henry de Lacy, Maud's nephew by her deceased brother. Maud's feelings about her mother were not improved when her mother remarried in 1242 to Walter Marshal, the 5th Earl of Pembroke, inheriting the majority of his property  after Walter died in 1245. We are told by one historian that the two women argued about finances regarding the wealth that Margaret held in the Marshal property.

Maud married Richard de Clare, 6th Earl of Gloucester, in 1238 when she was 15 and he was not much older (Richard was born 4 August 1222). Richard had actually been married once already! He had been married to Margaret, the daughter of Hugh de Burgh. Hubert got in some trouble for this, since the marriage did not have the approval of King Henry III, and Richard was Henry's ward! Hubert gave the king money to let the matter slide (Henry, like his father John, always needed money).

That wasn't the only money involved in Richard's wedding(s), however. Maud's father would have liked his eldest daughter joined to the powerful and wealthy de Clare family. Sensing problems in the marriage between Richard and Margaret de Burgh, the Earl of Lincoln offered King Henry 5000 marks (about £3300) to approve a marriage between Richard and Maud. Margaret died (very conveniently) in late 1237, leaving Richard free to marry Maud, which he did on 2 February 1238.

Among there children was Gilbert de Clare, who would join Simon de  Montfort in rebelling against Henry II, but later recant and support the throne and Henry's son Prince Edward.

*Not all barons signed the Magna Carta. The "Surety Barons" were 25 who were elected to sign the document and whose job was to see that it was adhered to.

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