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WURTS MAGNA CHARTA provided a brief accounting of the feudal headquarters of some of the Magna Charta Barons. Some of the castles have been badly damaged. Some have disappeared entirely. Often we can learn of them through Medieval and Renaissance accounts, and some of them require the discerning eye of the archeologist. Others await the evidence brought out with a shovel and pick, by the trained archeological historian.
A portion of the information concerning Surety Baron RICHARD de CLARE is as follows:
As for the Hertford Castle of the de Clares, it is one of two Castles: A 10th Century ruin or a 17th Century structure. The older Castle retains a wall and part of a Norman tower. The remainder of the building is a Jacobean accretion made of brick and completely modernized.
Gilbert de Clare built a Castle at Caerdigan, Pembrokeshire, Wales. A marriage brought it into the hands of William Marshall, who soon controlled the strongest castles on the peninsula. The keep has been transformed into a modern house. Of all the castles that finally came into William Marshall's possession, this was the most important to the area. Scholars believe there is evidence that it was originally built of wood.
RICHARD de CLARE, the Surety, was the fourth Earl of Hertford but, like his father and uncle, was more generally known as Earl of Clare. He was present at the Coronation of King Richard I at Westminster, 3 September 1189, and of King John, 27 May 1199. He sided with the Barons against King John, and his Castle at Tonbridge was taken. On 9 November 1215 he was one of the commissioners who, on the part of the Barons, was to treat of peace with the King. On 4 March 1215/6 his lands in counties Cambridge, Norfolk, Suffolk; and Essex were granted to Robert de Betun; he and his son were among the Barons excommunicated by the Pope in 1215. He died between 3 October and 28 November 1217. He married Amicia, Countess of Gloucester, second daughter of William FitzRobert, Earl of Gloucester, and his wife, Hawise, daughter of Robert de Beaumont, Earl of Leicester. She died 1 January 1224/5.
Appreciation is expressed to Reed M. W. Wurts, one of the Heralds of the Society for furnishing the Barons Shield on this page.