Clares in Wales

Clares in Wales

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When the Normans invaded the British mainland in 1066 they were only able to conquer the area that is today known as England. For a long period Wales, Scotland and Ireland retained their independence from the Normans.

At the time of the Norman invasion, Wales was a collection of small kingdoms. Knights who had land in England were encouraged by the Norman kings to expand into Wales. These knights, who became known as marcher lords, tried to do this, but the mountainous territory and the fighting abilities of the Welsh made it difficult.

While the marcher lords won land in the east and south, other parts of Wales remained under the control of Welsh princes. In 1183 Richard, 6th Earl de Clare, obtained control of Glamorgan, the largest and the most important marcher lordship in Wales.

Richard de Clare died in 1217 and the family estates were passed on to his son Gilbert, 7th Earl de Clare. The Welsh chieftains in the area refused to accept Gilbert as their overlord. To help establish control, Gilbert imported tenants from his English manors. The Welsh, led by Morgan Gam of Afan, responded by carrying out numerous raids on Clare's tenant farmers.

In 1228, Gilbert de Clare arrived in Glamorgan with a large number of knights from his English manors. Later that year Gilbert's knights managed to capture Morgan Gam of Afan. Morgan was taken to England and imprisoned in Clare Castle.

Morgan Gam's cousin, Hywel ap Maredudd, became the new leader of the Welsh and the attacks on the Norman settlements in Glamorgan continued. In 1229 Morgan obtained his freedom after negotiating a peace settlement with Gilbert de Clare.

After Gilbert de Clare's death in 1230, Morgan Gam resumed his military campaign against the English in Glamorgan. Gilbert's eldest son, Richard was eight years old when his father died. It was not until he reached the age of 21 that he began to take an interest in Wales. Richard de Clare and his knights arrived in Wales in 1243. Richard's military campaign was very successful and he was able to expand the territory he controlled in Wales. By 1245 Richard also held the lordships of Llanbleddian, Talyfan and Rhuthin. To maintain control over the area he built a new castle at Llantrisant. The following year, he added Usk and Caerleon to his territory in Wales.

When Richard died in 1262, his son Gilbert the Red was an inexperienced nineteen year old. Welsh chieftains led by Gruffydd ap Rhys, took this opportunity to try and win back Glamorgan from the Clare family. Gilbert captured Gruffydd in 1266 and imprisoned him in Cardiff. Later, Gilbert had him transported to Ireland where he was kept at Clare Castle in Kilkenny.

In 1270 Gilbert the Red agreed to accompany Henry III on a crusade to secure Christian control over the holy places in Palestine. Just before he was due to leave for the Holy Land, Gilbert heard news that Llywelyn ap Gruffydd had seized and destroyed his castle at Caerphilly Castle. Instead of going to the Holy Land, Gilbert the Red took his knights to Wales. After he won back Caerphilly, Gilbert decided to build a massive stone fortress that would be impossible to capture. When Caerphilly Castle was completed in 1272 it was considered to be the strongest castle in Britain.

Castle History

The first Gilbert de Clare is principally remembered as one of the barons of the Magna Carta he died in 1230, leaving his son, Richard, as his heir. Richard, who was only 8 years old at the death of his father. On coming of age in 1243, he tightened his father’s hold on the Welsh lords in the uplands and on the fringes of Glamorgan.

Earl Richard died in 1262 and was succeeded by his heir Gilbert ‘The Red’. The ever-present threat of attack on the castle at Cardiff, the administrative centre for the whole of the Glamorgan lordship, caused him to reconstruct its defences with a great sense of urgency. He constructed a central embattled wall to link the improved keep (remodelled for the better accommodation of the household) with the south gate and the Black Tower. On the east side of the embattled wall (the outer ward) were now provided permanent lodgings for the knights of Glamorgan and their grooms and men-at-arms, during their periods of garrison duty.

Gilbert died in 1295 and left a son of the same name. When his mother Joan died, Gilbert the younger was still under age but he inherited the lordship. What little we know of this new lord reflects well on his dealings with his neighbouring Welsh princes, but he fell in battle at Bannockburn in 1314 at the age of 23. The lordship passed to his sister Eleanor, who had married Hugh Despenser in 1306. Hugh Despenser was the first of the new family that retained the lordship for nearly a hundred years.


Heraldic Visitations of Wales and Part of Marches Between the Years 1586 and 1613, Vol. II by Lewys Dwnn. Dwnn does not include dates. Circa birth dates listed below and on the profiles come from other sources and calculations.

Center for the Study of Ancient Wales – Darrell Wolcott. There are many articles at this site. Wolcott specializes in pre-1300 Wales. Wolcott's research quoted in this page was prepared for Stuart Awbrey.

This source page is in two parts:

Part 1 – List of Early Aubrey/Awbrey Individuals in Wales and How They Were Determined Part 2 – Explanation of Darrell Wolcott's Genealogical Research

A primary source of this group of Awbreys is continuing genealogical research prepared by Darrell Wolcott – Center for the Study of Ancient Wales

Types of Poor Clares

Since St. Clare of Assisi's original founding of the Poor Clares in 1212, there have been several reforms and new expressions of the original Rule of the Poor Clares, much like the Carmelite reform of St. Teresa of Avila. Today there are four main expressions of Poor Clare life, which can be identified by the official initials of the Order:

  • Order of Saint Clare (OSC), who live according to the original rule of St. Clare of Assisi
  • Poor Clare Colettines (PCC), who live according to the 15th century reforms of St. Colette of Corbie
  • Capuchin Poor Clares (OSC Cap), who live according to 16th century Capuchin reforms
  • Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration (PCPA), who live according to the 1854 charism of Mother Marie Claire Bouillevaux

Below you will find information on monasteries of each Order in the United States.

ɼlearly concerned'

Under Clare's Law, otherwise known as the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, men and women can request information about their partner, or third parties such as friends or relatives can make requests if they are "concerned".

Police and other agencies including social services then consider whether releasing information on someone's past is "necessary, lawful and proportionate" to protect someone from their partner.

Reasons for information not being released include a partner not having a record of abuse offences, or there being no "pressing need for disclosure" based on the information found.

Polly Neate, chief executive of charity Women's Aid, said: "Any woman asking for a disclosure under Clare's Law is clearly already concerned about her relationship, and should be referred to a specialist service so she can get support with her concerns, even if no disclosure can be made."

Clare's Law does not apply in Northern Ireland, while a pilot scheme is being run in Scotland.

Women’s History Month: Clare Sturges

Clare Sturges is a writer and director based in Cardiff, Wales. She recently wrote and directed BAFTA Cymru-nominated narrative short THE ARBORIST through the BFI Network, which premiered on BBC Two and is currently available on BBC iPlayer.

Clare’s short documentary MY BRIEF ETERNITY won the BAFTA Cymru Short Film Award in 2016. The film was nominated for Best Short Doc at London Short Film Festival 2016, longlisted for a British Independent Film Award in the same year and the EE BAFTA for British Short Film in 2017. Clare won the BAFTA Cymru Breakthrough Award for her documentary SEXWORK, LOVE & MR RIGHT in 2015, which was acquired for broadcast by ABC Australia.

Since 2017, Clare has been shadowing director Euros Lyn – on Channel4 mini-series KIRI, Jack Thorne’s BBC adaptation of HIS DARK MATERIALS and Film4/Raw feature DREAM HORSE. She has also shadowed series DP Adriano Goldman on the Aberfan episode of Netflix’s THE CROWN (S3), and director Phil John on Sky’s LUCKY MAN (S3).

In 2020, Clare was awarded bursaries from Ffilm Cymru Wales and the Welsh Broadcasting Trust to support her development as a director of scripted work.

When was the first time you realised you wanted to make films?

I was 30 years old, recently made redundant from a desk job I hated, and freelancing as an advertising copywriter. One of my agencies asked me to write an AV script for a corporate client. I wasn’t sure what an AV script was and had to look it up. Then they asked me what the meta-narrative was and again I scurried off to Google to find out. A whole new world of visual storytelling opened up to me and I was hooked from then on.

What was the last project you worked on / made?

I wrote and directed narrative short The Arborist through the BFI Network scheme, via Ffilm Cymru Wales / BBC Wales. It’s a deeply personal film – a drama about grief and loss and the power of objects, places, people and memories to connect us to those we’ve lost.

What are you up to now? What is the next project you’re working on?

I’ve recently signed with United Agents and we’re working together to progress my career to the next level… having ‘generals’ with producers and execs, applying for career development opportunities and being put forward for jobs. It’s all about landing upon a lucky opportunity to break through into drama directing, while developing my own projects alongside. I’m currently writing my first feature film: a ghost story set in the Highlands of Scotland. And I’m developing a documentary series and a factual drama – both of which explore the ripple effects of homicide.

Clear Vision - Catholics and the Media

A truly wonderful program we need more like this. Well done EWTN, every parish in Wales and indeed Britain needs a copy the DVD, it made us feel proud to be Catholic. At last the truth of Britain’s Catholic history is beginning to shown to the world.

Wonderful documentary Stefano. Thank you so much. Keep them coming.

Thank you Chloe, you may be interested The Crusades, on EWTN 8th October

i love WAles. Been here nearly a year- shame that the faith has nearly gone from here. and no thanks to the bishop egan of the north, now retired a total apostate!

Protestantism which was the last religion of Wales, needs a form of mass hysteria to sustain it. And there has over the last 250 years of so been various revivals to keep the faith alive, however because there is very little spiritual depth to Protestantism it will always fade again to be replaced some decades later by another revival, perhaps less in intensity than the last. Until we are where we are at the moment - at low tide. There was once a BBC TV programme on the Faith in Britain as a whole called the Sea of Faith, it was a shocking cold programme hosted by an Anglican atheist cleric called Don Cupitt he based him programme around the Matthew Arnold poem called Dover Beach, here is a portion of it

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Let's hope when the tide turns it will be Catholic
perhaps we will do a post on this sometime.

St Francis' / St Clare's Orphanage, Pantasaph, Flintshire, Wales

In 1861, St Francis' Orphanage for Roman Catholic Girls was established at Monastery Road, Pantasaph, Flintshire.

On 3rd December, 1868, the establishment, now known as St Clare's, was officially accredited as a Certified School, allowing it to receive girls boarded out by the workhouse authorities. The orphanage was run by the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady Mother of Mercy.

The premises were subsequently rebuilt on a much larger scale and could accommodate up to 212 girls, aged from 2 years upwards at their date of admission. In 1890, there were 150 inmates, of whom 82 had been placed by boards of guardians, the remainder being voluntary cases. A charge of £10 per annum was made for each girl, plus an initial entrance fee of two guineas.

The St Clare's site is shown on the 1913 map below.

St Clare's Orphanage site, Pantasaph, c.1913.

St Clare's Covent, Pantasaph, early 1900s. © Peter Higginbotham

By 1920, the institution was also known as the St Clare Domestic Training School.

Domestic Training School, Pantasaph, 1920s. © Peter Higginbotham

St Clare's closed in 1977 and the buildings have now been converted to residential use.


Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.




Except where indicated, this page () © Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission.

Anglo-Welsh relations in the 14th century

Berkeley Castle, where Edward II was brutally murdered in 1327 © The new English king, Edward II (1307-27,) had reason to fear a union between his Scots, Irish and Welsh enemies. Never the warrior his father was, Edward junior inherited the debts and bitter legacies of Edward I's wars.

While the fighting did spread to Ireland, however, after the Scots' victory at Bannockburn, and the Welsh princes received some encouragement from Robert the Bruce, the feared alliance never became reality.

What did happen was that the collective threat from his neighbours allowed Edward II to settle some old scores, and he moved against Roger Mortimer, one of the most powerful Marcher lords, who led the reforming opposition to the king.

Mortimer ruled Carmarthen and south central Wales in a way that angered the local population. One of the reasons why Edward may have won the eventual loyalty of the Welsh was that, while his enemy Mortimer attacked them, Edward made them feel part of things. No longer just a subjugated people but subjects of the realm, occasionally they were called to the king's parliament in some number.

. Welsh culture lived on in the stories of the bards.

By 1322 the king was strong enough to arrest Mortimer, but the latter escaped from the Tower in 1324 and fled to Paris, becoming the estranged queen's lover. Together they invaded England, and forced Edward II's flight into Wales, where he was arrested. In 1328 Mortimer became the first Earl of March, and ruled England with the queen, until the legitimate heir, Edward III removed him in 1330.

Edward II's deposition and death, as legend has it, by a red-hot poker up the rectum (his ornate tomb rests near the Welsh border in Gloucester cathedral), showed that even the Crown was no longer sacrosanct. Only the Welsh seemed to mourn him, and the chronicler Walsingham noted '. the remarkable way in which he was revered by the Welsh'.

The Welsh continued to revolt against English hegemony from time to time but gradually their middling sort, the 'gentry', accepted English law and language in order to gain office and position for themselves.

Increasing numbers sent their heirs to élite universities in England, but Welsh culture lived on, in the stories of the bards and the preaching of the native clergy in the principality.

The cult of the Britonic-Welsh hero, King Arthur (once used by Edward I to justify his claim to rule all Britain,) was renewed again, with the prediction by Merlin that one day Wales would again rule England.

Clare was murdered by a man she met on Facebook - but her legacy is saving others

Ten years ago, Clare Wood, a 36-year-old single mum from Salford, was dealing with the fallout from her break-up with George Appleton.

She had met the 40-year-old &aposjack-the-lad&apos on Facebook, but chosen to end the relationship after ten months - having found out that Appleton had had affairs with four other women he had met online.

On October 7, 2008, five days after she had dumped him, she walked into Pendleton police station in Salford, and told officers of his rage at the rejection.

He had threatened to burn her house down, smash the windows, have her stabbed, threatened her with an iron and made abusive remarks. Two officers escorted her home, checking the property at St Simon Street, to make sure it was safe.

The weeks following were complicated marked by police contact between police and Clare and police and Appleton, as she made complaints against him of criminal behaviour, but couldn&apost manage to shake him off.

Then, on February 2, 2009, four months to the day after she ended it, Clare was found dead at her home. She had been strangled and set on fire by Appleton, before he hung himself in a derelict building.

It emerged, in the aftermath, that Appleton had a history of wooing women online - and then terrorising them. That revelation prompted Claire&aposs father, Michael Brown, to campaign for a new law - one which would allow women to identify potentially violent partners.

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In 2014, as a result of that campaign, the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme - known as &aposClare&aposs Law&apos - was rolled out across the country. And now, analysis has revealed the extent to which the law is being used.

DVDS allows people to check with police if they are concerned their partner - or the partner of someone they know - might have a record of abusive offences, or pose a risk of violence or abuse.

And Home Office data shows both the use of the new law, and disclosures by police as a result, have been rising across England and Wales.

The number of applications for information by members of the public - known as &aposRight to Ask&apos applications - has soared from 3,045 in the year to June 2017 to 4,655 in the year to March 2018.

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In Greater Manchester, there were 447 &aposRight to Ask&apos applications in the year to March 2018. That works out as 37 a month - or more than one a day.

Police disclosed information in 124 cases in 2018, the M.E.N. can reveal, although figures for Greater Manchester are not available for 2017.

The figures, analysed by our Data Unit, show Lancashire had the highest number of &aposRight to Ask&apos applications of any police force in England or Wales, with 511 in the year to March 2018.

Greater Manchester was second, with Thames Valley third with 225. Anyone wishing to make an application under the law needs to attend a police station in person. A police officer or member of staff takes the person through the next steps, and a safe means of contact is established.

Campaigners highlight the fact that perpetrators are still going unpunished.

Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said: “We know from our work with survivors that it takes a lot of courage to reach out to the police for help.

"Just over one quarter of women using community-based support services and just over two fifths of women in refuge had reported the abuse to the police, according to the Women’s Aid Annual Survey 2017.

"We welcome police forces taking a proactive approach to tackling domestic abuse by raising awareness that if you are concerned that your partner might be abusive that you have a ‘right to ask’ about their criminal record.

"However, this will only help women in a small number of cases as only a fraction of perpetrators are held to account by the law for their crimes.

“When a woman makes a &aposright to ask&apos application under Clare’s Law, she must have concerns that her partner is, or will be, abusive. Even if there isn’t a criminal conviction disclosed under Clare’s Law, this does not mean that the police’s job is done and dusted.

"It is an opportunity for the police to build up trust with survivors, signpost them to a specialist support service like Manchester Women’s Aid and let them know that the police will always be there to listen to them, believe them and support them.”

Watch the video: Our Work in Wales: An overview with Clare Flynn


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