John Simkin Posted July 5, 2005 Share Posted July 5, 2005 Part 1: In 1990 I was doing some research for a National Curriculum book on the Middle Ages. I came across the name of Elizabeth de Clare. I discovered that this woman gave a great deal of money to the poor during her lifetime. She also established Clare College, Cambridge in 1336. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/YALDclareEliz.htm I was interested in two main questions: (1) Where did she get her money from? (2) Why was she so generous with her money? I discovered that for over 300 years the Clare family had been one of the richest families in the UK. In fact, the money had dated back to the Norman invasion of 1066. Richard Fitz Gilbert, the half brother of William the Conqueror, was granted the title of the Earl of Clare. Elizabeth’s brother, Gilbert, the 10th Earl of Clare, had been killed at Bannockburn in 1314. In fact, Edward II had ordered Gilbert on a suicidal mission and was probably a strategy to deal with the troublesome Clare family. He had no children and so the money was divided between his three sisters. All three sisters were forced to marry knights loyal to Edward II. However, after Elizabeth’s husband died in 1322, she paid a substantial sum to the king in order that she could remain a widow. Elizabeth, then decided to give most of this money away to the poor. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/NORgilbertten.htm http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/NORclaresisters.htm I became fascinated by this story and decided to take time off from writing books for GCSE and the National Curriculum and do an in-depth study of this family. It took me two years to fully research the story. I then decided to take another gamble and to turn it into a simulation that would last for several months. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Yalding.htm This simulation is based on just one village controlled by the Clare family. During my research I discovered that one village in particular, Yalding in Kent, had a wealth of primary sources. I therefore believed it was possible to construct a realistic simulation based on the sources available. During the first part of the project the students study the period 1066 to 1335 via the Clare family. This involves the role the family played in the Norman invasion, the building of castles and monasteries, the feudal system, medieval knights, the deaths of William Refus and Thomas Becket, the Magna Carta, the conquering of Wales and Ireland, and the origins of parliament. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/YALDnormanRS.htm Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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