Richard of Tonbridge’s grandson Richard was the eldest son of Gilbert FitzRichard who was given the Lordship of Ceredigion by King Henry I provided he could take and hold it. After his father’s death Richard inherited assorted lands in England and Wales including the Lordships of Clare and Ceredigion. Richard paid a relief of £43 6s and 8d to enter Ceredigion(1) which interesting as it recognised the king’s authority to make the grant, which later marcher lords refuted, but whilst the records are very specific about the finances they are a little on the murky side as to whether Richard was the first Earl of Hertford or not but it’s generally accepted than neither King Henry or King Stephen elevated the baron to an earldom. Like his younger brother Gilbert, Richard was loyal to King Stephen and he benefited from that loyalty but not to the extent that Stephen was prepared to extend his land holdings in Wales – which was in ferment.
In 1136 Richard travelled through the borders in the direction of Ceredigion and was ambushed and killed . His body was transported back to Kent and buried in Tonbridge Priory which was his foundation. In between times Richard’s widow, the sister of Earl Ranulf of Chester, was forced to take shelter in Cardigan Castle before being rescued and returned to England.
Richard’s son Gilbert became the 1st Earl of Hertford whilst his younger brother Roger succeeded as the second earl. A daughter married into the Percy family. William Percy’s mother was a member of a Welsh royal family so the union had less to do with securing alliances in Yorkshire than establishing networks of kinship on the marches and in Wales. Other daughters married the earls of Lincoln and Devon reflecting the loyalties of the Anarchy between King Stephen and Empress Matilda. As the former was loyal to Stephen whilst the latter was created Earl of Devon by the Empress Matilda and turned pirate in the Isle of Wight on the empress’s behalf. Lucy de Clare was his second wife.
Richard’s descendants held the earldoms of Hertford and Gloucester until 1314 when Gilbert de Clare the 8th earl of Gloucester and 7th earl of Hertford was killed at Bannockburn. His widow, Maud de Burgh, protested pregnancy for the next three years until King Edward II called time on the possibility of there being a male de Clare heir to inherit the title.
(1) ed. White et al, p.255
White, Eryn Want, Jenkins, Geraint H., Suggest, Richard (eds.), Cardiganshire County History Volume 2: Medieval and Early Modern Cardiganshire. (Cardiff:University of Wales Press, 2019)