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  • Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester

    Young commander

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Who was he?

High-ranking, wealthy and ambitious, the 23-year-old Gloucester was one of three earls fighting for Edward I. He was related to both kings, as Edward’s nephew and Bruce’s canonical brother-in-law (Gloucester's wife and Bruce's wife were sisters).

At Bannockburn

At Bannockburn Gloucester shared the prestigious command of the vanguard with Hereford. On 23 June, he was knocked from his horse in the violence and confusion which followed Bruce’s killing of de Bohun. This humiliation surely stayed with the young knight and influenced his actions on the second day.

Eager to shake off his embarrassment over being unhorsed on the first day, the next morning Gloucester charged boldly at the Scottish spearmen at the head of his cavalry division. He was brought down at once again and this time he was killed. He was the first English earl to be killed in action since 1265.

After Bannockburn

Gloucester was the most significant of all the English casualties and would have been a valuable source of ransom income had he been captured alive. Like Clifford, Bruce had his remains sent home for burial in Tewkesbury Abbey.

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