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11th to 12th Century

Eleventh Century
1066 Norman Conquest

William of Normandy defeats Harold at the Battle of Hastings. Richard Fitzgilbert, his kinsman is granted estates in Kent to guard the crossing of the Medway at Tonbridge. He raises a simple Motte and Bailey castle on the present site.

1086 Doomsday Book

William's record of all land holdings shows Richard holding many estates in Southern England, among them Clare in Suffolk (by which name the family became known).

Although frequently referred to as Richard of Tonbridge, there is no record of the lands which became known as The Lowy of Tonbridge which were held to support the castle.

1088 Fortress Burns

The de Clares rebel against King William II (Rufus) whose forces besiege the castle. The defenders surrender. The town is burnt.

Twelfth Century

William Rufus killed in the New Forest. Walter Tyrell, the son-in-law of Gilbert de Clare shot the arrow. The de Clares begin their ascent to become the richest and most powerful family in the Kingdom.

Henry II

The Archbishops of Canterbury claim the de Clares hold the Lowy from them and not direct from the King - demand homage. 1163 Roger de Clare rejects the claim and forces the messenger to eat the demand "parchment, seals and all".

Quarrels with Canterbury

Quarrels over supremacy between Thomas a Becket and King Henry lead to the murder of the Archbishop in Canterbury Cathedral on the 29th December 1170.

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