Clare, Elizabeth (de Burgh ) (1295–1360), third and youngest daughter of Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester, and his wife Joan ‘of Acre’, daughter of Edward I, was married and widowed three times by her thirtieth birthday and for most of her life was one of the wealthiest magnates in England and Ireland. Her first marriage (September 1308), to John de Burgh, eldest surviving son of Richard de Burgh (qv), 2nd earl of Ulster, was part of a double marriage alliance that bound the two families. As part of the marriage contract, a sizeable landed estate was given jointly to her and her husband by the earl of Ulster, lands that she retained after her husband's premature death (September 1313). She returned to England with her son William de Burgh (qv), 3rd earl of Ulster, and within the year became one of the most eligible marriage prospects in England. Under the terms of her father's marriage contract, Elizabeth became one of the three coheiresses of the vast Gloucester lands when her brother, Gilbert, earl of Gloucester, died at Bannockburn (June 1314). Edward II delayed the partition of the Gloucester lands while trying to find suitable husbands for two of the sisters, but in February 1316 Elizabeth married Theobald de Verdon (qv) without the permission of the king. De Verdon was accused of kidnapping the heiress, but claimed that the two had agreed on marriage in Ireland and that Elizabeth had come to meet him. The marriage was short-lived as de Verdon died on 27 July 1316, leaving his wife pregnant with the third of his four daughters, Isabella. As a result, Elizabeth held one-third of de Verdon's lands in dower, as well as the third of the Gloucester lands settled on her when the king finally agreed to the partition in 1317, and the lands she held in jointure and dower that were part of the earldom of Ulster: a grouping of lands worth well over £2,000 a year. As such a wealthy magnate in her own right, Elizabeth became a pawn in the politics of the reign of Edward II. The king married her to one of his favourites, Sir Roger Damory, in May 1317 and the marriage resulted in one child, Elizabeth, by the time of Damory's death (March 1322), after which she was imprisoned by the Despensers and forced to surrender some of her lands to the younger Despenser. She received livery of her lands in November 1322 but was again imprisoned by the Despensers till she agreed not to marry again without royal permission. She was forced to forfeit her lands in January 1323 and swore out a statement of complaint against the Despensers in May 1326. She was restored to all her lands in February 1327 by her cousin Edward III, and then began the preparations for the return of her son to Ireland as the new earl of Ulster. The assassination of the earl in 1333 caused serious disruptions in the Irish lordship, and from this period on, Elizabeth chose to live in England where she actively controlled the affairs of her vast estate, leaving behind a sizeable collection of estate records. As an absentee, her policy leaned towards renting and leasing her scattered lands in Ireland (including in north Antrim, Kilkenny and Tipperary (Lisronagh)), but in England she clearly acted to oversee the most profitable use of her lands. She appears as one of the founders of Walsingham Friary and refounded University Hall, Cambridge, as Clare Hall (Clare College from 1856). It is also clear from her surviving records that she maintained a close relationship with her immediate family – her daughters Isabella and Elizabeth, and her granddaughter, Elizabeth (qv) (d. 1363), countess of Ulster – throughout her life. According to her will (dated September 1355), her wish was to be buried in the Minoress convent near Aldgate in London. After her death (November 1360), some of her lands reverted to the families of her second and third husbands, but the vast majority passed to her granddaughter, Elizabeth, who had recently married the king's son, Lionel (qv) of Antwerp, duke of Clarence from 1362.
Elizabeth de Clare's estate accounts (TNA (PRO), ministers’ accounts, S.C. 6) contain many relating to her Irish lands, on which she kept a close eye. They are one of the most valuable sources for estate management and absentee lordship in the fourteenth century.