Clere, Nicholas de (d. c.1303), treasurer of the Irish exchequer, seems to have entered royal service in 1277 when he was granted the prebend of the king's chapel in the castle of Nottingham. His first connection with Ireland came in 1284 when he was appointed custodian of the vacant archbishopric of Dublin. In July that year he became one of the four commissioners charged with investigating the state of the Irish exchequer. The king later enlarged the terms of reference of the inquiry to encompass an examination of the entire administration and the conduct of the king's ministers in the lordship, apparently at Nicholas's behest. Thereafter followed a thoroughly damning report on the exchequer, and charges of misconduct on a grand scale were laid against the current treasurer and justiciar, Stephen de Fulbourn. De Clere was appointed treasurer in his stead on 5 August 1285.
He became archdeacon of St Patrick's, probably in 1286, and was granted valuable benefices in six dioceses. His appointment to the treasurership also coincided with the rise in fortune of his brother William, another clerk in the king's service, who acted as his deputy in 1289–90. At the Westminster parliament of Hilary 1290 a large number of complaints were made concerning his activities as treasurer. Some of these were brought by relatives and associates of Stephen de Fulbourn and were motivated by revenge. Though de Clere had ready answers for many of the charges, which had been handed over for investigation to the justiciar and Irish council, enough question marks over his behaviour were raised to lead to a rigorous audit of his accounts.
He was dismissed from office on 28 July 1291 and the examination of his accounts began at Westminster in the following December. In their report the auditors spoke of ‘the low cunning of the man’; he was discovered to owe over £700 to the crown; his lands and goods were forfeited and he was thrown into the Fleet prison in London. The well known ordinance of 1292, which tried to bring the Irish exchequer into line with English practice, followed on from his dramatic fall from grace, and in future all Irish treasurers were supposed to undergo an annual audit at Westminster. His brother also became the target of a number of complaints, the most important of which was brought by the Italian merchants, the Riccardi of Lucca, and he too seems to have been imprisoned, albeit briefly.
In February 1298 Nicholas was released from prison and allowed to return to Ireland to attempt to find security for his debts to the king. In this he seems to have been unsuccessful and by April 1300 he was back in prison, this time in Dublin castle. He may have been briefly released again to try once more to find someone to underwrite his debts, but he died before 15 July 1303. His brother William seems to have had a rehabilitation of sorts when he was appointed chancellor of the Irish exchequer (March 1309), but he never took office and seems to have died shortly afterwards.