Owen Tudor

Owen (or Owain) Tudor (c. 1400 - February 2, 1461) was a Welsh soldier and courtier, directly descended from The Lord Rhys but remembered only because of his role in founding the Tudor dynasty and for his relationship with Catherine of Valois, widow of King Henry V of England.



Owen was a seventh generation descendant of Rhys ap Gruffydd (1132 - 1197). Rhys had a daughter Gwenllian verch Rhys who was married to Ednyffed Fychan, Seneschal of the Kingdom of Gwynedd (d. 1246).

They were parents to Goronwy, Lord of Tref-Gastel (d. 1268). Goronwy was later married to Morfydd verch Meyrick, daughter to Meuric of Gwent. Meuric was son of Ithel, grandson of Rhydd and great-grandson to Iestyn ap Gwrgan(t). Iestyn had been the last King of Gwent (reigned 1081 - 1091) before its conquest by the Normans.

Goronwy and Morfydd were parents to Tudor Hen, Lord of Penmynydd (d. 1311). He was married to Angharad verch Ithel Fychan, daughter of Ithel Fychan ap Ithel Gan, Lord of Englefield. They were parents to Goronwy Ap Tudor, Lord of Penmynydd (d. 1331).

Goronwy was himself later married to Gwervy verch Madoc, daughter of Madoc ap David, Baron of Hendwr. They were parents to Tudor Fychan, Lord of Pemmynydd (d. 1367).

Tudor was married to Margaret verch Thomas. Margaret was daughter to Thomas ap Llewellyn, Lord of Iscoed, South Wales and his wife Eleanor verch Philip. Her paternal grandparents were Llewellyn ap Owain, Lord of Gwynnionith and Eleanor of Bar, daughter of Henry III, Count of Bar (c. 1262 - 1302) and Eleanor of England. Eleanor herself was daughter of Edward I of England and Eleanor of Castile. The maternal grandparents of Margaret were Philip ap Ifor, Lord of Iscoed and Catherine verch Llywellyn, reported daughter of Llywelyn the Last and Eleanor de Montfort.

Tudor and Margaret were parents to Maredudd ap Tudor (d. 1406). He was married to Margaret verch Dafydd. Margaret was daughter to Dafydd Fychan, Lord of Angleysey and his wife Nest verch Ieuan.

Maredudd and Margaret were the parents of Owen.

Marriage/Affair and children

Owain was assigned to the service of Catherine of Valois following the death of her consort Henry V of England on August 22, 1422. Catherine was French and therefore distrusted by an English Royal court still involved in the Hundred Years' War. She was removed from court and denied any part in the upbringing of her son, the infant King Henry VI. Henry had succeeded his father as the King of England. Following the death of his maternal grandfather Charles VI of France on October 21, 1422, Henry had also been declared King of France. A title that would be disputed by his maternal uncle Charles VII of France, also coronated King of France on July 17, 1429.

Catherine was not apparently trusted by either side of the conflict. Forced into retirement from public affairs, Catherine apparently chose Owen as a lover. She and Owen are sometimes said to have been secretly married, though there is no documentary evidence of this.

They certainly had at least five children:

On January 3, 1437, Catherine died in childbirth. Owen would later have an illegitimate son.

  • Sir David Owen (1459 - 1535). He was first married to Mary de Bohun, daughter of Sir John de Bohun of Midhurst and his wife Anne Arden. He married secondly to marriage Anne Blount, daughter of Sir William Blount and Margaret Etchingham. He married thirdly Anne Devereux, presumed to be a daughter of John Devereux, Lord Ferrers of Chartley and his wife Cecile Bourchier. He had four children by his first marriage.

Wars of the Roses activities

Owen was later involved in the Wars of the Roses (1455 - 1487) between the House of Lancaster and the House of York. On February 2, 1461, as a man of advanced years, Owen led the Lancastrian forces at the Battle of Mortimer's Cross against Edward, Earl of March. They were defeated. Owen was shortly after executed by decapitation along with other prisoners. He is said to have expected a reprieve because of his relationship with the former royal family. Owen reportedly was not convinced of his approaching death until the collar was ripped off his doublet by the executioner. At which point he is alleged to have said that "the head which used to lie in Queen Katherine's lap, would now lie in the executioner's basket".

External links

nl:Owen Tudor pt:Owen Tudor


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