1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Tudor
TUDOR (Family). The house of Tudor, which gave five sovereigns to England, is derived by all the Welsh genealogists from Ednyfed Vychan of Tregarnedd in Anglesey, who is named in 1232 as steward of Llywelyn, prince of North Wales, and seven years later, as an arbitrator in a convention to which Davydd, the son of Llywelyn, was a party. His pedigree has been traced from Marchudd ap Cynan and beyond him, according to the veracious Lewys Dwnn, from Brutus, the great-grandson of Aeneas. Gronw, or Gronwy, one of his younger sons, had Trecastell for his portion. Tudor, son of Gronw, who lived to be called Tudor Hen or the old Tudor, founded the Carmelite friary in Bangor and was grandfather of Tudor Vychan ap Gronw of Trecastell, who is said to have assumed the style of a knight, and to have had that rank confirmed to him by Edward III.
This Tudor Vychan was the father of four sons, of whom the eldest, Gronw Vychan, was in favour with the Black Prince and with Richard II. He was forester of Snowdon and steward of the bishop of Bangor's lordship in Anglesey. He died in 1382, an infant son being heir to his lands in Penmynydd, whose sister carried them to her husband Gwylym ap Gmffydd of Penrhyn. Gronw Vychan, whom a bard calls “ a pillar of the court: the ardent pursuer of France,” was probably the warrior whose effigy remains in the church at Penmynydd.
Gronw's brothers Gwylym and Rhys served Richard II. as captains of archers. Their youngest brother, Meredydd ap Tudor, escheator of Anglesey in 1392 and, like Gronw, an officer of the household of the bishop of Bangor, is said to have slain a man and fled to the wild country about Snowdon. He was the father of Owen ap Meredydd, commonly called Owen Tudor, a squire who appears at the court of the infant king Henry VI. By all accounts he was a goodly young man: the chroniclers dwell upon the beauty which attracted the queen mother. She gave the handsome squire a post in her household. About 1428 or 1429, it must have been common knowledge that the presumptuous Welshman and the daughter of Charles VI. of France were living as man and wife. There is no direct evidence for their marriage. An act had but lately been passed for making it a grave offence to marry with the queen dowager without the royal consent: this act is said to have been afterwards cut out from the statute book. Richard III. denounced his rival Richmond as the son of a bastard, but it must be remembered that Richard was ready to foul the memory of his own mother in order to say the same of the young Edward V. But no one yet has found time or place of Owen Tudor's marriage with Catherine of France.
Five children were born to them, the sons being Edmund and Jasper and another son who became a monk. In 1436, a date which suggests that Bedford had been Owen's protector, the influence of Gloucester was uppermost. In that year the queen dowager was received within Bermondsey Abbey, where she died in the following January. Her children were taken from her, and Owen Tudor “ the which dwelled with the said queen ” was ordered to come into the king's presence. He had already seen the inside of Newgate gaol, and he would not obey without a safe conduct. When he had the safe conduct sent him he came up from Daventry and went at once to sanctuary at Westminster, whence even the temptations of the tavern would not draw him. Allowed to go back to Wales, he was retaken and lodged again in Newgate. He broke prison again, with his chaplain and his man, the sheriffs of London having a pardon in 1438 for the escape from gaol of “ Owen ap Tuder, esquire,” and he returned to his native Wales. When Henry VI. came of full age he made some provision for his step-father, who took the red rose and fought manfully for it. But Mortimer's Cross was his last battle (Feb. 4, 1460/1). He fell into the hands of the Yorkists, who beheaded him in Hereford market place and set up his head on the market cross. Thither, they say, came a mad woman who combed the hair and washed the face of this lover of a queen, setting lighted wax torches round about it.
His eldest son Edmund of Hadham, born about 1430 at Hadham in Herts, one of his mother's manors, was brought upwith his brothers by the abbess of Barking until he was about ten years old. The king then, took them into his charge. Edmund was a knight in 1449 and in 1453 he was summoned as earl of Richmond, his patent, dated the 6th of March 1452/3, giving him precedence next to the dukes. He was declared of legitimate birth, and in 1455 the royal favour found him a wife in the Lady Margaret, daughter of John Beaufort, duke of Somerset. But he died the next year, and his only child, afterwards Henry VII., was born on the 28th of January 1456/7, three months after his death.
Edmund's younger brother, Jasper Tudor, survived him many years. Jasper was knighted in 1449 and, about the date of Edmund's patent, was created earl of Pembroke. He bore the royal arms of France and England, differences with a blue border charged with the royal martlets of the Confessor's fabulous shield, and the same was formerly to be seen upon his Garter stall-plate of 1459. He fought at St Albans in 1455 for the king who had advanced him, and two years later we find him strengthening the defences of Tenby. In 1460 he seized and took Denbigh, where the queen joined him after Northampton. He shared the defeat in 1461 at Mortimer's Cross, where his father the Welsh squire was taken and beheaded, and left the country in 1462. In 1465 he made a last descent upon Wales, to be driven off by William Herbert, who was rewarded with his earldom of Pembroke, already forfeited by attainder. But he was an obstinate and loyal partisan. He came back again with Warwick in 1470 and was hurrying to join the queen when Tewkesbury was fought and lost. After many adventures he carried off his young nephew Richmond to Brittany. The two came back together in 1485. After Bosworth, Jasper was created duke of Bedford and restored to his earldom, the earl-marshalship being given him in 1492. He lived to fight at Stoke in 1487 against Lincoln and Simnel his puppet and to be one of the leaders of the host that landed in France in 1492. He died in 1495 leaving no issue by his wife Catherine, the widow of the second duke of Buckingham and a daughter of Richard Widvile, Earl Rivers. But his bastard daughter Ellen is said to have been mother of Stephen Gardiner, bishop of Winchester. (O. Ba.)