Sir Owen Meredith Tudor (Welsh: Owain ap Maredudd ap Tudur pronounced [ˈəuain ap maˈrɛdɨð ap ˈtɛudʊr]; c. 1400 – 2 February 1461) was a Welsh soldier and courtier, descended from a daughter of the Welsh prince Rhys ap Gruffudd, "Lord Rhys". However, Owen Tudor is particularly remembered for his role in founding England's Tudor dynasty – including his relationship with, and probable secret marriage to, Catherine of Valois, widow of King Henry V of England.
Owen's father Maredudd ap Tudur (English:Meredith) had been (together with his two brothers Rhys and Gwilym) stalwarts of Owain Glyndwr's uprising of 1400. When that uprising ebbed away Maredudd lost most of his land to the English Crown. His saw his chance to better his position in society by moving to London and changing his son's name from Owain ap Maredydd to Owain Tudor. This is one of the first instances where a surname is used by Welshmen. Had he taken his father's name (rather than his grandfather) the royal English Dynasty that ruled England for the next hundred years would have been called The Meredith Dynasty.
In London, Owen (or Owain) became the ward of his father's second cousin, Lord Rhys. At the age of seven he was sent to the English court of Henry IV as page to the King's Steward. He went on to fight for the English at Agincourt in 1415, and appears to have been promoted to squire for his efforts. After Agincourt he was granted "English rights" and permitted to use Welsh arms in England. (King Henry IV had deprived Welshmen of many civil rights).
Catherine of Valois
There is little doubt that Owen was of gentle birth. Queen Catherine, upon being denied permission by her son's regents to wed John Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, allegedly said upon leaving court, "I shall marry a man so basely, yet gently born, that my lord regents may not object." (The objection to Somerset was that he was a second cousin of Henry V through the legitimised Beaufort line sired by John of Gaunt).
Owen entered the service of Queen Catherine of Valois as keeper of the Queen's wardrobe, (essentially her major-domo) after the death of her husband Henry V of England on 22 August 1422. The Queen initially lived with her infant son, King Henry VI, before moving to Wallingford Castle early in his reign and taking Tudor with her. Catherine left court when her son's regents, John of Bedford and Humphrey of Gloucester (brothers of Henry V) denied her permission to marry John Beaufort, Duke of Somerset and scion of a legitimised Plantagenet line. Ironically, Somerset became Henry VII's other grandfather. No documentation survives of her marriage to Owen Tudor in 1429. Parliament passed a resolution in 1428 forbidding dowager queens to remarry without the king's permission, so the marriage of Catherine and Owen Tudor may not have been legally valid. Still, they were communicants, and kept a chaplain. Henry VI in due time gave his two oldest Tudor half-brothers the rank of Earl though, as a signal recognition of their rank, they ranked above Marquesses and immediately below non-royal Dukes. Henry VI also issued an edict that the legitimisation of his two Tudor half-brothers was unnecessary. Henry VI knighted his stepfather Owen, made him Warden of Forestries, and appointed him a Deputy Lord Lieutenant. Prior to his creation as a Knight Bachelor, Owen, though excused from duty, was appointed an Esquire to the King's Person. Ironically, many years later, in order that he could command Henry VI's forces at Mortimer's Cross, Owen was made a Knight Banneret.
After Queen Catherine's death, Owen Tudor was imprisoned at Newgate Prison, but later released.
Wars of the Roses
Owen Tudor became an early casualty of the Wars of the Roses (1455–1487) between the House of Lancaster and the House of York. On 2 February 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 subsequently executed, beheaded at Hereford along with other prisoners, and buried there. 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 this point he is alleged to have said that "the head which used to lie in Queen Catherine's lap would now lie in the executioner's basket".
Owen descends from Rhys ap Gruffydd's (1132–1197) daughter, Gwenllian ferch Rhys.
- See pedigree chart on Wikipedia: Owen Tudor
Gwenllian ferch Rhys m. Ednyfed Fychan, Seneschal of the Kingdom of Gwynedd (d. 1246). Issue: Goronwy, Lord of Tref-gastell (d. 1268).
Goronwy m. Morfydd ferch Meurig, daughter of Meurig of Gwent. Issue: Tudur Hen, Lord of Penmynydd (d. 1311) m. Angharad ferch Ithel Fychan, dau. of Ithel Fychan ap Ithel Gan, Lord of Englefield. Issue: Goronwy ap Tudur, Lord of Penmynydd (d. 1331).
Goronwy ap Tudur m. Gwerfyl ferch Madog. Issue: Tudur Fychan, Lord of Penmynydd (d. 1367).
Tudur Fychan m. Margaret ferch Thomas of Is Coeod. Issue: Maredudd ap Tudur (d.1406)
Maredudd ap Tudur m. Margaret ferch Dafydd. Issue: Owen Tudor.
- Owen and Catherine of Valois. Issue: at least 6:
- Thomas Tudor (6 Nov 1429 – 1501 bur. Westminster Abbey). Monk at Monk at Westminster Abbey. Alias: Edward Bridgewater (as a monk).
- Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond (1430 – 1 Nov 1456) m. Margaret Beaufort. Issue: Henry Tudor.
- Jasper Tudor, 1st Earl of Pembroke and 1st Duke of Bedford (1431 – 21/26 Dec 1495) m. Catherine Woodville 1485 No issue.
- Owen Tudor (1432–1510). Monk at Westminster Abbey.
- Tacinda Tudor (b. 1433) m. Reginald Grey, Baron Grey of Wilton (1420/1421 – 22 Feb 1494)
- ___ (dau.) Tudor (b. c. 1435). Nun.
- Margaret (Catherine) Tudor (b./d. Jan 1437 Abbey of St Saviour, Bermondsey, London).
- Owen Tudor had at least 1 illegitimate child:
- Sir David Owen (1459–1528), knighted in 1485 by his nephew, King Henry VII, at Milford Haven.
- m.1 Anne Blount
- ancestry.com: Welsh Rulers of Britain link; Coat of Arms link; House of Tudor link; Owain Ap Tudor link; Owain and Catherine link; Owen ap Maredudd ap Tudor link; Greyfriars church link
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On May 9, 2012 at 19:47GMT Lindsay Coleman wrote: