Jasper Tudor


Jasper Tudor

Jasper Tudor (Welsh: "Siasbar Tudur"): c. 1431 – December 21/26, 1495, Earl of Pembroke and 1st Duke of Bedford, was the uncle of King Henry VII of England and the architect of his successful conquest of England and Wales in 1485.

Lineage

Jasper was the third son of Owen Tudor and the former Queen Catherine of Valois, widow of King Henry V. Hence he was a half-brother to King Henry VI, who, on attaining his majority, made Jasper Earl of Pembroke (sometime in 1452 or 1453).

Through his father, Owen Tudor, he was a direct descendant of Ednyfed Fychan, Llywelyn the Great's renowned Chancellor; this added greatly to his status in Wales.

Although there was uncertainty as to whether Jasper and his two (or three) brothers were legitimate, their parents' probably secret marriage not being recognised by the authorities, he enjoyed all the privileges appropriate to his birth until 1461, when he was subject to an attainder for supporting King Henry VI against the Yorkists, who eventually deposed him.

Wars of the Roses

Jasper was an adventurer whose military expertise, some of it gained in the early stages of the Wars of the Roses, was considerable. He remained in touch with Margaret of Anjou, Queen of Henry VI, as she struggled to regain her son's inheritance, and he held Denbigh Castle for the House of Lancaster. He also brought up his nephew, Henry Tudor, whose father had died before his birth, until 1461, when custody was taken over by William Herbert. Following the return of the Yorkist king Edward IV from temporary exile in 1471, Jasper took the teenage Henry with him into exile, this time in Brittany. It was thanks to him that Henry acquired the tactical awareness that made it possible to defeat the far more experienced Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field. On Henry's accession in 1485, Jasper was restored to all his former titles, including Knight of the Garter. He was made Duke of Bedford. In 1488, he took possession of Cardiff Castle.

Marriage and children

Jasper was married on November 7, 1485 to Catherine Woodville (c. 1458 – 1509).

Catherine was the daughter of Richard Woodville, 1st Earl Rivers and Jacquetta of Luxembourg, and thus was sister to (among others) Edward IV's queen Elizabeth Woodville, Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers and Richard Woodville, 3rd Earl Rivers. She was also the widow of Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham.

They may have had one stillborn son, born c. 1490. Catherine survived Jasper and later married Sir Richard Wingfield of Kimbolton Castle.

Jasper reportedly had two illegitimate daughters:
*Helen Tudor (born c. 1459), wife of a cloth merchant William Gardiner, sometimes spelled William Gardynyr for his Welsh descent (born c. 1450) and mother of:
**Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester (c. 1490 – November 12, 1555)
**Richard Gardiner, (1486 – 1548)
**William Gardiner, (1488 – 1549)
*Joan Tudor. Wife of William ap Yevan and reported mother of Morgan ap Williams. Morgan was later married to Catherine Cromwell, an older sister of Tudor statesman Thomas Cromwell. They were fourth-generation ancestors to Oliver Cromwell.

Death and burial

He died in December, 1495, and was buried at Keynsham Abbey in Somerset which Lady Agnes Cheyne, the incumbent of Chenies Manor House, bequeathed to him in 1494.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Arms

Jasper bore the arms of the kingdom, differenced by a "bordure azure with martlets or". [ [http://www.heraldica.org/topics/britain/cadency.htm Marks of Cadency in the British Royal Family] ]

References


*"Oxford Dictionary of National Biography" - R. S. Thomas, "Tudor, Jasper, duke of Bedford (c.1431–1495)"
* [http://wbo.llgc.org.uk/en/s-TUDO-SIA-1431.html Welsh Biography Online]
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