Henry VII had an uncle Owen Tudor . . . .

Well, I confess I always thought Henry VII only had one uncle on the paternal side, and that was Jasper. So just who is in the above illustration?

The Tudors as being important in English history commenced with the affair between the widowed Katherine of Valois and the rather lowly Welshman Owen Tudor. They had a number of children, although whether or not any of them were born within illegal wedlock is something that isn’t really known. As always, there are varying versions, but that isn’t the point of my present article, so I won’t go into it. Suffice it that to read the general facts of their story, this post is a convenient place to start.

It suggests that Katherine and Owen had at least six children, with three surviving sons that we know of. The two eldest were Edmund (father of Henry VII) and Jasper, but there was a third, Owen (born 1432/1433), who seems to disappear. Surely he was the Owen Tudor, monk of Westminster? It has to be him, if he’s commemorated as the uncle of Henry VII. Doesn’t he? And perhaps he would “disappear” if he became a monk at Westminster.

What other alternative is there? Could there be another Owen Tudor? Apart from his children by Katherine, and after her death, Owen Tudor Sr had at least one illegitimate son, named David/Davydd. But maybe he had more than one illegitimate son—another Owen/Owain perhaps? And maybe this hypothetical son was this monk at Westminster? The fact is that any son of Owen Sr who was named after his father would automatically become an uncle of Henry VII.

Coming upon the above photograph of the memorial of “Owen Tudor, monk of Westminster, uncle of Henry VII”, was something of a surprise to me because I thought Jasper was Henry’s sole paternal uncle. There is no date for him on the memorial, but I imagine this Owen died before Henry even knew him. After all, before usurping the throne, Henry had spent a large part of his life in exile.

If anyone knows more about this monk of Westminster, I’ll be interested to learn of it.

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