Michael Portillo’s Great Coastal Railway Journeys and Pembroke Castle


I have enjoyed watching Michael Portillo’s Great Railway Journeys particularly the programmes that have shown him travelling along the coast of South Wales. He stopped off in places that I know well in Glamorgan, also in places that my ancestors hailed from in Carmarthenshire.

However, one programme ended up in Pembroke and I must admit my first thought was oh no Henry Tudor was born in Pembroke Castle. How right I was because the first part about Pembroke mentioned the castle and Henry Tudor. Nathan Amin, who started the Henry Tudor Society, was giving chapter and verse on Tudor’s Welsh heritage. Michael Portillo asked “Was he Welsh” “Yes he was” replied Amin “The Tudor’s were steeped in Welsh history” Apparently the Tudors were connected to Hywel Dda and Rhodri Dda!. “He was far more Welsh than supposed” Amin said.

However, there is some evidence that Edmund Beaufort may have been the father of Edmund Tudor. This evidence is not conclusive but there isn’t any evidence to support Owain Tudor being Edmund’s father either.

When writing about Catherine of Valois, mother to Edmund and Jasper Tudor, in his book Royal Marriage Secrets John Ashdown-Hill writes “within two years of her husband’s death she had apparently begun to form an amorous attachment to the late King’s cousin Edmund Beaufort”. In 1427 a bill was presented to Parliament by the government. This stated that widowed Queens could only remarry with the consent of an adult King. This was duly passed into law. In the event of someone trying to marry the Queen they would have to forfeit all their land. I’m sure that Edmund Beaufort would not have wanted this.

Catherine of Valois died in 1437 (before Henry VI attained his majority) and it was only after her death that Edmund Beaufort married Lady Eleanor Beauchamp. I wonder if this was because he was secretly married to Catherine. Another hint that Edmund and Jasper could have been his sons? “It was only after her death that Queen Catherine’s alleged marriage to Owain Tudor became a matter of public discussion.” (John Ashdown Hill’s Royal Marriage Secrets, page 71)

 It is believed Catherine of Valois “married” Owain Tudor, the Steward of her Wardrobe. Owain is known as Edmund and Jasper Tudor’s father. He was descended from Ednyfed Fychan and his first wife Tangwystyl. Ednyfed was Llewellyn ap Iorworth’s Steward. Owain was known as Owain ap Maredydd ap Tudor. Therefore, his father’s name was Maredydd as in Owain son of Maredydd and Tudor was his grandfather’s name.

Two things I would like to point out here firstly Edward IV and Richard III are directly descended from Llewellyn ap Iorworth through his daughter Gwladus y Ddu, who married into the Mortimer family. However, I don’t believe this is ever mentioned in, Tudor propaganda. Secondly it amazes me that traditionalist historians are adamant that Catherine was married to Owain and that he was the father of Edmund and Jasper. However, they are equally adamant that Edward IV was never married to Lady Eleanor Talbot.

There isn’t any evidence to prove who was Edmund Tudor’s father, however I would suggest that if Ancestry had been providing DNA tests in the 15th century they might have discovered that Edmund and Jasper didn’t have any Welsh ancestry at all.

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