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Today we will begin to examine the Paternal Ancestry of Henry VII of England. We begin with his father Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond, born June 11, 1430 and died November 3, 1456. He was also known as Edmund of Hadham. Edmund Tudor was father of King Henry VII of England and a member of the Tudor family of Penmynydd, North Wales.

Henry VII, King of England and Lord of Ireland.

Edmund’s parents were Owen Tudor and the dowager queen Catherine of Valois, (wife of Henry V of England) making Edmund a half-brother to Henry VI of England. Edmund was raised for several years by Katherine de la Pole, and King Henry VI took an interest in Edmund’s upbringing, granting him the title 1st Earl of Richmond and lands once he came of age. Both Edmund and his brother, Jasper, were made advisers to the King as they were his remaining blood relatives. The brothers were made the senior earls in the royal court and had influential positions in the Parliament of England. Edmund was also granted Baynard’s Castle, London and ran a successful estate.

As Earls, and recognised by court as the King’s half brothers, Edmund and Jasper Tudor had unparalleled precedence over the other laypersons in court with the exception of the Dukes. They were each given lands, although Jasper received a yearly stipend until the Earldom of Pembroke became available. After seven years of marriage to Margaret of Anjou, King Henry VI was still without children. After the death of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, the royal line was at risk of extinction and considerations were made about the Tudor brothers inheriting the throne. There were concerns that while they had descended from the French royal line through Catherine, they only had little or distant blood relation to the English throne.

On November 1, 1455, Edmund married John Beaufort’s granddaughter, Margaret Beaufort, (John Beaufort, Earl of Somerset was the son of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, third son of King Edward III of England). Prior to the start of the Wars of the Roses, Edmund liaised with Richard of York and supported him when the King fell ill during 1453 and 1454. After war began in 1455, York sent Edmund to uphold the authority of the King in South Wales. While he was there, York was overthrown by the King and in retaliation, Yorkist forces were sent to engage those of Tudor’s in South Wales. Edmund was captured at Carmarthen Castle, and died there of the bubonic plague on November 3 1456 aged only 26. The future Henry VII of England was born at Pembroke Castle on January 28, 1457 and automatically became the 2nd Earl of Richmond, for his father had died three months before his birth.

Edmund’s father was Sir Owen Tudor Sir Owen Tudor (c. 1400 – 2 February 1461) Asmentioned the Tudor’s were descendants of a prominent family from Penmynydd on the Isle of Anglesey, which traces its lineage back to Ednyfed Fychan (d. 1246), a Welsh official and seneschal to the Kingdom of Gwynedd. Tudor’s grandfather, Tudur ap Goronwy, married Margaret, daughter of Thomas ap Llywelyn ab Owain of Cardiganshire, the last male of the princely house of Deheubarth. Margaret’s elder sister married Gruffudd Fychan of Glyndyfrdwy, whose son was Owain Glyndŵr (sometimes called Owen Glendower in English, was a Welsh ruler and the last native Welshman to hold the title Prince of Wales). Owen’s father, Maredudd ap Tudur, and his uncles were prominent in Owain Glyndŵr’s revolt against English rule, the Glyndŵr Rising.

Owen’s original name in Welsh was Owain ap Maredudd ap Tudur. When Owen Anglicized his name he abandoned the Welsh patronymic naming practice and adopted a fixed surname. When he did, he did not choose, as was generally the custom, his father’s name, Maredudd, but chose that of his grandfather, Tudur ap Goronwy, instead. This name is sometimes given as Tewdwr, the Welsh form of Theodore.

The Tudors of Penmynydd were the senior line of a noble and aristocratic family, connected with the village of Penmynyddin Anglesey, North Wales, who were very influential in Welsh (and later English) politic. The family descended from one of the sons of Ednyfed Fychan (died in 1246), the Welsh warrior who became seneschal to the Kingdom of Gwynedd in north Wales, serving Llywelyn the Great and later his son Dafydd ap Llywelyn. He claimed descent from Marchudd ap Cynan, Lord of Rhos and ‘protector’ of Rhodri the Great, king of Gwynedd, a founder of one of the so-called Fifteen Tribes of Wales. From Ednyfed’s many sons would come a ‘ministerial aristocracy’ in northern Wales. He left the manors of Trecastell, Penmynydd and Erddreiniogin, Anglesey to those of his sons born to his second marriage to Gwenllian, daughter of king Rhys ap Gruffydd of Deheubarth, and among these sons was Goronwy (died 1268), founder of the line of the Tudors of Penmynyth.

This is enough information for one day. More on the background of the Tudor dynasty in then next post in this series.