Roland de Velville

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Sir Roland de Velville
Constable of Beaumaris Castle,
Captain of Beaumaris Castle and Town,
Anglesey (Ynys Môn), Wales
Spouse(s) Agnes Griffith
Grace de Velville
Jane de Velville
(m. Robert Thomas ap Robert of Berain)
Father Henry VII of England, presumed
Mother unknown to historians
(per Beauclerk-Dewar et al., Sir Roland's heraldry reflected known parentage)
Born 1471/4
Brittany; under Francis II, a duchy of France
(per Beauclerk-Dewar et al., granted Letters of Denization, 1512)
Died 25 June 1535
Beaumaris Castle, Wales
Buried Chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Beaumaris Castle

Sir Roland de Velville (1471/4 - 25 June 1535, also Vielleville, Veleville, or Vieilleville)[1] is alternatively presented as the clear "illegitimate issue" (son) of King Henry VII of England by "a Breton lady whose name is not known",[2] or as a favored member of the court of Henry VII and later recipient of beneficences, brought home to England with 28-year-old Henry after his exile in Brittany, an adolescent "of unknown parentage", and so a possible or likely illegitimate son, with formal historical opinion undecided.[3]

Peter Beauclerk-Dewar and Roger Powell note that while not having official position or office, de Velville was a courtier and "favourite of the king, participating in numerous jousts and accompanying the king out hunting."[1] He saw military service in Brittany in 1489, and likely in France with the King in 1492, was knighted in 1497 after the Battle of Blackheath, and was one of a small group of knights individually rewarded for their efforts by Henry VII.[1]

Beauclerk-Dewar and Powell further state that historical records regularly place de Velville at royal tournaments marking significant royal events (marriages, visits of foreign monarchs) of the Court of Henry VII, in particular his jousts, from 1494-1507; in May 1509 he was appointed to attend Henry VII's funeral as a knight of the Royal Household, and in June to participate in the royal jousts in celebration of the accession of Henry VIII. Shortly thereafter, he was appointed Constable and Captain of Beaumaris Castle, Anglesey (Ynys Môn, in Wales) in 1509,[2] a position he held until his death.[1]

History writer Alison Weir notes "he married a Welshwoman, and had issue" [i.e., a child or children].[2] His wife Agnes (née Griffith), was widow of Robert Dowdyng and daughter in the powerful Welsh family of William (Gwilym) Griffith Fychan and so brother to Sir William Griffith, a Chamberlain of North Wales;[1] Agnes gave him two daughters, Grace and Jane, the latter who, in marriage to Tudor ap Robert Vychan, gave birth to Katherine Tudor, in Welsh Catrin o Ferain (who is sometimes referred to as "the mother of Wales").[4] de Velville died on 25 June 1535, cause unknown, and was buried in the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Beaumaris Castle.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f See Peter Beauclerk-Dewar & Roger Powell, "King Henry VII (1457-1509):Roland de Velville (1474-1535)", in Royal Bastards: Illegitimate Children of the British Royal Family (Gloucestershire, U.K.: The History Press, 2008), e-book edition, pp. 177-186, ISBN 0752473166.
  2. ^ a b c Alison Weir, Britain's Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy (London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999), pp. 152.
  3. ^ See Beauclerk-Dewar & Powell, pp. 177-186, citing Prof SB Chrimes, Cardiff University, and WRB Robinson, writing separately in the Welsh Historical Review, and Prof RA Griffiths and RS Thomas, University College, Swansea, in "The Making of the Tudor Dynasty" (ISBN 0750937769).
  4. ^ John Ballinger, "Katheryn of Berain", Y Cymmrodon, Vol. XL, The Honourable Society of Cymmrodian, London, 1929, see [1], accessed 22 June 2014.