Tudors of Penmynydd

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Arms of the Tudors
The stained glass window at Penmynydd.

The Tudors of Penmynydd were a noble and aristocratic family, connected with the village of Penmynydd in Anglesey, North Wales, who were very influential in Welsh (and later English) politics.

The family descended from 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 was a descendant (ninth in descent) of Marchudd ap Cynan, Lord of Rhos, Lord Protector of Rhodri the Great, king of Gwynedd, and, going further back, Welsh tradition maintains that Marchudd ap Cynan was himself a descendant (seventh in descent)[1] of King Cadrawd Calchfynydd;[2] the ancestor of Owen Tudor and thereby of the House of Tudor.[3] The house of Tudor came to an end in the 17th century.[4] There appears to be no connection with the King Tewdwr Mawr of Brittany supposed to have come into conflict in Cornwall with Saints Breaca, Ia, Gwinear, Kea and Meriasek during the Migration Period.

Owain Glyndŵr era[edit]

In the 15th century, three of the Tudor brothers gave their allegiance to Owain Glyndŵr, their first cousin as their mothers were sisters and also descended from many of the native Welsh princes including Llewellyn the Great: Rhys ap Tudur, Gwilym ap Tudur and Maredudd ap Tudur (great grandfather of Henry VII). Following Glyndŵr's demise, much of the Tudors' lands were taken by the English Crown.

The Tudor dynasty[edit]

The Tudor dynasty or House of Tudor was a European royal house of Welsh origin that ruled the Kingdom of England and its realms from 1485 until 1603. Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond, was the son of Welsh courtier Owain Tudur (anglicised to Owen Tudor) and Catherine of Valois, widowed Queen Consort of the Lancastrian King Henry V. Owen Tudor and Catherine of Valois had two sons, Edmund Tudor (d. 1456), 1st Earl of Richmond, and Jasper Tudor (d. 1495),1st Earl of Bedford and 1st Earl of Pembroke. In anticipation of a male heir to the House of Lancaster, Edmund Tudor was betrothed and married to Margaret Beaufort (1443-1509) daughter of John Beaufort, 1st Duke of Somerset and Margaret Beauchamp. In the absence of a son, Margaret Beaufort was the only heir of the House of Lancaster after Henry VI, and so her marriage to Edmund Tudor, son of Catherine of Valois and therefore French Royalty in its fruition would ensure a sturdy male heir for the House of Lancaster. And that Margaret did achieve, on 28 January 1457 Margaret gave birth to a son, Henry Tudor (later King Henry VII) at Pembroke Castle in Wales. Unfortunately for Margaret and the Tudor family, her husband Edmund Tudor had died 1 or 3 November 1456, leaving Margaret a widow at only thirteen years of age. Margaret's son Henry Tudor, born in Pembroke, grew up in south Wales and in exile in Brittany. Henry proclaimed himself Henry VII King of England after winning The Battle of Bosworth on 22 August 1485, where he defeated Richard III. In her unwavering ambition, Henry's mother Margaret had forged an alliance with discontented Yorkists, most notably Elizabeth Woodville, widow of King Edward IV, in support of her son, who landed in South Wales, gathered further troops through Wales and the Midlands and ultimately defeated Richard III, Henry proclaiming himself King of England on the battle field.

After the battle, Henry Tudor, King of England, married Elizabeth of York, the daughter of King Edward IV, granddaughter of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York and the eldest surviving heir of the House of York and sister of the Princes in the Tower, Edward V and Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York. Henry and Elizabeth would have a long and happy marriage, having two sons who survived infancy, Arthur, Prince of Wales, who died in 1502 at the age of fifteen, and Henry (Henry VIII) perhaps the most famed of Tudor monarchs for having six wives. Henry VII and Elizabeth also had two daughters who grew to be women, Margaret, who would be queen consort of Scotland, and Mary, who would become queen consort of France to Louis XII of France. Queen Elizabeth of York died in 1503 after giving birth to their last child Katherine, who did not survive. Henry Tudor, or Henry VII, King of England, died in 1509; his son Henry took the throne and became Henry VIII, King of England.

Henry VIII eventually married his brother Arthur's widow Catherine of Aragon, they had only one surviving child, the future Mary I. After nearly twenty five years of marriage, Henry, with much trouble and causing much unrest, had his marriage to Katherine annulled, claiming the marriage as unlawful due to her being the widow of his brother, and splitting with the Roman Catholic Church in the process. This action brought about the birth of the English Reformation, and eventually brought about the beginning of The Church of England. Henry then married his mistress Anne Boleyn on 28 May 1533. Anne gave birth to a daughter, the future Elizabeth I, on 7 September later that year. On 19 May 1536, Henry had Anne executed for treason and adultery. Henry then married Jane Seymour on 30 May 1536. Jane gave birth to a son, Edward, who would later become King Edward VI, on 12 October 1537. Jane then died of childbed fever on 24 October. Henry VIII married three more women: Anne of Cleves in January 1540, a marriage which was annulled soon after, Catherine Howard in July 1540, who would be executed for adultery, then Katherine Parr in July 1543, who would survive Henry and go on to raise Elizabeth before her death in 1548.

After Henry VIII's death, his son Edward VI assumed the throne, with his Uncle, Edward Seymour, as Lord Protector. Edward died on 6 July 1553. The throne was then for nine days held by his cousin Lady Jane Grey. Edward's older sister Mary (daughter of Katherine of Aragon) took the throne herself by force, becoming Mary I, but better known as Bloody Mary for her ruthless execution of Protestants during her reign, having again pronounced the Kingdom as Catholic. Mary married her cousin Phillip II of Spain, but died with no issue herself in November 1558. The throne then went to Elizabeth, Henry's daughter by Anne Boleyn, who would reign for some forty five years. Elizabeth I was known as the Virgin Queen, having never married, and having no issue, the Tudor line died with her. Her rule would be known forever as 'The Golden Age'.

In total, five Tudor monarchs ruled England for 118 years. Henry VIII of England was the only male-line male heir of Henry VII to live to the age of majority. Issues around the Royal succession (including marriage, divorce, and the succession rights of women) became major political themes during the Tudor era.

The Tudor dynasty failed in 1603 with the death of Elizabeth I of England, who died without any children to succeed her. However, Elizabeth's aunt, Margaret Tudor was married to King James IV of Scotland, and their descendants regained the throne of England through her great-grandson James VI of Scotland as the first king of Great Britain. Via James' daughter Elizabeth of Bohemia and her daughter Sophia, Electress of Hanover, the dynasty remains on the throne to this very day.

After the Tudor dynasty[edit]

The descendants of Tudur ab Ednyfed Fychan later evolved into the Griffiths family of Penrhyn as well as Sir Gruffudd Llwyd and Sir Rhys ap Gruffudd (d.1356).

Lineage[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pedigree Marchudd ap CYNAN (Lord) of RHOS
  2. ^ Heraldic Visitations of Wales, Samuel Rush Meyrick, p.14
  3. ^ Bezzant Lowe, Walter (1912). The Heart of Northern Wales. Llanfairfechan. p354.
  4. ^ [Y Gwyddoniadur Cymraeg University of Wales Press 2008]