Earlier in this series, I traced the journey of Jasper Tudor and his young nephew Henry’s escape from West Wales and their arrival in Brittany. The Tudors were welcomed to Vannes as guests of the powerful Duke Francis of Brittany before moving to the more remote Château de Suscinio for their own safety. The increased threat of abduction by York’s agents finally convinced Duke Francis to reduce the risk by moving them to separate locations inland.
Fourteen-year-old Henry was relocated to the Forteresse de Largoët, deep in the forest outside of the sleepy town of Elven. His custodian, Marshall of Brittany, Jean IV, Lord of Rieux and Rochefort, had two sons of a similar age to Henry, and it is thought they continued their education together. Henry was however prevented from communicating with his mother in England or his uncle Jasper Tudor, who now resided in a château elsewhere in Brittany.
In the first two parts of this series, I followed Jasper Tudor and his fourteen-year-old nephew Henry’s escape from Tenby in Wales and their arrival in Brittany. The Tudors are recorded as spending a year in Vannes as guests of Duke Francis of Brittany but, in October 1472, the duke became concerned they might be abducted by York’s agents. They were moved to his remote ‘hunting lodge’ by the sea, south of Vannes, the Château de Suscinio.
The Tudors’ new home had been fortified in the fourteenth century by Breton knight Bertrand du Guesclin, nicknamed ‘The Eagle of Brittany’, a military commander during the Hundred Years’ War. As well as building the seigniorial residence block and a corner tower known as the Tour Neuve, the moat was deepened and a raising drawbridge added, together with casemates to house artillery. By the time the Tudors arrived, the original thirteenth century château resembled a castle of generous proportions.