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The Tudor Society
  • 22 August 1485 – The Battle of Bosworth

    On this day in history, the 22nd August 1485, in rural Leicestershire near Market Bosworth, the armies of King Richard III and Henry Tudor faced each other in a battle that would see the death of the King and the beginning of a new dynasty: the Tudor dynasty.

    When Henry Tudor challenged the King on that August day, Richard III had been King for just over two years. He had gone from being Lord Protector to the young King Edward V, the twelve-year-old son of Richard’s brother Edward IV, to being King after Edward IV’s sons were declared illegitimate. His challenger, Henry Tudor, was the son of Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond, and Lady Margaret Beaufort, a woman descended from John of Gaunt, third son of Edward III. As a Lancastrian, Henry had fled to Brittany in France, after Edward IV successfully regained the throne from Henry VI in 1471. He returned to England after his mother had conspired with Elizabeth Woodville, Edward IV’s widow, to arrange a marriage between Elizabeth’s daughter, Elizabeth of York, and Henry, and to promote Henry as an alternative to Richard III.

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  • 7 August 1485 – Henry Tudor came unto Wales

    On this day in history, Sunday 7th August 1485, Henry Tudor, son of Lady Margaret Beaufort and the late Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond, “came unto Wales”, returning from exile in Brittany to claim the throne of England from Richard III.

    Polydore Vergil records Henry’s return:

    “Than Henry, thinkinge yt nedefull to make haste, that his arrive the frinds showld not be any longer kept in perplexytie betwene hope and drede, uncertane what to do, after he had made hisprayers to God that he might have an happy and prosperousjourney, he lowsyd from the mowth of Seyne with two thousand onely of armyd men and a few shippes, the calends of August, and with a soft suthren wynde. The weather being very fayre he came unto Wales the 7th day after, a lyttle before soone set, wher, entring thaven caulyd Milford, and furthwith going a land, he took
    first a place the name wherof ys Dalley, wher he herd that certane companyes of his adversaryes had had ther stations the wynter by past to have kept him from landing. From thence departing in the breake of dav he went to Haverforde, which vs a towne not xne. myles from Dalley, wher he was receavyd with great goodwill of all men, and the same he dyd with suche celerytie as that he was present and spoken of all at once.”

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  • Henry Tudor’s Guide to Pembrokeshire

    Thank you to Nathen Amin of The Henry Tudor Society for sharing this on Facebook, I just had to share it with you. Henry Tudor’s Guide to Pembrokeshire – enjoy!

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  • 9 May 1509 – Henry VII’s remains taken to St Paul’s

    On this day in history, 9th May 1509, the remains of Henry VII, who had died at Richmond Palace on 21st April 1509, were taken to Old St Paul’s.

    Here’s an account by James Peller Malcolm (1767-1815) in Londinium redivivum:-

    “On the 9th of May, 1509, the body of Henry VII. was placed in a chariot, covered with black cloth of gold, which was drawn by five spirited horses, whose trappings were of black velvet, adorned with quishions of gold. The effigies of his Majesty lay upon the corpse, dressed in his regal habiliments. The carriage had suspended on it banners of arms, titles, and pedigrees. A number of prelates preceded the body, who were followed by the deceased king’s servants; after it were nine mourners. Six hundred men bearing torches surrounded the chariot.

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  • 21 April 1509 – The death of Henry VII

    At 11 o’clock on the night of 21st April 1509, King Henry VII died at Richmond Palace. It was not a sudden death, the king had been ill for some time and had shut himself away at Richmond since January.

    John Fisher, the future Bishop of Rochester, recorded details of Henry VII’s last days for a sermon. The king died a good Christian death but his last days were far from peaceful, they involved confession, prayer, weeping and a dying man trying to bargain with God, pleading with God that he would be a changed man if God sent him life. Fisher writes of how he received the sacrament of penance “with a marvellous compassion and flow of tears, that at some time he wept and sobbed by the space of three quarters of an hour.”

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  • 28 January – Henry VII, Henry VIII and Edward VI

    This day in history involves Henry VII, Henry VIII and Edward VI; grandfather, father and son. For it was on this day in 1457 that Henry VII was born, this day in 1547 that Henry VIII died, and this day in 1547 that Edward VI became king. What a day in history.

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  • 18 January 1486 – The marriage of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York

    On this day in history, 18th January 1486, the twenty-nine-year-old Henry VII married the twenty-year-old Elizabeth of York.

    They made a striking couple. Elizabeth of York had classic English Rose looks – blonde hair, blue eyes and fair skin – and Henry was tall, slim, dark haired and handsome. They were the perfect couple, and their marriage brought hope to the country. It reconciled the warring Houses of Lancaster and York, and began a new royal house and era: the Tudor dynasty.

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  • December Expert – Gareth Russell – Henry VIII as a military leader

    Gareth Russell discusses the successes and failures of Henry VIII as a military leader, leading to some interesting and damning conclusions.

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  • Henry VII Quiz

    Henry VII was the founder of the Tudor dynasty but how much do you know about him? Get those brain cells working and enjoy this fun quiz from Rebecca Larson.

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  • The Beginning of a Dynasty: The Coronation of Henry VII

    Thank you to our regular contributor, Heather R.Darsie, for writing this article on the coronation of Henry VII, founder of the Tudor dynasty.

    On 30 October 1485, Henry VII’s coronation was held, and he became the first Tudor monarch. The date of 30 October was chosen in part because he wished to be crowned king before the next sitting of Parliament, which took place on 7 November. By having his coronation before the next sitting of Parliament, which was the first to take place after the Battle of Bosworth, Henry would not need Parliament to declare him the rightful king. There are not any contemporary descriptions of the coronation, but there are several items that show the careful and shrewd character which the 28-year-old Henry employed to make certain his claim to England was sound. All that is really known is that Henry’s coronation took place at Westminster Abbey.

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  • The Tudors’ Journey to Bosworth: Part 7 – The Battle of Bosworth by Tony Riches

    In this series, I have followed the progress of Henry and Jasper Tudor from Pembroke Castle to their long exile in Brittany and their return with an army to Wales. Their long march, covering as much as twenty-six miles a day, ended when they encountered King Richard III’s army camped at Ambion Hill, close to Sutton Cheyney.

    The Battle of Bosworth is poorly documented, with no first-hand accounts surviving. Anything we read about the battle, therefore, has to be looked at closely to see who wrote it and when. One of the best summaries of the often conflicting accounts is Chris Skidmore’s book, Bosworth – The Birth of The Tudors. Even as Chris was writing the book, news emerged of a new location for the battlefield site, and the bones of Richard III were discovered in a car park as he completed the first draft.

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  • 17 August 1510 – The Executions of Sir Edmund Dudley and Sir Richard Empson

    On 17th August 1510, the second year of King Henry VIII’s reign, Henry VII’s former chief administrators, Sir Edmund Dudley and Sir Richard Empson, were beheaded on Tower Hill after being found guilty of treason.

    Chronicler Edward Hall records:

    “The kynge beyng thus in hys progresse harde euery daye more and more complayntes of Empson and Dudley, wherfore he sent wryttes to the Shynfes of London, to put them in execucion, and so the xvii. day of August, they were both behedded at the Towre hyl, and their bodies buryed and their heades.”

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  • The Tudors’ Journey to Bosworth: Part 6 – The Tudors Land at Mill Bay in Pembrokeshire by Tony Riches

    After following the long exile of Jasper and Henry Tudor in Brittany, I have now returned to Pembrokeshire in West Wales. The Tudors had made an unsuccessful attempt to invade England in 1483 but learned from this near disaster. On Monday 1st of August, 1485 they sailed again from the mouth of the Seine with their mercenary army of some four thousand men to challenge King Richard III for the crown.

    It seems the sea voyage led by the Poulian De Dieppe, flagship of their capable captain, Guillaume de Casenove, was uneventful and had the benefit of favourable winds. They made landfall at Mill Bay, a secluded, pebble-strewn beach in the far west of Wales just before sunset on Sunday 7th August. It is reported that, on going ashore, Henry Tudor kissed the ground and recited a Psalm in Latin. Some accounts suggest it was Psalm 23, but the consensus was Psalm 46: ‘Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.’

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  • 7 August 1485 – Henry Tudor lands at Mill Bay

    On this day in history, 7th August 1485, Henry Tudor, the future Henry VII, dropped anchor at Mill Bay, near Milford Haven, Wales. When he reached the beach, it is said that he prayed “Judge me, O Lord, and favour my cause.”

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  • The Tudors’ Journey to Bosworth: Part 4 – Henry Tudor at Forteresse de Largoët by Tony Riches

    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.

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  • The Tudors’ Journey to Bosworth: Part 2 – Exiled at Château de l’Hermine, Brittany, by Tony Riches

    In the first part of this series, I followed Jasper Tudor and his young nephew Henry’s escape from Tenby in West Wales. There are tales of storms and of them being forced to shelter in the lee of the island of Jersey before they were able to make landfall at the Breton fishing port of Le Conquet in September 1471.

    Jasper and Henry sought sanctuary from Duke Francis of Brittany and became his guests at the ducal palace, the Château de l’Hermine in Vannes. Duke Francis was a skilled politician, so would have appreciated the political value of the exiled Tudors to King Edward IV of England, as well as to his rival King Louis of France, to whom they were related through the Valois family of Jasper’s mother, Henry’s grandmother, Queen Catherine.

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  • The Tudors’ Journey to Bosworth: Part 1 by Tony Riches

    Henry Tudor’s return from exile to victory at Bosworth has to be one of the greatest moments in the history of the Tudor dynasty. So why is the Bosworth story so often told from the perspective of Richard III, with Henry depicted as lucky to have won?

    I was born within sight of Pembroke Castle and have always been intrigued by the small room where the thirteen-year-old Lady Margaret Beaufort gave birth to the future king, Henry Tudor. I’ve also stood on the remote beach at Mill Bay near Milford Haven imagining how Henry would have felt as he approached with his uncle Jasper and his mercenary army.

    All I knew about Jasper’s father, Henry’s grandfather, Owen Tudor, was that he’d been a Welsh servant who somehow married the young widow of King Henry V, Queen Catherine of Valois. Inspired to write a historical fiction trilogy about them, I wanted to research their stories in as much detail as possible and to sort out the many myths from the facts.

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  • August 2016 Tudor Life Magazine

    This month we travel a little further back in the Tudor period to look at the early Tudors… We have an article by Leanda de Lisle on Owen Tudor, and a day-by-day build-up to the Battle of Bosworth by Debra Bayani, along with other excellent articles by a whole host of historians and authors.

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  • Henry VII – Usurper?

    In today’s Claire chats I talk about the comments I often see on social media about Henry VII.

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  • 21 April 1509 – The death of Henry VII and the accession of Henry VIII

    On this day in history, 21st April 1509, fifty-two-year-old King Henry VII died at Richmond Palace, passing the throne on to his seventeen-year-old son Henry, who became King Henry VIII.

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  • Pembroke’s Henry VII Statue Fundraising Appeal

    It seems strange that Pembroke, birthplace of Henry VII, founder of the Tudor dynasty, does not have a statue of the king, doesn’t it? However, hopefully this will soon be rectified.

    In January of this year, a maquette of a proposed bronze statue was unveiled at a fundraising events organised by Pembroke & Monkton Local History Society in Pembroke Town Hall. The statue will cost around £40,000 and Pembroke Town Council have allocated £20,000 of that as part of their Town Centre Support programme. The remaining £20,000 has to be raised.

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  • 5 March 1496 – Henry VII issues letters patent to explorer John Cabot

    On this day in history, King Henry VII issued letters patent to navigator and explorer Giovanni Caboto, better known as John Cabot, and his three sons, giving them his royal authority for a voyage of exploration:

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  • Perkin Warbeck by Sarah Bryson

    On 23rd November 1499, Perkin Warbeck faced his death at Tyburn. He was sentenced to be hanged until he was dead. His crime was attempting to escape the Tower of London where he was held a prisoner, but his story goes back several years and involves a tale of deception, treason and rumours of a young Prince come back to life!

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  • The King of Carmarthen – Expert Talk from Susan Fern Part TWO

    Susan Fern finishes her two part talk about the life of Rhys ap Thomas, from the Battle of Bosworth through the Field of the Cloth of Gold to his death in Carmarthen. Rhys was a fascinating character who has been largely forgotten yet was key to many of the successes of the Tudors.

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  • 7 November 1485 – Richard III and supporters attainted

    On 7th November 1485, at King Henry VII’s first Parliament, the late King Richard III and twenty-eight of his supporters were attainted, i.e. declared guilty of treason by bill of attainder.

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  • Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond

    Today marks the anniversary of the death of Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond, on 1st November 1456. He died from the plague at Carmarthen Castle.

    Thank you to Sarah Bryson for writing this article on Edmund for us.

    Henry Tudor, King Henry VII, was the founder of the Tudor Dynasty. His mother was the imposing Margaret Beaufort who risked everything to see her son on the throne and in turn the houses of Lancaster and York united through the marriage of her son to Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV. But who was Henry Tudor’s father? While so much is known about Henry’s mother, his father is a much more elusive figure and sadly he did not live to see his only son and heir claim the English throne.

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  • 30 October 1485 – Henry VII is crowned king

    On 30th October 1485, Henry Tudor, 2nd Earl of Richmond and son of Lady Margaret Beaufort and the late Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond, was crowned King Henry VII at Westminster Abbey.

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  • Henry VII and St Armel

    Thank you so much to Tudor Society member Ceri Creffield for telling me about an article that has been published as part of Wales Online’s Welsh History Month – Welsh History Month: St Armel, the refugee saint who protected the king.

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  • Transcript from Susan Fern’s Live Chat

    Here is the transcript of the session for those who weren’t able to make it live to Susan Fern’s chatroom session.

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  • Expert Talk: Susan Fern on Bosworth’s Lost Commander

    Here’s this month’s expert talk, a wonderful description of the times just before the battle of Bosworth, when the houses of Lancaster and York were both trying to win the support of Rhys ap Thomas and Wales.

    Susan Fern, author of “The Man Who Killed Richard III: Rhys ap Thomas” takes us step by step through these turbulent times and helps us to understand who Rhys was, and why he was to change the course of history.

    This is PART ONE of a two part talk recorded exclusively for the Tudor Society. Susan will be joining us live in the chatroom on 14th October, 10pm UK time.

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