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.’
I also read that Henry’s French mercenaries were reluctant to come ashore – and had to be tempted with offers of ale and fresh bread. The ships were unloaded in the fading light, and Henry’s army made the short trek to the nearest town of Dale, where they camped for the night and made preparations for the long march through Wales to confront the army of King Richard.
I visited Mill Bay on a bright summer’s day and was pleased to see a bronze plaque commemorating Henry’s landing there. I also found a post placed there by the History Points Website which celebrates Welsh History. The bay is far enough from Dale for them to have landed undetected, although the path up the hill is steep. The Tudors had brought artillery and ammunition from France, so it must have been quite a haul, despite the number of men.
The final stop on this journey in the footsteps of the Tudors is to Bosworth Field, where there is an Anniversary Battle Re-enactment Event on 20th & 21st August. See http://www.bosworthbattlefield.org.uk/ for more details.
- The Tudors’ Journey to Bosworth: Part 1 by Tony Riches
- The Tudors’ Journey to Bosworth: Part 2 - Exiled at Château de l’Hermine, Brittany, by Tony Riches
- The Tudors’ Journey to Bosworth: Part 3 – Exiled at Château de Suscinio, Brittany, by Tony Riches
- The Tudors' Journey to Bosworth: Part 4 - Henry Tudor at Forteresse de Largoët by Tony Riches
- The Tudors’ Journey to Bosworth: Part 5 - Jasper Tudor at Château Josselin, Brittany by Tony Riches
Tudor Society members can view Claire's talk on Henry VII - Usurper?
Tony Riches is a full-time author of best-selling fiction and non-fiction books. He lives in Pembrokeshire, West Wales and is a specialist in the fifteenth century, with a particular interest in the Wars of the Roses and the lives of the early Tudors.
Here are the blurbs for Tony's first two books of his "Tudor Trilogy":
Owen: Book 1 of the Tudor Trilogy
England 1422: Owen Tudor, a Welsh servant, waits in Windsor Castle to meet his new mistress, the beautiful and lonely Queen Catherine of Valois, widow of the warrior king, Henry V. Her infant son is crowned King of England and France, and while the country simmers on the brink of civil war, Owen becomes her protector.
They fall in love, risking Owen’s life and Queen Catherine’s reputation—but how do they found the dynasty which changes British history – the Tudors?
This is the first historical novel to fully explore the amazing life of Owen Tudor, grandfather of King Henry VII and the great-grandfather of King Henry VIII. Set against a background of the conflict between the Houses of Lancaster and York, which develops into what have become known as the Wars of the Roses, Owen’s story deserves to be told.
Owen - Book One of the Tudor Trilogy from Tony Riches is a new addition to the story of the Tudors and the great historical fiction tradition of C J Sansom, Conn Iggulden, Philippa Gregory and Hilary Mantel.
Jasper: Book 2 of the Tudor Trilogy
Following the best-selling historical fiction novel OWEN – Book One of The Tudor Trilogy, this is the story, based on actual events, of Owen’s son Jasper Tudor, who changes the history of England forever.
England 1461: The young King Edward of York takes the country by force from King Henry VI of Lancaster. Sir Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke, flees the massacre of his Welsh army at the Battle of Mortimer’s Cross and plans a rebellion to return his half-brother King Henry to the throne.
When King Henry is imprisoned by Edward in the Tower of London and murdered, Jasper escapes to Brittany with his young nephew, Henry Tudor. After the sudden death of King Edward and the mysterious disappearance of his sons, a new king, Edward’s brother Richard III takes the English Throne. With nothing but his wits and charm, Jasper sees his chance to make young Henry Tudor king with a daring and reckless invasion of England.
Set in the often brutal world of fifteenth century England, Wales, Scotland, France, Burgundy and Brittany, during the Wars of the Roses, this fast-paced story is one of courage and adventure, love and belief in the destiny of the Tudors.