Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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OWAIN TUDOR ( c. 1400 - 1461 ),

grandfather of Henry VII (q.v.) , son of Maredudd ap ‘Sir’ Tudur ap Goronwy Fychan (see under Ednyfed Fychan ) by Margaret , daughter of Dafydd Fychan ap Dafydd Llwyd .

The circumstances surrounding the early part of his life are very obscure, but it is certain that as a young man he became a servant in the household of Henry V , possibly through the influence of his courtier kinsman, Maredudd ab Owain Glyn Dwr . During her widowhood, the dowager-queen , Catherine of Valois , mother of the boy-king Henry VI , fell in love with her tall, attractive attendant, and though there is no record of the event, all the evidence points to a secret marriage between them in 1429 . The children of this union were: (1) Edmund (q.v.) , earl of Richmond , father of Henry VII ; (2) Jasper (q.v.) , earl of Pembroke ; (3) Owen , a monk of Westminster ; (4) Margaret , who d. in infancy; (5) Jacina , possibly the wife of lord Grey de Wilton . Almost immediately after Catherine 's death in 1436 , Owain was in serious trouble with the authorities, having for some reason attracted the particular animosity of the duke of Gloucester , the regent. It has been assumed that the persecution of Owain , which continued for some years (it is significant that he was deprived of the custody of his children), was somehow bound up with his breach of a supposed statute of 1428 , forbidding the marriage of a queen-dowager without official consent [but see Artemus-Jones, Without my Wig , chap. 3]. When Henry VI came of age, however, Owain was restored to favour, being at once made a royal pensionary and in time receiving grants of other offices of profit, including, in 1460, important rights in the lordship of Denbigh . He proved himself a loyal supporter of the Lancastrian cause. Made a prisoner after the battle of Mortimer's Cross, 1461 , he was taken to Hereford and there beheaded, being buried at the Grey Friars in that city.


  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • Archaeologia Cambrensis , 1849 (269), 1869 (278, 379);
  • T. Artemus Jones , Without my Wig (Liverpool, 1945) , 2-32;
  • interesting chronicle sources are quoted in these works.


Professor Thomas Jones Pierce, M.A., F.S.A., (1905-1964), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959