Owen Tudor's father Maredudd ap Tudur (English:Meredith) had been (together with his two brothers Rhys and Gwilym) stalwarts of Owain Glyndŵr's uprising of 1400. When that uprising ebbed away Maredudd lost most of his land to the English Crown. He saw his chance to improve his position in society by moving to London and changing his son's name from Owain ap Maredydd to Owain Tudor. This is one of the first instances where a surname is used by Welshmen. Had he taken his father's name (rather than his grandfather) the royal English Dynasty that ruled England for the next hundred years would have been called The Meredith Dynasty.
In London, Owen (or Owain) became the ward of his father's second cousin, Lord Rhys. At the age of seven he was sent to the English court of Henry IV as page to the King's Steward. He went on to fight for the English at Agincourt in 1415, and appears to have been promoted to squire for his efforts. After Agincourt he was granted "English rights" and permitted to use Welsh arms in England. (King Henry IV had deprived Welshmen of many civil rights.)
Ednyfed Fychan and Gwenllian ferch Rhys were the parents of Goronwy, Lord of Tref-gastell (d. 1268). Goronwy was married to Morfydd ferch Meurig, daughter of Meurig of Gwent. (Meurig was the son of Ithel, grandson of Rhydd and great-grandson of Iestyn ap Gwrgant. Iestyn had been the last King of Gwent (reigned 1081–1091) before its conquest by the Normans.)
Goronwy and Morfydd were parents of Tudur Hen, Lord of Penmynydd (d. 1311). Tudur Hen later married Angharad ferch Ithel Fychan, daughter of Ithel Fychan ap Ithel Gan, Lord of Englefield. They were the parents of Goronwy ap Tudur, Lord of Penmynydd (d. 1331).
Goronwy ap Tudur was married to Gwerfyl ferch Madog, daughter of Madog ap Dafydd, Baron of Hendwr. They were the parents of Tudur Fychan, Lord of Penmynydd (d. 1367).
Tudur Fychan married Margaret ferch Thomas of Is Coeod,of the native and Ancient Royal Houses of Wales, Margaret and her sister Ellen and Eleanor were descended from Angharad ferch Llywelyn, daughter of Llewellyn the Great. (Margaret was the daughter of Thomas ap Llewelyn, Lord of Is Coed, South Wales, and his wife Eleanor ferch Philip. Margaret was descended independently from King John and his legitimised daughter Princess Joan, King John and his son Henry III and grandson Edward I. Margaret's sister Ellen ferch Thomas was the mother of Owain Glyndŵr (the last native "Prince of Wales"). Her sister Eleanor ferch Thomas was the ancestor of the Newport family and the Earl of Bradford and the Lingen family and Baron Lingen of Lingen. Margaret's paternal grandfather was Llewelyn ab Owain, Lord of Gwynnionydd. Her maternal grandfather was Philip ab Ifor, Lord of Is Coed.)(ref Visitation of Shropshire 1623,R Tresswell. Somerset Herald)
Tudur and Margaret were parents to:
Maredudd ap Tudur (died 1406); Maredudd married Margaret ferch Dafydd. (Margaret was the daughter of Dafydd Fychan, Lord of Anglesey, and his wife, Nest ferch Ieuan.)
Maredudd ap Tudur and Margaret ferch Dafydd were the parents of Owen Tudor.
There is little doubt that Owen was of gentle birth. Queen Katherine, upon being denied permission by her son's regents to wed John Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, allegedly said upon leaving court, "I shall marry a man so basely, yet gently born, that my lord regents may not object." (The objection to Somerset was that he was a second cousin of Henry V through the legitimised Beaufort line sired by John of Gaunt).
Katherine of Valois
Owen entered the service of Queen Katherine of Valois as keeper of the Queen's wardrobe, (essentially her major-domo) after the death of her husband Henry V of England on 22 August 1422. The Queen initially lived with her infant son, King Henry VI, before moving to Wallingford Castle early in his reign and taking Tudor with her. Catherine left court when her son's regents, John, Duke of Bedford and Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (brothers of Henry V), denied her permission to marry Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset and scion of a legitimised Plantagenet line. Ironically, Somerset became Henry VII's other grandfather. No documentation survives of her marriage to Owen Tudor in 1429. Parliament passed a resolution in 1428 forbidding dowager queens to remarry without the king's permission, so the marriage of Catherine and Owen Tudor might not have been legally valid. Still, they were communicants, and kept a chaplain. Henry VI in due course gave his two oldest Tudor half-brothers the rank of Earl though, as a signal recognition of their rank, they ranked above Marquesses and immediately below non-royal Dukes. Henry VI also issued an edict that the legitimisation of his two Tudor half-brothers was unnecessary. Henry VI knighted his stepfather Owen, made him Warden of Forestries, and appointed him a Deputy Lord Lieutenant. Prior to his creation as a Knight Bachelor, Owen, though excused from duty, was appointed an Esquire to the King's Person. Ironically, many years later, in order that he could command Henry VI's forces at Mortimer's Cross, Owen was made a Knight Banneret.
Owen and Katherine had three, possibly four children:
Jasper Tudor, 1st Earl of Pembroke and 1st Duke of Bedford (1431 – 21/26 December 1495). He married Katherine Woodville, daughter to Richard Woodville, 1st Earl Rivers and Jacquetta of Luxembourg. Interestingly, Jasper married Katherine, the sister-in-law of Edward IV, in 1485, immediately after Henry VII married her niece Elizabeth of York, several months after Bosworth Field. By an unknown mistress (or mistresses), he had one illegitimate daughter, Ellen (wife of William Gardiner and William Sibson), and one possible illegitimate son, Owen.
Edward Tudor, third son. Very little is known of this child’s life. The Tudor historian Polydore Vergil stated this child, whom he did not name, became “a monke of the order of St. Benet, and lived not longe after.” [see Ellis, Three Books of Polydore Vergil’s English Hist. (Camden Soc. 29) (1844): 62 (sub Historie of England)]. An ancient pedigree chart of the English royal family dated c.1500 states that Owen and Queen Katherine had three sons, the third of which was named Edward: “Owyn tedder marrydd wt queen Kateryn yt was wyffe un to kyng henry ye vth & had by har Edmunde yerle of rychemond Jaspar & Edward …” [see Cheetham, Life & Times of Richard III (1992): frontispiece]. The historian William Camden likewise referred to this child as Edward Tudor, and indicated that he lies buried in the chapel of St. Blaise in Westminster Abbey near the tomb of Abbot Nicholas Litlington [see Camden, Reges, Reginæ, Nobiles (1603)]. Even so, he is called Owen Tudor in most published sources, the reasons for which are not clear. The modern historian Pearce has shown, however, that no monk named either Edward or Owen Tudor existed at Westminster Abbey in this time period. An alternative theory advanced by Pearce is that Edward Tudor is the same person as Edward Bridgewater, a known monk at Westminster Abbey, who died c.1471. This theory appears to be groundless. Samuel Bentley, on the other hand, believed that this child is the same person as a much later Owen Tudor [see above] who received a payment of £2 in reward from King Henry VII in 1498, and who died in 1501. This identification is impossible, however, if any credence is to be given to Polydore Vergil’s statement that this child “lived no longe after.” Bentley, Excerpta Historica (1833): 119, 128. Banks, Dormant & Extinct Baronage of England 4 (1837): 378–380 (“Owen Tudor, third son of Owen Tudor and queen Catherine, took upon him a religious habit in the abbey of Westminster.”). Stanley, Hist. Mems. of Westminster Abbey (1868): 357. Antiq. 3 (1881): 241–242. D.N.B. 19 (1909): 1217–1218 (biog. of Owen Tudor [Sr.]) (states Owen Tudor, [Senior] and Queen Katherine “had three sons, of whom Edmund and Jasper are separately noticed; and a third became a monk at Westminster … [and] two daughters … of whom one became a nun, and the other, Jacinta, is said to have married Reginald, lord Grey de Wilton.”). Broadley, Doctor Johnson & Mrs. Thrale (1910): 280–281. Williams, Llyfr Baglan, or, Book of Baglan (1910): 36 (omits reference to Owen or Edward Tudor as alleged son of Owen Tudor and Queen Katherine). Griffith, Peds. of Anglesey & Carnarvonshire Fams. (1914): 106 (Plas Penmynydd ped.) (“Owen [Tudor], a monk, bur. at Westminster Abbey), 223 (Berain ped.). Pearce, Monks of Westminster (1916): 7 ([Stanley Hist. Mems. of Westminster Abbey discusses] “Owen, third son of Owen Tudor, and uncle of Henry VII,’ who ‘lies in the chapel of St. Blaize.’ It is, of course, possible that this Owen Tudor entered our house [i.e., Westminster] and took another Christian name and another surname. Stanley repeats the statement on two other occasions, but neither an Owen nor a Tudor is to be found among our monks of that or any other date. If Stanley had consulted Camden Reges, Reginæ, Nobiles (1603), he would have seen that the son of Owen Tudor who found a home in our house and was buried, near Abbot Litlington, ‘in capella Sancti Blasii qua intratur ad Vestiarium,’ was called Edward, and under the head of Edward Bridgewater [q.v.], who entered the Convent in 1465–6 and said his first mass three years later, I have indicated my reasons for conjecturing that this man may be Edward Tudor.”), 161 (Camden (Reges, Reginæ, Nobiles (1603) “records the burial in the Chapel of St. Blaise of Edwardus monachus Westmonasteriensis, son of Owen Tudor by Queen Katharine, widow of Henry V … The only other Edward on our list at this period is Edward Boteler [q.v.], who was transferred to St. Milburga’s Priory at Wenlock; so we are left with the option of identifying Edward Bridgewater with Camden’s Edward Tudor.”). Stanley, Hist. Mems. of Westminster Abbey (1869): 170 n.; 395; 412 thrice repeats a statement, taken from Sandford Gen. Hist. of the Kings of England (1677): 285, that Owen, son of Owen Tudor, became a Westminster monk, and that statement has been reproduced by subsequent writers. On p. 170 n. he gives a reference to Crull, Antiqs. of Westminster (1711): 233 (3rd ed. i. 251), who has correctly taken the name Edward from Camden.”). Rowse, Bosworth Field & the Wars of the Roses (1966): 225. Burton Pageant of Early Tudor England (1976): 2 (“… Owen, about whom very little is known. Polydore Vergil says he became a Benedictine monk and he may have died in 1502. There was also possibly a daughter who became a nun.”). Bartrum, Welsh Gens. 1400–1500 8 (1983): 1284 [Marchudd 13(A)] (charts assigns Owen and Edward, both monks, as legitimate sons of Owain Tudor, cites as source Harleian MSS 1974, fo. 111).
[?MARGARET] TUDOR. Little is known of her life, if she existed. She allegedly died young or became a nun. References: Banks, Dormant & Extinct Baronage of England 4 (1837): 378–380 (author refers to an unnamed daughter of Owen Tudor [Sr.] and Queen Katherine “who died young.”). D.N.B. 19 (1909): 1217–1218 (biog. of Owen Tudor) (author states that Owen Tudor and Queen Katherine “had three sons, of whom Edmund and Jasper are separately noticed; and a third became a monk at Westminster … [and] two daughters … of whom one became a nun, and the other, Jacinta, is said to have married Reginald, lord Grey de Wilton.”). Burton, Pageant of Early Tudor England (1976): 2 (“… Owen, about whom very little is known. Polydore Vergil says he became a Benedictine monk and he may have died in 1502. There was also possibly a daughter who became a nun.”). Bartrum, Welsh Gens. 1400–1500 8 (1983): 1284 [Marchudd 13(A)] (chart assigns Owain Tudor three daughters, Grace, Joan, and Rose [but not Margaret], cites as its source Harleian MSS 1974, fo. 111).
Owen Tudor had at least one illegitimate child, by an unknown mistress:
Sir David Owen, Knt., of Westminster, Middlesex, Old, Northamptonshire, Lagham (in Godstone) and Wotton, Surrey, Oxhill, Warwickshire, and Southwick (in North Bradley), Wiltshire, Knight of the Body to King Henry VII, King’s carver, 1486–1529, Constable of Winchester, 1489, Sheriff of Hampshire, 1498–9, Knight of the Shire for Sussex, 1491–2, 1523, and, in right of his 1st wife, of Cowdray (in Midhurst), Buddington (in Easebourne), Climping, Ford, and Newtimber, Sussex, Weston Corbett, Hampshire, etc., born in Pembrokeshire, Wales about 1459 (aged 70 in 1529). He married (1st) Mary Bohun, daughter and co-heiress of John Bohun, Esq., of Midhurst, Ford, and Newtimber, Sussex, Kelvedon, Essex, etc., by Anne, daughter and co-heiress of Peter Arderne, Knt., Chief Baron of the Exchequer, Justice of Common Pleas. They had three sons, Henry (or Harry), Knt., Jasper, Knt., and Roger, and one daughter, Anne (wife of Arthur Hopton, Knt.). He married (2nd) before 1500 Anne Blount, widow of Thomas Oxenbridge, Gent. (will dated 12 Nov. 1496, proved 8 Feb. 1497), of Ford Place (in Brede), Sussex, Lambeth and Southwark, Surrey, and London, Serjeant-at-law, and daughter of William Blount, Esq., of Derbyshire, by Margaret, daughter and co-heiress of Thomas Echingham, Knt. They had no issue. He married (3rd) before 1525 Anne Devereux, daughter of John Devereux, Knt., 2nd Lord Ferrers of Chartley, by Cecily, daughter of William Bourgchier, Knt. They had two sons, Henry (or Harry) and John, Esq., and one daughter, Elizabeth (wife of Thomas Burgh, Knt.). By an unknown mistress (or mistresses), he also had one illegitimate son, William, and one illegitimate daughter, Barbara. SIR DAVID (or DAVY) OWEN was buried in Easebourne Priory, Sussex on or about 27 Sept. 1535. He left a will dated 20 Feb. 1529/30, codicil dated 6 May 1535, proved 13 May 1542 (P.C.C. 6 Spert). Following his death, his widow, Anne, petitioned in 1535 for the money and household stuff which her husband had at his death, and for the custody of her son, John. Anne married (2nd) before 1538 Nicholas Gaynesford, Esq., of Ditchling, Sussex, Sheriff of Surrey and Sussex, 1537–8. They had no issue. In the period, 1533–38, Nicholas and Anne, his wife, and her son, John Owen, sued Simon Harecourt, Knt., in Chancery regarding the manor of Lagham (in Godstone), Surrey, late of Davy Owen, Knt., former husband of the said Anne, and father of the said John. Nicholas Gaynesford, Esq., left a will dated 4 August 1548, proved 18 Jan. 1549/50 (P.C.C. 1 Coode), naming his wife, Anne “… fourtyme wife of Sir David Owen, knight, deceaed.”). His widow, Anne, married (3rd) before 1549 (as his 3rd wife) John Harman, Esq., of Naunton Hall (in Rendlesham), Suffolk, Gentleman Usher of the Household, 1540–58, Burgess (M.P.) for Orford, ?1536, ?1539, 1545, 1547, 1554, Burgess (M.P.) for Bletchingley, 1554. They had no issue. In 1548 her son, John Owen, sold the reversion of the manor of Little Creaton, Northamptonshire to be had following the death of his mother, Anne. In 1554 he and his wife, Anne, and John Owen, Esq., sued John Harcourt, Knt., in Chancery regarding the manors of Lagham and Walkhampstead (both in Godstone), Surrey. John Harman, Esq., was living in Dec. 1558, when he attended the funeral of Queen Mary I.
Within six months of Queen Katherine's death in January 1437, Owen Tudor was imprisoned at Newgate Prison, but he managed to escape. After recapture, he was sent to Windsor Castle where he remained until 1439 when he was pardoned by the king and released with a restoration of goods and lands. In Dec. 1444, as “Owen Tudur, esquire,” he was appointed Captain of Règnéville in Normandy, which post he held until Sept. 1449, when he surrendered it to Admiral de Coëtivy after six days of siege. In 1459 he was granted an annuity of £100 for life by King Henry VI. In 1460 he was granted the office of parker of the parks of Moeliwrch, Garsnodiok, etc. in the lordship of Denbigh in Wales.