Tudor, Jasper, Earl of Pembroke and Duke of Bedford


Tudor, Jasper, Earl of Pembroke and Duke of Bedford
(c. 1431–1495)
   As a half brother of HENRY VI and a member of an ancient Welsh family, Jasper Tudor, earl of Pembroke, rallied WALES for the house of LANCASTER during the WARS OF THE ROSES. As uncle of Henry Tudor, earl of Richmond, the future HENRY VII, Pembroke protected his nephew from Yorkist intrigues, shared his long Breton exile, and served as his most trusted advisor.
   Jasper Tudor was the second son of the clandestine marriage between Catherine of Valois, daughter of Charles VI of France and widow of Henry V of England, and Owen TUDOR, a Welsh gentleman of Catherine’s household. In 1452, Henry VI formally recognized the Tudors as his uterine brothers, ennobling Jasper as earl of Pembroke and Edmund as earl of Richmond. Having no English royal blood, the brothers had no claim to the throne, but their new positions expanded the family of a king who lacked both siblings and (at the time) children. Pembroke was present with the king at the Battle of ST. ALBANS in May 1455. After Richmond’s death in November 1456, Pembroke succeeded his brother as Henry VI’s chief lieutenant in Wales. Pembroke also sheltered his thirteen-year-old sister-in-law, Margaret BEAUFORT, countess of Richmond, who gave birth to a son, Henry Tudor, in January 1457.
   After the eruption of open warfare in 1459, Pembroke led the Lancastrian cause in Wales, capturing Denbigh Castle from the Yorkists in May 1460, and giving refuge to MARGARET OF ANJOU and her son EDWARD OF LANCASTER, Prince of Wales, after the disastrous Battle of NORTHAMPTON in July. In February 1461, Edward, earl of March, the future EDWARD IV, defeated Pembroke at MORTIMER’S CROSS in Wales. After the Lancastrian defeat at the Battle of TOWTON in March, Pembroke held Wales for Henry VI until October, when Edward IV’s lieutenant in Wales,William HERBERT, Lord Herbert, defeated Pembroke at the Battle of TWT HILL, forcing him to sail for BRITTANY. In 1462, Pembroke briefly held BAMBURGH CASTLE for Henry VI, but fled to SCOTLAND when Edward IV refused him suitable terms of surrender. After spending most of the 1460s shuttling among Scotland, England, and FRANCE on diplomatic missions for Queen Margaret, Pembroke landed in Wales in 1468; he burned Denbigh and harassed Welsh Yorkists until forced by Herbert to return to Brittany. In 1470, Pembroke accompanied Richard NEVILLE, earl of Warwick, to England, when Warwick launched his attempt to restore Henry VI (see Edward IV, Overthrow of). Pembroke took charge of securing Wales for Lancaster. The death of Prince Edward at TEWKESBURY in May 1471 and the subsequent murder of Henry VI in the TOWER OF LONDON left Henry Tudor as the remaining Lancastrian claimant to the throne (see Henry VI, Murder of). To protect his nephew, Pembroke fled with the boy for France in September 1471. Blown off course to Brittany, uncle and nephew spent the next twelve years in the increasingly rigorous custody of FRANCIS, duke of Brittany, who used them to extract diplomatic advantage from both England and France.
   The usurpation of RICHARD III in 1483 greatly enhanced Henry Tudor’s political position, and in the autumn the Tudors became part of an unsuccessful uprising that included Henry STAFFORD, duke of Buckingham, heretofore one of Richard’s closest supporters (see Buckingham’s Rebellion). In November, news of Buckingham’s defeat and execution caused the Tudors to abort a planned landing in England. Returning to Brittany, Pembroke became leader of the exiles who gathered around his nephew. In August 1485, in an attempt to win the throne, the Tudors landed in Wales, hoping to exploit Pembroke’s influence in the region. Pem- 276 TUDOR, JASPER, EARL OF PEMBROKE AND DUKE OF BEDFORD broke was present at BOSWORTH FIELD on 22 August 1485, when his nephew won the Crown.
   One of the new king’s most trusted supporters, Pembroke became duke of Bedford and a privy councilor in 1485. He was also appointed lieutenant of CALAIS, lord lieutenant of IRELAND, and marshal of England. Bedford also took an active role in suppressing the Lambert SIMNEL uprising, fighting for the king at the Battle of STOKE in 1487. Although married to the widow of Buckingham in 1485, Bedford died without issue in December 1495.
   See also Tudor, Edmund, Earl of Richmond; Usurpation of 1483; other entries under Tudor
   Further Reading:
   - Evans, H.T.,Wales and the Wars of the Roses (Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: Alan Sutton Publishing, 1995);
   - Griffiths, Ralph A., and Roger S. Thomas, The Making of the Tudor Dynasty (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1985);
   - “Jasper Tudor,” in Michael Hicks, Who’s Who in Late Medieval England (London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1991), pp. 305–307.

Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. . 2001.

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