Jasper Tudor, Godfather of the Tudor Dynasty

I am delighted to be hosting day 2 of the virtual book tour for Jasper Tudor, Godfather of the Tudor Dynasty by Debra Bayani and excited to share with you an excerpt from Debra’s book.

Be sure to leave a comment after the extract, for your chance to win a copy of ‘Jasper Tudor, Godfather of the Tudor Dynasty‘, kindly donated by the author.

Conditions of Entry

For your chance to win a copy of Jasper Tudor, Godfather of the Tudor Dynasty you must be subscribed to On the Tudor Trail’s newsletter (if you are not already, sign up on our homepage).

Then simply leave a comment after this post between now and 9 September 2014. Don’t forget to leave your name and a contact email.

This giveaway is open internationally.

One winner will be randomly selected and contacted by email shortly after the competition closes. Please ensure you’ve added natalie@onthetudortrail.com to your address book to avoid missing my email.

Good luck!

Book Extract – Jasper Tudor by Debra Bayani

Soon after Katherine’s death Owen [Tudor] found himself in trouble with the King’s Council and was, as he might have expected, summoned to appear before the Privy Council. Understandably wary of the council’s probable reaction to his secret marriage with a queen of England and the family they had produced, and the likelihood that he would be punished by imprisonment at the very least, Owen thought it best to flee back to north Wales. He could be sure that his children, as half-siblings of the King, would be well looked after. And so he hurriedly packed all his best goods: chalices, gilt cups, silver ewers, enamelled salts, candlesticks and flagons – most of them gifts from the Queen. But as Owen rode west Humphrey Duke of Gloucester sent in pursuit a servant, Myles Sculle, who caught up with him at Daventry in Northamptonshire. There Owen was handed a summons to the royal palace of Westminster to appear before the council, together with the assurance that he should ‘freely come and freely goo’. Gloucester clearly considered Owen’s descendants a threat, especially to his own position, as he reminded the King that Owen had committed a felony – to mix his own blood with the royal blood of kings’. Owen subsequently went into sanctuary at Westminster for several days, ‘eschewing to come out thereof’ and to face the Council, but after he was accused of disloyalty he was eventually persuaded by ‘divers persons [who] stirred him of friendship and fellowship to … come out’ and to show his face at court. He appeared before the King at the Privy Council sitting in the Chapel Chamber in Kennington Palace, central London, on 15 July 1437. Also present were the Duke of Gloucester; John Stafford Bishop of Bath; John Kemp Archbishop of York; William Alnwick Bishop of Lincoln; Henry Percy, 2nd Earl of Northumberland; William de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk; Lord Walter Hungerford; Sir John Lord Tiptoft, Treasurer of England and Keeper of the Privy Seal; and Sir William Philip, Privy Councillor and the Kings Chamberlain. The record of this meeting opens with:

The King not longe agoo, that is to say soon after ye deeth of (noble memoir) Quene Katherine his moder whom God assoille desired, willed that on Oweyn Tidr the which dwelled with the saide Quene sholde come to his presence …

In the face of this assembly of elevated gentlemen Owen defended himself boldly:

Affermyng he hadde no thing doon that sholde yeve the King occasion of matier of offense or displaisure ayenst himself, offryng himself in large wyse as the Kings trewe liege man shold to all thing ant man cowed or wolde surmitte upon him.

From their perspective Owen had broken a strict social code by marrying the Queen dowager without the King’s approval. The kind-hearted King fully pardoned his stepfather on condition that Owen would appear before the King whenever summoned and after Owen had pledged to do so, he was promised a safe conduct to return to Wales. Despite this, Gloucester went after Owen on his return journey. According to the original but separate document relating to The preceding Minute respecting Owen Tudor:

Furst reherse how he was send afr, at what tyme the King né my Lord of Glouceter were not lerned of this malicious purpose and ymaginacion of the which he enformed sithe.

Als of if any lord or other be called to plemet bi the Kings auncle wher bi him owed to rejouse wich privilege that he shuld have fre goying and fre coming zit for manes of less wysthm than ben thes that the King is enformed as for surete of pees the moche more greter.’

The document goes on to give unclear justifications for Owen’s arrest by Gloucester, who was obviously not sent by the King but had the power to do so if he considered it justified. According to this account, Owen did not respect the rules imposed on him at the Privy Council meeting. On his way back to Wales Owen was arrested, together with his priest and servant, and his possessions, worth more than £138, were taken. All three men were sent to Katherine’s former royal castle at Wallingford under custody of the Earl of Suffolk, possibly a place that Owen knew well.  By July it was found convenient to commission them to Newgate Prison.

Eventually, before 29 July 1438, all three men made their escape, apparently after ‘wounding fouly their goaler’. Once again Owen and his faithful adherents were captured and recommissioned to Newgate and probably very quickly brought to Windsor Castle where Edmund Beaufort was the newly appointed constable. He remained there until July 1439. If Owen had angered another king this might have been the end of him, but Henry VI, now an adult, showed mercy and decided that Owen should be released at a bail of £2,000 on condition that he would appear before the King on 11 November and at any other time he might be summoned. On 12 November, Owen was fully pardoned for all of his offences committed and, on New Year’s Day 1440, all processes against him were annulled and withdrawn including his substantial bail, possibly as a New Year’s gift from the King. It is said that King Henry later felt sorry for the treatment his stepfather had suffered and that he blamed Gloucester for it. By 1444 Henry regarded his stepfather as ‘our well beloved squire’. Owen then led the life of a gentleman, kindly treated by the King, and was probably part of his stepson’s household until at least the late 1450s.

In the meantime, Owen and Katherine’s two older sons, Edmund and Jasper, had been placed in the care of the Duke of Suffolk’s sister Katherine de la Pole, the abbess of  Abbey, where both boys would stay for roughly five years. There is no reason to think the boys were anything but well treated during their stay at the Abbey. According to John Blacman, Henry VI’s biographer and chaplain, who wrote somewhere around 1485:

and like pains did he apply in the case of his half-brothers, the Lords Jasper and Edmund, in their boyhood and youth; providing for them most strict and safe guardianship, putting them under the care of virtuous and worthy priests, both for teaching and for right living and conversation, lest the untamed practices of youth should grow rank if they lacked any to prune them.

As the Tudor brothers approached adolescence the Abbess took them to court to bring them to King Henry’s attention. It has been said this was because no money was given to meet the boy’s expenses at the Abbey.

When the boys grew up Henry kept them close to him at court and, again according to Blacman, the King personally protected his half-brothers from any sexual temptation by keeping ‘careful watch through hidden windows of his chamber.’ On 25 August 1442, their father Owen was given lands in Surrey and on four occasions in the following two years he was also given a sum of £40 from the King’s own Privy Purse. Owen was undeniably Henry’s stepfather, but above and beyond that he was a true servant of the King and crown. Very few accounts survive of these early years of Edmund and Jasper’s life or of their father’s at this time. Owen was possibly part of the delegation that went to France in November 1444 to bring the King’s bride, Margaret of Anjou, to England.

England’s political life had now been in chaos for at least a decade. The King was constantly struggling with the magnates and nobility whose chief priority was to enrich themselves, and this inevitably had a major impact on Henry’s own finances. This in turn affected badly the quality of the governance of the realm, mainly because those who were supposed to govern on behalf of the King neglected his subjects. The perceived weakness of the King made the house of Lancaster tremendously insecure and in 1450, after five years of marriage, Henry still lacked the promise of future stability in the shape of an heir. Under these circumstances, and his only remaining close relative, his uncle Humphrey Duke of Gloucester, having died in 1447, it without doubt seemed a wise decision to elevate his half-brothers Edmund and Jasper. Partly for political reasons, and no doubt also partly out of charity and the affection Henry felt for his younger brothers, Edmund and Jasper were about to be recognized as the King’s ‘uterine brothers’ and to be created earls of England, with a rank above all except dukes, granted a rich patrimony and destined to live life at the centre of English and Welsh politics during the tumultuous period of the Wars of the Roses.


Jasper Tudor, Godfather of the Tudor Dynasty is now available in colour and black & white editions on all the Amazon websites and Book Depository.

Click here for Amazon.com

Click here for Amazon.co.uk

Click here for Book Depository

Debra Bayani is a researcher and writer, living in the Netherlands with her husband and children. She previously studied Fashion History and History of Art. She has been interested in history as far as she can remember with real passion for the Middle Ages and the Wars of the Roses, and has spend many years researching this period. Currently she is working on a visitor’s guide to places connected to the Wars of the Roses. Debra’s debut non-fiction book, the first biography on the subject, ‘Jasper Tudor, Godfather of the Tudor Dynasty’, was published in 2014.

Her website can be found at: www.thewarsoftherosescatalogue.com and she is the admin of the coordinating Facebook page The Wars of the Roses Catalogue and her author page on Facebook.


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  1. Debbie Warila says:

    This sounds like a really good book. I can’t wait to add it to my Tudor collection!

  2. Kaye Nitschke says:

    This book about Jasper Tudor would be great to read.

  3. Emily Stevens says:

    I NEED THIS BOOK! it would sit so well in my collection! if i dont win i think i will buy it anyway or ask for it for my birthday later this month!
    We never hear about all the other people in royal lives at court…. its so nice to see a book that isnt focused on a king, queen or consort!

  4. Lynne Hutchinson says:

    Should be a fascinating read. Amazing it has taken so long for someone to write about the man who would have shaped the young Henry VII in his formative years.

  5. Margaret Hughes says:

    I would love to win this book. It looks great

  6. It would be a privilege to own and read this book. I’m fascinated with this time in history. It really would be a gift.

  7. Charlie Fenton says:

    I’d love to own and read this book. Only heard a little about Jasper Tudor, he is overshadowed by the likes of Margaret Beaufort etc. Should be a really good and insightful read.

  8. Amy Licence says:

    This looks like a fascinating book, just this extract alone makes me want to find out more. It is high time that someone wrote a serious evaluation of Jasper’s life and role in the events of his age, as his position has been long overlooked. Well done to Debra for her hard work and extensive research.

  9. This looks like a very interesting book to read. Fingers crossed! X

  10. Kathlovesrick says:

    This would be such a great addition to my collection! Win or lose I cant wait to read it!

  11. Beautifully written, easy to read. A fascinating subject.

  12. peggy marcantonio says:

    I adored reading this, such interesting details of the time and intricate information of insight in the Tudor’s.

  13. Just got back from England and spent a day at Hever Castle. I’m continuously interested in Tudor history—would love to win the book!

  14. Constance Fox says:

    A much needed addition to Tudor history. I’ve been able to find very little on Katherine de Valoise, let alone her her children. Thank you for this contribution!

  15. This looks like an amazing book. I have always wanted to know more about Jasper Tudor. He was a very interesting man.

  16. Brett Markham says:

    I would love to own this book! I love to read about the lesser known/read Tudors.

  17. Jasper Tudor was my 18th great-grandfather. I would love to read this book.

    Best Wishes!

  18. Jasper is my favorite Tudor and I want to know more about him because there are not that many books about him. All the books I’ve read on him are about his nephew or his sister in law, Margaret Beaufort. And I think he should be given credit for what he did. Henry would have never survived his ordeal if it wasn’t for Jasper, he sacrificed everything, his lands, money for him. How amazing is that! I can’t wait to read this book! I hope I win.

  19. Angela Bliss says:

    Congratulations on what looks to be a fascinating read and a valuable contribution to the WofR and Tudor fields. I would love to win this!

  20. Lisa Colbert says:

    I’ve done a ton of research and reading about the reign of Elizabeth the 1st, but had never read anything about The War of the Roses. Then last year I watched The White Queen, which began a frenzy of reading and research. Since it seems like I’m learning back through the monarchies, I can’t wait to read this. I’m anxious to learn more about the relationship between Jasper and Margaret Beaufort.

  21. Vanessa Smith says:

    The story of Owen Tudor and Catherine has always been overlooked, as have their children. Henry Tudor would have been nothing without his uncle Jasper. I can’t wait to read this one!

  22. Sharron Yaxley says:

    It is said that Jasper and Margaret Beaufort were in love – and I would be interested to read more on their relationship, and dedication to his nephew and Margaret’s son Henry.

  23. Samantha Strong says:

    I have been passionate about the Wars of the Roses and the Tudors ever since studying them at school but know so little about jasper Tudor compared to all the other Yorkists, Lancastrians and Tudors, so this book excites me a great deal. I’m about to go into hospital for an op so this book would make a lovely recovery companion!

  24. Diane Highton says:

    As I gazed at the noble profile of Margaret Beaufort, I pondered all that she had been. Why had she not been far more prized in history? Jasper Tudor seems to have been very important to her. Perhaps he was the first person to have offered her and her child (Henry VII of the future) real friendship? Either way Jasper Tudor is a fascinating subject. He must have been courageous, resourceful and able, like her, to negotiate his way around their sometimes perilous existence. He was what I like to think of as a ‘real’ man, and to have been so effective he must have had great charm and charisma too. These attributes were a strong thread through the Tudors. Without this exceptional man, history could have been so different…..

  25. Nancy L Smith says:

    I would love to read this book and learn more about Jasper Tudor as one of the founders of the Tudor dynasty.

  26. The book looks like a great read! Would love to win a copy and I’m really glad that less known figures like Jasper start to get the attention they deserve, as his story looks absolutely thriling and his role in the events of the period shoud never be underestimated.

  27. Sounds like an interesting book!

  28. Clau Minnig says:

    I would love to win a copy of this book! I am always interested in learn more about the Tudors!!!

  29. Would love to win this. It looks like an original and valuable contribution to the field.

  30. Dani Sinatra says:

    I have been obsessed with all of the Tudors since I was seven. However, most of my knowledge begins with Henry VII. Therefore, I would absolutely love this book on Jasper as I know only a little about him and his history intrigues me greatly.
    Thank you soo much Natalie for all the giveaways and this wonderfull blog!!!

  31. I’ve devoured many books on this historical period and find it truly fascinating. And Jasper’s personality and his impact on the events of the era seems quite extraordinary, so I’ve thought many times it’s worth knowing more about him. So, I’d be thrilled get a copy of this book and learn more about him!

  32. Daniel Gomez says:

    I would love to win a copy of this! 😉

  33. Guille Espinola says:

    I Would love to win this book so I could learn more about Jasper Tudor. Most of the attention about the early Tudors goes to either Owen Tudor, husband of Queen Katherine of Valois, or Edmund Tudor, father of Henry Tudor (later Henry VII)

  34. Lean Venturiero says:

    I’ve always been fascinated by Jasper Tudor. I’m really looking forward to learning more about him. Thanks for the chance to win a copy. Cheers

  35. Ines Eusebi says:

    Having read many books, both fictional and non-fictional on the War of the Roses (The Cousins War); I have always found Jasper Tudor to be a most formidable character. It only seems right that a book of this magnitude should be written on him.

  36. Milagros Gonzalez says:

    I would love to win the book so I could learn more about Jasper. It’s great that finally a book about him came out!

  37. The book sounds really interesting. I’d love to read more about the man that created the dynasty!

  38. Coky Gomez says:

    I have been passionate about the Wars of the Roses and the Tudors ever since studying them at school but know so little about jasper Tudor compared to all the other Yorkists, Lancastrians and Tudors, so this book excites me a great deal. I’m about to go on vacations, so this book would make a lovely companion!

  39. Peter Russo says:

    Best Uncle Award of the Century! i really like Jasper Tudor and the unique bond between him and his dear nephew. A real paternal figure, and a real man of honor, loyal to his family.
    Finaly, a good book about him and i would loooooove to win a copy of it!

  40. NADIA Gomez says:

    Hi! I would love to win a copy as I am a total Tudor nut

  41. Facundo Cosme says:

    At last something definitive to get my teeth into about Jasper.
    Have waited a long time for this. Yay!

  42. The book on Jasper Tudor sounds fantastic, thank you for the giveaway.

  43. Claire Biggs-Tandy says:

    I am really looking forward to reading this.

  44. Wow, I would love to win this book. Jasper is a fascinating character, and so overlooked. I’ve been following Debra’s progress on this book for a couple of years on Facebook and I am very eager to get my hands on a copy now the book is out!

  45. Denise Duvall says:

    Jasper Tudor was the key to the survival of Henry Tudor and his subsequent crowning as King of England. Thank you for the giveaway and the chance to read about this overshadowed Tudor.

  46. LoriAnne in Oregon says:

    This book looks like an amazing read!

  47. Very well written.

  48. Sarah Longfield says:

    This looks brilliant, Jasper is long overdue his own biography. I can’t wait to read what looks like a very well written and informative biography.

  49. Sophie Gomez says:

    I would love to win a copy of the book. The Tudors fascinate me, and as I do genealogy, they are relations. I love to find a relative and then research them.
    Thank you Natalie for you hard work and all this giveaways are a truly wonderful touch!

  50. Hernan Schinemann says:

    Hello Natalie, I´m new here, a friend lent me your book and now i´m totally mad about you!! jaja 😉
    I’ve been very interested in learning more about the English nobility and royalty during the War of the Roses, the Houses of Lancaster and York, and how the Tudors became a part of this history. So this book would be a great read.
    Thank you!!! best wishes!

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