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by the swarthy bard of remote Anglesey, Robin Ddu, suggests

that Owen repaired to his native land on his first release.

In an angry lament, which internal evidence proves to have

been written during Owen's captivity, the poet mourns his

champion's confinement. " Neither a thief nor a robber,

neither debtor nor traitor, he is the victim of unrighteous

wrath. His only fault was to have won the affection of

a princess of France." The bard further gives vent to his

anxiety for the welfare of Owen's children in lines which

show that the soul of chivalry had not departed from the

hills, though courtly circles knew it no more. The ode also

corroborates the assertion of the annalist Stow, that the

attachment between Catherine and Owen began at a

dance 3 .

1 A formal pardon was granted to the sheriffs of London for their
negligence in the matter. Cal. Pat. Rolls, July 29, 1438. Rymer x.

2 Cal. Pat. Rolls, 344 General pardon to Owen Meredith for all offences.

3 Robin Ddu. Ceinion Llenyddiaeth Gymreig. 217-8.

Yr un dyn o'i rieni,
Blodeuyn oedd blaid i ni,
Sy' ngharchar, gyfar gofid,
Yn Nghaerludd, anghywir lid.
Gwae fi fod ym margod mur
Yn eu tid, Owain Tudur.

Nid am ddwyn march mewn ffrwyn ffraeth
Yn Uedrad anllywodraeth ;
Nid am ddyled ef am credir

Y mae'n y rhest, y meinwr hir ;
Ni bu leidr pan filiwyd,

Na thraetur, llin Tudur Llwyd.
Er iddo gynt, ar ddydd gwyl,
Fwrw ei serch frowys archwyl
Ar ferch brenin y gwindir
Oedd yn hardd wiw addwyn hir.
Duw a ro rhag cyffro cur
Iddynt hoedl, wyrion Tudur ;

Y mab y mae genym obaith
A ddel cynt o ddwylo caith.


An entirely different, though hardly less romantic, tale
of their early relations is given by the Welsh Tudor chro-
nicler :

" Now Catherine had been a widow for some years.
The council forbade her to marry again, a pro-
Griffith on hibition which she openly resented. At that
Owen Tudors a me a S q U i re f Gwynedd, who was chief

romance. * •>

butler at court, conceived an attachment for
the queen's maid of honour. One day in summer he and
his friends were bathing in the stream which skirts
the castle walls. The queen, observing them, saw that
Owen — for that was the squire's name — surpassed the others
in skill, and was more handsome of figure. Whereupon she
turned to her maid and said, ' Yonder then is thy lover ? '
' In truth,' replied the maid, ' no sooner am I alone than
he plagues me with his attentions.' ' Let me,' replied
Catherine, ' take your place in disguise to-night, and he
shall harass you no more.'

" Now Owen and the maid used to meet on the gallery
not far from the queen's chamber. Thither the queen
made her way stealthily at nightfall. Owen had already
arrived. Only a few words had passed between them when
they saw a light approaching as though the queen, as Owen
thought, was on her way to her chamber. The maid's
demeanour was strange, he thought, and he began to suspect
that he was being deceived. He would have kissed her lips ;
but Catherine, who wished to conceal her face, struggled,
and received a slight wound on her cheek. Meanwhile the
light was coming nearer, and they parted.

" Next day Catherine instructed her chamberlain to
command Owen to serve her in person at dinner. Then
it was that Owen discovered that the queen herself was
the fair intruder, and he bent his head at the thought that
he had wounded her. According to some, he would immedi-
ately have returned to his native land ; according to others,
the queen herself detained him at court, and having ascer-


tained his descent from the old British kings, married him
secretly 1 ."

After the disgrace of Owen, his two sons were placed
under the care of the abbess of Barking, Catherine de la Pole,
sister of the earl of Suffolk, who occasionally complains of
the non-payment of arrears that were due on their account 2 .
The boys apparently remained there until 1440 3 . Although
Catherine made no direct reference to the Tudors in her
will, it is conceivable that her appeal to Henry VI to fulfil
" her intent tenderly and favourably " had a direct bearing
upon the lot of the unfortunate boys 4 . It is certain that
he afterwards shadowed their education and welfare with
a tenderness and solicitude which were perhaps the only
gleams that played upon their early life. He placed them
under the guardianship of " discreet persons to be brought
up chastely and virtuously 5 ."

Nor did the king, Henry VI, neglect their father, Owen
Tudor. He allowed him an annuity of £40, " which for
certain causes him moving he gave out of his privy purse
by especial grace 6 ." The generosity of his royal half-
brother was not lost upon Jasper, who served the dynasty
of the Lancastrians in its hour of need with unflinching
loyalty and exemplary devotion. The support which the
Lancastrians found in Wales was due primarily to him.
When his power waned, public opinion veered largely to

1 History of Wales, Ellis Griffith MS. in the Mostyn Library. Ellis
Griffith was a soldier in Calais. The above account is a summary trans-
lation. (The original is given in the Appendix.) It should be observed
that the History is unreliable in many details. For example, it states
that Owen Tudor was put to death for marrying Catherine, that the marriage
took place in 1425, and that Edmund Tudor and Jasper Tudor were raised
to the peerage in 1436.

2 Rymer, x. 828.

3 In 1440, Catherine petitions the king to pay her the £$2. 12s. od.
which is due to her for the upkeep of Edmund ap Meredith ap Tudor and
Jasper ap Meredith ap Tudor, this amount being arrears since the last day
of February, 17 Henry VI. Rymer, x. 828.

4 The will is printed by Miss Strickland, vol. 11. 153.

5 Ibid.

6 Issue Rolls. Cal. Pat. Rolls.


William Herbert, who had meanwhile risen to eminence in
the councils of Edward IV.

William Herbert was one of the few men who left an
wiiuam abiding impress on the history of his time.

Herbert. Ljk: e Jasper Tudor he did not catch the ima-

gination of contemporary writers except during the last
few years of his life, for his work was more in secret than
in the open. The ponderous tread of armies of retainers
afforded a more effective means of publicity ; his was the
silent voice of the inner council chamber. The eyes of
generations of historians have been so dazzled by the glamour
of a Warwick that they have failed to see in Herbert the
forerunner of the Tudor ministers. It is agreed that the
absolutism of the Tudors originated with Edward IV, but
the part played by the ministers of that monarch has not
been adequately appreciated.

We need not inquire into the ancestry of William Herbert.
His The task is the province of biography rather

pedigree. than of history. The Welsh gentry of the six-

teenth century, anxious that their family trees should appear
to have their roots deep in the annals of old Wales or Norman
England, forged pedigrees which gave many of them a
spurious origin. The existing pedigree of William Herbert,
which traces him back to the FitzHerberts of the twelfth
century, cannot escape this taint of forgery. It is based
on a manuscript which is supposed to have been in the
possession of Lord Herbert of Cherbury, who nourished in
the seventeenth century 1 .

1 The curious may consult Dugdale's Baronage, II. 256. Jones, History
of Brecknockshire, vol. II. pt ii. 440-51. Arch. Cambrensis, 3rd series,
iv. 16-30. Hist. MSS. Commission, 8th Report, Ashburnham Collection,
vol. via, 35 b, and 6th Report, 454 a. The story goes that when Herbert
was made earl of Pembroke and installed at Windsor, Edward IV com-
manded the earl and his brother Richard to take their surnames after their
first progenitor Herbert Fitzroy, and to forego the Welsh method of
retaining pedigrees ; and that the king under his first great seal com-
missioned Ieuan ap Rhydderch ap Ieuan Lloyd of Gogerddan, Cardigan-
shire, to summon the bards to Pembroke, and to certify the lineage of
Herbert and his brother. "Thereupon the above Ieuan ap Rhydderch,


He was the son of Sir William ap Thomas and Gwladys,
the daughter of David Gam 1 ; and it is purely a matter of
conjecture why the children were given the name of Herbert.
It is possible that they wished to avoid the cloud of
suspicion which enveloped their countrymen after the
cataclysm of Glyndwr's wars. A Welsh name had a foreign
sound, and was to many suggestive of rebellion. The
family had been vigorous and aggressive in their hostility
to the Welsh leader, and had in consequence been anathe-
matised by their countrymen. It was therefore a stroke
of discretion to enter into a wider and more remunerative
field of activity than Wales could afford, and to parade an
English name.

Sir William ap Thomas must have spent much of his
His interest time in London. His eldest son Thomas,
m commerce. w ^o fig ure d prominently among the followers
of Humphrey, duke of Gloucester, first appears as " Thomas
Herbert of Greenwich " ; while William is introduced on
the stage of history as " William Herbert of London, chap-
man." This epithet suggests — and the fact is corroborated
by the contemporary Welsh poet Howel Swrdwal, — that
the Herberts entered into those commercial activities which
did much to undermine the ascendancy of the feudal nobility,
and to lay the foundations of the new. It was in 1440 that
William Herbert received the epithet " chapman 2 ." The

Howel Swrdwal, Ieuan Deulwyn, and Ieuan Brechva, having traced the
pedigree, presented to their majesty their certificate in Welsh, Latin,
English, and French, which stated that Herbert was descended from
Peter Fitzherbert in the reign of king John, and from Herbert, son of
Godwin, son of Elfrid, who had married a sister of Earls Harold and Tostig.
Dated Aug. 12, 1460." Of course the earldom was not conferred upon
Herbert till 1468. He never was named Welsh fashion even before 1460.
There is no such commission upon the Patent, Close, or Exchequer Rolls.
See also Catalogue Welsh MSS., British Museum.

1 Lewis Glyn Cothi and other poets. The editor identified " y Gwindy
Gwyn " of one of Glyn Cothi's poems as the London residence of Sir
William ap Thomas, but gives no authority, 1. xviii. There was a house
in London called le Herbert, but apparently it did not belong to the
family. Rymer, 1461, 473.

2 Cal. Pat. Rolls, Feb. 2, 1440, 374. Record Reports, 1887. Dec. 26.
John Stradling of Glamorgan was also in Kyriel's retinue at this time.


protection which he had received two months before "as going
to Calais, there to abide in the company of Thomas Kyriel,
knight, lieutenant of the town, and engage in victualling the
same " was revoked, because he tarried in the city of London
and its suburbs. This was the time when the duke of York
and Sir William ap Thomas went over to Normandy. A few
years later we find him engaged in importing Gascon wines
into the port of Bristol 1 . Moreover, the Herberts, in 1462,
were in command of certain vessels for the defence of Bristol
and other ports in the west against the Lancastrians 2 .

We cannot be certain whether William Herbert accom-
Herbertin panied York on his expedition in 1440, or

Normandy. whether he joined Kyriel in Calais, and we
need not attempt to erect an aerial fabric of assump-
tions. He is lost to view for some years. When he
reappears towards the close of the Hundred Years War,
when the French were following hard upon the track of the
retreating English, he was under the vigilant eye of his
distinguished countryman, Mathew Gough, as joint-captain
of Carentan, in 1449 3 .

1 Pat. Rolls, May 22, 1457, 353. On Oct. 10, 1457-8 protection
was given to his brother " Thomas Herbert of Troye, Wales " in the king's
service on the high seas. William of Worcester, Itinerarium, identifies
him with Thomas of Greenwich. Record Reports.

Howel Swrdwal refers to Herbert's commercial enterprise in the lines :
Dau lu ami dal o iwmynn
Dwy long yn dyfod ai lynn.
" He has two armies of tall yeomen, and two ships trading in wines."
Swrdwal's poems have recently been published by the Bangor Welsh MSS.
Society. The poem from which the above lines are taken is dated 1450.
This is impossible. There are references to Edward of York, which could
not apply at least before 1461. There are indications that it may have
been written just before Mortimer's Cross.

2 Cal. Pat. Rolls, March 1, 1462. Perhaps it should be stated that
the name is variously spelt as Herbert, Herberd, Herbard, and even Here-
bard, though Herberd is more common at first. It is not easy to distinguish
the many Herberts of contemporary records. A William Herbert of
Gloucester kept Newport Castle in 1468-9. A Thomas Herbert of Glou-
cester was constable there in 1468-9, sheriff of Somerset 1468, High Bailiff
of Guisnes 1468. There was another of the name in Salop and Staffordshire
(1443), while Thomas, Gilbert and William Harbard of Strood supported
Cade in 1450. Cal. Pat. Rolls, passim.

3 William of Worcester, Itinerarium, 122, as we have seen, mentions a
William Herbert ap Norman who fought under Mathew Gough in France,
and describes him as "locum tenens de Penigele." Elsewhere, ibid. 120,


From this circumstance it may safely be inferred that
he had been in Normandy for some time 1 . After the reverse
at Carentan he may have served with Gough at Fougeres
and Belleme. He was taken prisoner at Formigny. For
this reason he probably did not return to England until
the remnants of the English army crossed the Channel under
Somerset, in September, 1450. Henceforth we must follow
his course in the main stream of political life.

On the expiration of the duke of York's term as lieutenant
The duke of °^ France, in 1445, Dorset, who soon after-
York, and wards was raised to the dukedom of Somerset,


was appointed to succeed him. York was
made lieutenant of Ireland for 10 years, a specious form
of exile. Certain individuals were appointed to seize and
imprison him at Conway on his way to his new post in 1447,
Sir John Talbot at Holt Castle, Sir Thomas Stanley in
Cheshire, and one Richard " groom of our chamber " at
Beaumaris. Sir Walter Devereux also was to be arrested.
Nothing untoward happened 2 . Meanwhile the government
of Margaret and Suffolk went from bad to worse. The
popular opposition to them culminated in the banishment
and death of Suffolk in 1450. Events then rushed onwards
with perilous foreboding. Jack Cade raised the Kentishmen
with temporary success, and was killed in a scuffle in July.
In the confusion the duke of York abandoned his post with
the avowed object of reforming the ministry, and landed
in Beaumaris in August 3 . The duke of Somerset, who had
succeeded Suffolk as leader of the court party, was summoned
from Calais to deal with him, and was made constable of
England in September 4 . This grant further inflamed public
resentment against the queen and her friends.

he is called " Willelmus Norman consanguineus domini Herbert." He
fought at Banbury. Ibid.

1 He may have accompanied Gough. See ch. m.

2 See the duke of York's letter to Henry VI, printed in Paston Letters,
Introduction ; and also in Holinshed.

3 Ibid. Also William of Worcester, Annates, II. 769. Hall, 225.

4 Rymer's Foedera, XI. 276.


Instructions had been issued to Henry Norris, deputy to
the chamberlain of North Wales (Sir Thomas Stanley),
Bartholomew Bold, who had succeeded John Norris as
Captain of Conway in 1441 1 , William Bulkeley, who was
a sergeant-at-arms in Anglesey and may have held some
office at Beaumaris 2 , and a few others, to arrest the progress
of the duke of York on his return, and prevent his entry
into Chester, Shrewsbury and the border towns. But York
once again eluded their vigilance, reached his estates in the
Marches of Wales, collected a strong body of followers and
reached London safely 3 .

However, there was bloodshed. Sir William Tresham,
Speaker of the House of Commons in the parliament of Bury,
and one of York's most prominent supporters, was hastening
to join his leader when he collided with the retainers of
Lord Grey of Ruthin near Moulton, in Northamptonshire.
Tresham was murdered 4 . In Wales, at least, the name of
Grey of Ruthin was already synonymous with perfidy. There
is hardly a more revolting figure in the annals of the war.

Parliament met in November, William Oldhall, formerly
a colleague of Sir William ap Thomas on the duke of York's
council in Normandy, being chosen Speaker. Violent scenes
took place between Somerset and York, the latter having the
House of Commons on his side, the former relying on his
supremacy at court. York subsequently retired to Ludlow 5 .
Early in September an attempt was made to arrest Somerset
at Blackfriars. It proved futile, and Somerset remained at
the wheel during the Christmas adjournment.

1 Cal. Pat. Rolls, 497. He had eight soldiers. November 21, 1441.
* Ibid. 129, August 16, 1448. He succeeded one Meredith ap Cynwric.

3 The garrison of Beaumaris Castle was increased to twelve in 1446,
and to twenty-one in the following May. This was probably the garrison
till 1460. The constable was William Beauchamp. The author of
Calendars of Givynedd gives no authority for making Bulkeley constable of
Beaumaris in 1440. Beauchamp was followed by John Butler in 1460,
who was supplanted by William Hastings on the accession of Edward IV.
In 145 1 an annual sum of £20 was allowed out of the issues of the borough
for four years for repairs. Minister's Accounts, in Medieval Boroughs of
Snowdonia. Hall, 226. Paston Letters, op. cit. C.P.R. 1439; 301, 308.

4 William of Worcester, Annates, 769. 6 Hall, 226.


This fact is of importance ; for it shows that the flash
of Athenian acuteness which illumined the
attitude S recess emanated apparently from the favourite.

someraet We re * er to ^ e nonours conferred during the

Christmas festival at Greenwich. The king's
half-brothers, Edmund and Jasper Tudor, two sons of the
earl of Salisbury, viz. Thomas and John Neville, and
William Herbert, were knighted 1 . It has hitherto been
supposed that Herbert was knighted at Christmas 1449.
This is an impossible date ; for, apart from the fact that
Herbert was then in Normandy, authorities are clear in their
assertion that the knighthoods were bestowed after the
return of York from Ireland and Somerset from Calais.
Except perhaps the Tudors, these were men whose sympathies
were presumably with the duke of York. In conferring
favours upon them the court party may have hoped to
detach the Nevilles and Herbert from their friendship with
the duke, and thus to weaken his influence at a most vital
point, viz., the Marches. The position in South-east Wales
was as follows : In 1449 Richard, earl of Warwick, had
become possessed of the rich lordship of Glamorgan and
Morgannwg 2 . The numerous ramifications of the families
of Herbert and Roger Vaughan dominated Raglan and the
surrounding district. Monmouth was part of the Lancas-
trian heritage 3 . Abergavenny was held by a Neville in the
person of Edward Neville, son of Ralph, first earl of West-
morland 4 . Humphrey Stafford, duke of Buckingham, was

1 " Festum natalis Domini rex tenuit apud Grenwych, ubi fecit duos
fratres uterinos milites et comites, viz. Edmundum Richemund et Jasper
Penbroch, ac Thomam et Johannem Nevyle, filios comitis Sarum, ac etiam
Wyllelmum Herberd, Roger Leuconer et Wyllelmum Catysby, milites."
William of Worcester, Annates, 11. 770. (The Dictionary of National
Biography, Doyle's Baronage etc., sub William Herbert, are misleading.)

It will also be noted that William of Worcester asserts that the king's
half-brothers were made earls on this occasion. This piece of evidence
has been discarded on the ground that Edmund's charter is dated Nov. 23,
1452. Vide later.

2 See table on page 100, note 3, showing how Glamorgan came into
Warwick's possession.

3 It was annexed to the earldom of Lancaster by Henry IV.

4 He was summoned to parliament as Baron Bergavenny (Sept. 5, 1450)


lord of Brecknock and Newport, and an adherent of the
House of Lancaster 1 . The Mortimer estates of the duke of
York lay to the north, stretching roughly from Builth to
Denbigh and including Builth, Clifford, Ewyas Lacy,
Maeliennydd, Radnor, and Denbigh, with Ludlow as their
centre, and at times Montgomery 2 .

The court party realised that these estates, extending
in an almost unbroken phalanx from Cardiff to Chester,
would, if united under the duke of York, constitute a very
serious danger. For, apart from the personnel of the
leaders, these March lordships harboured a restless population
whose chief occupation was petty warfare. On the other
hand, if Somerset could retain the allegiance of the Nevilles
and Herbert, the Marches would be divided almost equally
into two opposing camps. This circumstance will serve to
explain also the unusual activity of Margaret on the borders
of Wales during the next five years.

The duke of York did not remain idle. When the feud

York's between the earl of Devon and Lord Bonville

wwe? in broke out in the west in 1451, he took Herbert

with him to settle the dispute 3 , though the

importance of this association need not be over-estimated,

in right of his wife, Elizabeth Beauchamp, daughter and heiress of Richard,
earl of Worcester.

1 Humphrey de Bohun, earl of Hereford, left two daughters, Eleanor
and Mary. Mary de Bohun married Henry IV, so that her portion of the
estates, which were in Herefordshire and Monmouth, was annexed to the
Crown. Eleanor de Bohun was married to Thomas of Woodstock, duke of
Gloucester (d. 1397). They had a daughter, Anne, who married Edmund
Stafford, killed at Shrewsbury, 1403. Anne received from Henry VI the
lordship of Brecon and the patronage of Llanthony Abbey for her and
her son. Their son was Humphrey Stafford, lord of Brecon, created
duke of Buckingham in 1444. He was killed at Northampton in 1460.
He was married to Anne Neville, daughter of Ralph, first earl of West-
morland. Their son was Humphrey Stafford, who was killed at St Albans
in 1455. His wife was Margaret Beaufort, daughter of Edmund, first duke
of Somerset. Their son was Henry Stafford, duke of Buckingham and
lord of Brecon. He married Catherine Woodville, lived in retirement at
Brecon during Edward IVs reign, and was executed in 1483.

2 He gave charters to Ceri and Cedewain from Montgomery in August,
25 Henry VI. Collections of Powys Club, vol. It. 388.

3 William of Worcester, Annates II. 770. Chronicle of the White Rose.
Bonville was besieged in Taunton.


inasmuch as the duty of suppressing riots in the west
would naturally devolve upon the lords of those parts.
In the winter of 145 1-2 York's designs assumed a
more menacing aspect. From Ludlow he issued a mani-
festo to the burgesses of Shrewsbury denouncing Somerset,
and proclaiming his intention of marching on London to
destroy him 1 . Having collected an army in the Marches 2
he advanced on the capital. He found less encouragement
than he had anticipated from the citizens, and was placed
under arrest. Soon he was released and pardoned. His
release is said to have been due to the rumour that another
force was being mustered in Wales under his son, Edward,
earl of March 3 . In the summer of 1452 the court party
began their activities in the Marches. In July the king,
accompanied by the queen and Somerset, went on a progress
through the west, visiting Gloucester, Ross and Monmouth,
in order to strengthen the fibres of loyalty and punish the
guilty 4 . Walter Devereux of Weobley in Herefordshire, who
was sheriff of that county in 1447, and some others were
indicted for treasonable acts committed in the previous
February. Bearing in mind that this was the month in
which the duke of York issued his manifesto to the burgesses
of Shrewsbury, the charge in all probability referred to the
active participation of Devereux with York. Devereux was
arraigned before justices Audley and Yelverton, but obtained
the benefit of the act of grace pardoning all who had abetted
York on that occasion 5 .

In October a general pardon was granted also to " William
Herbert of Ragland, in South Wales, of all offences before
August 8 last, and any subsequent outlawries and for-

1 Ellis, Letters, ist series, I. 11-13, dated Feb. 3, 1452.

2 Hall, 226. We seem to have no reliable means of estimating the

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