3 September 1513, death of Gerald FitzGerald, 8th Earl of Kildare, at the age of about 57. Gerald was also known as "Garret the Great" or "The Great Earl". Gerald was Ireland's premier peer and he served as Lord Deputy of Ireland from 1477 to 1494, and from 1496 onward. Gerald married as his first wife, Alison FitzEustace with whom he had five children. In 1477 he was appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland but was soon replaced by Henry Grey, 4th Baron of Codnor because it was thought an Englishman was better fit for the job. However, Edward IV was forced to re-appoint him. Gerald managed to keep his position after the House of York fell but committed treason against Henry VII on several occasions, including when supporting the pretender Lambert Simnel. Simnel's attempt to seize the throne failed and many of his supporters were killed at the Battle of Stoke field in 1487, Gerald’s brother Thomas being one of them. Thomas is claimed to have taken the lead in rallying support for Simnel in Ireland but definitely could not have been able to do so without consent of his brother Gerald. In 1494 he was send to the Tower, during which his wife Alison died. Gerald was tried in 1496 but was able to convince the King the bad intentions of the current ruling factions in Ireland. Henry realized he needed Gerald, pardoned him and promptly re-appointed him as Lord Deputy of Ireland. From then Gerald remained faithful and Henry VII allowed him to marry a second cousin of him as his second wife, Elizabeth St. John, with whom Gerald had another 5 children. While on an expedition in Kilkea in 1513, Gerald was mortally wounded said while watering his horse. He was taken back to Kildare where he died.
Today, 25 August, in 1485, execution by beheading of William Catesby in Leicester, at the age of about 35. He was the son of Sir William Catesby of Ashby St Ledgers and Philippa Bishopston.
Catesby and one of Richard III closest friends and advisors. Catesby had been captured at the Battle of Bosworth or soon after.
Just before his execution Catesby made his last will, leaving its fulfilment entirely to his wife, 'to whom, I have ever been true of my body.' He wished his wife to restore all the land he had wrongfully purchased, and to divide the rest of his property among their children. 'I doubt not, the king will be good and gracious lord to them; for he is called a full gracious prince, and I never offended him by my good and free will, for God I take to my judge I have ever loved him.' And even more remarkable he wrote : 'My lords Stanley, Strange, and all that blood, help and pray for my soul, for ye have not for my body as I trusted in you. Perhaps suggesting he had surrendered to the Stanleys who had promised him protection but broke word and handed him to Henry for execution.
Catesby lands were confiscated but eventually in 1496 restored to his son George. Catesby was buried in the Church of St. Mary the Virgin and Leodigarius in Ashby-St-Ledgers.
Without encountering any obstacle at sea, Henry Tudor and his c. 4000 followers had sailed from the coast of Harfleur arriving safely at Mill Bay, along the rocky Pembrokeshire coastline after a 6-days journey on 7 August 1485.
Preparations had been going on for their arrival and amongst those waiting on the shore was Jasper’s half-brother and Henry’s uncle, the 26-year-old David Owen, illegitimate son of Owen Tudor who had spent the first years of his life with Henry at Pembroke Castle.
Henry’s mixed sense of relief and anxiety was obvious. He then ‘kissed the ground meekly, and reverently made the sign of the cross upon him’. Soon after their landing Henry also decided to knight eight of his foremost followers – his uncles David Owen and John, Lord Welles, Philibert de Chandée, James Blount, Edward Courtenay, John Cheyne, Edward Poynings and John Fort.
Their first task was to climb up the steep sea cliff, followed by the decision to go the village of Dale and its castle and set up camp in the village. According to Henry’s biographer Bernard André, Henry, perhaps especially mindful of his French troops, reprimanded his men not to do anything to others, ‘either by word or by deed, which you not wish to have done to yourselves’. Rules of war were crucial if authority was to be maintained and order kept.
Both Jasper and John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford inspected the French troops in order to determine what gear and weaponry they were short of. It was probably, the constable of Pembroke, Richard Williams, who hastened 200 miles over 4 days, to King Richard at Nottingham and told him the news about their landing. Good news also came, the people of Pembroke ‘were ready to serve Jaspar ther erle’.
As the year 1495 approached its end, so did the life of Jasper Tudor, Duke of Bedford and Earl of Pembroke. Jasper had made his last will on 15 December at his manor at Thornbury and died there six days later on 21 December. In his own bed he died as one of the greatest survivors of the Wars of the Roses at the age of about 64. Jasper’s body was embalmed and his entrails buried at nearby St. Mary’s Church. The church, which still stands today, must have been a frequent place of worship for the Duke while staying at Thornbury. In his will Jasper requests for his body to be buried 18 miles south of Thornbury ‘in a place convenient’ at the Abbey of Keynsham and for his tomb to be honourably made to suit ‘the estate it hath pleased God to call me to’.
Jasper was the son of Owen Tudor and dowager Queen Katherine de Valois (widow of Henry V), half-brother to Henry VI and uncle to Henry VII, to whom he devoted his life. Jasper’s steadfast loyalty towards his family and his tactics to survive against all odds were the main reason the Tudors were able to ensure the English throne. Jasper’s importance to his nephew was unmistakable by the presence of the King and his queen at his uncle’s funeral. His remains, however, were lost during the Dissolution of the Monastries under his great-nephew Henry VIII.
If anyone would like to see the original will, just message me and I'd be happy to send a pdf.
Read below for the transcript of Jasper's will in the original spelling:
In the name of god, Amen. I Jasper Duke of Bedford and Erle of Pembroke make
my testament and last Will in this forme folowing furst I bequeath my soule to almightie god to our blessed
lady the moder the virgine Mary and to all Saintes my body to be buried in the monasterie of our Lady
of Keynesham in a place convenient Where I will that my Tombe be honorable made after thestate that
it hath pleased god to call me to And therupon to be employed an hundred markis Item I will
that certeyne my Lordshippis Maners landes and tenements with their appurtenances which I have in fee
simple aswele in the Counties of Notingham Derby and Warwyk as in the Marche of Wales and ellis
where the some of fourty pounds yerely of the same with licence and agreament of my soverayn lord
the king to be amorteysed for the fyndyng of iiij preestis to syng perpetually in the saide church and Monastery
aswele for my soule and for my faders soule as for the soules of the noble memorie Kateryne some tyme
Quene of England my moder And of Edmund late Erle of Richemonde my brother and of all
other my predecessours Item I will that in defaute hereof some or ij benefices of the value of xl
or l poundes yerely above all charges of the patronage of my saide soverayn Lord of myne or of any
other where the same may bee best obteyned by speciall labor and meanes of me or myne executours
be impropried to thabbot and convent of the saide Monastery perpetually for the tyme being to thentente
v or vj preestis shalbe founde daily to syng in the saide Monasterye aswele for my soule as the
soules aforesaide Item I will that in defaulte of both the premisses and c li to be delyvered unto the saide
Abbot and Convente by myne executours in redy money to thentente that ij preestis shalbe perpetually
founde in the saide Monastery to syng daily for me And the soules above rehersed according to an offer
made by the saide Abbot and Convent in that behalf And the suretie herof to be dyvysed by my
counsell lernede. Item I bequeath to the saide monasterie my best gowne of cloth of gold for vestment
to be made to the honor of God and his blessed moder Item I will that the day of my internment
at Keynesham there be distributed amonge every poor man and woman that will take it ijd a pece and
lykewise at my monethis mynde Item I bequeath to the monasterie of blessid sainte Kenelme of Winchecombe toward the bilding of the same xxli and my long gowne of crymesyn velvett to
make a coope there to the honor of god and the sainte Item I bequeath to the church of Thornebury
toward the reparation of the same xli Item I bequeath to the saide church a gowne of blak velvett
If you haven't heard about the fantastic artist Dmitry Yakhovsky, I would really like to introduce you to him. Dmitry is experienced with watercolour and digital art, has just published his debut graphic novel 'Shadow of the Cross' with MadeGlobal Publishing and only recently started with oils. I'm so happy with the oil painting he did for me and really wanted to share it with you all. It depicts Jasper and Henry Tudor after the siege of Pembroke Castle in 1471, prior to their exile in Brittany. Many of you know Jasper is dear to my heart and I think this very image illustrates his character very well, his fatherly protectiveness towards his nephew Henry but also the determination in his eyes, while leaving his home at Pembroke, knowing that one day he will have it back.
Several days of ceremonies and festivities were planned for the days ahead. The coronation of Henry VII was set for 30 October. But even before that Henry had thought about the rewards he was to bestow upon those who had served him and had made his victory at Bosworth a fact. His uncle Jasper Tudor was on top of the list. On the feast day of St. Simon and St. Jude, Jasper was presented before his nephew the King in the ‘habit of estate of a duke’ in the Presence Chamber in the Tower of London. Duke Jasper was led by the Duke of Suffolk and his son the Earl of Lincoln, the Earl of Nottingham carried his cap of state and the Earl of Shrewsbury bore Jasper’s sword, pommel upwards and officers of arms walking before him. Others who attended were John de Vere, Earl of Oxford and the King’s stepfather Lord Thomas Stanley. While entering the room Jasper did his first bow, halfway through the room his second and standing in front of the King his third. The King then placed Jasper’s ‘girdle about his neck, and hanged the sweard before him’, styling Jasper ‘The high and mighty prince, Jasper brother and uncle of kings, Duke of Bedford and Earl of Pembroke’.
There had only been two earlier Dukes of Bedford, the most notable Henry V’s younger brother John, the mainstay of the house of Lancaster who had enjoyed great popularity and it must have been him who Henry had in mind when seeking an appropriate title for his beloved uncle. It too demonstrated the link between the houses of Lancaster and Tudor. But most of all it showed Henry’s gratitude towards the uncle who had devoted his life to his nephew and without whom kingship or probably even his very survival would have been impossible.
That same day Henry’s stepfather Lord Stanley was created Earl of Derby and Edward Courtenay received the earldom of Devon. After the ceremonies were completed the newly styled nobles took their seat at the dining table at the King’s Great Chamber.
29 October 1485: The day before Henry’s own coronation the dubbing of six knights of the Bath took place at the Tower, in which Jasper was to take part in.
After hearing mass together and in preparation of the coronation, Henry, bare-headed on a horse fully dressed with cloth of gold and trimmed with ermine with on his right hand Jasper, almost as splendidly dressed as the King himself, rode in a most impressive procession from the Tower of London to Westminster Hall. In the midst of this magnificent setting Jasper, now as Duke of Bedford, had the honour to play the leading role in the coronation ceremony of his nephew the following day.
'"A battle was fought. King Richard was killed on the battlefield and the Earl of Richmond was crowned King of England on the field with Richard's crown." Philippe de Commines.
Amongst Richard III’s men casualties were ofcourse heavy. Amid his closest supporters the elderly John Howard, 1st Duke of Norfolk, Walter Devereux (the younger), Lord Ferrers, Richard’s close companion Sir Richard Ratcliffe, Keeper of the Tower of London Sir Robert Brackenbury, Controller of the King’s household Sir Robert Percy and the King’s secretary John Kendall were all killed in battle. Richard’s other close friend Sir William Catesby fled but was soon captured and executed. Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland and Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey (son of the slain Duke of Norfolk) were both taken into custody and imprisoned but later restored to their lands and titles. John de la pole, 1st Earl of Lincoln, Francis Viscount Lovell and the brothers Humphrey and Thomas Stafford all escaped.
Polydore Vergil reported that a 1,000 men were slain amongst Richard III’s men and about 100 on Henry Tudor’s side. According to Vergil Henry’s standard bearer Sir William Brandon was ‘the only one from the nobility’ who had fallen on the victor’s side. For my second book (The Wars of the Roses Visitors Companion: Wales and the Borders, Book 1) I recently travelled through Wales and the borders and discovered that this is not the case. Sir Humphrey Cotes (or Coates) of Woodcote joint Henry’s army on route between Shrewsbury to Bosworth around 19 August, at Muster Hill near Woodcote, Shropshire. While on the winning side Sir Humphrey Cotes did not return home, he was killed during battle. He was buried at the church on the grounds of his home Woodcote Hall. Eventhough kept locked I was very lucky to visit the church and see the beautiful incised slab to Sir Humphrey Coted and his wife Eleanora Blount.
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