7 August 1485, Henry Tudor's arrival at Mill bay

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, the illegitimate son of Owen Tudor who had spent the first years of his life with Henry at Pembroke Castle.


Henry and Jasper Tudor's Arrival at Mill Bay by Dmitry Yakhovsky.

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.

Mill Bay, Pembrokeshire

Mill Bay, Pembrokeshire

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’.

Further reading:

  • W.H. Blaauw, ‘On the effigy of Sir David Owen’, pp. 25, 38, 39, vol. 7, History and Antiquities of that county, The Sussex Archaeological Society, vol. 7 (London 1854).

  • Fabyan, p. 672.

  • Harleian 78 fo. 31v.

  • Vergil, p. 216

  • Debra Bayani, Jasper Tudor, Godfather of the Tudor Dynasty, p. 187-208 (MadeGlobal Publishing 2015)


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