Jasper was the second son of the secret marriage between the widowed Katherine de Valois, Dowager Queen of England, and Owain Tudor. Favoured by his half-brother, Henry VI, Jasper became one of the Lancastrian dynasty’s most stalwart supporters. He raised armies, besieged castles, spent years in exile, and never once changed his allegiance. Following the death of his nephew, Edward of Lancaster, at Tewkesbury, he showed the same loyalty to his other nephew, Henry Tudor.
Jasper was granted enormous estates in south-west Wales by Henry VI and spent considerable time and money on improving the castle at Pembroke, and the fortifications at Tenby. Yet, owing to the dire political situation, he was obliged to travel extensively across the country – fighting battles, fleeing pursuers, and besieging Yorkist castles. He seems to have been a master of the secret escape – even dressing as a peasant carrying a bale of straw once! Jasper criss-crossed Wales, England, Brittany and France in his efforts to support his Lancastrian relatives – sometimes at the head of an army, but often as a fugitive.
It is difficult to believe that Henry Tudor would have achieved victory at Bosworth without the support he received from Jasper’s Welsh connections, but Wales’ involvement in the Wars of the Roses was not straightforward.
Listen to our editor, Melita Thomas, discussing Jasper Tudor with Heather Teysko of the Renaissance English History Podcast here.
Our in-depth Profile on Jasper Tudor is available in paperback and kindle format from Amazon.