Jasper Tudor (1431 – 21/26 December 1495) was the uncle and guardian of King Henry VII of England. He was also the architect of Henry's successful conquest of England and Wales in 1485.
A timeline of the life of Jasper Tudor;
1431 - Jasper was born at the Bishop of Ely's manor at Hatfield in Hertfordshire in 1431, the second son of Owen Tudor and the former Queen Catherine of Valois, the widow of Henry V of England. He was therefore, the half-brother to Henry VI. Through his father, Jasper was a descendent of Llywelyn the Great's Chancellor, Ednyfed Fychan.,
1437 - On Catherine's death, Owen Tudor was arrested and sent to Newgate prison. Jasper and his brother Edmund were put into the care of Katherine de la Pole, a nun at Barking Abbey, in Essex.
1442 - Jasper and Edmund's half-brother, King henry VI, began to take an interest in their upbringing and they were brought to live at court. Henry arranged for the best priest to educate them intellectually and morally.
1452 - Jasper was was created the Earl of Pembroke and Edmund the Earl of Richmond. In turn, they gave Henry unwavering loyalty and fought and promoted his and his Lancastrian family’s interests.
1456 - On the death of Edmund, Jasper took over the responsibility of maintaining the Lancastrian ties within Wales.
1461 - After the Battle of Mortimer's Cross in Herefordshire, in which the Lancastrian forces, led by Owen Tudor, were defeated. Jasper was forced to flee in disguise to Pembroke, eventually escaping to France via Scotland. However the four-year-old Henry Tudor was left behind at Pembroke Castle, under the custody of Edward IV's supporter, William Herbert, who was never cruel to the boy, in fact, he and his wife, Anne Devereux, raised him as their own.
1468 - Jasper returned to Wales, with the support of Louis XI of France and gathered 2000 men, but was eventually routed at Harlech Castle and forced to return to France
1469 - Jasper's invasion, did, however, create a breach in the Yorkist party, as the Earl of Warwick became dissatisfied with the king and switched sides to support Henry VI. Warwick later defeated and killed Herbert ( Henry's guardian) at the Battle of Edgecote, leaving Henry Tudor under the protection of Anne Devereux, in Herefordshire.
1470 - Jasper launched another invasion, this time with the support of Warwick and when they arrived in Hereford, he was reunited with Henry Tudor. Meanwhile, Warwick marched on London and freed HenryVI from the Tower, restoring him as king. Edward IV was forced to flee to Holland. It was also a reunion for Henry and his mother, who spent about six weeks together in London. Jasper briefly regained the earldom of Pembroke.
1471 - Edward IV returned from Europe, killed Warwick at the Battle of Barnet and was reinstated himself on the throne. Henry VI was killed, prompting Jasper to raise an army to fight Edward which was to be reinforced by Henry VI's widow, Margaret of Anjou and their son Prince Edward. She gathered an army in the West Country and marched north toward Wales to join forces with Jasper, but Edward IV confronted them at Tewkesbury on 4 May and soundly defeated them killing Prince Edward. Henry Tudor was now one of the few surviving male heirs of the Lancastrian line. Jasper, realising Henry's vulnerability, decided to take him to safety in France, however, storms in the English Channel forced them to land at Le Conquet in Brittany, where they were given refuge by Duke Francis II. Even though Edward IV placed diplomatic pressure on Duke Francis, the uncle and nephew remained safe from the clutches of the English king for the next 12 years
1483, Edward IV died unexpectedly and support grew for Henry Tudor, now the leading Lancastrian claimant to the crown. This encouraged his mother, Margaret Beaufort and Edward IV's widow, Elizabeth Woodville (the dowager Queen) to plan, Henry's return to Britain and wed Elizabeth's daughter, also Elizabeth (Elizabeth of York) to Henry Tudor, thereby uniting the Houses of Lancaster and York.
1485 - Henry landed near Milford Haven and marched through Wales, where he received substantial support. On 22nd August, Henry defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth, to become King Henry VII.
1485 - Jasper subsequently had all previous attainders annulled, he was restored to all his former titles and was made a Knight of the Garter. On 7th November, he married Catherine Woodville, a sister to Edward IV's queen Elizabeth Woodville.
1488 - Jasper took possession of Cardiff Castle.
Yule - Winter Solstice.
The Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere occurs on either December the 21st or 22nd. It is the shortest day and longest night of the year when the sun's daily maximum elevation in the sky is the lowest.
The midwinter festival of Yule appears first in the 4th century Gothic language of the Germanic peoples and was later absorbed into the Christian festival of Christmas. The term "Yule log" is one of a number of terms used to refer to the custom and in Welsh it is called a boncyff Nadolig.
It is speculated that the Celtic Druids observed the winter solstice, as it marks the shortest day and the rebirth of the Sun, when the hours of daylight increase, until the Summer Solstice. It is thought that the Druids would gather by the oldest mistletoe-clad oak, from which, the Chief Druid would remove the mistletoe with his golden sickle, to be caught by the other Druids standing below with an open sheet, making sure none of it touched the ground. The early Christian church, in fact, banned the use of mistletoe because of its association with Druids.
In the recent Welsh Druidic tradition, the Winter solstice festival is known as Alban Arthan. The name deriving from the writings of Iolo Morganwg, the 19th-century radical poet and is observed in a manner that commemorates the death of the Holly King identified with the wren bird (symbolizing the old year and the shortened sun) at the hands of his son and successor, the Oak King (the new year and the new sun that begins to grow).
Wales beat the New Zealand All Blacks 13 -12 on 21st December 1935.
Wales, captained by Claude Davey and inspired by Wilf Wooler and Cliff Jones secured victory with only 10 minutes remaining in the match even though they were reduced to 14 men following a neck injury to hooker Don Tarr. Wooller broke the All Blacks defence then chipped ahead, but the bounce of the ball prevented him from gathering to score. However, Geoffrey Jones was in support and managed to go over for his second try of the match, which prooved to be the match winner.
21st December 1990 saw the final closure of the last pit in the Rhondda when the miners of Maerdy colliery made an emotional and dignified march from the pit for the very last time.
It marked the end of an era when the Rhondda became the most intensely mined area in Britain, starting with the discovery of coal at the Dinas Mine in 1809 to at its peak, when the valleys had 66 mines in production with a yearly output of nine-and-half million tonnes, to the demise of the industry following the First World and the emergence of oil as a competitor in the 1960s and 1970s.
Editorial cartoonist and visual commentator, Joseph Morewood Staniforth (better known as J.M. Staniforth) died on 21 December 1921.
Born in Gloucester in 1863, Staniforth began working for the Western Mail at 15 and the paper started publishing his cartoons in 1889. His drawings and cartoons covered the changing political scene and social unrest in Wales of the period. One of his most famous creations was 'Dame Wales' a woman dressed in the national costume, who spoke words of reason and symbolised Wales in a similar manner to the way that other cartoonists would use Britannia to symbolise Britain.
21st December 1890 saw the onset of a snowfall in Wales during a winter which saw temperatures fall to the lowest ever recorded, with the River Severn being frozen over enough to allow traffic to travel over it and sheep & pigs to be roasted on top of it.
Born to Welsh parents on this day 1799 in Worcester.
John "Jacky" Vaughan.
At an early age, Vaughan followed his father in working at Dowlais Ironworks. Over the years, he worked his way up through the industry to become an ironmaster and in 1840, went into partnership with the industrialist Henry Bolckow, from which the ironmaking and mining company, Bolckow, Vaughan & Co.Ltd was founded in 1864. It was this company that is credited with transforming the small rural town of Middlesbrough into the centre of ironmaking in Britain.