TUDOR, the surname of a family of Welsh extraction, which occupied the throne of England from 1485 to 1603. In the Welsh language Tudor is the equivalent of Theo dore. Owen Tudor, the first of the race known in history, has had a pedigree assigned him from the ancient Welsh princes, which rests on no very solid evidence. In fact little is known of his origin, except that his father had to quit Wales on a charge of murder, and was outlawed. He seems himself to have been at one time a brewer at Beaumaris, in Anglesey; and he was afterward a retainer in the suite of the bishop of Bangor, and fought at Agincourt. His dancing at some court pageant is said to have first ingratiated him with Catharine of Valois, widow of Henry V., who appointed him to the office of clerk of the household, and before long entered either into an illicit con nection or a private marriage with him. The indignation of the public at this step obliged the queen to take refuge in a convent at Bermondsey, where she died; and Tudor was sent to Newgate, but succeeded in escaping, and obtaining two audiences of the young king, Henry VI., who afforded him protection, and conferred on him the lieutenancy of Denbigh. Two sons had been born to him by the queen. On the elder, Edmond, the king bestowed the earldom of Richmond; and on the younger, Jasper, the. earldom of Pembroke. The earl of Richmond married Margaret, daughter and heiress of John Beaufort, earl of Somerset, whose father was an illegitimate son of John of Gaunt by Katherine Swynford. The sole issue of Richmond and the heiress of Somer set, Henry, duke of Richmond, invited from abroad to deliver England from Richard III., ascended the throne after Richard's death at Bosworth as Henry VII. The parti
sans of the house of Lancaster the extinction of the lawful descend ants of John of Gaunt; and by his marriage with Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Edward IV., and representative of the house of York, he was considered to have united the fac tions of the white and red rose. Five sovereigns of the house of Tudor successively occupied the throne—viz., Henry VII., Henry VIII., Edward VI., Mary, and Elizabeth —for an account of whom see separate articles. From Elizabeth,_ the last of the line, the crown passed to James VI. of Scotland, of the house of Stuart, in virtue of Lis descent from Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII., and queen of the Scottish James IV. Strength of will was the prominent characteristic of the sovereigns of the house of Tudor; their rule, generally prosperous, was far more arbitrary and despotic than that of the Plantagenets. Parliament was in many cases but the exponent of the royal will, and taxes were frequently exacted, and penal statutes dispensed with, by the prerogative alone. The condition of England under the Tudors differed from despotic monarchies chiefly in the important respect that the sovereign had no standing army The Tudor monarchs exercised a remarkable influence on ecclesiastical affairs; it was under their rule that the reformation took place, and the Anglican church was devel oped.