Saturday, August 30, 2008

Question from Paula Fullilove - Possible bastard of Henry VII

I recently read that the very first Tudor was a bastard child of Henry Vll, a son borne by Henry's mother's courtier who went by the name of Bess Fullilove. My interest is obvious as I have the same surname which I have found in the past to be surrounded in a lot of ambiguity. Can you give me any real info on this obscure bit of history?


Anonymous said...

Paula, I checked all my sources on Henry VII and Margaret Beaufort and I can't find any reference at all in scholarly or contemporary works to anybody named Bess Fullilove.

Henry seems to have been separated from his mother at a fairly young age and raised by his uncle, Jasper Tudor. (Lara is the expert on Jasper, so maybe she can help on this part.) I don't think he saw his mother very much at all during this time.

Then he was in exile in France for 14 years until he came back to beat Richard III at Bosworth.

There is a story that he fathered a bastard child in France named Roland de Velville. That story was accepted for a long time, but seems to be discounted among the latest round of historians of the period.

The only references I can find at all to a Bess Fullilove is on the internet and they all date from the past year or so, material along the lines of " He later produced seven children and many more bastards with no mention of the forgotten son! His first "accidental" son. Actual sole male air to the throne. Its believed that Bess Fullilove and her Royal bastard were banished, paid off and she was removed from all royal service." (I haven't figured out if I can post a link here or not, but just google Bess Fullilove and it will come up near the top.)

Most of that is not true. He did not go on to father "many more bastards". Only the one I mentioned above is attributed to him. And, in any case, since he had legitimate sons, an illegitimate one would not have inherited except possibly in the absense of legitimate heirs which wasn't the case.

I'm wondering if there might not have been some confusion here with Henry VIII who had an illegitimate son with Bessie Blount. Henry did consider making him the heir to the throne, but he died young and Henry went on to have a legitimate heir with Jane Seymour.

You might be able to get more information on the existence of Bess Fullilove through genealogical channels rather than historical ones.

Sorry I couldn't be of more help.

Lara said...

Hehe... well, I don't think I can qualify as an expert on Jasper yet, but it is something I aspire to!

I also checked my various books on the early Tudors and couldn't find any mention of a Fullilove. The only discussion of a bastard in association with Henry VII I've ever come across was the Roland which Kathy mentioned.

I also did a search in the Oxford Dic. of Nat. Bio without any luck. If I had to take a guess, I would say there was a typo somewhere along the way attributing this possible bastard to Henry VII when it should have been Henry VIII (a VERY common typo, even in big newspapers). And even then though, I would probably have to put this in with a lot of other family stories of a lady having a bastard by Henry VIII, of which there is little or no evidence. (Beyond Henry Fitzroy and the possible child/children with Mary Boleyn.)

Anonymous said...

Just want to acknowledge my thanks to Katy and Lara for confirming my suspicions about this rather dubious entry in the shall we say, "wicked"encyclopedia resource. Glad to know that there are websites such as yours to dispell all the misinformed individuals of revisionist history. Guess I'm back to the drawing board about my surname...maybe I should stick to my maiden name...Burns. Its not as fun but easier to research from a practical perspective.

Unknown said...

Yes, Henry VII had an illegitimate son named Roland de Veleville, but the name of his mother is unknown. He was born c. 1474 in Brittany, came to England when Henry became King, and was treated to great royal favor though he was not acknowledged. He was knighted at Blackheath but spent his life living in the royal apartments with Westminster listed as his residence, and was allowed to joust and handle the royal falcons prior to being knighted (and even after, he should have never been allowed to touch them). He was given 40 pounds a year in allowance, though he was not given an official position at court, not even being listed as "royal companion" though he fits that job best. In 1509 he was made into the Constable of Beaumaris Castle by Henry VIII (though it may have originated in Henry VII), who continued to treat him with very, very marked favor, even having him as a principal mourner in the funeral of one of his infants with Katherine of Aragon. Roland died in 1535, leaving his wife, Agnes Griffith, and at least one daughter named Jane, who married Robert ap Tudor Fychan and had a living daughter, Katherine Tudor of Berain (there are references to a daughter Grace, but as far as I know, we do not know what happened to her).
Part of the issue here is the S.B. Chrimes paper of 1967 where he uses bad information and personal opinion to claim that Roland was "just another knight who fought at Bosworth Field and Henry felt he owed favoritism to, just like Charles Brandon," which is faulty on many, many levels. As much as Chrimes was a very dedicated historian, this is one of his major blunders. If you take a moment to read the 3-page paper, the errors and problems with it become clear immediately. He may not have been able to see many sources, or did not understand the sources he did have access to. The problem is that, since that paper was published, he used it as a source for his books and the later editions of earlier books. Therefore, many historians took this for factual information until the late 1980s, when historians began to fight over the accuracy of it. The debate is still going on, and many of those who write about Henry VII now ignore it completely or give it a slight mention. However, he appears in Alison Weir's "Britain's Royal Families" on p. 152.
The descendants of Roland de Veleville (spelled many different ways and all are correct) are still alive today by the hundreds, all over the world.

Anonymous said...

Really interested if anyone knows any more about Rowland's daughter Grace?
My father has some information about her being born in 1526 and dying in 1581, also that she had a son called William Spackman.


Anonymous said...

Yes, I too am interested to find out if Grace had a relationship that resulted in a son with surname of Spackman. My dauhter's are "Spackman" and on it suggests that Grace is their 14th great grandmother. I can't seem to find out if in fact Grace was married to a spackman in anything I look up online.

Thank you.
Stephanie Wright,
IThaca NY

Unknown said...

Grace Tudor de Vielville is my 14th Great Grandmother, she did marry Henry Spackman.

Anonymous said...

I have Henry Spackman haven born in 1562 and believed to have died in 1581 but the grace spackman died 1583.
Could be wrong though
But maiden name and parents are unknown

Anonymous said...

Hi I came here to find out a bit more about the De VelVille's in particular Grace, and just started that branch on my tree. I have a lot of royalty and nobles on my tree, Henry Spackman is my 11th GGF, information found was he was born 1526, in CLiffe Pypard, Wiltshire, England. Died on 4 May 1581, same place. I have "LADY GRACE GLYNN TUDOR DE VELVILLE" as his spouse, born 1526 and died 1581, but no information as to where on both.

Their children I have listed are:
William 1546-1614,
Ambrose (Tudor) 1550-1623,
John (Tudor) 1558-1633,
Thomas (Tudor) 1560-1620,
Jane abt. 1560-1626,
Grace (Tudor) 1565-1660,
Henry (Tudor) 1580-, and
Ambrose 1581-1623, ALL surname of Spackman.

Any information I've found online leads to a Sir Roland Tudor De Velville, but I want to be sure I'm heading in the right direction, and if anyone can shed light, that would be great thanks.

Gareth said...

According to my research, Henry Spackman was my 12 GGF. He was born in Clyffe Pypard, Wiltshire in 1526 and married Grace de Velville in 1545. Henry was the son of Stephen and grandson of William, who was born in Anglesey. That appears to be the link between the De Velville family and the Spackmans. The assumption is that Grace moved or was sent to Wiltshire to marry Henry. In Henrys will, he mentions his wife Grace.
My link from Henry descends through the families of the Spackmans; Gales; Lewis; Barnes and Potter all of who lived in and around N. Wiltshire.
I would be happy to discuss in more detail if anyone has any further info.

Sue said...

I'm quite new to family research compared to some and have just found this page.
Henry Spackman was my 9 GGF and was indeed married to Grace De Velville. Their child William (1546) was my 8 GGF.
I am a direct descendant of Henry through my father Cyril Spackman (1924-2000) who's grandfather Edwin Spackman moved to Bradford on Avon Wiltshire from Clyffe Pypard around the 1890's.
We visited Clyffe Pypard a few years ago. There are Spackman graves in the churchyard and we were told that there are Spackman's still associated with the village although no longer living there.
If there is anyone that can fill in any gaps I would be very interested.

SusanHffe said...

Yes Grace did married a Spackman

Unknown said...

Just working on some more family tree stuff and have found Henry Spackman is my 13th GG
The family splits of when William Spackman 1707-1779 marries Sarah Marshall. There daughter Elizabeth 1738-1778 marries Thomas Lavington. Their daughter Catherine marries Aaron Wiltshire.
Their daughter Catherine 1809 married William Self. Their daughter Sophia married George Newman and then down to me, Heather

john bennett said...

My connection to the Spackman name is through Nicholas Spackman supposedly born in Cricklade 1630 married to Mary Phillipps. But I am having a problem connecting him to a father and mother. A couple of trees have listed Ambrose Spackman and Grace Smith from Cliffe Pypard but without a source citation



I am intrigued by the information that Grace de Vielville married Henry Spackman. I know his wife's name was Grace but can find no evidence that she was Grace de Vielville. Can anyone who is certain on the marriage provide some evidence?

H G Ros said...

Hi All

I, too, have just discovered a (possible)family connection to Spackman - Grace de Vielville, and I am intrigued that the name Tudor is given to a number of children. Far from definitive, but a hint, perhaps? Interestingly the Spackman line for me came from a descendant who was a 16-year-old convict sent out to Botany Bay for stealing a handkerchief quite a fall from a possible royal blood to a convict! Anyway, he made good and settled in New Zealand to create a large family there.

Anonymous said...

Roland De Veville (Vevelle) was my 14th great grandfather

Anonymous said...

My sister and I discovered the Spackman lineage yesterday. We are Gales with a line back to Clyffe Pypard and Martha Spackman and hence Grace. As far as I can see the dispute over Roland is very recent, goes against the long standing view and for all the reasons listed the idea that he wasn't Henry's son seems thin. Additional evidence is through a comparison of their portraits, Roland looks almost identical to Henry. Interestingly if you accept the link then that leads to a direct lineage to the Kings and Queens of England, France and Scotland and the Dukes of Normandy. This includes William the Conqueror and Rollo the Viking who founded the Normans.

Anonymous said...

It is true Henry Spackman's will names his wife as Grace, but nothing more is known about her. What is known for certain is that Grace de Velville married William Glynn, as mentioned by Griffith's Pedigrees of Anglesey and Carnarvonshire, p.270 (available on Google books).
Henry Spackman lived hundreds of miles from where Grace de Velville was born and married in north Wales; their marriage is just another internet myth.