Justin Pollard, writing in this month’s BBC History Magazine, says that Oliver Cromwell’s ancestor Morgan ap Williams “was the son of Joan Tudor, a woman who was probably the illegitimate daughter of Jasper Tudor". I have not heard this before – is it likely that Joan was Jasper’s daughter?
[See below for a previous thread that included info on a rumor of an illegitimate daughter of Jasper. - Lara]
I did come across this rumor in Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall, but I don't know what the substantiation is. Some of the old 19th-century sources say that Morgan ap Williams' father served in Jasper's household, which at least lends credible proximity to the tale.
However, Ralph Alan Griffiths, who wrote an authoritative and monumental study of Henry VI, firmly squelches any notion of the existence of either Joan or Helen/Ellen Tudor (Bishop Stephen Gardiner's alleged mother, a more widely reported rumor that also finds currency in Mantel's novel), Jasper's putative daughters:
"[Henry VI's] tiresome preaching may have had particular effect on his half-brother, Jasper, whose upbringing was strictly controlled for a time by King Henry, and who did not marry until he was in his mid-fifties - or produce any illegitimate offspring." (Griffiths, The Reign of King Henry VI)
If the rumored relationship between Oliver Cromwell and Joan Tudor could be dated to the 17th century, perhaps it could have developed as a natural consequence of Cromwell's rise to power, since people often attribute outstanding achievements by a commoner to his or her "secret" royal ancestry or dynastic connexions. Napoleon had all sorts of people drawing up noble genealogies for him after he came to prominence, and you see a remnant of the practice even today, with American presidents being freshly "discovered" to be sixth cousins 14 times removed of the queen of England, or something.
Thanks for that, Foose. I haven't been able to find out anything else myself.
You are welcome! I looked all over too and found not even a whisper of any "Joan Tudor" except in Mantel's novel and the Pollard article (which I have not seen). Where Oliver Cromwell's ancestry is discussed, earlier commentators seem to be most interested in him being related remotely to the Stuart dynasty (I guess it provided an intriguing ironic twist to the execution of Charles I.)
While Joan Tudor's existence is debatable, I do have a Joan Tudor in my family tree. She had a son Morgan Williams, who had a son Walter Williams and so on down the centuries. Her father is listed as Jasper Tudor and we can all follow the tree up from there. If she did indeed have a son, that would prove her existence, if not exactly her paternity. I intend to do more research, but I would not dismiss it completely out of hand.
Crystal we are related I am a direct descendent of Walter (Cromwell ) Williams we are still alive and living in Oklahoma the family keeped great family records and we are related to Joan Tudor and she was the child of Jasper but If you research back far into her husband William he was a direct decended from Howell last King of Wales the reason that so many people disagree about MY FAMILY is Oliver Cromwell was so hated by so many not only they desecrated his body and his ancetery . So we move to America my name is Kenneth Williams , so if you see what someone wrote on the web don't believe a lot of post unless it is backed up by the last will and testament the Williams family has always keep record
Crystal, we are related too! Morgan Williams was my 16th great grandfather. My name is Elisabeth Williams. I am currently doing my family tree on ancestry.com. I could use some assistance with stories and pictures on the williams side of family. Kenneth can we get in touch? I am interested in your family records. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Morgan Williams is my 14th great grandfather, as well!
I am descended from Oliver Cromwell's illegitimate children. I'll have to go dig in my genealogy records to get the exact details. Surname is Irish, so it must have been one of my grandmothers that was his descendant. My Irish line fought in the American Revolution (I believe 2nd generation in America).
Morgan is also my 16th great grandfather. My name is Grant Williams. I found some info about Joan Tudor. Her father Jasper was married to Mevanvy Verch Daffydd in 1483 where they had her and her sister Helen. In 1485 Jasper was then married to Catherine Woodville sister of Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV.
Also whats amazing is that Morgan Williams married Katherine Cromwell, Thomas Cromwell's older sister. So while not a direct link, Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII where related.
Morgan Williams was knighted by Henry VII. Morgan owned a tavern and brewed ale.
His brother John Williams was also knighted and a Member of Parliament. How???
If Joan Tudor was not the illegitimate daughter of Jasper Tudor,the honors may have
come from her husband's service to Jasper Tudor and Henry VII. However, consider
that Henry VII was not liberal with his honors. Morgan's son, Sir Richard Cromwell
(Williams) married the sister of the Earl of Essex and served Henry VIII. All
respect to Professor Griffith's fine work on Henry VI; but some circumstantial
evidence points to Morgan Williams as a relative of Henry VII. I believe that
Joan Tudor could have been Jasper's illegitimate daughter. Welsh nobles unless
recognized by the King were under a disability until Henry VIII.
I traced my line to Katherine Cromwell from a Great,great,great-Grandmother, Cinderella Cromwell, who married a Pettway in N.C.
I believe Joan Tudor did exist; but wasn't documented because she a.) was illegitamit b.) died young from bearing children while still a child herself.
Morgan Williams is also my 16th Grandfather. I do believe Joan existed, she was illegimate daughter of Jasper Tudor.
I live in Tennessee, we are descendants from the Maryland Cromwells.
have any of you got any documentation to prove these links (if so I would love to see them posted on the web for us all to examine) or are you just trawling the internet trying to find links.
To prove a connection you need at least 3 supportive official document.
Family stories are not enough.
I can find no information for Oliver Cromwell's illegitimate children and I would doubt if there ever were any as he was a strict Puritan and happily married.
Signed a true (documented) descendant of Oliver Cromwell (Lord Protector)
Elizabeth,I have provided you access to my DNA test results. I have traced my lineage to Morgan, who is my 15th Grandfather.
Actually i believe Joan might have been Jaspers daughter from a previous marriage. I believe he was married first to a lady who might not have been a noble. He was only married to Catherine Woodville for ten years, 1485 to 1495, while Joan was born in 1453 and died in 1479. Meaning Joan was an adult and had children and died when her father could have remarried. Her sister Helen died in 1485, so Jasper could have been lonely and then decided to remarry because of that.
Jasper's first partner was Myvanwy Verch Daffydd. She was the mother of Joan and Helen. Myvanwy was the daughter of Sir Daffydd ap Mathew, Baron of Glamorgan and a Marcher Lord.
Myvanwy died about 1485. Daffydd ap Mathew was Edward IV's Standard Bearer. The relationship between Jasper and Myvanwy was strained about 1461. Jasper was in exile during 1461 to 1470 and again after Tewkesbury in 1471. Their daughters did not survive past 1485; but left offspring.
I too am a direct descendant of Morgan Williams. My father was born Robert Williams and his paternal lineage is in a direct line from Morgan Williams. My father was then adopted by my grandmother's second husband whose name was Roberts, make my father and subsequently me, Robert Roberts.
My email is email@example.com
We descendants of Morgan Williams should start a club. :-)
I too am a descendant of this bloodline - there is more I would like to share with those who are interested - clane firstname.lastname@example.org
Looks like I'm a little late to the party, but I'm related to all these folks as well.
I too am related to Joan Tudor. Her descendant Reverend Roger Williams founded Rhode Island and through him I was able to trace back our family tree to Joan Tudor where the trail promptly ends. If you all find anything let me know.
Same! I can trace my lineage through only 2 name changes (daughters) back to Roger Williams founder of Rhode Island and through his line straight back to a Joan Tudor daughter of Jasper Tudor..though knowing the “catholic church” claims marriages of love may not be legitimate in their eyes, it could still be legal in laws of the land... all this hype about the cromwell side there is more than one side and a looonnnggg line of decendants
It seems there are too many decendants to ignore! Morgan is an uncle though, as i am descendant of John his big brother. I am mitochondrial Dna verified. If Joan never existed how are there so many of us that branch off from her other children. it would be more feasible that a made up figure only had 1 surving child to pass the line down through. instead of 3...
I am a descendant of Morgan Williams, the putative grandson of Jasper Tudor. I believe that both Joan and Ellen existed; however, it is possible they could have been the same woman. Born 1453,married to William ap Ieuan in 1468, Morgan and Ieuan were born, William ap Ieuan dies in 1469, Ellen/Joan meets Stephen Gardiner in 1470s. The Gardiner children are born. Myfanwy dies in 1485. Ellen/Joan dies the same year. Henry Tudor and Jasper land in Wales and emerge victorious in August 1485-Battle of Bosworth Field. The timelines are very close.
Lady Joan Tudor was the daughter of Mevanvy Verch Daffydd who was the mistress of Jasper Tudor.They were never married so she was the illegitimate daughter of Jasper.
Whoever Morgan Williams motger ir father was, he is the ancestor of Roger Willians, the famous founder of the state of Rhode Island and of the doctrine of separation of church and state. This a proven descent.
I stand by my last comment of last April-April 2021. I deeply respect the reputation and scholarship of Professor Griffiths. He is a scholar and historian of the highest order. However, I must disagree with the good Professor on the issue of whether Jasper Tudor had illegitimate children. First, human nature makes it improbable that a typical heterosexual male living in the 15th century would lack lustful desires towards attractive females. After all, Jasper's bother Edmund impregnated and married the youthful female ward who became Henry VII's mother. Most likely, if Jasper remained celibate, he would probably become a cleric. Instead, Jasper lived a life of escapes, many "close calls" and capturing and defending castles against heavy odds. He also lived life as an alleged outlaw and fugitive. Jasper's life at that time mirrors a 15th century version of James Bond Agent 007. Jasper's romantic life would be sporadic and "love on the run". Jasper probably had illegitimate children during that time. This life was not the quiet one of a monk in a monastery.
I have been tracing my family history and i am related to the cousin of oliver cromwell and joan of tudor. It was only because my cousin found another line in 17th century i crossed refrence google with dna
I congratulate all of those who have found this and found out you are a descendant of Morgan Williams, because not only might we be related to the Tudors, Its is documented that we are Definitely descendants of Vortigern, King of the Britons. Not only that but we can trace our familial lines back to Euddolen ab Afallach who was born in 35BCE! So once again congrats to all my family who manage to find this. with love Grant Williams.
Grant Williams, my gggrandmother was born in this line. We are distant cousins. Please contact me at email@example.com or 409-893-2680. I live in Texas. I would love to know more about our Williams ancestry.
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