Thursday, October 06, 2011

Question from Dafydd - Documentation of Henry VII's claim of descent from Arthur

Henry VII claimed to be a descendant of Arthur of the Britons. A search on this site revealed some quite interesting inputs from various people (in 2009) regarding whether or not Henry VII was attempting to 'legitamize' the Tudor rule by making this claim. I don't wish to enter into speculation as to Henry VII's motives, but to raise another question. Did Henry VII document how he was related? i.e., is there a genealogy report somewhere for Henry VII which shows his connection, be it factual or fictitious, to Arthur?
Thank you.


shtove said...

He named his first son Arthur.

There's a useful section in wikipedia with references:

Can't find direct online sources for the genealogy.

The claim to Arthurian descent fell out of fashion when renaissance historical methods were introduced to England.

Mary R said...

I doubt that anyone would have expected Henry VII to produce written evidence to back up his claim. The Arthurian legends were, as was the custom, passed down orally. Not surprising since most of the nobles and even some of the clergy were illiterate before the renaissance. Considering the Viking invasions, dark ages, etc. it probably would have looked more specious had Henry tried to produce such documentation.

Lara said...

This rang a bell with me so I did a little digging. Best I could find was a mention in "The Making of the Tudor Dynasty" where they talk about the cultivation of the "Cult of Arthur", but say that Henry never attempted to actually lay out his supposed relation to Arthur.

Bernard Andre did write about Henry's descent from Cadwaladr though. I don't have the actual text of his account on hand, but I'm sure it's out there somewhere.

dafydd said...

shtove, Mary R & Lara, I thank you for responding.