The circumstances surrounding the early part of his life are very obscure, but it is certain that as a young man he became a servant in the household of Henry V, possibly through the influence of his courtier kinsman, Maredudd ab Owain Glyn Dwr. During her widowhood, the dowager-queen, Catherine of Valois, mother of the boy-king Henry VI, fell in love with her tall, attractive attendant, and though there is no record of the event, all the evidence points to a secret marriage between them in 1429. The children of this union were: (1) Edmund, earl of Richmond, father of Henry VII; (2) Jasper, earl of Pembroke; (3) Owen, a monk of Westminster; (4) Margaret, who died in infancy; (5) Jacina, possibly the wife of lord Grey de Wilton. Almost immediately after Catherine's death in 1436, Owain was in serious trouble with the authorities, having for some reason attracted the particular animosity of the duke of Gloucester, the regent. It has been assumed that the persecution of Owain, which continued for some years (it is significant that he was deprived of the custody of his children), was somehow bound up with his breach of a supposed statute of 1428, forbidding the marriage of a queen-dowager without official consent [but see Artemus-Jones, Without my Wig, chap. 3]. When Henry VI came of age, however, Owain was restored to favour, being at once made a royal pensionary and in time receiving grants of other offices of profit, including, in 1460, important rights in the lordship of Denbigh. He proved himself a loyal supporter of the Lancastrian cause. Made a prisoner after the battle of Mortimer's Cross, 1461, he was taken to Hereford and there beheaded, being buried at the Grey Friars in that city.
Published date: 1959
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