#MuseumFromHome Day 204

Posted by Tenby Museum on Oct 27, 2020 Blog No Comments

Day 204 of our #MuseumFromHome project and today we look at the tunnels under Jasperley House (Boots the Chemist) and its connections with Henry VII. I had a bit of a cultural weekend and watched The Hollow Crown with Benedict Cumberbatch as a tyrannical and very Shakespearian Richard III and was inspired by this to write today’s posts.

Henry Tudor (later King Henry VII) was born at Pembroke Castle in 1457, the son of Welshman Edmund Tudor (half-brother to Henry VI) and Lady Margaret Beaufort (a descendant of Edward III).

Henry was brought up by his uncle, Jasper Tudor, the Earl of Pembroke who supported the Lancastrian King Henry VI in the Wars of the Roses, against the claims of Edward IV, Duke of York. After Edward’s victory at Tewkesbury in 1471, Jasper returned to Pembroke where he and the young Henry were besieged by the Yorkist forces. At this time Jasper and 14 year old Henry were probably amongst the most wanted people in the country.

When the siege was raised, Jasper and Henry were escorted to Tenby. Legend has it that they were befriended by the Mayor, Thomas White, a prosperous wine merchant. White concealed them in the cellar of his house in High Street. From here they went through the tunnels of Jasperley House (Boots the Chemist), from where they escaped to France in one of his ships.

In August 1485 Henry Tudor returned to Wales, landing at Milford Haven. At Bosworth, he defeated Richard III and claimed the throne of England by “just inheritance and judgement of God in battle.” Tenby received a Royal Charter from Henry and Thomas White was rewarded with a lease of Crown lands in the Tenby area. George Owen, in his book The Description of Pembrokeshire, described this as a good recompense done to one man for a good deed to the whole realm.

Without Thomas White, there might well have been no Tudor dynasty.

The map of the tunnels was drawn by Arthur Stubbs.

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