Following the Tudors in exile: Part Two – Guest Post by Tony Riches

Born and raised in St. Louis MO, Mercedes Rochelle graduated with a BA in Literature from University of Missouri. She learned about living history as a re-enactor and has been enamored with historical fiction ever since. A move to New York to do research and two careers ensued, but writing fiction remains her primary vocation. Her first four books are historical novels about 11th century Britain and events surrounding the Norman Conquest. Mercedes now lives in Sergeantsville, NJ with her husband in a log home they had built themselves.

Château de Josselin

In Part One we followed Jasper and Henry Tudor’s escape from West Wales to Brittany. Now we follow events up to their return:

When Yorkist agents began plotting to capture the Tudors Duke Francis moved Jasper and Henry to different fortresses further inland. I stayed by the river within sight of the magnificent Château de Josselin, where Jasper was effectively held prisoner. Although the inside has been updated over the years, the tower where Jasper lived survives and I was able to identify Tudor period houses in the medieval town which he would have seen from his window.

The Forteresse de Largoët

Henry’s château was harder to find but worth the effort. The Forteresse de Largoët is deep in the forest outside of the town of Elven. His custodian, Marshall of Brittany, Jean IV, Lord of Rieux and Rochefort, had two sons of similar age to Henry and it is thought they continued their education together. Proof I was at the right place was in the useful leaflet in English which confirmed that: ‘On the second floor of the Dungeon Tower and to the left is found a small vaulted room where the Count of Richemont was imprisoned for 18 months (1474-1475).

Entering the Dungeon Tower through a dark corridor, I regretted not bringing a torch, as the high stairway is lit only by the small window openings. Interestingly, the lower level is octagonal, with the second hexagonal and the rest square. Cautiously feeling my way up the staircase I was walking in the footsteps of the young Henry Tudor, who would also have steadied himself by placing his hand against the cold stone walls, nearly five and a half centuries before.

On my return to Wales I made the journey to remote Mill Bay, where Henry