Rev. Richard Edwardes

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Richard Edwardes

Also Known As: "Richard E Edwards", "Rev. Richard Tudor"
Birthplace: North Petherton, Somerset, England, United Kingdom
Death: October 31, 1566 (41)
Edwards Hall, Cardiff, Glamorganshire, Wales (United Kingdom)
Immediate Family:

Son of William Edwards and Agnes Edwards
Husband of Margaret Edwardes and Helen Edwardes
Father of Marie Edwards; Gwen Edwardes; Elizabeth Edwards; John Edwardes, of North Petherton; Rev. Richard Edwards and 3 others
Brother of William Edwards; Henry Edwardes and Christopher William Edwardes

Occupation: Poet, Playright, Gentleman of the Chapel Royal
Managed by: Erica Howton
Last Updated:

About Rev. Richard Edwardes

(Reverend) Richard Edwardes (1523 - 1566) was an English poet and playwright whom was made a 'Gentleman of the Chapel Royal,' and was master of the singing boys. He was known for his comedies and interludes. Because of compelling circumstances surrounding his birth and later education, it is believed '(Reverend) Richard Blewett Edwardes I' ( is a natural son of "His Majesty, Henry [Tudor] VIII, By the Grace of God, King of England, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, and of the Church of England and of Ireland in Earth Supreme Head"; Henry VIII.

Richard was born on October 15, 1523 in North Petherton, Somerset, England and passed away on October 31, 1566, in Edwards Hall, Glamorgan [near Cardiff], (South) Wales. ( and (

Legal Parents: William Thomas Edwardes and Agnes Blewett.


  1. on April 22, 1560, in Parish of North Petherton, England to Margaret Babb
  2. abt. 1562, in England, to Helene Griffith. She was born Abt. 1534 in England and died aft. 1567 in England.

Children of Margaret Babb and Richard Edwards:

  1. William Edwards, born and baptized November 09, 1561 in North Petherton, Somerset, England. Married firstly to married Ellenor Thomas on July 22,1583 in Oswestry and secondly to Ann Riffin / Griffin.

Children of Helene Griffith and Richard Edwards:

  1. Marie Edwardes, born circa 1562.
  2. Gwyn Edwardes, born circa 1563, died circa 1603.
  3. Elizabeth Edwardes, born circa 1564.
  4. John Edwardes, born March 15, 1564/65 in North Petherton, Somerset, England; he was a merchant of London and married Ellenor Pursloe on October 23 1586 in St. Nicholas Church, London, England; he died on December 16, 1604 in St. Nicholas Parish, London, England.
  5. (Reverend) (Lord) Richard Blewett Edwardes II, born posthumously on November 22, 1566 in North Petherton, Somerset, England.


A body of priests and singers who serve the spiritual needs of their sovereign wherever they are called upon to do so.

Biographical notes

English composer and poet, Richard became Master of the Children of the Chapel Royal in 1561 and wrote two plays for them. His five surviving songs, of which the most famous is "In Going to my Naked Bed," show the influence of the Franco-Flemish style on English music before the arrival of the Italian madrigal. Three keyboard arrangements of 3 part-songs (only one assigned to him, but the other two assumed to be his from his authorship of the words) survive in MS (manuscripts).

Richard Edwardes was educated at Oxford, receiving both a Bachelor's and a Master's degree. He considered a career in Law, even having entered in Lincoln's Inn Field, but he never took up the practice. Instead he became master of the children at the Chapel Royal, where he created musical dramas that the children's choir could perform. The composition, 'Palamon and Arcite' was written for the Queen, and was performed at Oxford. The Queen's Majesty Elizabeth [Tudor] I was impressed with the piece, and intended to bestow a gift upon Edwardes, but he died soon after the performance.

Little more is known of Edwardes' life. Edwardes' importance as a playwright is that he instigated the basing of the English tragedy on the Latin classical model. His plays were classical in subject, but were set in a contemporary world. The only play of his that is still in existence is 'Damon and Pithias' (1571). His passing was noted by a contemporary of the time as being a writer of the same class as Shakespeare. He is also possibly accredited for being the originator of "comic relief" in English literature.


  1. [S8] Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 106th edition, 2 volumes (Crans, Switzerland: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 1999), volume 1, page 947. Hereinafter cited as Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 106th edition.
  2. [S8] Charles Mosley, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 106th edition.

Works on line include

A Question of Parentage

Henry [Tudor] VIII, King of England and of France and Ireland was married six times. During his lifetime whilst serving as King, it is confirmed he engaged in carnal knowledge with mistresses, especially during his marriage to Katherine [Trast%C3%A1mara] of Aragon, Queen Consort of England. One mistress is believed to have been Agnes Blewett. It is strongly believed, by the way of circumstantial evidence, that the King's Majesty fathered a son with her, whom was born after Agnes married her lawful husband, William Thomas Edwardes. Together, Agnes and William named the male child "Richard Blewett Edwardes." Agnes and William reportedly lived adjacent to the King's Hunting lodge in Somerset County, England. The Edwardes had other children, with birth and baptism records stating William and Agnes as the parents. However, apparently no record exists for Richard, thereby instigating a still-ongoing odyssey of his true paternity.

Richard was most assuredly afforded many favourable opportunities as a young man, including obtaining a post at Christ Church College in Oxford. Finally, he was included in the inner circle of the Royal Family, during 'the Tudor dynasty' up until his own passing. This was the pattern of favoritism shown to other suspected 'natural children' of Henry VIII. A book on the subject was written in 1992 by David Dean Edwards called 'Edward's Legacy'.

Parentage discussions

Comments from Geni discussion

The Family Tree DNA - Edwards Y-DNA Surname Project as of May 2014 shows:

  • Edwardes / Edwards
  • Goronwy ap Tudor, born 1275, died 1371; Wales.
  • R1b1 DNA Unassigned
  • R-P312


▼ Disputed Lineages The paternity of Richard Edwardes is a matter of active dispute. The candidates being William Thomas Edwardes and Henry VIII. Among the points of relevant discussion:

It is suggested by some researchers, including David Dean Edwards, author of "The Edwards Legacy" (1992), that Agnes Blewett, daughter of Richard Blewett of Holcombe and Mary Grenville, was a mistress - or perhaps a short-time 'private courtier' - to King Henry VIII; and that her son Richard was fathered by King Henry VIII, and not her husband William. Some indicators of his parentage, in this researcher's opinion, are that Henry did provide a stipend for Richard, and provided financial wherewithal for him to attend Oxford. Agnes was honoured with the addition of 'the Tudor Rose' to her personal coat of arms, but no blood link to 'the English Royal House of Tudor' has ever been established in her genealogy to justify such an addition. However, Agnes is absolutely a descendant of 'the English Royal House of Plantagenêt' through both of her parents. Agnes and Henry VIII share Edward [Plantagen%C3%AAt] I, King of England, Lord of Ireland and Duke of Aquitaine and Eleanor [Ivrea] of Castile, Queen Consort of England as their closest common ancestors. Agnes' ancestry can be traced here: and here:

Experts, or established historians and academics, believe that no evidence exists to prove that Agnes was ever at the royal English Tudor court. Some Edwards family genealogists do not argue this. Instead, they declare Henry VIII had a hunting lodge at Huntworth in Somerset, near where Agnes lived. Agnes' son Richard Edwardes was born at North Petherton, two miles away. However, Henry VIII only visited the West Country once, (or at least officially), in 1535, while Richard Edwardes, his supposed son was born there on October 15, 1523. Furthermore, the Victoria County History, a very comprehensive source for local history, makes no mention of a royal hunting lodge at North Petherton, at Huntworth, or anywhere else in the area.

Another link to King Henry would be Richard's career as a clergyman, serving 'the Anglican Church,' or "the Church of England" as it was reformed by Henry VIII. The national religion in England became "Anglican" during the reign of Henry VIII after he severed ties with the Roman Catholic Church based in Rome, Italy. When the pope Clement VII refused to make an rendering on the dissolution of King Henry VIII's marriage to Katherine of Aragon, the King of England permanently severed ecclesiastical and financial ties with the Vatican, and therein justifying his 'style of the sovereign' at then to be revised to "By the Grace of God, King of England and France, Defender of the Faith, Lord of Ireland, and of the Church of England in Earth Supreme Head."

Rev. Richard Edwardes (1523 - 1566) was an English poet and playwright; he was made a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal, and was master of the singing boys. He was known for his comedies and interludes, but was also rumoured to be an illegitimate son of Henry VIII.

Richard Edward(e)s, was born Oct of 1523-25 in North Petherton, Somerset, England. His parents of record are William Thomas Edwardes of North Petherton and Agnes Blewett of Holcombe Rogus, Devon. 

Some researchers and Brit historians believe that Richard is an illegitimate son of Henry VIII (Tudor) and Agnes Blewitt, as Agnes was at court just prior to her pregnancy and Henry VIII provided a stipend for Richard's childhood support, and guaranteed and paid for his education at Oxford. Richard's mother, Agnes Blewitt, was allowed to add the Tudor roses to her personal crest. 

Though educated at Oxford to be a lawyer, Richard Edwardes never practiced law, and instead became a cleric in the Anglican Church. He was a poet and playwright of some renoun, writing such rousing plays as Palemon and Arcite for the entertainment of - his supposed half-blood sister - (Queen Regnant) Elizabeth [Tudor] I. His passing was noted by a contemporary of the time as being a writer of the same class as Shakespeare.

Richard Edwards married secondly to Helen[e] Elizabeth Griffith in about 1560. Six children are listed as being begotten from this marriage prior to his death in 1566.

Some researchers believe that by listing Henry VIII as the paternal line for Richard Edwardes that they would be accused of "Royalty Hunting." But if William Thomas Edwardes' ancestry is traced to its early sources in Wales, it descends on a direct line through generations of Welsh kings to Coel Hen, the last Dux Brittorium, or King of All Britian, between circa A.D. 0150 through A.D. 0400. Also, through her father's direct paternal ancestry, Agnes Blewett's genealogy can be traced to (01) 'The Britannian Royal House of Gwynedd' and (02) 'The Welshman Royal Houses of Gwynedd, Powys, and Seisyllwg combined by Rhodri Mawr ap Merfyn (Roderick 'the Great,' son of Merfyn).' And because both of Agnes' parents can trace their ancestry to 'the English Royal House of Plantagenêt,' Agnes herself by the way of the Plantagenêts is a descendant of many royal houses including 'The Anglo-Saxon Royal House of Wessex,' 'The Scottish Royal House of Dunkeld,' 'The Anglo-Norman Royal House of Normandy,' 'The Catalonian Royal House of Barcelona,' 'The Burgundian Royal House of Ivrea in Castile and León (in Spain),' and 'The Frankish and French Royal House of Capet in France,' just to name a few.

"A fashionable sonneteer, ready rhymer and dramatist was Richard Edwardes, born in 1533 in Somersetshire. He was a gentleman of the Royal Chapel and a 'Master of singing boys.' His life was spent in England, although his death is recorded as taking place at Edwards Hall in Wales.

It was his grandson, William, who was one of the first of the name in the New World. In 1646, he appears upon the records as a land owner in Hartford, Connecticut. He was one of the founders of East Haven. Daniel Edwards of the fourth generation from William the Pilgrim was a member of the King's Council for the Colony of Connecticut. Timothy, born in 1669, of this line was Chaplain of the troops in the Canadian expedition of 1709. Captain James Edwards served in the Pennsylvania troops in the Revolution. He had the greatest affection for Washington and on his deathbed said, 'I shall soon meet my dear old General Washington.'..... The world famous one of the family is Jonathan, of whom the historian Fiske says, 'He was one of the wonders of the world, probably the greatest intelligence the Western Hemisphere has yet seen.' Bancroft writes, 'Of all the scholars and philosophers produced by America only two have established a permanent reputation-Benjamin Franklin and Jonathan Edwards.'

The arms (here in reproduced) belong to the Pilgrim William and his descendants and were granted by King Edward III to an ancestor for prowess at the battle of Crecy in 1335. They are verified by the Herald's College, London."

apparently the biological son of the king, adopted by Edwardes

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Rev. Richard Edwardes's Timeline

March 25, 1525
North Petherton, Somerset, England, United Kingdom
May 11, 1540
Age 15
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England
Somerset, England
North Petherton, Bridgwater, Somerset, England
Somerset, England
March 15, 1565
North Petherton, Bridgwater, Somerset, England
October 31, 1566
Age 41
Cardiff, Glamorganshire, Wales
November 22, 1566
North Petherton, Somerset, England