Rev. Richard Edwardes

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Richard Edwardes

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

Son of William Edwards and Agnes Blewett
Husband of Margaret Edwardes and Helen Edwardes
Father of William Edwards, Sr.; Marie Edwards; Gwen Edwardes; Elizabeth Edwards; John Edwardes, of North Petherton and 4 others
Brother of William Edwards; Christopher Edwardes and Henry Edwardes

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

About Rev. Richard Edwardes

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

He was born October 1523 in North Petherton, Somerset, England and died October 31, 1567, in Edwards Hall, Glamorgan, Near Cardiff, South Wales.

Parents: William Edwardes and Agnes Blewitt.


  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. Richard Edwards+(2), born and baptized November 09, 1561 in North Petherton, Somerset, England. Married firstly to married Ellenor6 Thomas July 22,1583 in Oswestry and 2nd to Ann Riffin or Griffin.

Children of Helene Griffith and Richard Edwards:

  1. Marie born about 1562,
  2. Gwyn born about 1563, died about 1603.
  3. Elizabeth born about 1564,
  4. John 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 December 16 1604 in St. Nicholas Parish, London, England.
  5. Richard Jr. born 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.

Richard Edwards was educated at Oxford, receiving both a Bachelor's and a Master's degree. He considered the law as a career, entering Lincoln's Inn Field, but 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 was impressed with the piece, and intended to bestow a gift on Edwards, but he died soon after the performance.

Little more is known of Edwards' life. Edwards' 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).



  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

The story says Henry VIII is known to have had 6 wives and several mistresses during his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. One mistress is said to been Agnes Blewitt. King Henry the VIII is said to have fathered a son with her, whom was born after her marriage to William Edwards. She and William named the son Richard Edwards. Agnes and William Edwards lived adjacent to the King's Hunting lodge in Somerset, England. The Edwards had other children with birth and baptism records stating William and Agnes as the parents, but there is no records for Richard.

Richard was afforded many favorable opportunities as a young man, including a post at Christ Church College in Oxford. Finally, he was included in the inner circle of the royal family, both during the lifetime and after the death of Henry VIII. This was the pattern of favoritism shown other known bastard 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:

  • 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 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 Blewitt was mistress to King Henry VIII, and her son Richard was fathered by King Henry, not her husband, William Edwardes. Some indicators of his parentage, in this researchers opinion, are that Henry did provide a stipend for Richard, and provided financial wherewithal for him to attend Oxford. Agnes was honored with the addition of Tudor Roses to her personal crest, but no blood link to the Tudors has as yet been found in her line to justify that addition.

Experts agree there is no evidence Agnes was ever at Court. Edwards genealogists don't argue. Instead, they say 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, in 1535, while Richard Edwardes, his supposed son was born there 10-12 years earlier, between 1523 and 1525. Further, 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.

Richard was born in 1523-24, and died in 1566. A composer and poet, he was Master of the Children of the Chapel Royale, and wrote two plays for them. His five surviving songs, of which the most famous is "In Going To My Naked Bed". His composition, "Palamon and Arcite" was written for the Queen (Elizabeth) and was performed at Oxford.

Another link to Henry would be Richard's career in the clergy of the Anglican Church, founded by Henry VIII as the national religion and justifying his (Henrys) break with the Roman Catholic Church over the Popes refusal of a divorce.

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 sister) Queen Elizabeth. His passing was noted by a contemporary of the time as being a writer of the same class as Shakespeare. 

Richard Edwards married Helene Griffith in about 1560. I have found as many as 6 children listed as being born to this marriage in the six years prior to his death in 1566. 

Some feel that any researcher listing Henry VIII as the paternal line for Richard Edwardes is "Royalty Hunting". But if the William Thomas Edwards line is traced through 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, ca between 150 and 400 A. D. "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 Edwards

view all 16

Rev. Richard Edwardes's Timeline

March 25, 1525
North Petherton, Somerset, England, United Kingdom
May 11, 1540
Age 15
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England
November 9, 1561
Age 36
North Petherton, Bridgwater, Somerset, England
Age 36
Somerset, England
Age 37
North Petherton, Bridgwater, Somerset, England
Age 38
Somerset, England
March 15, 1565
Age 40
North Petherton, Bridgwater, Somerset, England
October 31, 1566
Age 41
Cardiff, Glamorganshire, Wales