Archaeologists believe they have identified the site of where the 13-year-old widowed Margaret Beaufort gave birth to the future King Henry VII. It was a long labour, and it could very easily have caused her death and the death of her child. It was a miracle that they both survived. It is believed that Margaret was injured during the birth as she never had another child. Excavations in the grounds of Pembroke Castle uncovered the remains of a medieval mansion. Just days into the initial dig archaeologists have uncovered up to half a metre of the walls. Green-glazen ridge tiles have also been found and a curving stair from a spiral staircase.
James Meek, who is heading the excavation for the Dyfed Archaeological Trust, told The Guardian, “We know [from documentary evidence] that he was born in the castle, which was at that time owned by his uncle, Jasper Tudor … it’s more likely that he was born in a modern residence, for the time, than in a guard tower on the walls. What we’re getting is exactly what we’d hoped we’d find on the site – the remains of this freestanding building in the outer walls of Pembroke castle that has all the appearance in the floor plan of being a later medieval hall house, which would certainly fit in with that later 15th-century period, when Jasper Tudor is granted the castle. They’re already proving to be incredibly interesting in terms of our studies of castles … we’re taking things very carefully because we’re in a scheduled monument.”
“It tells a very different story for how we think outer walls of castles were used in that later medieval period … it was always the thought that they [castles] were full of smaller timber buildings of lesser status than the rest of the courtrooms and the administrative functions of the castle itself. Whereas here, you’ve got one high-status residential structure.”
Mark Merrony, an archaeologist and a supernumerary fellow at Wolfson College, University of Oxford, also visited the site last week. He told The Guardian: “If this is the house where Henry VII was born, as the archaeology appears at this stage to suggest, it is of the greatest historical significance, and quite extraordinary given that the last major late medieval discovery was the resting place of his vanquished archrival, Richard III.”