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-Many women in history
-have drawn our attention.
-They're intelligent or rich,
-beautiful or influential.
-More often than not,
-they are shrouded in mystery.
-In the mid-sixteenth century...
-..the lady who attracted
-Wales's most powerful men...
-..was Katheryn of Berain.
-By all accounts,
-she was the mother of Wales.
-Four weddings, six children
-and a descendant of Henry Tudor.
-It was implied that her grandfather,
-Sir Roland de Velville...
-..was the illegitimate son
-of Henry Tudor or Henry VII.
-Four centuries after her birth,
-the Nazis wanted her portrait.
-We heard that the family had decided
-to sell the original painting...
-..but at the end of the war, it had
-become part of Goering's collection.
-Today, she is a national icon.
-Katheryn of Berain
-was the Marilyn Monroe of her day.
-In Clwyd and much further afield,
-400 years ago...
-..Katheryn was a celebrity.
-However, her reputation deteriorated
-when stories surfaced...
-..claiming she killed her husbands
-by pouring lead into their ears...
-..and that she accumulated
-her wealth by marrying rich men.
-However, there's more to her
-than meets the eye.
-It wasn't easy to play the marriage
-game in Tudor times and win!
-her date of birth.
-It's thought she was born in 1534
-in the Vale of Clwyd...
-..to Tudor ap Robert Fychan
-of Berain and Jane Velville.
-They were a wealthy family in the
-area and descendants of Henry VII.
-married into the family.
-She's writing a biography
-What choices did women have
-at that time?
-It was expected for women
-of that era to get married.
-The convents had closed.
-Spinsters were frowned upon
-so marriage was the only option.
-For a wealthy heiress like Katheryn,
-marriage was more important.
-It was vital that she had family
-to inherit her money...
-..to keep the wealth
-within the family.
-She inherited 1,000 acres on
-Anglesey from her mother's family.
-The Berain estate was 3,000 acres.
-she was a very wealthy woman.
-..where Katheryn was born, stands
-on the outskirts of Llannefydd.
-It's currently home to Eirian
-and Iona Jones and their families.
-Five generations have lived here and
-they've embraced Katheryn's history.
-Would she have used this room?
-Yes, it's probable
-as this is part of the old hall.
-She'd have feasted here.
-This is the original fireplace.
-During Katheryn's era, there was
-a fire in the middle of the floor.
-This beam dates back to her era.
-It's quite remarkable
-incorporating the linen fold design.
-The beam looks like
-a stack of folded blankets.
-Therefore, it's a fairly thick beam.
-What impression have you had
-of Katheryn's character?
-Personally, I believe
-that she was very intelligent...
-..and influential during that era.
-She was ahead of her time...
-..and was very clever
-to have retained her own estate.
-Katheryn's first marriage...
-..was arranged when she
-and her suitor were children.
-Girls were sent to their
-prospective husband's family...
-..to learn the family's ways.
-Katheryn was sent to Lleweni
-to join the Salusbury family.
-Lleweni was home to another
-of the vale's famous families.
-A young Katheryn married the
-family's eldest son, John Salusbury.
-They had two sons, John and Thomas.
-John Salusbury was a renowned poet.
-The family knew the literary greats
-of the era.
-Christ Church University in Oxford
-houses poetry from Lleweni.
-It's one of the most important books
-in the Welsh language.
-It was commissioned by Katheryn
-to record her own family history.
-It's an important record
-of Katheryn's story.
-It reveals her family pride...
-..and her pride in her
-own family's cultural heritage.
-The book praises Katheryn
-as a supporter of poets.
-She was generous towards the poor
-and also visited prisoners.
-We have poetry by Ben Jonson
-who was a friend of John Salusbury.
-There's also a poem which some claim
-was written by Shakespeare.
-Over the years,
-some historians have claimed...
-..that Shakespeare's signature
-hides under this untidy scribble.
-There's no proof as yet.
-Experts are working on the document.
-However, there were connections
-between Lleweni and Shakespeare.
-It's believed that Katheryn's son,
-John Salusbury, knew Shakespeare.
-Shakespeare dedicated his poem,
-The Phoenix And The Turtle...
-..to Sir John Salusbury
-and his wife.
-However, there is no confirmation
-that Shakespeare visited Lleweni.
-What about the claims
-that Katheryn had royal blood?
-Was her grandfather,
-Sir Roland de Velville...
-..the illegitimate son of Henry VII?
-houses elegies for Katheryn.
-Katheryn's last husband
-was Edward Thelwall...
-..but she was always referred to
-as Katheryn Tudor.
-It could not be said openly...
-..that she hailed
-from royal lineage.
-However, there is no doubt
-about the insinuation in the poetry.
-Katheryn was married
-to John Salusbury for ten years.
-Following John's death in 1566,
-Katheryn became a young widow.
-However, she was very wealthy having
-inherited land in Clwyd, Anglesey...
-..and many houses, farms and mills.
-It was a huge fortune in the period,
-so she wasn't a widow for very long.
-Many myths surround
-she killed her husbands...
-..by pouring lead into their ears
-to secure their wealth.
-she had seven or eight husbands.
-She'd bury them in an orchard...
-..after killing them by pouring
-hot lead into their ears.
-It was an age-old folk motif.
-One famous tale says...
-..that Katheryn left the funeral of
-her first husband, John Salusbury...
-..arm in arm with Morris Wynn,
-and he proposed to her.
-..as she had already agreed to marry
-Richard Clough on the way there!
-There are stories
-of her burning love letters...
-..and people would see and hear
-her lovers' ghosts.
-They've also claimed that Katheryn
-was the mother of Shakespeare!
-Richard Clough, the son of a Denbigh
-glove maker, was her second husband.
-His family lacked the noble status
-of the Salusburys...
-..but he had a sizeable fortune.
-He was part of the nouveau riche
-and one of Britain's richest men...
-even more power and wealth.
-Richard Clough worked
-as a moneylender in the Netherlands.
-He was incredibly rich, similar to
-a stockbroker or hedge-fund manager.
-She was aware that she'd have
-to move to Antwerp with him.
-It's also thought
-that she visited Spain...
-..and travelled through France,
-Brabant and Flanders.
-When Katheryn wasn't in Antwerp,
-she lived at Bachegraig, Denbigh.
-As a prominent Renaissance figure,
-Clough wanted to flaunt his wealth.
-There was no better way
-than to build a grand house.
-Bachegraig was the first brick house
-to be built in Wales.
-The original house was influenced
-by Dutch architecture.
-In Antwerp, Clough was an agent
-to the banker, Sir Thomas Gresham...
-..the founder of the Royal Exchange.
-Due to the political
-and religious unrest...
-to the safety of Hamburg.
-In 1568, they commissioned
-a portrait of Katheryn...
-..by Adriaen van Cronenburgh.
-This is the iconic portrait
-of Katheryn at the National Museum.
-As I delved further into her life...
-..I learnt that this
-is one of many portraits of her.
-Some are fake whilst others are
-copies of the original Cronenburgh.
-I became interested
-in Katheryn of Berain...
-..when I married
-Jonathan Clough Williams-Ellis.
-The Clough element of his name
-derives from Richard Clough...
-..who was her second husband.
-This copy was made...
-..before the original portrait at
-the museum in Cardiff was cleaned.
-Therefore, features of the painting
-aren't easily distinguished.
-It's rather dark and dirty,
-but I'm very fond of it.
-The copy was made
-for a Flintshire stately home.
-The owner sold the original
-and kept the copy in its place.
-went on an adventure...
-..before reaching its home
-at the museum.
-We've heard that the family decided
-to sell the original painting.
-It was sold at an auction in Spink
-..but I don't know
-where it went from there.
-Somehow, it was part of the Goering
-collection at the end of the war.
-The National Museum has helped us
-to prove for the first time...
-..that Katheryn's portrait was
-in Germany between 1940 and 1945.
-During World War II, Hitler's
-close friend, Hermann Goering...
-..used Nazi force
-to strip Europe of its fine art.
-was part of his collection.
-Clough died in Hamburg two years
-after the portrait's completion.
-Katheryn had to return to Wales.
-Clough wanted his heart
-and right hand to be buried...
-..at Whitchurch in Denbigh.
-Katheryn was pregnant
-with her fourth child...
-..and she had to be particularly
-strong in her bereavement.
-Once again, Katheryn was alone.
-However, her first marriage to
-John Salusbury had given her status.
-had also left her his fortune.
-As a young widow, Katheryn
-had more wealth and power...
-..than any other woman in Wales.
-It's hard to imagine how Katheryn
-felt after losing two husbands.
-She was only 30
-and left to raise four children.
-Her wealth meant that she would not
-live in poverty and die young.
-after Richard Clough's death...
-..she'd married for the third time
-and had come to live in Llanrwst.
-Morris Wynn of Gwydir Castle
-was her third husband...
-was also his third wife.
-The Wynn family was one
-of North Wales's richest families.
-By marrying Morris, Katheryn became
-the stepmother of Sir John Wynn.
-He lived in a large mansion
-to the west in the Vale of Conwy...
-..and had a keen interest
-Katheryn saw that
-he could offer her stability...
-..after her adventures
-with Richard Clough.
-The carefully crafted
-Katheryn's drafting of the wedding
-agreements indicates her astuteness.
-She had no intention
-of losing her land or possessions.
-She could add
-to her family's wealth and power...
-..if her children married
-the children of Clough and Wynn.
-She was complex and cunning.
-She married Morris Wynn and
-her son married Morris's daughter.
-There aren't any get-out clauses
-in these agreements.
-They are business contracts
-that bind the families together.
-We get the impression that Katheryn
-instrumented the contracts.
-However, the contracts
-were signed by the men.
-These arrangements or contracts...
-..were very similar
-to the prenup agreements of today.
-The aim was to
-..and ensure that a wife secured
-enough money to sustain herself.
-In those days,
-when a woman got married...
-..all her possessions
-were transferred to the husband.
-On the occasions when a woman
-had a substantial inheritance...
-..the family would be eager
-to draw up a contract.
-Katheryn and Morris Wynn had two
-children called Jane and Edward.
-This gave Katheryn
-a total of six children.
-How did the aristocracy
-treat their children...
-..and what sort of mother was she?
-She didn't have any custodial rights
-over her children...
-..as she was a woman.
-It didn't matter that
-she was an heiress and their mother.
-When she married Richard Clough
-and moved to Antwerp...
-..she lost touch with her sons
-from her first marriage.
-The poets don't mention
-Katheryn's motherly nature...
-..her love for her children
-or their upbringing.
-There is no evidence
-of a mother figure...
-..but the poets praise Katheryn
-for producing heirs and heiresses.
-There were dark clouds ahead
-Her firstborn son, Thomas Salusbury,
-was a friend of Anthony Babington.
-He was involved in the 1586 plot
-to assassinate Elizabeth I...
-..and replace her with the Catholic,
-Mary Queen of Scots.
-When Babington and Thomas Salusbury
-..there was no other option
-but to hang them.
-Thomas was deleted from history
-The family must have felt
-The loss of a son must have been
-very painful for her.
-The majority of aristocrats
-in North Wales...
-when Thomas Salusbury was executed.
-Here was an aristocrat
-who was being executed.
-If they were rather lax...
-..in their attitudes
-..and had an open mind
-about these beliefs...
-..this made them reconsider
-What do we know
-about Katheryn's own faith?
-The portrait suggests
-that she was a religious woman.
-Her clothes are dark and sombre...
-..and she's holding a prayer book.
-The skull or the memento mori...
-of the fragility of life.
-These are all signs...
-..to suggest that it's a portrait
-of a Christian figure.
-The choice of van Cronenburgh
-to paint the portrait...
-..speaks volumes about her faith.
-We know for a fact
-that he was an ardent Catholic.
-He started his career in Friesland.
-He had to leave Friesland
-due to his religious beliefs.
-He refused to give up Catholicism.
-She wouldn't have chosen
-a Catholic artist...
-..unless she shared his beliefs.
-I suspect that Katheryn
-was a staunch Catholic.
-When her eldest son was executed for
-his part in the Babington Plot...
-..he stood on the gallows
-.."So have I lived a Catholic,
-shall I die a Catholic".
-Women were expected to educate
-their children in the faith.
-If she concealed her Catholicism...
-..it's possible her choice
-of husbands was politically driven.
-Morris Wynn's death left her
-a widow for the third time.
-She returned to the Vale of Clwyd.
-Within three years, she'd married
-another influential man.
-was younger than Katheryn.
-He was the son of an MP and
-lived at Plas y Ward near Ruthin.
-It was a very Welsh household.
-They supported many poets,
-such as Simwnt Fychan.
-That's the typical culture
-which was evident in Plas y Ward.
-A noble family
-and part of the establishment...
-..they administered law and order
-and were professional people.
-To the end, Katheryn
-carefully planned her life.
-She was a business woman,
-a siren and a virtuous mother.
-Is there any another woman who made
-such an impression in Tudor Wales?
-She died at Plas y Ward in August
-1591, aged just over 50 years.
-Thomas Pennant states that she
-was buried at Llannefydd Church...
-..with a gold locket and a lock
-of hair belonging to Richard Clough.
-No memorial exists
-in the Vale of Clwyd to Katheryn.
-There's nothing to commemorate
-this extraordinary woman.
-Why isn't there a memorial to her?
-Dame Sian Salusbury...
-..spent a fortune
-creating a grand alabaster tomb...
-..for her own memorial
-at Whitchurch, Denbigh.
-It grieves me that
-there isn't a memorial to Katheryn.
-She was defined by her marriages...
-to her actions or deeds.
-However, she managed
-to retain her inheritance.
-I wonder if that
-was her greatest achievement.
-She was cunning and used this trait
-in order to survive.
-I don't believe
-that she was a wicked person.
-It's one of the myths surrounding
-her that I'd like to dispel.
-She was a woman of her time
-and a contemporary woman.
-Over the years,
-..has been consumed by a host
-of wild and dramatic stories.
-For me, I'll remember that she
-survived during a dangerous era...
-..by using the only weapon
-known to her - marriage.
-She was an iconic figure.
-It's no wonder that her story
-still fascinates us.
-S4C Subtitles by Tinopolis