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18 June 2014
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Myths and Legends
Sir Richard Clough – ‘The Most Complete Man’

Katheryn of Berain

Katheryn of Berain ‘The Mother of Wales’ (1534/5-1591) by Adriaen van Cronenburgh
The locket she is wearing round her neck is said to have contained hair of Sir Richard Clough
© National Museums & Galleries of Wales
Not much is known of what happened to Richard’s first wife, but after a brief courtship, Richard became the second husband of Katheryn of Berain (born Katheryn Tewdwr, 1534-1591), grand-daughter of Henry VII and second cousin to Queen Elizabeth. Katheryn was later called ‘Mam Cymru’, the Mother of Wales, because of her vast numbers of descendants.

Katheryn eventually married four times, all to influential men in Welsh affairs, and her six children went on to found several dynasties of the Welsh upper classes. Several stories surround her many marriages, one rumour said that she had had six husbands, and had killed five of them by pouring molten lead in their ears as they slept, until the sixth locked her up and starved her to death.

For Katheryn to have many husbands was not uncommon in Elizabethan times, as the preservation of inheritance in a family depended entirely on the institution of marriage and the direct heirs that it produced. The family’s reputation was maintained by engineering the most profitable marriages, which were essentially a business contract.

It would have been in Richard’s best interests to marry well, and tradition had it that he took the opportunity to secure Katheryn as his bride on the way to the funeral of her first husband. Katheryn was much in demand that day, as she declined a proposal from Morris Wynne of Geydir after the ceremony, promising him that should Sir Richard die, he would become her third husband, which, subsequently, he did.

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Internet Links
John Clough Genealogical Society
–An American society about the Clough family
National Museums & Galleries of Wales
Bach y graig
–More about Sir Richard's house
Katheryn of Berain
–Where I Live North East Wales
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