Edmund Dudley
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Edmund Dudley (c. 1462Gunn 2010 or 1471/147217 August 1510) was an English administrator and a financial agent of King Henry VII. He served as a leading member of the Council Learned in the Law, Speaker of the House of Commons and President of the King's Council. After the accession of
Henry VIII Henry VIII (28 June 149128 January 1547) was King of England The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional form of government by which a hereditary sovereign reigns as the hea ...
, he was imprisoned in the
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and executed the next year on a
treason Treason is the crime of attacking a state authority to which one owes allegiance. This typically includes acts such as participating in a war against one's native country, attempting to overthrow its government, spying on its military, its diplo ...
charge. While waiting for his execution he wrote ''The Tree of Commonwealth''. Edmund Dudley was also the grandfather of
Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, (24 June 1532 – 4 September 1588) was an English statesman and the favourite of Elizabeth I from her accession until his death. He was a suitor for the queen's hand for many years. Dudley's youth was ...
, a favourite of Henry VIII's daughter, Elizabeth I.


Career

Edmund Dudley was the son of Sir John Dudley of Atherington, West Sussex and a grandson of John Sutton, 1st Baron Dudley. After studying at
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, and at
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, Dudley came under the notice of Henry VII, and is said to have been made a Privy Councillor at the early age of 23. In 1492, he helped to negotiate the Peace of Etaples with France and soon assisted the king in checking the lawlessness of the barons. He and his colleague Sir Richard Empson were prominent councillors of the Council Learned in the Law, a special tribunal of Henry VII's reign, which collected debts owed to the king, requested bonds as surety, and employed further financial instruments against high-born and wealthy subjects. Henry VII took a strong interest in these procedures and closely supervised the accounts of the two men. Dudley was elected MP for Lewes, in 1491, and knight of the shire for
Sussex Sussex (), from the Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family, with its earliest forms spoken ...
, in 1495. In 1504, he was chosen as Speaker of the House of Commons. While collecting the king's money, Dudley amassed a great amount of wealth for himself, which resulted in estates in
Sussex Sussex (), from the Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family, with its earliest forms spoken ...
, Dorset, and
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. A 1509 inventory of his house in Candelwykstrete,
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, gave the earliest reference to window curtains. When Henry VII died in April 1509, Dudley was imprisoned, and charged with the crime of constructive treason. Dudley's nominal crime was that during the last illness of Henry VII he had ordered his friends to assemble in arms in case the king died, but the real reason for his charge was his unpopularity stemming from his financial transactions. He was attainted and made preparations to escape from the
Tower of London The Tower of London, officially His Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle A castle is a type of fortification, fortified structure built during the Middle Ages predominantly by the nobility ...
. He gave up his plan, though, when parliament did not confirm his attainder, which led him to believe that he would be pardoned. However while in prison he declared a will.Will of Edmund Dudley, abstract in J.S. Brewer (ed.), ''Letter and Papers, Foreign and Domestic'' Henry VIII, I:1509–1514 (HMSO 1920)
pp. 323–330 (item 559).
(British History online)
Dudley and his colleague Empson were executed on 17 August 1510 on Tower Hill. During his imprisonment, Dudley sought to gain the favour of King
Henry VIII Henry VIII (28 June 149128 January 1547) was King of England The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional form of government by which a hereditary sovereign reigns as the hea ...
by writing a treatise in support of absolute monarchy, called ''The Tree of Commonwealth''. It may, however, never have reached the king. Several manuscript editions survive: the earliest was possibly commissioned by Dudley's son, John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland; while the second oldest was made by John Stow in 1563 for Dudley's grandson, Robert Dudley.


Marriages and issue

Edmund Dudley married twice: *Firstly in about 1494 to Anne Windsor, sister of Andrew Windsor, 1st Baron Windsor, by whom he had a daughter: **Elizabeth Dudley (born c. 1500), who married William Stourton, 7th Baron Stourton. *Secondly, between 1500 and 1503,Loades 1996 p. 8 to Elizabeth Grey (c. 1480–1525), a daughter of Edward Grey, 1st Viscount Lisle (died 1492). Three sons were born to this marriage: ** John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland (150422 August 1553) ** Andrew Dudley (c. 1507–1559Löwe 2008) **Jerome Dudley (died after 1555), destined for the Church by his father, yet was mentally or physically incapacitated.


Notes


References

*Gunn, S.J. (2010)
"Dudley, Edmund (c.1462–1510)"
''Oxford Dictionary of National Biography'', online edn. May 2010 (subscription required) Retrieved 2010-06-11 * Loades, David (1996): ''John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland 1504–1553'' Clarendon Press *Löwe, J.A. (2008)
"Sutton, Henry (d. 1564?)"
''Oxford Dictionary of National Biography'', online edn. Jan 2008 (subscription required) Retrieved 2010-06-11 *


External links


''The Tree of Common Wealth''
{{DEFAULTSORT:Dudley, Edmund Speakers of the House of Commons of England Edmund 15th-century births 1510 deaths Year of birth uncertain Executed English people Executions at the Tower of London Prisoners in the Tower of London People executed under Henry VIII People executed under the Tudors for treason against England Burials at the Church of St Peter ad Vincula English MPs 1504 15th-century English people People executed by Tudor England by decapitation English politicians convicted of crimes