Victims of Henry VIII: His First Victims


Edmund Dudley

Edmund Dudley was an administrator and financial agent during Henry VII’s reign.

Henry VIII had decided to signal to the people that his reign would be much different from his father’s, and his first step was to arrest his father’s notorious, unpopular officials

The charge against Dudley was that on April 22, he had ‘conspired with armed force to take the government of the King and realm.’ The charge seems absurd; Dudley had thrived under the reign of Henry VII and surely must have been hoping to do the same under that of his son, whom he had once given a gold ring set with a pointed diamond. S. J. Gunn suggests that Dudley and Empson might have actually summoned armed men to London, either out of fear of their political enemies or in anticipation of political instability following the death of the first Tudor king. ‘[S]teps they had taken with no thought of treason were, as so often in the politics of Henry VIII’s reign, twisted into the stuff of which indictments were made.’ Despite the trumped-up nature of the charge, Dudley was convicted on July 18, 1509. ( – The execution of Edmund Dudley)

Dudley was executed 17 August 1510, on Tower Hill. Dudley was buried at London Blackfriars, Empson at London Whitefriars. Edmund Dudley was also the grandfather of Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester.

Richard Empson

Richard Empson and Edmund Dudley together became names associated with Henry VII’s ruthless scheme of excessive taxation. Empson was a lawyer and a minister for Henry VII.

Empson quickly became unpopular for being one of Henry VII’s fall guys for making his kingdom wealthy. While he was protected by King Henry VII, he was not by his son, King Henry VIII. He was executed the same day as Dudley.

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Henry VIII History

10 Comments Leave a comment

  1. We still need to keep in mind that the “War of the roses” was not too distant in the past. The country couldn’t cope with that level of instability again. England had been stable and prosperous under the rule of HenryVII. Henry VIII had to have a son.
    I am interested in the implications that HenryVIII leg injury may have had on his behaviour as it appears that after this time he went off the rails so to speak or was it perhaps that in his need for a son to succeed his behaviour reflects his obsession?

  2. Cannot judge historical actions by todays standards. The mind set of such “all powerful” people, their upbringing and the standards of behaviour accepted are unique to their times

    • You are so right. The Tudor history is fascinating. I have read a number of books regarding their life, loves, triumphs and failures.

    • As an afterthought, Edmund Dudley was also the grandfather of Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, is an ancestor of mine.

  3. He was no worse or no better than many others of that time who ruled with fear and the gallows or fire. If not they could easily be toppled from the throne or their rule of the country. His daughter Mary burned so many in the name of religion backed by her husband Philip of Spain that she is known as Bloody Mary
    Are we any different today? No. Except its not the monarchy that rules, its politicians and fanatics making absolute ridiculous decisions. WMD was the worst reason to invade Iraq. Give me Henry any day over the man that still manages to avoid treason and makes money. Whilst families greave for their lost sons a daughters sent to war for nothing. Love the Tudor’s and Henry. He has given us plenty to talk about. I respect your reply and I would love him to see what we have accomplished since he ruled but he had to have a son as they were ones to rule otherwise his family lost the throne. But history showed differently that women were as strong. What a difficult decision for Elizabeth not to marry as she would lose control of the throne to her husband. By making the decision she did lose the throne to the Stuarts. Thank you for the article, very interesting.

  4. My stars, that Henry was a horrid person! I hope he is aware of all the wrong he did in his lifetime. I’d loooove to show him the scientific proof that the male determines the sex of the child and then kick him right in the family jewels!!!!!

    • How True! He was selfish & wanted who he wanted & what he wanted. Lot of people died due to the religion issues; because he wanted to marry Anne Boleyn. then, onward to Jane Seymour!! Joke was on him; Queen Elizabeth I–Ha.

    • Henry VIII was a product of his times. Horrid yes but very intelligent and ruthless. Excellent book. The Autobiography of Henry VIII.

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