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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