Empson and Dudley

A fact sheet about the role of Empson and Dudley in Henry VII reign.

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  • Created on: 17-04-11 08:49
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Richard Empson:
Rose to become one of Henry VII's chief ministers.
Described as son of a `sieve-maker', however, able to afford to be trained as a lawyer.
Soon had a busy legal practice, especially in the midlands, and was appointed a Justice of
1478, he was made Attorney-General in Duchy of Lancaster. He lost this office because of
the reign of Richard III, but regained it after Bosworth.
Member of Parliament on several occasions during Henry VII's reign.
1491, was chosen as Speaker of the Commons, which showed he had Royal favour.
Empson became known towards the end of Henry's reign when he finally became chancellor
of Duchy of Lancaster, but his more important work was a royal dept-collector and associate
of Edmund Dudley.
Edmund Dudley:
Born into a wealthy and prosperous family.
Very intelligent youth who was sent to Oxford at the age of 16, and then studied law.
Caught attention of Henry VII and was made a privy councillor by the age of 23.
1492, advised Henry to sign Treaty of Boulogne, which he helped negotiate ­ one of most
significant events in Dudley's political life.
Became undersheriff of London in 1497 ­ fully in the King's confidence and had formulated a
policy to check the lawlessness of Barons, whom the prolonged Wars of The Roses had
completely demoralized.
During this policy, Dudley became associated with Empson.
Dudley and Empson:
Worked together on mysterious body `Council learned in the law' ­ committee of the royal
council which mainly saw that the King's monies were collected.
Last year of Henry VII's reign, Dudley and Empson were nominated as special commissioners
enforcing penal laws. This greatly increased their unpopularity.
To impress and increase his popularity, the day after his accession, Henry VIII arrested
Empson and Dudley.
All the hostility against the old King's ways was directed at them both.
Trumped up accusations were used against them, and they were both beheaded.


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