Dudley, Edmund

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Dudley, Edmund (c.1470–1510). Dudley came of Sussex gentry stock and studied law. His first wife was a sister of Andrews, later Lord Windsor, and his second the daughter of Lord Lisle. He was employed with Sir Richard Empson to raise revenue for Henry VII and was Speaker of the House of Commons in 1504. His work on the king's behalf made him many enemies and at the outset of Henry VIII's reign he was sent to the Tower. He spent his time in prison writing a treatise, The Tree of Commonwealth, intended as a handbook for the young king, which argued for a strong monarchy and deplored the deficiencies of aristocratic education. He was executed the following year on an implausible charge of high treason. Dudley's son John, created duke of Northumberland in 1551, held power during Edward VI's reign, and his grandson Robert was Elizabeth's favourite, the earl of Leicester.

J. A. Cannon