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Arden, Edward


High sheriff of Warwickshire; b. Warwickshire, 1542?; d. Smithfield, Dec. 30, 1583. Arden succeeded as heir to his grandfather Thomas's estates in 1563. A devout Catholic, he maintained a priest disguised as a gardener at Park Hall, his residence. Under the influence of Father Hugh Hall, members of the Arden household, especially John Somerville, Arden's son-in-law, began to conspire and intrigue against Queen Elizabeth I. Somerville's recklessness soon led to his arrest. Under torture, Somerville implicated Hall and the Arden family. Unfortunately, Arden had also cast aspersions on the character of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, who soon took a personal hand in prosecuting Arden. Hall, Somerville, and Arden were tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. Somerville strangled himself in his cell. Mrs. Arden and Hall, who aided the prosecution, were pardoned; but Arden was hanged for treason, protesting until the end that his only crimes were those of being a devout Catholic and of having incurred Leicester's wrath.

Bibliography: r. harrison, The Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900, 63 v. (London 18851900) 1:546. j. gillow, A Literary and Biographical History or Bibliographical Dictionary of the English Catholics from 1534 to the Present time, 5 v. (LondonNew York, 18851902) 1:5758.

[p. s. mcgarry]

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