Sutton [Dudley], Henry
- J. Andreas Löwe
Sutton [Dudley], Henry (d. 1564?), conspirator, was the third son of John Sutton (Dudley), third Baron Dudley (1496–1553), landowner, and his wife, Cecily (d. 1554), daughter of Thomas Grey, first marquess of Dorset, and his wife, Cicely. His brother was Sir Edward Sutton (Dudley). Nothing is known about his education but he made his career as a soldier and his early years were probably preoccupied with martial exercise. As was usual, his father styled himself Dudley and it is by this name that Henry Dudley is best known.
In 1547 Dudley entered crown service as captain of the guard at Boulogne with an annual salary of £80, a daily allowance of 4s., and a licence to import to England, tax-free, 500 tons of wood and wine. On completion of his first year's service at Boulogne, he received a bonus of £47 10s. 'for the Kinges secrete affaires' (APC, 1547–50). Dudley, like his father, was undisciplined in managing his own finances since, barely three years later, he first received a grant of £300, towards payment of his debts, and an annuity of £80 'till he be better provided' (APC, 1550–52, 98). Dudley was well-known as a protestant, which recommended him to the regime during Edward VI's reign. His suits were assisted by his kinsman, John Dudley, earl of Warwick and duke of Northumberland, who headed the regency government.
In September 1550 Dudley was entrusted with the safe conduct of François de Vendôme, vîdame de Chartres, from France to Scotland and, on their return to France in January 1551, was charged with 'thatteigneng of knowledge' (APC, 1550–52, 203). He served the dual role of garrison commander and spy and was amply reimbursed for his troubles, receiving £120. Dudley and his men were recalled from France in March 1551, but he was in debt again and his debts were once more covered by the crown. On 25 May he was appointed captain of Guînes, and barely a year later was made vice-admiral of the English channel. Based in Portsmouth, his main duty was to protect English and Irish merchant vessels from pirates. In April 1552 he captured two Flemish pirate barges, charged their captains with the wilful sinking of an Irish vessel, and brought them to Dover to be prosecuted. On 28 July he was again sent to Guînes to protect it against a threatened attack from the French. Dudley was arrested at Guînes on 25 July 1553, because of his connections as cousin to Northumberland and to Sir Andrew Dudley [see below], and was incarcerated in the Tower of London on 6 August. He was not tried and was released on 18 October.
A persistent debtor, in spring 1556 Dudley appears to have been outlawed as a result. He stated that 'he stood in debt for 1000 marks and therefore was driven to flee the realm' (CSP for., 1553–8, 229). Both his grave financial predicaments and his disenchantment with the increasing Spanish influence on English politics during Mary I's reign motivated him to plot against the crown, together with John Throckmorton, Christopher Ashton, Sir Henry Killigrew, Sir Anthony Kingston, and Richard Uvedale. The conspirators planned 'to send the queen over to the king, [Philip of Spain], and to make the lady Elizabeth queen and marry the earl of Devon' (CSP dom., 1553–8, 423). Having been promised a position in the French privy chamber, Dudley with Uvedale's help secretly embarked at Portsmouth and made for Le Havre, where he arrived with twenty-eight men on 31 March. Before his departure he is reported to have said:
I am going now to France and mind to serve the French king for a while, to get a band of men, most of them English, 2000–3000 at least. When I see my time, I will come with them and land at Portsmouth and either banish this vile nation of Spaniards, or die for it.CSP dom., 1553–8, 334
Such forthrightness led to Dudley being declared a traitor on 4 April.
In late 1555 and early 1556 an English merchant and would-be government agent, Martin Dore, sought to learn more about Ashton and other conspirators in France by playing one against the other. He told Ashton that Dudley was 'a prowde man [and] not wyse' (Loades, Two Tudor Conspiracies, 160). It is unknown what effect this had. Whether Dore was actually involved in any conspiracy himself is uncertain, although the privy council was suspicious. On 8 April 1556, Mary's ambassador in France, Dr Nicholas Wotton, required Dudley's extradition, which Henri II denied, although he was ambivalent towards the English exiles. In November Dudley aided attacks on the English garrisons at Calais, Guînes, and Hammes (the commander of which was his brother Lord Dudley), and promised 'to deliver Calais to the king [of France]' (CSP for., 1553–8, no. 284.6). Early in 1557 he used his knowledge of English garrisons to advise the French military on lines of attack but, despite raising money and men, any prospect of invading England collapsed with the arrest of sympathizers by the privy council. At the French court Dudley enjoyed a brief respite from the debts that had driven him from England, but in June 1559 was once again forced to seek influential creditors, finding them in Charles de Guise, archbishop of Rheims and second cardinal of Lorraine, and François de Lorraine Guise, duc de Guise. At the same time he made informal approaches about the possibility of returning to England. In November 1561 he was committed to the Châtelet for debt. It is likely that he made his way back to England before 1564, where he was supported by Northumberland's son, Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester. He is said to have married Ashton's sister or daughter and he died soon after his return.
Sir Andrew Dudley (c. 1507–1559), soldier, was the second of three sons of Edmund Dudley (c. 1462–1510), administrator, of Atherington, Sussex, and his second wife, Elizabeth (1482×4–1525/6), daughter of Edward Grey, third Viscount Lisle, and his first wife, Elizabeth, suo jure Baroness Lisle. His brothers were John Dudley, earl of Warwick and duke of Northumberland, and Jerome Dudley (d. in or after 1555). His early career is obscure but he was a servant of Thomas Howard, third duke of Norfolk, and an officer of the exchequer by 1540, equerry of the stable by 1544, and captain of the Swallow in 1545. His elder brother provided him with lands in the midlands and sought military patronage for him. Dudley was appointed admiral of the fleet with 'speceal charge of all the sayd shippes of warre at Harwich', on 27 February 1547 (TNA: PRO, SP 10/1/23, fol. 95r). He was knighted by Edward Seymour, duke of Somerset and lord protector to Edward VI, on 18 September, when charged with Thomas Seymour, Baron Seymour of Sudeley, the lord admiral, to hold Broughty Craig at the mouth of the River Tay, and was appointed a gentleman of the privy chamber in reward. On 24 October 1549 he was made one of the four knights in attendance on King Edward and, a fortnight later, joint keeper of the palace of Westminster. On 5 January 1551 he was appointed keeper of the king's jewels and robes at Westminster and replaced Sir John Wallop as captain of Guînes in July. These rewards were a consequence of his brother's pre-eminence.
In January 1552 Northumberland brought to the privy council's attention a dispute between William Willoughby, first Baron Willoughby of Parham, lord deputy of Calais, and Dudley, 'renewing unquietness between them and their retinues' (CSP dom., 1547–53, no. 584). Northumberland also alerted the privy council to his brother's 'impoverishment there in guine [Guînes] wherby neceshite [necessity] shall compell hym ether to departe or to be a cravor for succor' (TNA: PRO, SP 10/15/14, fol. 33r). On 6 October Willoughby and Dudley were recalled to England. Dudley had been charged with surveying Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight in May of that year, with a view to advise on strategic reinforcements of the sea defences there, and on 28 December Sir William Cecil, principal secretary, suggested to Northumberland that Dudley be appointed ambassador either to France or to Charles V. Dudley was created KG on 17 March 1553 and was elected MP for Oxfordshire that same month, assisting in carrying the king's train at the state opening of parliament. He was a wealthy man, with an annual income of £160 by August 1553. Dudley was betrothed to Lady Margaret Clifford, daughter of Henry Clifford, second earl of Cumberland, and his first wife, Eleanor, and cousin to Lady Jane Grey, with her own claim to the throne, but was prevented from marrying her by Edward's death on 6 July 1553.
In the same month Dudley assembled a group of some 500 men at Ware, Hertfordshire, in an attempt, with Northumberland, to place Jane Grey on the throne. He was arrested, brought to the Tower of London and, on 18 August, found guilty of treason and ordered to be hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn. Sentence was suspended, he was released on 5 April 1555, and later that year was not only assigned an annual pension of £100 by the crown, but was also permitted to retain lands and goods, the ownership of which he had previously concealed in order to evade their forfeiture. This rehabilitation was part of a conscious effort by Philip of Spain to bring disgruntled former Edwardians in from the cold. Dudley lived quietly in his house on Tothill Street, London. On 21 July 1556 he made his will with his nephews, including Sir Ambrose Dudley and Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester, as overseers, and died before 22 November 1559, when it was proved. He was probably buried in Westminster.
- APC, 1547–54
- CPR, 1547–55
- CSP for., 1553–8; 1558–9
- CSP dom., 1547–58
- D. M. Loades, Two Tudor conspiracies (1965)
- Literary remains of King Edward the Sixth, ed. J. G. Nichols, 2 vols., Roxburghe Club, 75 (1857)
- H. Sydney and others, Letters and memorials of state, ed. A. Collins, 2 vols. (1746)
- A. Bryson, ‘“The speciall men in every shere”: the Edwardian regime, 1547–1553’, PhD diss., U. St Andr., 2001
- D. Loades, John Dudley, duke of Northumberland, 1504–1553 (1996)
- S. Adams, ‘The Dudley clientèle, 1553–1563’, The Tudor nobility, ed. G. W. Bernard (1992), 241–65
Wealth at Death
£160 per annum in August 1553, excluding money from land grants from John Poret, bishop of Winchester: TNA: PRO, LR 2/118; TNA: PRO, E 154/2/39
- Grey, Thomas, first marquess of Dorset (c. 1455–1501), courtier
- Sutton [Dudley], Edward, fourth Baron Dudley (c. 1515–1586), soldier and landowner
- Dudley, John, duke of Northumberland (1504–1553), royal servant
- Dudley, Sir Andrew (c. 1507–1559), soldier
- Dudley, Robert, earl of Leicester (1532/3–1588), courtier and magnate
- Dudley, Edmund (c. 1462–1510), administrator and speaker of the House of Commons
- Dudley, Ambrose, earl of Warwick (c. 1530–1590), magnate