Ambrose DUDLEY

(3rd E. Warwick)

Born: ABT 1528/9

Acceded: 26 Dec 1561

Died: 21 Feb 1589, Bedford House, Strand, London

Buried: 9 Apr 1590, Lady Chapel, Warwick Collegiate Church

Notes: Knight of the Garter. The Complete Peerage v.XIIpII,pp.400-403.

Father: John DUDLEY (1° D. Northumberland)

Mother: Jane GUILDFORD (D. Northumberland)

Married 1: Anne WHORWOOD (d. 26 May 1552, Otford, Kent) (dau. of William Whoorwhood, Attorney General and Cassandra Grey) BEF 4 Mar 1545


1. John DUDLEY (b. ABT 1550 - d. 26 May 1552)

Married 2: Elizabeth TALBOYS (B. Talboys of Kyme) BEF 10 Sep 1553

Married 3: Anne RUSSELL (C. Warwick) 11 Nov 1565, Queen's Chapel, Whitehall, London, England

He was the son of John Dudley, Earl of Warwick, Duke of Northumberland, and Protector of England during the reign of Edward VI, and Lady Jane Guildford.

Ambrose was imprisoned with his brothers in the Tower of London consequent on the attempt of his father to place Lady Jane Grey on the throne. They were kept in the Beauchamp Tower, which was only a walkway from the Bell Tower, where Elizabeth was herself a prisoner after the rebellion of Thomas Wyatt. John Dudley went to the block, and Guildford was executed along with Lady Jane following Wyatt's rebellion. The Queen had doubtless already decided to spare him, and not even Wyatt's rebellion caused her to change her mind: after a further nine months in the Tower with his brothers he was released on 18 Oct 1554 and pardoned on 22 Jan 1555.

After a year's imprisonment, in Jun 1555, they were released, probably following the death of their mother, Jane Dudley, in 1555. John Dudley, the eldest son, died shortly afterwards. Ambrose, Robert and Henry jousted at court at one of the Anglo-Spanish tournaments held between Dec 1554 and Mar 1555. In Jan, 1557, when conflict between France and Spain arose Dudley offered his service, raising an army for Felipe. He did this in exchange for the return of his families estates, which had been withdrawn when John Dudley was executed. As his father did before him he was able to overcome their insidious family legacy and rise again to a powerful station. Ambrose, Henry and Robert Dudley joined the forces of Felipe II and went to fight in France and took part in the battle of St. Quentin, where Henry was killed.

For these services Dudley together with his brother Robert and sisters was restored in blood by Act of Parliament (4 and 5 Phil. and Mary, c.15) on 7 Mar 1558.

He was in high favour with Elizabeth. With the death of the French King Francois II in 1560, the Franco~Scottish Queen Mary found herself a widow aged 18. The French throne was assumed by the late King’s mother, Catherine de Medici. These ‘bittersweet events’ in Europe confounded English court politics and led to the return of Mary to Scotland, with all its attendant problems for Elizabeth. Whilst in France, Medici was struggling to avert civil war, with the Protestant Huguenots restricted to a limited freedom of worship they were ready to resort to arms to defer total Catholic rule. After lengthy prevarication Elizabeth eventually conceded to pressure from her court to send some six thousand English troops to assist the struggling Huguenots. Ambrose was chosen to lead the expedition. Ambrose Dudley’s determination that he would retain the town of ‘Newhaven’ against the aggression of the forces of the Duke of Guise, the instigator of the Catholic tyranny, and uncle of Mary, Queen of Scots, was hampered from the outset by misadventures ranging from the simple lack of troops and finance to a plague that afflicted his armies. When Warwick’s fresh troops were eventually deployed they were prevented from landing in France through sheer bad weather, adverse winds preventing them from entering the Port. Even then, once ashore they too fell to the plague covering France, that was then claiming about sixty of his men each day. Elizabeth finally conceded defeat, not so much on account of the Catholic aggressor as because of the general circumstances and allowed Warwick leave to withdraw. The consequence was that the troops imported the plague into London, where a further 21,000 victims fell ill and died. This affair was a total disaster for Elizabeth and fashioned her future reluctance to engage in ill-affordable foreign conflicts.

In 1564 was created Baron Lisle and Earl of Warwick, and Robert was made Baron Denbigh and Earl of Leicester.

Ambrose was first married to Anne Whorwood the daughter of William Whorwood, Attorney General and Cassandra Grey sometime before the 4 Mar 1545. Anne died on 26 May 1552, at Otford, her home in Kent and bore Ambrose a son they named John in 1550 but who died in 1552. Ambrose recovered from the loss of his first wife and married again to Elizabeth Talboys before the 10 Sep 1553. This partnership was followed by a third wedding by his marriage to Anne Russell, daughter of Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford on the 11 Nov 1565, at the Queen's Chapel, Whitehall.

His brother Robert, Earl of Leicester, having predeceased him, his honours became extinct on his death in 1590. Ambrose Dudley died after having a gangenous leg amputed, 21 Feb 1589, at Bedford House, in the Strand. He was apparently re buried on 9 Apr 1590, in the Lady Chapel of Warwick Collegiate Church.

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