Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Dudley, Ambrose

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1171752Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 16 — Dudley, Ambrose1888Sidney Lee

DUDLEY, AMBROSE, Earl of Warwick (1528?–1590), born about 1528, was third son of John Dudley [q. v.], created Earl of Warwick early in 1547, and Duke of Northumberland in 1551. Like all his brothers, he was carefully educated, and Roger Ascham speaks of him as manifesting high intellectual attainments. He served with his father in repressing the Norfolk rebellion of 1549, and was knighted 17 Nov. During the reign of Edward VI he was prominent in court festivities and tournaments, and was intimate with the king and Princess Elizabeth (cf. ‘Edward VI's Journal,’ in Nicolas, Literary Remains, pp. 384, 388, 389). He joined his father and brothers in the attempt to place his sister-in-law, Lady Jane Grey (wife of his brother Guildford), on the throne in 1553; was committed to the Tower (25 July); was convicted of treason, with Lady Jane, and his brothers, Henry and Guildford, on 13 Nov., but was released and pardoned 18 Oct. 1554. In 1555 his mother's death made him lord of Hale-Owen. Two years later he and his brothers, Henry and Robert, joined the English troops sent to support the Spaniards at the siege of St. Quentin. All fought with conspicuous bravery at the great battle there, and Henry was killed. In consideration of this service Queen Mary (7 March 1557–8) excepted the two survivors, Ambrose and Robert, and their three sisters from the act of attainder which had involved all the family in 1553 (cf. 4 and 5 Phil. & Mary, cap. 15). The accession of Elizabeth, who had been friendly with Ambrose in earlier years, secured his political advancement. He was granted (12 March 1558–9) the manor of Kibworth Beauchamp, Leicestershire, together with the office of chief pantler at coronations—an office which had been hereditary in his father's family. He became master of the ordnance 12 April 1560, Baron de L'Isle 25 Dec. 1561, and Earl of Warwick on the day following.

In September 1562 the French protestants occupied Havre and offered to surrender the town to Elizabeth if an English force were sent to their aid in their struggle with the Guises. The offer was accepted, and on 1 Oct. 1562 Warwick was appointed captain-general of the expedition. He issued strict orders to his soldiers to treat the inhabitants with courtesy, and rendered effective assistance outside the town to Prince Condé, the protestant leader (Forbes, State Papers, ii. 181, 332, 368). In April 1563 Condé came to terms with the catholics, and Warwick was directed to evacuate Havre. Elizabeth, dissatisfied with her allies, ordered Warwick to hold it against all comers. On 22 April he was installed K.G. in his absence, and Sir Henry Sidney acted as his deputy (Machyn, p. 308). A plot on the part of the inhabitants of Havre to murder Warwick led him to expel all the French. Thereupon protestants and catholics combined to besiege the city. The English suffered terrible privations; sickness was terribly fatal, and after three months' endurance Warwick capitulated with Elizabeth's consent (29 July 1563). While negotiating the terms from the ramparts Warwick was struck by a poisoned bullet, which permanently injured his health. He was ultimately allowed to leave with the remnants of his army, who spread through London the plague that had devastated Havre. On his return there was some talk of a marriage between Warwick and Mary Queen of Scots. On 10 Aug. 1564 he was created M.A. at Cambridge, and in 1566 D.C.L. at Oxford. He was a commissioner for the trial of Mary Queen of Scots in 1568.

In 1569 Warwick and Clinton were nominated the queen's lieutenants in the north for the purpose of crushing the rebellion of the Earls of Northumberland and Westmorland. On 4 May 1571 he was made chief butler of England; was a commissioner for the trial of Thomas, duke of Norfolk; was admitted to the privy council 5 Sept. 1573, and became lieutenant of the order of the Garter in 1575. In October 1586 he took part in the trial of Queen Mary of Scotland, and the prisoner specially appealed to his sense of justice before the proceedings terminated. His old wound grew troublesome in the following years: his leg was amputated, and he died from the effects of the operation at Bedford House, Bloomsbury, 20 Feb. 1589–90. Sir William Dethick conducted the elaborate funeral, which took place in the chapel of the Blessed Virgin at Warwick on 9 April 1590. An altar-tomb with a long inscription was erected by his widow. Lord Burghley, the Earl of Cumberland, and the Earl of Huntingdon, his brother-in-law, were overseers of his will. Much of his property reverted to the crown, and the park of Wedgenock, Warwickshire, was granted in 1601 to Sir Fulke Greville. Small bequests were made to the Countess of Pembroke, his niece, to Sir Francis Walsingham, and to Lords Cobham and Grey de Wilton. Warwick married: first, Anne, daughter of William Whorwood, by Cassandra, daughter of Sir Edward Grey; secondly, before 13 Sept. 1553, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Gilbert Talboys, and heiress of George, lord Talboys; and thirdly, on 11 Nov. 1565, Lady Anne, daughter of Francis Russell, earl of Bedford. By his first wife, who died 26 May 1552 at Otford, Kent, Warwick had an only child, John, who died before his mother. His third wife died 9 Feb. 1603–4. He was popularly known as the ‘Good Lord Warwick,’ and was attached to the puritans (cf. Marprelate Tracts, ed. Arber, p. 28). He was governor of the possessions and revenues of the preachers of the gospel for Warwickshire. He also encouraged maritime enterprise, and was the chief promoter of Martin Frobisher's first voyage in 1576. Portraits are at Hatfield, Woburn Abbey, and Lumley Castle. An engraving appears in Holland's ‘Herωologia.’

[Cooper's Athenæ Cantab. ii. 66, 594; Biog. Brit. (Kippis); Doyle's Baronage; Burke's Extinct Peerage; Froude's History; Wriothesley's Chronicle (Camd. Soc.), ii. 91, 104; Machyn's Chronicle (Camd. Soc.); Sydney Papers, ed. Collins, where will is printed, p. 40.]

S. L. L.