John Dudley

(1504—1553) royal servant

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(1504?–1553), earl of Warwick and duke of Northumberland, English soldier, political leader, and supporter of the mid-Tudor Reformation. The son of Edmund Dudley, the disgraced minister of Henry VII, John Dudley first came into prominence as a soldier and a privy councillor during the reign of Henry VIII (r. 1509–1547). Dudley's influence was greatest after the accession of Edward VI (r. 1547–1553), when he was active in the king's council and at court. Until 1549 Dudley supported the leadership of Protector Somerset; afterward the two became political opponents. An army commanded by Dudley defeated rebels led by Robert Kett outside Norwich in 1549. Because the rebellions of that year were inspired by Protestant and Catholic extremists who threatened the government and the state church, Dudley became a vigorous advocate of law and order. He used his political influence to assist Protestant reformers who wished to move beyond the Henrician religious settlement and bring the Church of England into the mainstream of the Continental Reformation. Dudley's patronage was important in securing episcopal appointments for two leading reformers, John Hooper and John Harley. Dudley also recommended John Knox for a bishopric, but the latter declined the offer. The personal religious views of Dudley, like most of the English nobility of the period, are difficult to determine. He wrote nothing on religious questions but until his death perceived himself as a friend of the reformers. Dudley shared the conviction of most English clergy and nobles that the Anabaptists posed a threat to the country, but his opposition seems to have focused more on the Anabaptists' alleged rejection of the traditional social order than their theology.


From The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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