The Tudor Society

21 February – Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick

On this day in Tudor history, 21st February 1590, Ambrose Dudley, 3rd Earl of Warwick, Master of the Ordnance and Privy Councillor, died at Bedford House on the Strand.

Ambrose had been a loyal royal servant and was a member of that famous Tudor family, the Dudleys, with his father being John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, and his brother being Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester.

Find out more about Ambrose Dudley's life and career in today's talk.

Also on this day in Tudor history, 21st February 1595, Jesuit priest, poet and writer Robert Southwell was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn. Find out more in last year’s video:

Also on this day in history:

  • 1498 – Birth of Ralph Neville, 4th Earl of Westmorland. He was the second son of Ralph, Baron Neville, and his wife, Edith, daughter of Sir William Sandys of the Vyne. Westmorland served Henry VIII in the North, and was a member of the jury at the trials of George and Anne Boleyn in 1536.
  • 1513 – Death of Pope Julius II from a fever. He was buried in St Peter's in the Vatican.
  • 1549 – Death of Sir Richard Gresham, Mayor of London, mercer and merchant adventurer, at Bethnal Green. He was buried in the church of St Lawrence Jewry in London.
  • 1568 – Burial of Katherine Seymour (née Grey), Countess of Hertford, at Yoxford. Her remains were later re-interred, by her grandson, in the Seymour family tomb at Salisbury Cathedral.
  • 1579 – Death of Thomas Bentham, Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, at Eccleshall, Staffordshire. He was buried in the chapel of the Episcopal Palace at Eccleshall.
  • 1589 – Death of William Somerset, 3rd Earl of Worcester, in Clerkenwell, Middlesex. He was buried in Raglan parish church.


On this day in Tudor history, 21st February 1590, Ambrose Dudley, 3rd Earl of Warwick, Master of the Ordnance and Privy Councillor died at Bedford House on the Strand.

Ambrose was born in around 1530 and was the fourth son of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, and his wife, Lady Jane Guildford. Like his father and brother, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, Ambrose was an influential Tudor man.

In 1549, during Kett’s Rebellion, Ambrose served alongside his father in putting down the rebellion. In November 1553, he was tried for treason after the short and unsuccessful reign of Lady Jane Grey, wife of his brother, Lord Guildford Dudley, and found guilty and attainted. Guildford and Jane went on to be executed, but Ambrose was pardoned and released in January 1555 following an appeal to Philip of Spain from his wife Elizabeth.
In 1557, Ambrose served Queen Mary I in the St Quentin campaign along with his brothers, Robert, and Henry. Sadly, Henry was killed there.

When Elizabeth I came to the throne in November 1558, Ambrose was restored to royal favour and was appointed to the office of Master of the Ordnance. In 1561, he was created Baron Lisle and Earl of Warwick, and in 1562 Ambrose led a disastrous expedition to Newhaven, i.e. Le Havre, which had to be abandoned due to an outbreak of the plague. Although the expedition was a failure, historian Simon Adams points out that Ambrose “gained widespread commendation”, explaining that “The garrison was well-disciplined, its morale high, and it was free from the internal wranglings that crippled so many other Elizabethan military operations.” Unfortunately, Ambrose came home with a nasty leg wound.

In November 1569, he served the queen against the rebels of the Northern Uprising, but his health was troubling him. In 1571, he was made Chief Butler of England and in 1573 he was appointed to Elizabeth I's Privy Council.

In early 1590, one of his legs, the one he had injured at Le Havre, had to be amputated due to gangrene. Ambrose did not recover and died on 21st February 1590. He was laid to rest in the Beauchamp Chapel of the Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick, on 9th April 1590. His tomb is topped with an effigy of Ambrose wearing his earl’s coronet.

Ambrose was married three times: first to Anne Whorwood, who died shortly after the birth of their daughter, Margaret, who also died around the same time; then to Elizabeth Tailboys, daughter of Gilbert Tailboys, first Baron Tailboys of Kyme, and finally to Anne Russell, daughter of Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford. His second and third marriages were childless.

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21 February – Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick