The Tudor Society

John Dudley by Susan Higginbotham

In our second expert video of the month, we have author Susan Higginbotham, discussing John Dudley and analysing whether all that has been said about him is true. Susan has written several historical novels and is also the author of non-fiction historical works including The Woodvilles: The Wars of the Roses and England's Most Infamous Family and the forthcoming Margaret Pole: The Countess in the Tower which is available for pre-order on now. You can also catch Susan at her blog History Refreshed.

Over to Susan:

Here's the letter that Susan quotes at the beginning of her talk. It was written by John Dudley to one of his sons who had got into financial difficulty:

"I had thought you had more discretion than to hurt yourself through fantasies or care, specially for such things as may be remedied or helpen. Well enough you must understand that I know you cannot live under great charges. And therefore you should not hide from me your debts whatsoever it be, for I would be loth but you should keep your credit with all men. And therefore send me word in any wise of the whole sum of your debts, for I and your mother will see them forthwith paid..."

And here's the quote from Alison Weir's The Children of Henry VIII:

"John Dudley was arguably the most evil statesman to govern England during the sixteenth century. He was greedy and rapacious, corrupt, cruel and unscrupulous."

There are 4 comments Go To Comment

  1. B

    This is a very interesting video that rounds out more fully who John Dudley was as a man beyond common perceptions and misconceptions. Regarding Dudley’s las hour “conversion to Catholicism”, I agree with Susan that it is unclear what his motivations were. One thing that can be stated. Although Dudley clearly was evangelical in his beliefs, whether his root reasons were religious or political are also unclear. Great video!

  2. A

    Very interesting! I have always found it fascinating to read the original letters. They often paint a very different picture than popular histories would have you think.

  3. H

    Thank you for sharing this with us. It is fascinating.

  4. L

    Very insightful and well-researched talk. Its always very interesting to learn more about the background and context of some of these less widely-known folks like John Dudley, and to get an idea of what their real motivations were, etc.

Leave a Reply

John Dudley by Susan Higginbotham