Ambrose Dudley, 3rd Earl of Warwick


Ambrose Dudley, 3rd Earl of Warwick

Ambrose Dudley, 3rd Earl of Warwick (died February 21, 1589), was the son of John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland, and a brother of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester.

Ambrose Dudley was born about 1528/1529 his mother being Jane (née Guildford). As a youth Ambrose was imprisoned with his brothers in the Beauchamp Tower at the Tower of London following the attempt by his father to place Lady Jane Grey (wife of Ambrose's brother, Guilford Dudley, on the throne. After nine months in the Tower with his brothers he was released by Queen Mary I on October 18, 1554 and duly pardoned (22 Jan 1555).

Two years later, in the first month of 1557, when a conflict between France and Spain flared up, Dudley used his influence to raise an army for King Philip II of Spain. He did this in exchange for the return of his family's estates, which had been withdrawn when Northumberland was executed.

Ambrose, Henry and Robert Dudley all joined the forces of Philip 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 an Act of Parliament on March 7, 1558.

With the death of the French King Francis 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, de' Medici was struggling to avert civil war, with the Protestant Huguenots restricted to a limited freedom of worship they resorted to arms to resist the Catholic rulers. 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 to retain the town of "Newhaven" (Le Havre) against the forces of the Duke of Guise, the leader of the Catholic army, 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 decimated his army. When Warwick’s fresh troops were eventually deployed they were prevented from landing in France from bad weather, adverse winds preventing them from entering the Port. Even then, once ashore they too fell victim to the plague that was then claiming about sixty of his men each day! Elizabeth finally conceded defeat, not so much on account of the Catholic siege 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 Ambrose Dudley was created Baron Lisle and Earl of Warwick. He stood in high favour with Elizabeth, as did his third wife Anne, daughter of Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford.

Ambrose was first married to Anne (née) Whorwood the daughter of William Whorwood, Attorney General and Cassandra (née) Grey sometime before the 4th of March 1545. Anne died on the 26th of 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 (nee) Talboys (of Kyme) before the 10th of September in 1553. This partnership was followed by a third wedding by his marriage to Anne Russell on the 11th of November 1565, at the Queen's Chapel, Whitehall.

Ambrose Dudley died after having a diseased leg amputated, at Bedford House in the Strand, London. He was apparently re-buried on April 9, 1590, in the Lady Chapel of Warwick Collegiate Church.

This Earl of Warwick was also Lord of Bedale after the execution of Simon Digby for having partaken in the Rising of the North for Mary I of Scotland; Digby himself had been the Tudor replacement for Bedale Ricardian Francis Lovell, 1st Viscount Lovell after the Battle of Bosworth Field.

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