The Dudley Conspiracy
Professor Emeritus, University of Wales, Bangor,
Hon Member History Faculty, University of Oxford
ISBN 978 1 85944 104 6 £6.99
After the failure of Mary’s pregnancy in the summer of 1555, Philip was advised that only an English coronation could resolve his position. Mary resisted such pressure, but the fact that it was being applied became known, and caused acute anxiety among the political class, both within England and those in exile in France. The latter were prepared to invade with French support to prevent this and in the autumn of 1555 entered into discussions with some disaffected MPs to bring this about. Henry Dudley, a leader among the exiles was well received at the French court though the king remained non-committal. The plot to steal £50,000 worth of silver held at the Exchequer to fund a mercenary force, was betrayed in March 1556. Most of those detained and interrogated were minor figures who incriminated each other. We therefore know a great deal about this operation, and why it failed. Only the potential role of those substantial West Country gentry who were suspected of involvement remains obscure. The long term objectives of the conspirators are to some extent unknown. If Elizabeth was expected to play a part no evidence was ever produced and the princess was not troubled, a fact which may be attributed to her good relations with Philip. Nevertheless Mary and her council were deeply concerned for several weeks in 1556.
David Loades taught at the universities of St. Andrews, Durham and Bangor. He is Professor Emeritus, University of Wales and was Research Professor at the University of Sheffield for the duration of the British Academy John Foxe Project. He is now an honorary member of the History Faculty, University of Oxford.
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