John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland Timeline 1504-1553

John Dudley Duke of Northumberland

Born – 1504
Died – 22nd August 1553 (executed)
FatherEdmund Dudley (1462 – 1510)
Mother – Elizabeth Grey (1482 – 1526)
Spouse – Jane Guildford (1508 – 1555)
Children – Henry (d. young), Thomas (d. young), John (1527 – 1554), Mary (1529 – 1586), Ambrose (1530 – 1590), Henry (1531 – 1557), Robert (1532 – 1588), Guildford (1535 – 1554), Katherine (1538 – 1520), Charles, Temperance, Margaret, Katherine (dates unknown)

For six of Dudley’s children the dates/ years of birth are not known. Where they are known they have been included in the timeline.


1504 (during)
John Dudley was born to Edmund Dudley and Elizabeth nee Grey. John’s father was a Privy Councillor and, together with Richard Empson, in charge of keeping the royal treasury full.
1507 (during)
John’s brother, Andrew, was born to Edmund Dudley and Elizabeth nee Grey.
1509 (around)
John’s brother, Jerome, was born to Edmund Dudley and Elizabeth nee Grey. It is believed that Jerome had additional needs.
1509 (21st April)
King Henry VII died. He was succeeded by his son Henry who became King Henry VIII.
1509 (11th June)
King Henry VIII married his brother’s widow, Catherine of Aragon in the church of Greenwich Palace. The service was performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Warham.
1510 (17th August)
John’s father, Edmund, and Richard Empson, were executed by Henry VIII on a charge of treason for plotting to overthrow the King. In reality, their execution was to show the people that the new king did not agree with the financial measures implemented by Dudley and Empson.
1511 (during)
John Dudley was made a ward of Sir Edward Guildford. Henry VIII also lifted the attainder on his father.
1511 (12th November)
John’s mother, Elizabeth, married Arthur Plantagenet, illegitimate son of King Edward IV.
1516 (18th February)
A daughter Mary, was born to King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. She was the only child of their marriage to survive.
1519 (during)
Dudley’s guardian, Edward Guildford, was appointed Marshal of Calais. It is believed that he took John to Calais.
1523 (early September)
On the instructions of Henry VIII, the Duke of Suffolk invaded France with instructions to lay siege to Boulogne. Dudley served under Suffolk and was knighted for his service.
1524 (during)
John became a Knight of the Body (personal attendant to the King).
1525 (during)
John Dudley married Jane Guildford, daughter of Edward Guildford.
1527 (during)
A son, John, was born to John Dudley and Jane nee Guildford.
1529 (around)
A daughter, Mary, was born to John Dudley and Jane nee Guildford.
1530 (around)
A son, Ambrose, was born to John Dudley and Jane nee Guildford.
1531 (around)
A son, Henry, was born to John Dudley and Jane nee Guildford.
1532 (during)
Dudley’s cousin, John Sutton, was in financial difficulty. Dudley lent Sutton £7,000 with the Sutton estate as surety. When Sutton was unable to pay back the money, Dudley gained Dudley Castle.
1532 (24th June)
A son, Robert, was born to John Dudley and Jane nee Guildford.
1533 (25th January)
King Henry VIII married Anne Boleyn who was pregnant with his child.
1533 (7th September)
A daughter, Elizabeth was born to Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Dudley was present at the christening 3 days later.
1534 (during)
John’s father-in-law, Edward Guildford, died. Guildford had not made a will, and as his son had pre-deceased him, Jane inherited Haldon Manor. This caused a family disagreement since Edward Guildford’s nephew believed he should have inherited the property as nearest male relative. The case went to court and Dudley won the case.
1534 (during)
Dudley became Master of the Tower Armoury. This position made him responsible for the King’s armour.
1535 (around)
A son, Guildford, was born to John Dudley and Jane nee Guildford.
1536 (24th January)
King Henry fell from his horse during a joust and was unconscious for two hours. The fall caused a head injury that left him more bad tempered than before and also opened up an old wound on his leg that would cause him problems for the rest of his life.
1536 (29th January)
Anne Boleyn miscarried of a son four months into her pregnancy. She blamed the miscarriage on concern following Henry’s fall and Henry’s interest in Jane Seymour.
1536 (19th May)
Anne Boleyn was executed by beheading with a single stroke of the sword. She was buried in the choir of the royal chapel of St Peter ad Vincula.
1536 (30th May)
Henry VIII married Jane Seymour in the Queen’s Closet at Whitehall.
1536 (July)
Act of Succession
This act cancelled the two previous acts of succession and registered the invalidity of Henry’s first two marriages. Elizabeth was now given the same status as Mary and the succession was settled on the children of Henry and Jane Seymour.
1536 (October)
Pilgrimage of Grace
This was a protest, led by Robert Aske, against the closure of the monasteries. Around 50,000 protesters were camped at Hambleton Hill. King Henry VIII ordered However, with the news that armed forces led by Charles Brandon and Thomas Howard to march north and break up the protest. John Dudley was one of those that served under the two commanders. When the protesters learned that the army was marching north, many went home.
1537 (12th October)
After a very difficult labour Jane Seymour was delivered of a baby boy. King Henry VIII was overjoyed and named the child Edward and created him Duke of Cornwall. Heralds were dispatched to every part of the country with the news. John Dudley was present at the christening 3 days later.
1537 (January)
John Dudley was appointed Vice-Admiral.
1537 (24th October)
Jane Seymour died. Her death may have been caused by puerperal fever brought about by infection caused by her diarrhoea and sickness.
1537 (late October)
John Dudley was sent to Spain to announce the birth of Prince Edward to Charles of Spain.
1538 (around)
A daughter, Katherine, was born to John Dudley and Jane nee Guildford.
1540 (6th January)
Henry VIII reluctantly married Anne of Cleves at the Palace of Placentia, Greenwich. Henry had disliked the German princess on sight but had been unable to find a loophole in the marriage contract.
1540 (January)
John Dudley was created Master of the Horse for Anne of Cleves.
1540 (9th July)
King Henry VIII, divorced Anne of Cleves.
1540 (28th July)
Henry VIII, married Kathryn Howard at the Palace of Oatlands. The ceremony was performed by the Bishop of London.
1540 (late July)
John Dudley was created Master of the Horse for Kathryn Howard.
1542 (13th February)
Kathryn Howard was executed for treason.
1542 (12th March)
Dudley became Viscount Lisle following the death of his stepfather, Arthur Plantagenet.
1542 (late November)
John Dudley became Warden of the Scottish Marches.
1543 (during)
Dudley was appointed Lord Admiral. He was also made a Knight of the Garter.
1543 (1st July)
Treaty of Greenwich
King Henry VIII signed this peace treaty with Scotland. The treaty was sealed with the betrothal of Edward to the infant Mary Queen of Scots. Henry asked that the infant Queen be brought up in England to prepare her for her future role as Queen of England.
1543 (12th July)
Henry VIII married Katherine Parr in the Queen’s Privy Chamber at Hampton Court Palace.
1544 (March)
Edward Seymour was given instructions to punish the Scots for repudiating the Treaty of Greenwich which provided for a marriage between Mary Queen of Scots and Prince Edward. Dudley served under Seymour.
1544 (14th July)
King Henry VIII and an army of 40,000 men crossed the Channel to Calais.
1544 (13th September)
After a two-month siege, the English army took Boulogne. John Dudley’s eldest son, Henry, was killed during the fighting. Afterwards, Dudley was appointed Governor of Boulogne.
1545 (18th July)
Battle of the Solent
As Lord Admiral, Dudley was in charge of operations during this two-day invasion by France.
1545 (19th July)
Battle of the Solent – The Mary Rose
On the second day of the battle, the Mary Rose sank while sailing out of the Solent. Less than 40 of the 500+ crew survived.
1547 (23rd January)
Henry revealed the names of those that he had chosen to form a Regency Council after his death. Top of the list was Edward Seymour who was to be Lord Protector for Edward. Dudley was also chosen to serve on the Council.
1547 (28th January)
King Henry VIII died at 2am at Whitehall Palace. His son, Edward, became King Edward VI.
1547 (4th February)
Edward Seymour gained approval of the majority of the council for him to have the title “Protector of all the realms and dominions of the King’s Majesty”.
1547 (20th February)
Edward was crowned King Edward VI of England at Westminster Abbey. After the ceremony a banquet was held in Westminster Hall.
1547 (16th February)
Members of the Regency Council were given new titles. John Dudley became Earl of Warwick while Edward Seymour became Duke of Somerset. Dudley was also promoted to Lord Great Chamberlain, a position which placed him second to Somerset. His position as Lord Admiral was given to Thomas Seymour.
1547 (March)
King Edward signed a document giving Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, the power to appoint members of the Privy Council and to consult with them at his own choosing. This effectively gave him full control of the country. This move was only opposed by Thomas Seymour and Chancellor, Thomas Wriothesley. Wriothesley was dismissed from office soon afterwards.
1547 (10th September)
Battle of Pinkie Cleugh
Once again Dudley served under Seymour who led the English army to victory over the Scots. He hoped to persuade the Scots to make alliance with England and allow the marriage of King Edward to Mary Queen of Scots to go ahead.
1548 (August)
It was learned that Mary Queen of Scots had been smuggled out of Scotland to France where she married the Dauphin, Francis.
1549 (16th January)
Edward Seymour’s brother, Thomas Seymour was arrested and charged with treason for plotting to marry Princess Elizabeth and to abduct King Edward.
1549 (21st January)
Act of Uniformity
With the young King Edward’s full approval, the Protestant Book of Common Prayer was introduced. It outlawed many Roman Catholic practices and allowed the clergy to marry.
1549 (20th March)
Thomas Seymour was executed by beheading.
1549 (April)
A number of revolts against the Book of Common Prayer broke out. The most serious rebellions were in Devon and Cornwall.
1549 (Spring)
There were revolts against changes that were made to common grazing ground.
1549 (8th July)
Kett’s Rebellion
Robert Kett led a revolt in Norfolk against the practice of enclosure.
1549 (July)
Members of the Privy Council began to complain to Somerset about his government of the country, blaming the rioting on his proclamations.
1549 (29th July)
Kett’s Rebellion
The rebels took the city of Norwich and three days later defeated the Royal army led by William Parr, brother of Katherine Parr.
1549 (August)
Henry II of France realised that England was weak and lay siege to Boulogne.
1549 (27th August)
Kett’s Rebellion
John Dudley, at the head of a Royal army, defeated the rebels and captured Robert Kett. A large number of the rebels were executed.
1549 (early October)
With protests against his rule from nobility and commons alike, Edward Seymour realised his position was in danger and took himself and King Edward to Windsor Castle.
1549 (11th October)
Edward Seymour, Lord Somerset, was arrested by the Council and sent to the Tower of London.
1550 (January)
John Dudley realised that England could not afford to continue war with France and sent a delegation to negotiate peace.
1550 (early)
Seymour was released from the Tower and restored to the Council.
1550 (2nd February)
John Dudley, Earl of Warwick became leader of the Council. His most pressing concern was the economic situation of the country. England was virtually bankrupt, having borrowed large sums of money.
1550 (Spring)
John Dudley devalued the coin of the realm which raised some money. He also appointed William Cecil as Secretary of State.
1550 (June)
Dudley’s son, John, married Edward Seymour’s daughter Anne. Dudley hoped that the marriage would heal the rift between himself and Seymour.
1551 (around)
Wealthy merchants and trading companies in London were persuaded to support the government debt.
1551 (June)
A peace was agreed with Scotland and, for the first time, an exact border between the two countries was agreed.
1551 (11th October)
John Dudley became Duke of Northumberland.
1551 (16th October)
Edward Seymour was arrested on a charge of trying to bring about Dudley’s fall from power. His sons by his first marriage, John and Edward were also arrested
1552 (22nd January)
Edward Seymour was executed by beheading on Tower Hill. His remains were buried at St Peter ad Vincula, Tower of London.
1552 (during)
A more reformed version of the Book of Common Prayer was introduced. The 1549 version had been reformed by Thomas Cranmer.
1552 (March)
The financial crisis was over and the coinage was revalued to earlier levels.
1553 (Spring)
Edward was taken ill and it became clear that he was dying.
1553 (25th May)
John Dudley married his son, Guildford Dudley to Lady Jane Grey, Protestant granddaughter of Henry VIII’s younger sister, Mary.
1553 (June)
Devise for the Succession
Edward opposed the succession of either of his half-sisters due to their illegitimacy and Mary’s Catholicism. This document passed the succession to Lady Jane Grey, granddaughter of Henry VIII’s younger sister, Mary in the event of of there being no legitimate male heir on his death.
1553 (15th June)
Edward summoned his leading councillors and made them sign a declaration to uphold the Devise for the Succession on his death.
1553 (19th June)
Forty-Two Articles
These articles, written by Thomas Cranmer, were intended to be used as a summary of Anglican doctrine.
1553 (6th July)
Edward died. He was succeeded by Lady Jane Grey, granddaughter of Henry VIII’s younger sister, Mary Tudor.
1553 (10th July)
Jane was proclaimed Queen of England. She and her husband Guildford Dudley entered the Tower of London to await the coronation. However, Jane declared that she would not allow Guildford to be King and that he would be given the title Duke of Clarence. Guildford was angry and isolated himself from Jane.
1553 (10th July)
Henry VIII’s eldest daughter, Mary Tudor, sent a letter to the Council saying that by the terms of the Act of Succession of 1544 she was now queen. She called for their obedience and loyalty.
1553 (11th July)
Henry VIII’s eldest daughter, Mary Tudor, left Hunsdon and rode to East Anglia where she called for support.
1553 (11th July)
On the order of his father, Robert Dudley raised a force and marched against Mary.
1553 (14th July)
The Duke of Northumberland left London at the head of a force to capture Mary Tudor. However, after he had left London the Privy Council, seeing that popular support was for Mary, decided to support Mary’s claim.
1553 (19th July)
Mary Tudor, was proclaimed Queen Mary I.
1553 (19th July)
Jane and her husband were arrested and charged with treason. Jane was imprisoned in the Gentleman Gaoler’s Quarters of the Tower of London while her husband, Guildford was imprisoned in the Bell tower.
1553 (23rd July)
John Dudley and his sons surrendered at Cambridge. They were imprisoned in the Tower of London.
1553 (18th August)
John Dudley and his sons were charged and found guilty of treason. The verdict meant that their lands were forfeited to the crown.
1553 (22nd August)
John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, was executed.


Published May 29, 2020 @ 1:55 pm – Updated – [last-modified]

Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2020). John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland 1504 – 1553. Last accessed [date]


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