Sir Richard Empson, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

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Richard Empson, Kt.

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Easton, Northamptonshire, England
Death: Died in Tower Hill, London, executed by Henry the VIII
Place of Burial: Town Hill,, England
Immediate Family:

Son of Sir Peter Empson and Elizabeth Joseph
Husband of Jane Empson
Father of John Empson; Anne Empson; Joan Empson; Elizabeth Lucy; Mary Empson and 3 others
Brother of Elizabeth Stone; Anne Empson; Elizabeth Empson; Peter Empson; Thomas Empson and 1 other

Occupation: Minister to King Henry VII, minister to Henry VII, Minister to Henry VII, Chancellor of Duchy of Lancaster, Tax Gatherer for King Henry VII
Managed by: Private User
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Immediate Family

About Richard Empson, Kt.

Sir Richard Empson (d. August 17, 1510), minister of Henry VII, king of England, was a son of Peter Empson, an influential inhabitant of Towcester.

Educated as a lawyer he soon attained considerable success in his profession, and in 1491 was a Knight of the Shire for Northamptonshire in parliament and speaker of the House of Commons.

Early in the reign of Henry VII he became associated with Edmund Dudley in carrying out the king’s rigorous and arbitrary system of taxation, and in consequence he became very unpopular. Retaining the royal favour, however, he was knighted by sword at the creation of Prince Henry as Prince of Wales, on the 18th February, 1504 and was soon High Steward of the university of Cambridge, and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster; but his official career ended with Henry’s death in April 1509.

Thrown into prison by order of the new king, Henry VIII, he was charged, like Dudley, with the crime of constructive treason, and was convicted at Northampton in October 1509. His attainder by parliament followed, and he was beheaded on the 17th or 18th of August 1510. Empson left by his wife, Jane, so far as is known, a family of two sons and four daughters, and about 1513 his estates were restored to his elder son, Thomas.

One of his granddaughters, Elizabeth Sothill, (1505 - 1575) married Sir William Drury, Knt., M.P., P.C., (c1500 - 1558), a son of Sir Richard Empson's successor as Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Robert Drury, Knt., of Hawstead.

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The following entry by M.M. Condon is excerpted from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (link: http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/printable/8799)

M. M. Condon, ‘Empson, Sir Richard (c.1450–1510)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/8799, accessed 16 May 2013]

Empson, Sir Richard (c.1450–1510), administrator and speaker of the House of Commons by M. M. Condon © Oxford University Press 2004–13 All rights reserved

Empson, Sir Richard (c.1450–1510), administrator and speaker of the House of Commons, was the son of Peter Empson (d. 1473) and his wife, Elizabeth Joseph. The story that he was the son of a sieve maker, first recorded by John Stow, was adopted by Francis Bacon but has no known factual basis—Peter Empson was of local consequence in Northamptonshire, holding property at Towcester and in nearby Easton Neston.

Servant of the crown

Richard Empson trained as a lawyer, entering the Middle Temple, and on 1 July 1477 was granted the reversion of the office of attorney-general of the duchy of Lancaster in succession to Thomas Tremayle. Fees were paid from August that year, and although the infrequent duchy minutes record Tremayle as attorney still in the summer of 1478, Empson was certainly in full possession by 12 November, holding the position during good behaviour. He was removed from office by Richard III, possibly on account of his association with Anthony Woodville, Lord Rivers, executed in 1483, who had retained Empson as steward for his lands in Northamptonshire. But as an apprentice-at-law he continued to be employed by the duchy as counsel and on other business, and to attend council sessions. He even succeeded to Rivers's farm of Passenham, Northamptonshire. Restored as attorney-general for life on 13 September 1485, shortly after the accession of Henry VII, Empson surrendered the office on being appointed chancellor of the duchy, with a salary of 100 marks per annum, on 3 October 1505. He had acted as keeper of the duchy seal in the vacancy following the death in 1504 of Sir John Mordaunt, who had himself succeeded Sir Reynold Bray in 1503 after a vacancy during which Empson exercised many of Bray's responsibilities by the king's command, but was then passed over for the chancellorship itself. The king took personal custody of the indenture by which Empson undertook the office.

In the meantime Empson had been building up a position in the government of his native county and its surrounding shires. He was first appointed a JP for Northamptonshire on 10 November 1475, and remained a member of the county bench for the rest of his life. He was added to the Warwickshire commission from November 1490, being joined by his eldest son, Thomas, from November 1507, and to the Buckinghamshire bench from 1494. He was also recorder of Northampton by February 1490 and of Coventry by late 1491. He represented Northampton in parliament from 1489 to 1495, and in 1491 was chosen speaker; he probably sat in the parliaments of 1497 and 1504 also. He was regularly appointed to commissions with a wide range of administrative and judicial responsibilities in Northamptonshire from 1476 onwards, and took in a wider range of counties under Henry VII. He was included in the treason commissions in the midland counties in 1493, and in the west after the uprisings of 1497; during the latter Perkin Warbeck's proclamation named Empson as one of the king's ‘low-born and evil counsellors’. Of the king's council by 1494, and of the council learned from its inception about 1498, by 1499 he was one of a small group of councillors, mostly lawyers, taking bonds in the king's name, or entering in feoffments on lands mortgaged to the king's use.

By 1501 Empson had become a councillor to Henry, duke of York, presumably by the king's appointment, and on 18 February 1504 he was one of many to be made a knight of the Bath when the duke's becoming prince of Wales was celebrated; in the process he secured release from an exchequer action for distraint of knighthood. He was appointed high steward of Cambridge University in the same year. Henry VII included him among his executors, having appointed him a trustee in 1504 for the lands enfeoffed to the use of his will; he also included Empson among the executors appointed to act after the king's death to hear and redress wrongs done by Henry or in his name. Those who gave fees to him as a lawyer included Queen Elizabeth of York, for whom he was a justice on eyre for her forests in 1489; Edward Stafford, third duke of Buckingham; Edward, Lord Hastings; Sir Walter Mantell, for whom he was also an executor; and the priors of Durham and of the houses of St James and St Andrew, Northampton. After Empson's death the prior of St James complained that he had retained him in order to secure the appropriation of Cold Norton Priory, but that Empson took the lease of the priory for himself. However, since Edmund Dudley gave Henry VII 750 marks in cash and bonds for Cold Norton's appropriation to St Stephen's, Westminster, from whom Empson obtained the lease, this charge may not represent the clear-cut abuse of position that it at first sight appears, especially as Empson's son, who held the annuity jointly with his father, later successfully sued for payment of arrears. Empson also had a long association, dating from the 1470s, with Luffield Priory; moreover he was steward of the liberty of Peterborough by 1490, and high steward of the abbey by 1505.

Gathering an estate

From the 1470s lands in which Empson stood feoffee to the use of others are numerous and suggest a network of beneficial relationships centred on south Northamptonshire and its adjacent counties. His relationship with Sir Reynold Bray, one of Henry VII's chief ministers, was especially important in this respect. In February 1488 the bishop of Lincoln appointed the two men jointly constable and steward in Banbury, where Empson held property. With Bray he was appointed king's steward of Kenilworth, Warwickshire, in 1492, and of Ascot and Deddington, Oxfordshire, in March 1493, in each case for life, and he later succeeded Bray as steward of Sutton and Potton, Northamptonshire. A feoffee of Bray's by 1486, Empson was in 1503 an executor of his will, though his marriage of his own son John to Agnes Lovell, the niece of Bray's wife, may represent a breach of that trust. Other royal grants boosted Empson's local interests. On 9 September 1507 he was appointed steward of Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire, and in the same year steward of Hanslope, Buckinghamshire, and Cosgrove, Northamptonshire. By the end of his life he had accumulated an estate worth between £200 and £300 per annum, in addition to a perhaps equivalent income from fees. Further income derived from a number of monastic properties which were held on long leases and realized a small profit above the rate of the farm, from properties held in wardship, and from lands and revenues farmed from the crown.

Empson's principal estates lay in Northamptonshire, centred on Towcester and Easton Neston, where he gradually acquired property from the mid-1470s, enlarging a minimal inheritance into a coherent landholding. The process, which was complemented after 1485 by his accumulation of local stewardships and other estate offices, was a protracted one. It was only in 1507 that he finally gained the lay manor of Towcester by an agreement with John Hussey and Edmund Dudley, through a collusive action against the earl of Kent (who retained a life annuity and compensated Hussey with other lands at Empson's expense); he had acquired the ‘priors manor’ within Towcester in 1502, in a hostile suit which later gave rise to a charge of forcible disseisin followed by a legal settlement under compulsion, although he appears to have paid the vendor the full market rate. Greenscourt manor in Easton Neston was similarly acquired in 1499 after litigation against Maud Green, whose son Sir Thomas Green was then under suspicion of treason, appearing both before Empson (at common law) and the council. He also purchased lands in Oxfordshire and Warwickshire, and in 1507 the Hampshire manor of Upclatford. Interests in other counties were acquired by lease or wardship, for instance the Gloucestershire manor of Sezincote, leased from John Greville, which he passed in his lifetime to his sons. Empson retained chambers in the Middle Temple, London, until at least 1503, by when he was a senior member of the inn. But from 1507 he was leasing a house in St Bride's from Westminster Abbey, and lands in Bridewell from Sir Thomas Docwra, the prior of the hospitallers. Empson invested heavily in these properties, intending them for his son Thomas.

Empson's moveable wealth is difficult to estimate. In 1491, before the significant expansion of his estates, he had contributed the relatively modest sum of £40 to the king's benevolence (admittedly this amounted to two years of his salary as attorney-general), and even in 1497 he advanced only £20 by way of loan for the wars in Scotland; he was in debt in 1509. However, by the late 1490s he was building substantially at Easton, and in 1499 obtained licence to impark, wall, and crenellate there, building gatehouses (which were said to obstruct the local highways) and a major range of buildings; he entertained the king there between 20 and 22 August 1507. He also spent considerable sums at St Bride's, although the precise location within the parish of the ‘new council chamber of the duchy’ remains unclear. After his death Empson's interests in St Bride's passed first to Thomas Wolsey and then to Henry VIII.

The intended beneficiaries of much of Empson's accumulation of wealth and property were his children, and it was partly on their behalf that from 1491 he acquired a number of wardships from the crown. The family of his wife, Jane, is unrecorded, though on the tenuous evidence of an entail she may have had lands in Buckinghamshire. With her he had at least two sons and four daughters. Empson arranged the marriage of Thomas, his eldest son, to Audrey or Etheldreda, daughter of Sir Guy Wolston, and that of his younger son, John, to Agnes Lovell, a coheiress whose wardship had been obtained by Edmund Dudley. His daughter Elizabeth married George Catesby (the son of Richard III's henchman), part of whose lands Empson held at farm, in 1496, the year of her husband's restoration; her second husband, in August 1509, was Sir Thomas Lucy. Joan married first Henry Sotehill (d. 1504) and afterwards her father's client Sir William Pierrepoint, while Anne married her father's ward Robert Ingleton; she was widowed in 1503 and her second marriage, to John Higford, was made under compulsion, since in 1504 Higford was pardoned for her rape, burglary, and other offences. But Empson did secure the marriage of Ingleton's baby heir, afterwards married to Humphrey Tyrell. His daughter Mary was married to Edward, son of Richard Bulstrode, and his ward Richard Druell may also have become a son-in-law.

The king's hatchet man

Behind the acquisition of status and riches lay the activities that have given Empson his unenviable reputation in history. These derived largely from his position as chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster and, associated with it, as the leading member after 1504 (along with the no less notorious Edmund Dudley) of the council learned in the law. As chancellor, Empson continued Bray's efforts to increase revenue, authorizing the raising of rents or disallowance of rebates, and directing surveys and audits, enclosures of commons, and investigations of feudal incidents. The drive to maximize feudal revenues, to pursue old bonds, and to manipulate the penal laws in the king's interests was centred on the council learned, even in those cases where parallel actions were sued at common law. Indictments brought against Empson in 1509, which can be backed by the independent evidence of the administrative record, usefully summarize his services to Henry VII in the latter's final years, and help to account for the opprobrium into which they brought both. The methods he used included the use of promoters for prosecution; imprisonment to facilitate settlement by fine or composition; and summonses issued (as in other council courts) by privy seal, but on Empson's fiat for appearance before him at St Bride's and elsewhere. His particular responsibilities were the authorization of pardons, countersigned by the king; the finding and traverse of intrusions and the issue of commissions of concealments; pardons and forfeitures on outlawry; wards and liveries of lands. Most actions or grants of grace resulted in fines to the king, in amounts and by methods which led Polydore Vergil and others to characterize both Empson and Dudley as extortioners.

Ruthless though he was, Empson acted by the king's command and was occasionally subject to his check, although Henry VII's frequent incapacity between 1507 and 1509 undoubtedly increased his influence. But he was also active at law on his own account, and on occasions used the power of his position to pervert the course of justice. The best-known example of this is his manipulation of assize commissions from 1501 to 1503 to disinherit Sir Robert Plumpton in the interests of Empson's daughter Joan Sotehill and her husband, the son of one of the heirs general of Sir William Plumpton, Robert's father. Charges of maintenance and embracery (corrupting the jury) in this suit seem to be well founded, despite the anachronism of Plumpton's allegation that Empson appeared at York in 1502 with an armed retinue of mounted gentlemen and liveried yeomen, and with footmen at his stirrup ‘more liker the degree of a duke then a batchelor knight’ (Kirby, 186): Empson was then still unbelted. He was the subject of a lampoon by the court composer and dramatist William Cornysshe, who was imprisoned for his pains. The poem has not survived, but its existence receives circumstantial confirmation from a bond given by Empson in July 1504 to keep the peace towards Cornysshe, and from a further oblique reference from Cornysshe's own pen, written in the same month.

Henry VII died on 21 April 1509, and Empson was arrested just three days later. He was indicted in both his private and public capacities before oyer and terminer commissions appointed later that year. Treason was read into his summons (for his own protection) of armed men to London as and after the king lay dying: for this he was charged before a special commission which met at Northampton on 8 August 1509. Taken from the Tower of London to Northampton Castle, Empson pleaded his own case at the bar of the court on 1 October, but was convicted and sentenced to the death of a traitor. He was attainted in the parliament of January–February 1510, and beheaded, along with Dudley, on Tower Hill on 17 August following. He was buried in the London Whitefriars; his wife survived him. His eldest son, Thomas, was restored in blood in 1512: one of his first acts was to grant a life annuity to Richard Trust, the servant who had had custody under Richard Empson of bonds taken on behalf of the crown, and who, along with Thomas himself, had shared his imprisonment in the Tower.

M. M. CONDON

Sources Chancery records · R. Somerville, History of the duchy of Lancaster, 1265–1603 (1953) · M. R. Horowitz, ‘Richard Empson, minister of Henry VII’, BIHR, 55 (1982), 35–49 · duchy of Lancaster, entry books of decrees and orders, TNA: PRO, DL 5/1–4 · duchy of Lancaster, accounts various, receivers-generals' accounts, TNA: PRO, DL 28/5–6 · duchy of Lancaster, chancery rolls, TNA: PRO, DL 37/62 · duchy of Lancaster, ministers' accounts, TNA: PRO, DL 29 · chancery, inquisitions post mortem, series II, TNA: PRO, C 142 · exchequer, inquisitions post mortem, series II, TNA: PRO, E 150 · court of king's bench, ancient indictments, TNA: PRO, KB 9 · court of king's bench, baga de secretis, TNA: PRO, KB 8/4 · court of king's bench, plea rolls, TNA: PRO, KB 27 · court of common pleas, plea rolls, TNA: PRO, CP 40 · court of common pleas, feet of fines, TNA: PRO, CP 25/1 · exchequer, treasury of receipt, miscellaneous books, TNA: PRO, E 36/14, 160, 174, 212, 214, 285 · exchequer, king's remembrancer, memoranda rolls, TNA: PRO, E 159/277 · exchequer, king's remembrancer, memoranda rolls, TNA: PRO, E 368 · chancery, warrants for the great seal, TNA: PRO, C 82 · special collections, ministers' accounts, TNA: PRO, SC 6 · state papers, Henry VIII, general series, TNA: PRO, SP 1/1, 3 · exchequer, treasury of receipt, ancient deeds, TNA: PRO, E 40 · wills, TNA: PRO, PROB 11/8, sig. 8 [Sir Walter Mantell]; PROB 11/13, sig. 26 [Sir Reynold Bray] · chancery: equity petitions, early, TNA: PRO, C 1 · muniments, Westminster Abbey · muniments of title, Northants. RO, Fermour–Heskith papers · BL, Add. MSS 21480, 59899; Lansdowne MS 127 · E. W. Ives, The common lawyers of pre-Reformation England (1983) · G. R. Elvey, ed., Luffield Priory charters 2, Buckinghamshire RS, 18 (1975) · W. T. Mellows, ed., Peterborough local administration: the last days of Peterborough monastery, Northamptonshire RS, 12 (1947) · M. D. Harris, ed., The Coventry leet book, 4 vols., EETS, 134, 135, 138, 146 (1907–13) · The Plumpton letters and papers, ed. J. Kirby, CS, 5th ser., 8 (1996) · R. Horrox and P. W. Hammond, eds., British Library Harleian manuscript 433, 4 vols. (1979–83) · The Anglica historia of Polydore Vergil, AD 1485–1537, ed. and trans. D. Hay, CS, 3rd ser., 74 (1950) · A. H. Thomas and I. D. Thornley, eds., The great chronicle of London (1938) · Reports from the lost notebooks of Sir James Dyer, ed. J. H. Baker, 1, SeldS, 109 (1994) · Baker, Serjeants, 267 · J. C. Wedgwood and A. D. Holt, History of parliament, 1: Biographies of the members of the Commons house, 1439–1509 (1936) · DNB

Archives Westminster Abbey, muniments | Northants. RO, Fermour–Heskith MSS, muniments to title · TNA: PRO, Fermour and Lucy MSS

Likenesses group portrait, oils, Belvoir Castle, Leicestershire; repro. in N. Williams, The life and times of Henry VII (1973), p. 61

Wealth at death approx. £200–£300 in lands; £100 in goods: TNA: PRO, E 150; TNA: PRO, E 36/160; TNA: PRO, KB 8/4

© Oxford University Press 2004–13 All rights reserved

Sir Richard Empson (c.1450–1510): doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/8799

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The most hated man in England was born abt 1450 or a little before, son of Peter Empson of Towcester and Elizabeth Joseph, he rose to be one of Henry VII's chief ministers. He was described by John Stow as the son of a 'sieve- maker' of Towcester, but Peter Empson was a man of considerable local importance who could afford to have his son trained as a lawyer. All Henry VII's chief advisers among the laity were of gentle birth, and it seems probable that Empson was too.

Richard Empson soon had a busy legal practice, especially in the Midlands, and was appointed a Justice of the Peace. In 1478 he was made Attorney-General in the Duchy of Lancaster, an office which he lost on the accession of Richard III, but recovered after Bosworth. Empson was therefore typical of many royal servants who staffed Henry VII's administration in that he had gained experience under the Yorkists. He was Member of Parliament on several occasions in Henry VII's reign and in 1491 was chosen Speaker of the Commons, a position showing he had royal favour.

Empson came to prominence in the later years of Henry's reign. In 1505 he was finally made Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, but his most important work was as royal debt-collector and associate of Edmund Dudley. The two men worked closely on a rather mysterious body known as the 'Council learned in the law', a sort of committee of the royal council which met from at least 1495 and which saw that the King's monies were collected. From ABT 1502, it seems clear that Henry's government of England became stricter and that the burdens imposed on the rich especially grew. Bonds for good behaviour were placed on many of the upper classes, and they suffered severe financial penalties if they stepped out of line. In consequence, when the King died, there was something of a reaction.

The young Henry VIII, anxious to make himself popular at the beginning of his reign had Empson and Dudley arrested the day after his accession. All the pent-up hostility to the old King's way of doing things was directed against these two unfortunate ministers. The main case against them seems to have been that they enforced the law and legal agreements too strictly. So, trumped up accusations of treason were used against them and on 17 Aug 1510 Empson was executed.

It is worth noting that Empson himself was placed under a bond in 1504 to prevent him persecuting an unfortunate royal chaplain who had written satirical verses against him. This would seem to indicate that any harshness in Henry VII's reign, if such there was, came eventually from the King and not his ministers, and that it was inflicted in the interests of justice and good order.

285 -------------------- Sir Richard Empson, of Northamptonshire, a knight. He was the financial minister of King Henry VII. On occasion of King Henry VIII, he was beheaded on Tower Hill, London.

Born ABT 1450 or a little before, son of Peter Empson of Towcester and Elizabeth Joseph, he rose to be one of Henry VII's chief ministers. He was described by John Stow as the son of a 'sieve- maker' of Towcester, but Peter Empson was a man of considerable local importance who could afford to have bis son trained as a lawyer. All Henry VII's chief advisers among the laity were of gentle birth, and it seems probable that Empson was too.

Richard Empson soon had a busy legal practice, especially in the Midlands, and was appointed a Justice of the Peace. In 1478 he was made Attorney-General in the Duchy of Lancaster, an office which he lost on the accession of Richard III, but recovered after Bosworth. Empson was therefore typical of many royal servants who staffed Henry VII's administration in that he had gained experience under the Yorkists. He was Member of Parliament on several occasions in Henry VII's reign and in 1491 was chosen Speaker of the Commons, a position showing he had royal favour.

Empson came to prominence in the later years of Henry's reign. In 1505 he was finally made Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, but his most important work was as royal debt-collector and associate of Edmund Dudley. The two men worked closely on a rather mysterious body known as the 'Council learned in the law', a sort of committee of the royal council which met from at least 1495 and which saw that the King's monies were collected. From ABT 1502, it seems clear that Henry's government of England became stricter and that the burdens imposed on the rich especially grew. Bonds for good behaviour were placed on many of the upper classes, and they suffered severe financial penalties if they stepped out of line. In consequence, when the King died, there was something of a reaction.

The young Henry VIII, anxious to make himself popular at the beginning of his reign had Empson and Dudley arrested the day after his accession. All the pent-up hostility to the old King's way of doing things was directed against these two unfortunate ministers. The main case against them seems to have been that they enforced the law and legal agreements too strictly. So, trumped up accusations of treason were used against them and on 17 Aug 1510 Empson was executed.

It is worth noting that Empson himself was placed under a bond in 1504 to prevent him persecuting an unfortunate royal chaplain who had written satirical verses against him. This would seem to indicate that any harshness in Henry VII's reign, if such there was, carne eventually from the King and not his ministers, and that it was inflicted in the interests of justice and good order.

treatise

http://www.tudorplace.com.ar/EMPSON.htm

http://klausjames.tripod.com/treeofcommonwealth.html -------------------- Sir Richard Empson, was a statesman and lawyer, prominent in public life during the reign of Henry VII, and was executed with Sir Edmund Dudley in 1509.

SIR RICHARD EMPSON. It is a pity to part them, seeing Empson may be called the Catesby to King Henry the Seventh, as Catesby the Empson to King Richard the Third; both countrymen, eminent for having, odious for their abusing, their skill in lsw; active for the prince, injurious to the people. This Sir Richard was chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster; and from a sieve-maker's son (at Towchester in this county [Northamptonshire], where he was born) came to *sift* the estates of the most wealthy men in England. (P) For King Henry the Seventh, vexed that he had refused Columbus's proffer (whereby the West Indies, being found out fortunately, fell to Ferdinand king of Spain) resolved to discover Indies in England; and to this purpose, made Empson promoter general, to press the penal statutes all over the land. (P) Empowered hereby, this prowling knight did grind the faces of rich and poor, bringing the grist thereof to the king, and keeping the toll thereof to himself, whereby he advanced a vast estate, which now, with his name, is reduced to nothing. He united the two houses of York and Lancaster in the king's coffers, taking nonotice of parties or persons for their former good services, but making all equally obnoxious to fines and forfeitures. But in the beginning of the reign of King Henry the Eighth he was arraigned, condemned, and beheaded, August the 17th, 1510. Say not that princes, if sacrificing their minister to popular fury, will want persons faithfully to serve them, seeing such exemplary justice will rather fright officers from false-deserving them; for, in fine, no real profit can redound to the sovereign which resulteth from the ruin of his subjects. (P) I must not forget how there was an old man in Warwickshie, accounted very judicious in judicial astrology, of whom Sir Richard Empson (then in his prime) did scoffingly demand, "When the sun would change?" To whom the old man replied, "Even when such a wicked lawyer as you go to heaven." But we leave him to stand and fall to his own Master, and proceed."

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From Gordon Fisher's compilation of notes on Richard Empson at http://www.familyorigins.com/users/f/i/s/Gordon-M-Fisher/FAMO1-0001/d244.htm

Apparently from a late 19th or early 20th century biographical dictionary (via Jennie): EMPSON, SIR RICHARD (d. 1510), minister of Henry VII., king of England, was a son of PeterEmpson, an influential inhabitant of Towcester. Educated as a lawyer he soon attained considerable success in his profession, and in 1491 was one of the members of parliament for Northamptonshire and speaker of the House of Commons. Early in the reign of Henry VII, he became associated with Edmund Dudley in carrying out the king's rigorous and arbitrary system of taxation, and in consequence he became very unpopular. Retaining the royal favour, however, he was made a knight in 1504, and was soon high steward of the university of Cambridge, and chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster; but his official career ended with Henry's death in April 1509. Thrown into prison by order of the new king, Henry VIII., he was charged, like Dudley, with the crime of constructive treason, and was convicted at Northampton in October 1509. His attainder by the parliament followed, and he was beheaded on the 17th or 18th of August 1510. Empson left, so far as is known, a family of two sons and four daughters, and about 1513 his estates were restored to his elder son, Thomas."

Jennie says ("from an encyclopedia"): Richard Empson and Edmund Dudley were in charge of carrying out Henry VII arbitrary taxation schemes, and became unpopular as a result; was a high official at Cambridge Univ; in 1491, was Speaker of the House of Commons; knighted 1504; career ended with death of Henry VII; under Henry VIII, Empson and Dudley were convicted of "constructive treason" and beheaded 17 or 18 August 1510.

Appendix 25. Historians on Sir Richard Empson

Table of Contents:

1. Chamber's Biog. Dict., ed. Patrick & Groome, c. 1911. 1 2. Chamber's Biog. Dict. rev. ed. Thorne & Collocott. 1948 1 3. Source uncertain 2 4. Calendar of Letters & Papers, Henry VIII, cat. J S Brewer,1920 2 5. History of the Reign of King Henry the Seventh, Francis Bacon, 1622 2 6. History of England, David Hume, 1778 4 7. England under the Tudors, Henry VII, Wilhelm Busch, 1895 6 8. Henry VIII, A F Pollard, 1905 9 9. Private Character of Henry VIII, J F Chamberlain, 1932 9 10. Source unknown 10 11. Henry VIII, Neville Williams, 1973 10 12. The Making of Henry VIII, Marie Bruce, 1977 12 13. Henry VII, S B Chrimes, 1972 13 14. Henry VIII, Jasper Ridley, 1985 14

1. Chamber's Biographical Dictionary, edition of about 1911, ed. David Patrick and Francis Hindes Groome, p 339:

Empson, Sir Richard, the son of a wealthy citizen of Towchester, was trained for the bar, in 1491 became speaker of the House of Commons, and in 1504, now a knight, High Steward of Cambridge University and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Throughout Henry VII's reign he was employed in exacting taxes and penalties due to the crown. His conduct, defended by himself as strictly legal, was by the people regarded as infamous and tyrannical, and in the second year of Henry VIII's reign he was convicted of tyrannising and of constructive treason, and beheaded on Tower Hill with partner Dudley 17th August 1510.

2. Chamber's Biographical Dictionary, Revised Edition, 1984, ed. J O Thorne & T C Collocott, p 458:

Empson, Sir Richard (d. 1510), English politician, in 1491 became Speaker of the House of Commons, and in 1504, now a knight, high steward of Cambridge University and chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Throughout Henry VII's reign he was employed in exacting taxes and penalties due to the crown. His conduct, defended by himself as strictly legal, was by the people regarded as infamous and tyrannical, and in the second year of Henry VIII's reign as infamous and tyrannical, and in the second year of Henry VIII's reign he was convicted of tyrannizing and of constructive treason, and beheaded on Tower Hill with his partner Edmund Dudley.

3. Apparently from a late 19th or early 20th century biographical dictionary (via Jennie):

Empson, Sir Richard (d. 1510), minister of Henry VII, king of England, was a son of Peter Empson, an influential inhabitant of Towcester. Educated as a lawyer he soon attained considerable success in his profession, and in 1491 was one of the members of parliament for Northamptonshire and speaker of the House of Commons. Early in the reign of Henry VII, he became associated with Edmund Dudley in carrying out the king's rigorous and arbitrary system of taxation, and in consequence he became very unpopular. Retaining the royal favour, however, he was made knight in 1504, and was soon high steward of the university of Cambridge, and chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster; but his official career ended with Henry's death in April 1509. Thrown into prison by order of the new king, Henry VIII, he was charged, like Dudley, with the crime of constructive treason, and was convicted at Northampton in October 1509. His attainder by the parliament followed, and he was beheaded on the 17th or 18th of August 1510. Empson left, so far as is known, a family of two sons and four daughters, and about 1513 his estates were restored to his elder son, Thomas.

4. Calendar of Letters & Papers, Foreign & Domestic, Henry VIII, catalogued by J S Brewer, 1920, vol. II, p 674, items 1471-3 (on the restoration of Richard Empson's estate to his son Thomas Empson):

4 Nov. [1512] . . . . . 7. For Thomas Empson . . . Restoration in blood. . . . . . Copy of the Act for the restoration of Thos. Empson.

5. The History of the Reign of King Henry the Seventh, Francis Bacon, 1622 (edition by F J Levy, 1972, p 221-3; in his introduction, Levy says, p 52 & 54: "Bacon cannot be considered an original source for the reign of Henry VII, nor did he have available evidence that has since been lost. The History is a source only for what it reveals of the mind of its author; it is valuable for its interpretation, not for its facts. . . . . The History is, essentially, a courtier's book; like all such, its intention is practical. Bacon, one suspects, felt that it was part of the courtier's task to educate his king up to the requisite level; kingship meant a partnership (and one notes that Henry's principal error was his treatment of advisors, his suspicion of all opinions but his own). The History is a political book. Its author was a courtier and a politician; and it is some measure of the changes that took place over the course of his lifetime that he would have admitted to being both.)

At this time [about 1502] the King's [Henry VII] estate was very prosperous: secured by the amity of Scotland; strenghtened by that of Spain; cherished by that of Burgundy; all domestic troubles quenched; and all noise of war (like a thunder afar off) going upon Italy. Wherefore nature, which many times is happily contained and refrained by some bands of fortune, began to take place in the King; carrying (as with a strong tide) his affections and thoughts unto the gathering and heaping up of treasure. And as Kings do more easily find instruments for their will and humour than for their service and honour, Empson and Dudleu (whom the people esteemed as his horse-leeches and shearers) bold men and careless of fame, and that took toll of their master's grist. Dudley was of a good family, eloquent, and one that could put hateful business into good language. But Empson, that was the son of a sieve-maker, triumphed always upon the deed done; putting off all other respects whatsoever. These two persons being lawyers in science and privy councillors in authority, (as the corruption of the best things is the worst) turned law and justice into wormwood and rapine. For first their manner was to cause diverse subjects to be indicted of sundry crimes, and so far forth to proceed in form of law; but when the bills were found, then presently to commit them; and nevertheless not to produce them in any reasonable time to their answer, but to suffer them to languish long in prison, and by sundry artificial devices and terrors to extort from them great fines and ransoms, which they termed compositions and mitigations.

Neither did they, towards the end, observe so much as the half-face of justice, in proceeding by indictment; but sent forth their precepts to attach men and convent them before themselves and some others at their private houses, in a court of commission; and there used to shuffle up a summary proceeding by examination, without trial of jury; assuming to themselves there to deal both in please of the crown and controversies civil.

Then did they also use to inthral and charge the subjects' lands with tenures in capite, by finding false offices, and thereby to work upon them for wardships, liveries,premier seisins, and alienations, (being the fruits of those tenures); refusing (upon divers pretexts and delays) to admit men to traverse those false offices, according to the law [footnote 1 below]. Nay the King's wards after they had accomplished their full age could not be suffered to have livery of their lands without paying excessive fines, far exceeding all reasonable rates. They did also vex man with information of intrusion, upon scarce colourable titles [footnote 2 below].

When men were outlawed in personal actions, they would not permit them to purchase their charters of pardon, except they paid great and intolerable sums; standing upon the strict point of law, which upon outlawries giveth forfeiture of goods. Nay contrary to all law and colour, they maintained the King ought to have the half of men's lands and rents, during the space of full two years, for a pain in case of outlawry. They would also ruffle with jurors and inforce them to find as they would direct, and (if they did not) convent them, imprison them, and fine them.

These and many other courses, fitter to be buried than repeated, they had of preying upon the people; both like tame hawks for their master, and like wild hawks for themselves; insomuch as they grew to great riches and substance. But their principal working was upon penal laws, wherein they spared none great nor small; nor considered whether the law were possible or impossible, in use or obsolete, but raked over all old and new statures, though many of them were made with intention rather of terror than of rigour; having ever a rabble of promoters, questmongers, and leading jurors at their command, so as they could have any thing found, either for fact or valuation.

There remaineth to this day a report, that the King was on a time entertained by the Earl of Oxford (that was his principal servant both for war and peace) nobly and sumptuously, at his castle at Henningham. And at the King's going away, the Earl's servants stood in a seemly manner in their livery coats, with cognizances, ranged on both sides, and the King a lane. The King called the Earl to him, and said, My lord, I have heard much of your hospitality, but I see it is greater than the speech. These handsome gentlemen and yeomen which I see on both sides of me are sure your menial servants. The Earl smiled and said, It may please your Grace, that were not for mine ease. They are most of them my retiners, that are come to do me service at such a time as this, and chiefly to see your Grace. The King started a little, and said, By my faith, (my lord) I thank you for my good cheer, but I may not endure to have my laws broken in my sight. My attorney must speak with you [footnote 3 below]. And it is part of the report, that the Earl compounded for no less than fifteen thousand marks. And to shew further the King's extreme diligence; I do remember to have seen long since a book of accompt of Empson's, that had the King's hand almost to every leaf by way of signing, and was in some places postilled in the margent with the Kind's hand likewise, where was this remembrance.

Item, Received, of such a one, five marks, for a pardon to be procured; and if the pardon do not pass, the money to be repaid; except the party be some other ways satisfied.

And over against this memorandum (of the King's own hand), Otherwise satisfied.

[Footnote 1, by the editor Levy: Empson and Dudley pretended to find that a man held an office --- for example, that he had been granted the right to hold a court --- which evidenced his holding his land in capite. This meant that the man held directly of the Crown, and royal tenants in capite were liable to ertain feudal exactions such as wardship (the Crown takes over the land while the heir is under age), livery [relief] (a fee any ward must pay his overlord to gain possession of his lands at the time of his inheritance, amounting to half the first year's profits), premier seisin (the King's right to the first year's profits of newly inherited lands) and alienations (fees [fines] if the land is transferred). It was thus worth a great deal to the Crown to prove that a man held his land in capite --- which explains why Empson and Dudley also refused to allow the victims to traverse (deny) the claim.

[Footnote 2, by the editor Levy: An information of intrusion is a proceeding to evict a man from property that is claimed by the man insituting the proceeding. Here Empson and Dudley invented royal titles to lands on little evidence, and then tried to force out the "intruders" --- who might have been there for genertions. Since a case could be expensive to fight, many men would "compound", or pay a fine. So an information of intrusion would certainly vex people; it could also be used to profit the royal treasury (at the price of considerable unpopularity).]

[Footnote 3, by the editor Levy: Henry had made a point of enforcing the laws against livery, that is against dressing men in a private uniform. In the fifteenth century, livery had been used to build up the private armies which had been responsible for much of the civil warfare which so disturbed the country. So Henry was none too pleased to find himself confronted with Oxford's liveried retainers, despite Oxford's avowal that the display was mounted in the king's honor.]

6. The History of England, from the invasion of Julius Caesar to The Revolution in 1688, David Hume, 1778, vol. III (1983, foreword by William B Todd), p 66-68:

The situation of the king's affairs, both at home and abroad, was now, in every respect, very fortunate. All the efforts of the European princes, both in war and negociation were turned to the side of Italy; and the various events, which there arose, made Henry's alliance be courted by every party, yet interested him so little as never to touch him with concern or anxiety. His close connexions with Spain and Scotland ensured his tranquillity; and his continued successes over domestic enemies, owing to the prudence and vigour of his conduct, had reduced the people to entire submission and obedience. Uncontrolled therefore, by apprehension or opposition of any kind, he gave full scope to his natural propensity; and avarice, which had ever been his ruling passion, being increased by age, and encouraged by absolute authority, broke all restraints of shame or justice. He had found two ministers, Empson and Dudley, perfectly qualified to second his rapacious and tyrannical inclinations, and to prey upon his defenceless people. These instruments of oppression were both lawyers, the first of mean birth, of brutal manners, of an unrelenting temper; the second better born, better educated, and better bred, but equally unjust, severe, and inflexible. By their knowledge in law, these men were qualified to pervert the forms of justice to the oppression of the innocent; and the formidable authority of the king supported them in all their iniquities.

It was their usual practice at first to observe so far the appearance of law as to give indictments to those whome they intended to oppress: Upon which the persons were committed to prison, but never brought to trial; and were at length obliged, in order to recover their liberty, to pay heavy fines and ransoms, which were called mitigations and compositions. By degrees, the very appearance of law was neglected: The two ministers sent forth their precepts to attach men, and summon them before themselves and some others, at their private houses, in a court of commission, where, in a summary manner, without trial or jury, arbitrary decrees were issued, both in pleas of the crown and controversies between private parties. Juries themselves, when summoned, proved but small security to the subject; being brow-beaten by these oppressors; nay, fined, imprisoned, and punished, if they gave sentence against the inclination of the ministers. The whole system of the feudal law, which still prevailed, was turned into a scheme of oppression. Even the king's wards, after they came of age, were not suffered to enter into possession of their lands without paying exorbitant fines. Men were also harassed with informations of intrusion upon scarce colourable titles. When an outlawry in a personal action was issued against any man, he was not allowed to purchase his charter of pardon, except on the payment of a great sum; and if he refused the composition required of him, the strict law, which, in such cases, allows forfeiture of goods, was rigorously insisted on. Nay, without any colour of law, the half of men's lands and rents were seized during two years, as a penalty in case of outlawry. But the chief means of oppression, employed by these ministers, were the penal statutes, which, without consideration of rank, quality, or services, were rigidly put in execution against all men: Spies, informers, and inquisitors were rewarded and encouraged in every qyarter of the kingdom: And no difference was made whether the stature were beneficial or hurtful, recent or obsolete, possible or impossible to be executed. The sole end of the king and his ministers was to amass money, and bring every one under the lash of their authority. [Footnote 1]

Through the prevalence of such an arbitrary and iniquitous administration, the English, it may safely be affirmed, were considerable losers by their ancient privleges, which secured them from all taxations, except such as were imposed by their own consent in all taxations, except such as were imposed by their own consent in parliament. Had the king been impowered to levy general taxes at pleasure, he would naturally have abstained from these oppressive expedients, which destroyed all security in private property, and begat an universal diffidence throughout the nation. In vain did the people look for protection from the parliament, which was pretty frequently summoned during this reign. That assembly was so overawed, that, at this very time, during the greatest rage of Henry's oppressions, the commons chose Dudley their speaker, the very man who was the chief instrument of his iniquities. And though the king was known to be immensely opulent, and had no pretence of wars or expensive enterprizes of any kind, they granted him the subsidy, which he demanded. But so insatiable was his avarice, that next year he levied a bew benevolence, and renewed that arbitrary and oppressive method of taxation. By all these arts of accumulation, joined to a rigid frugality in his expence, he so filled his coffers, that he is said to have possessed in ready money the sum of 1,800,000 pounds: A treasure almost incredible, if we consider the scarcity of money in those times.

Footnote 1: Bacon, 629, 630. Hollingshed, p. 504. Polyd. Virg. p. 613, 615. Silver was during this reign 37 shillings and sixpence a pound, which makes Henry's treasure near three millions of our present money. Besides, many commodities have become above thrice as dear by the encrease of gold and silver in Europe. And what is a circumstance of still greater weight, all other states were then very poor, in comparison of what they are at present: These circumstances make Henry's treasure appear very great; and may lead us to conceive the oppressions of his government.

7. England Under the Tudors, King Henry VII (1485-1509), Dr. Wilhelm Busch, translated by Alice M. Todd, with an introduction and some comments by James Gairdner, first published London 1895, reprint Burt Franklin (NY), P 274-280:

In the Parliament of 1495 --- a fruitful one in legislation --- a noteworthy statute was passed. it stated that many excellent laws had been made, but were not kept, and the prosecution of offenders was hindered by the corruption of the jurors at the sessions. Wherefore the judges of assize and the justices of the peace were empowered on the information of any private individual to decide upon the initiation of judicial proceedings; and the judge who euthorised these then referred the matter to his own court, and again awarded punishment according to the measure of the violation of the law. It was only required that the informer should be resident in the county, and should, if his information was proved to be wrong, pay the costs of the defendant. Treason, murder, and the more serious crimes in general, involving loss of life and limb, were excluded from this Act, as also cases involving forfeiture of property to the informer.

It was a revolutionary law, directly in opposition to the fundamental principles of English jurisprudence; the legal officer, dependent on the king, took the place of the grand jury --- he was public prosecutor and judge in one person. Here again Henry introduced into England a custom with which he had become acquainted in France; for the technical expression "information" used in France for the same procedure was adopted. If the system thus begun had been continued in England, a purely bureaucratic criminal prosecution by officials would have been established here, as it has been in France. It was the first step towards doing away with the jury.

This law was at once put to the worst possible use, for the king's advantage. Polydore Vergil, who reports things on his own personal observation, describes the method pursued as follows. Having found himself unable to take money from his richer subjects illegally, it occurred to Henry that almost every one of them might be convicted of offending against existing laws. He began therefore to impose on such offenders light money penalties. For this he appointed two Exchequer Judges, the lawyers, richard Empson, whom he subsequently knighted, and Edmund Dudley. These now gathered round them a crowd of informers, eager to compete for the king's favour, "and in their own danger, or to humanity, although they were often admonished by persons of importance that they should act with mote moderation." Polydore Vergil also characterises, as strange in the telling and lamentable in reality, a procedure which was called by the name of justice, but was rather a criminal abuse made possible by the corruption of the courts. A completely unsispecting person was accused before the judge, and if he did not respond to the summons --- of which very often, as he lived at a distance, he had no knowledge --- he was condemned, his goods were confiscated, and he himself put in prison; his property, however, was not forfeited to the informer, but to the king. "Men thus condemned were marked for the future as outlaws, that is, deprived of every civil right which the law gives to man." The result of this procedure is obvious enough; large sums were extorted for the benefit of the royal treasury, and all sorts of impossible claims for the royal prerogative could by the help of easily procurable accusations be brought forward and established. The character of this law is best described in a state of Henry VIII's first Parliament, by which it was repealed, on the grounds that, as was well known, many dishonest, cunningly devised, and false accusations had, on the authority of this Act, been made against various subjects of the king to their great damage and wrongful vexation.

We are acquainted with some cases, which aroused especial attention. One of these was the action taken against the London alderman, William Capell, of the Clothworkers' Guild, who from 1489 to 1490 had been one of the sheriffs of the city, and was subsequently knighted. Five years later he was charged with having sold goods to foreigners without requiring in return immediate payment in money or in other goods, and "thereupon condemned by the king to pay 2744, which fine was subsequently reduced by the royal mercy to 166s. 3d., of which 732 were to be paid at once, and the rest within three years." Even then Capell was by no means free, his riches had attracted too much the attention of the exchequer officials; but no legal pretext to touch him could be found until he became Lord Mayor of London (1503-1504). it was a disastrous year for the town, as many destructive fires had taken place; we do not know, however, for what failure in the execution of his official dity it was that Capell, towards the end of 1507 or the beginning of 1508, was arrested at the suggestion of Empson and Dudley, and delivered over into the charge of the sheriffs. Shortly before this, these two had caused Thomas Kneysworth, of the Fishmongers' Guild, the Lord Mayor for 1505-1506, to be put in prison with his two sheriffs, Shore and Grove, until they purchased their freedom for 1400. It is possible that Andr is referring to Kneysworth when he relates that in July, 1508, a former Lord Mayor with tow sons died, according to some from grief at heart at the loss of their wealth, according to others, from a disease then prevalent. Capell this time remained obdurate, in spite of the attempts made to coerce him, by taking him from the charge of the sheriffs and shutting him up in strict confinement in the Tower, where he remained until the death of the king restored him to liberty. Henry's death appears also to have been the salvation of Sir Lawrence Aylmer, the Lord Mayor who was taken into custody with his sheriffs at the end of his year of office, 1508. We can form an approximate idea of the number of notes of hand thus extorted, from the fact that quite half a hundred of them, all dating from the last two or three years of Henry VII, were declared null and void in the first two years of his son's reign. The sums in question were from 50 to 100; the Earl of Northumberland, however, was fined 10,000, of which Henry VIII remitted 5000; it is not known if he was compelled to pay the other half of this enormous sum. Two townsmen had made themselves answerable for 9000 marks, of which 2450 had already been paid, and Corsy, the farmer of the oney exchange, had to disburse considerable sums. In many of the orders by which such bonds were cancelled, these significant words are found --- that obligations had been incurred on the unreasonable instigation of certain counsellors of the king, "against law, right, and conscience, to the evident over-burdening and danger of our late father's soul."

Henry VII himself had felt some qualms of conscience. On the 19th of August, 1504, a royal decree was addressed to the sheriffs, to the effect that the king, having always striven to deal justly towards his subjects, and never to lay claim unfairly to any one's property and goods, announced, for the unburdening of his conscience, that nay man who felt himself aggrieved might, within two years, present his complaint in writing, whereupon he should receive all reasonable satisfaction. We do not hear of any fulfilment of this promise --- in fact, the evil rather grew worse during the last two years; and the chronicler Hall remarks that the execution of this design having been prevented by Henry's death, which, however, did not occur till five years later, it was repeated in the king's will; "but in the meane season many men's coffers were emptied."

Empson and Dudley by no means always acted in the interests of the king. They were far more often concerned with their own private advantage, making for that purpose a most unscrupulous use of the king's name and influence. They certainly did not always adhere to the principles of the law of 1495, but managed in every way to make the courts serve to their own profit. An example of this, and of the tenacity and energy with which they dogged their victims, is afforded by Empson's legal proceedings against Sir Robert Plumpton, as far as can be gathered from the somewhat complicated story preserved in the family correspondence of the Plumptons and in other papers. It is not possible to follow it in detail.

In February, 1497, the first signs were visible that Empson --- of course as the legal representative of others who had claims on Sir Robert --- had some design in view. On the 2nd of May, 1499, the knight was dispossessed of various portions of the Plumpton family estate, by order of the king's council; in November, 1500, he was threatedned with a lawsuit at the next assizes, and was advised to gain over the sheriffs and other friends in the various counties in which his estates lay; these included besides Yorkshire, Nottingham, Cerby, and Stafford. Some sympathy was fielt in the fate of the persecuted man. "May God give you the power to resist and withstand the utter and malicious enmity and false craft of Master Empson and such others oyour adversaries, which as all the great parte of England knoweth, hath done to you and yours the most injury and wrong, that ever was done or wrought to any man of worship in this land ofpeace."

Empson's legal machine, however, worked too well, and in 1501, Sir Robert was deprived of his domains in three of the four counties, York being excepted, and, in 1502, of Plumpton also. Empson received as his reward the estate of Kinalton, and married his daughter to the son and heir of his successful client.

But the knight was not disposed to give in quietly. At the first the complainants stood somewhat in fear of his and his servants' vengeance; having lodged an appeal, he tried to assert his rights by force, and evicted the farmers who refused any longer to pay him their rents. At the same time Plumpton tried, as a last resource, to appeal to the king's mercy, and begged that Henry, his Council, or two judges, might pronounce the decision; although he had already been warned that he would "get little favour." He was so far successful that Henry appointed him a Knight of the Body, and thereby protected him from personal imprisonment, and, further, insured to him the usufruct of his manors of Plumpton and Idle. The lawsuit continued. The family were completely ruined through all the expense and pressure they had had to bear, and in Henry VIII's reign, the unfortunate Sir Robert, now no longer protected by his position at court, was consigned to a debtor's prison, where for a long time he ate his scanty fare in a dungeon. Not till his hard-hearted opponent Empson had met his death on the scaffold, was an agreement entered into between the two parties.

In the whole case there had been no question of the interests of the Crown; the advantage accruing to it consisted solely in the dues to be paid. Probably this may have been the reason why the Under-Treasurer, Sit Robert Lytton, deaf to all entreaties fordelay, exacted from Plumpton the payment of his debts. This was one case among many, possibly a bad one; but it is obvious that a misuse of the power of the law, as exercised against the London citizens and Plumpton, could nor fail to have aroused much bitter feeling. Though the heaviest guilt lies on the two assistants, much still attaches to the king himself. Nothing could be more serviceable to the country after the Wars of the Roses than a severe and rigorous administration of justice; on the other hand, nothing could more undermine all respect for the law than the financial abuses which Henry allowed to be carried on by Empson and Dudley, under the legal authority of the king. In Henry's administration of justice there may be traced an irreconcilable contradiction, for ideas which were good and sound in their conception degenerate in his latter years into mere caricature. This is identically the same change which we have observed in his general policy; and it is just this discrepancy in his conduct at the close of his reign, which has contributed so much to the harsh judgment passed on his whole mode of government. The only result of these abuses of the law was, that his successor found himself obliged to sacrifice to the popular clamour a statute so important to the power of the king as that which, in the interests of judicial reform, made the judge, who was dependent on the Crown, take the place of the jury. Empson and Dudley fell victims to the same popular hatred, and lost their heads on the scaffold. The wrongs of men who, like Sir. R. Plumpton, Capell, and Kneysworth, had been by them almost done to death, were thus avenged.

8. Henry VIII, A. F. Pollard, 1905, p 44-5 (via Jennie):

On the day of his father's death, or the next, the new King [Henry VIII] removed from Richmond Palace to the Tower, whence, on 23rd April, was dated the first official act of his reign. He confirmed in ampler form the general pardon granted a few days before by Henry VII; but the ampler form was no bar to the exemption of fourscore offenders from the act of grace. Foremost among them were the three brothers De la Pole, Dir Richard Empson and Empson and Edmund Dudley. The exclusion of Empson and Dudley from the pardon was more popular than the pardon itself. If anything could have enhanced Henry's favour with his subjects, it was the condign punishment of thetools of his father's extortion. Their death was none the less welcome for being unjust. They were not merely refused pardon and brought to the blockl a more costly concession was made when their bonds for the payment of loans were cancelled. Their victims, so runs the official record, had been "without any ground or matter of truth, by undue means of certain of the council of our said late father, thereunto driven contrary to law, reason and good conscience, to the manifest charde and peril of the soul of our said late father.

9. Private Character of Henry VIII, J. Frederick Chamberlain, 1932, p 314 (via Jennie):

Heny [VIII} was no more on the throne when he threw to the wolves Dudley and Empson who had made themselves execrated by the faithfulness with which they carried out the plans of Henry's father for raising revenue.

No more useful servants every obeyed the orders of their king than they, but when the boy Henry VIII took office, he was confronted with a howling mob demanding the sacrifice of these two figureheads who had done all the disagreeable --- we should say dirty --- work in collecting the old man's revenue, the proceeds of which he saved and passed on to his son who had it in his coffers.

10. Quote from Jennie, source unspecified:

A royal proclamation was issued inviting anyone in the kingdom to come and charge the late King's [Henry VII] servants with extortion --- though Henry [VIII] had chosen his victims already: Sir Richard Empson and Edmund Dudley. They had been particularly zealous servants of Henry VII --- and had made many enemies in the process. The trouble was, of course, that they had been acting on the dead King's specific instructions and had no difficulty in proving this. So a totally fictitious charge of treason was concocted and the men were savagely and unjustly tried, sentenced and executed.

11. Henry VIII, Neville Williams, 1973, p 188-9, 261-2, 299:

The [financial] system worked extremely well from the King's [Henry VII] point of view, for he knew months ahead the amount of money that should be coming into the Chamber and could plan his budget.

In his last years, he could do very well without the aid of Parliamentary grants, for besides the increased efficiency in exploiting his prerogative rights, the King took his cut from the increasing volume of foreign trade through customs duties. When his financial system was at its height, there was naturally a ground swell of discontent, and immediately upon his death two men who had operated his fiscal machine, "the ravening wolves" Empson and Dudley.

Both lawyers by training, they had become prominent members of the Council Learned in the Law, with Sir Richard Empson was "Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster", President of that tribunal from 1505. A fresh examination of their activities suggests that these were no different in kind from the work performed earlier in th reign by Morton and Bray, and, like these good churchmen, the "upstarts" worked within the law, for they were legal experts. Posterity has remembered Empson and Dudley with "ignominy" simply because of their success. Like other royal servants living largely on fees, they took their pickings from clients who sought the King's favour through them, yet they knew better than to try to cheat Henry. They lived next door to each other near London Stone in Walbrook Ward in the City, and even this was counted against them. To achieve their tasks of calling in Henry's dues they employed informers, which rankled with men brought up on the virtues of tax avoidance, evasions even. Dudley's account book shows that he achieved the incredible feat of netting 65,331 for the King in the financial year 1506-7. Of course, it became a talking point that Thomas Knewsworth, Lord Mayor of London, and his two sherifs were heavily fined for misdemeanors and that the Earl of Northumberland was ordered to pay 10,000 for abducting a royal ward, though most of this latter fine was to be remitted. It was the wealthy and high-ranking men who "suffered most" as the chroniclers put it, for unlike the poor they had the means to pay. The backlash came with the the demise of the Crown and a penitent Edmund Dudley, deprived of the protection of the master for whom he had worked so faithfully, could only admit that Henry VII had lost the heart of his subjects by his insatiable greed for gold.

In these final years of the reign, several "over-mighty" subjects were being controlled by suspended fines and made to enter recognisances for crippling sums to ensure their good behaviour. It was almost as if Henry VII "governed by recognisance", one recent historian has remarked. Henry had cowed the baronage by remorseless manipulation of his fiscal rights. Men tied to his purse-strings bided their time and immediately on his son's accession persuaded him to act. Empson and Dudley were put in the Tower, great enquiries were set afoot into injustice and peculation, and even the new King's warrants which cancelled so many of the hated recognisances and bonds spoke of the activities of his financial agents "against law, right nad conscioouce to the evident overburdening and danger of our late father's soul." The first Tudor, in re-establishing royal power and a strong administration, had pressed much too hard, and it is a matter of conjecture if, had he lived, he could have continued to maintain the pressure without risking overthrow. It would have been a vicious spiral, for Henry had set out to make himself solvent as the surest way of being able to keep his throne.

. . . . . . . . . .

Edmund Dudley, a man of forty-two, belonged to the great family of that name. Made a Privy Councillor in 1485, he was Speaker of the House of Commons and a clever orator, especially in debate, but his severity in executing the King's still and despotic financial demands made him hated.

Sir Richard Empson, who shared his unpopularity for the same reason, was a Towcester man, a trained lawyer, and Speaker of the Commons in 1491, knighted in 1504. He and Dudley threw men into prison until they had paid the sums demanded of them, and were said to summon men to appear before them not in a court of law, but in private houses, where they were condemned without genuine trial, irrespective of whether their offences affected the Crown or the Council.

A lack of scruple marked the work of these men, who were quick to see that if money could not be extracted from the wealthy by legitimate taxation, it could be extracted by fines. Informers were found to report offences, at first of no great momnet, then, as rapacity in both respects increased, grave. Whether the accusations were true or not, the offenders were at once called before a magistrate, and unless they attended the hearing, convicted without any chance to defend themselves, their property being forfeited to the Kind and themselves consigned to the nearest jail.

As the victims often lived a long way from the court concerned, they frequently knew nothing of either charge or verdict until apprehended. "Men thus condemned were marked for the future as outlaws, that is, deprived of every civil right which the law gives to man." Freeholders with land worth 40 were expected to become knights. Enormous sums had to be paid to the Crown by its wards when they were twenty-one. Many old laws which had passed from men's minds were dug up, and those who had broken them heavily fined.

In fact, full advantage was now taken of the law of 1496 which allowed judges and magistrates to act on the accusation of private persons. The informers "in their greed for money, paid too little heed to their duty, to their own danger, or to humanity, although they were often admonished by persons of importance that they should act with more moderation".

Thus, in amounts ranging from 50 to 10,000, money flowed into the King's treasury, and it would be absurd to suggest that he did not know how it had been obtained. As he grew older he succumbed to one of the vices of monarchy and old age --- avarice. He accunmulated cash as a bee honey. In comparison to many earlier kings he himself was moderate in tastes and habits. It was primarily for his son, and for that perpetual yearning to found a Tudor dynasty, that he heaped coin upon coin. He knew it would not come to pass and endure unless underpinned and buttressed by massive accumulations of gold and jewels.

Yet he was not wholly unrelenting, for in August, 1504, men who considered themselves unjustly convicted were allowed to appeal within two years, and assured of fair treatment. This promise was nevertheless largely ignored by Empson and Dudley, who were doubtless lining their own pockets as well as the King's. Polydore had no doubts about Henry's motive. He wrote: "Certain it is that the prince, so moderate himself, did not rob his subjects above measure, he who left his Kingdom in every respect in the greatest prosperity."

. . . . . . . . . .

By this time the news that he [Henry VII] was dying had been transmitted to every Court in Europe. The King himself was aware now that his days were being dealt out one by one like a pack of card, and made his will on the 30th March [1509].

In it he bade his son be prudent and avoid war. Asking to be laid beside his wife, he remitted all debts below 2 owed to him by those imprisoned in London, and is said to have repented the exactions of his ministers, Empson and Dudley, expressing a wish that their severity might be tempered by his son, though he himself had done nothing to this effect during his lifetime. He now wished the money unfairly extracted to be refunded.

12. The Making of Henry VIII, Marie Louise Bruce, 1977, p 206-7 (via Jennie):

Henry VII had committed the ungentlemanly act of enforcing the collection of royal dues, which had not been done so thoroughly and successfully for many reigns. But he had little choice, An English king was supposed to pay most of the expenses of government as well as of his palaces out of his own revenues, which were made up of the proceeds of his lands, of feudal dues, of justice and of custom duties. If he failed to accompish this nearly impossible task, he had to seek parliament's permission for a special tax, a perilous procedure, since nothing spurred the English to revolt more quickly than taxation. The trouble was that in collecting his dues Henry VII relied on officers responsible to no one but himself. Edmund Dudley, chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, the best known and most hated of these officers, were believed to be corrupt. And although this has been called in question by modern historians, and it is possible that they were merely loyal officers doing their job, the belief in their guilt was general and seems to have been shared by young Henry. There were also paid informers, mainly royal officers, but including some laymen too. Prince Henry was used to the sight of these unromantic characters rubbing shoulders with the furs and velvets of nobles and rich merchants in the palace corridors. He knew that they were on their way to give information against some unlucky citizen to "the council learned in the law", the department largely under the control of Dudley and Empson, which dealt with royal debt-collecting.

13. Henry VII, S. B. Chrimes, Berkeley & L.A. (Univ of Cal Pr), 1972, p 316-7:

The bills for the attainder of Richard Empson and Edmund Dudley had not been passed before the parliament ended [the first after Henry VII died]. Just why Empson and Dudley were singled out from other similar agents of Henry VII's government we shall probably never know with any assurance. They were both arrested, presumably by Henry VIII's or the council's orders, and confined in the Tower. Indicted at the Guildhall on charges of constructive treason, Dudley on 16 July was found guilty and sentenced, and was returned to the Tower to await execution, which was to be delayed until 17 August 1510, when Empson, tried and sentenced at Northampton, was also executed. The charge of treason was palpably fictitious, and great difficulty must have been experienced in finding justification for execution, which may have been the reason for the long delay. The possibilities of an act of attainder were explored but faded in the parliament. That both were guilty of harsh acts, some of them corrupt, and that both were efficient and ruthless agents of Henry VII's policies and behests need not be doubted. Both therefore were unpopular. They were, indeed, singularly well suited for the role of scapegoats, on whom 'were to be focused all the popular discontent with the old regime'. The reputation of the old king had to be preserved, the reputation of the new king had to be enhanced. The two victims had been influential agents but not otherwise powerful. Their removal would not alienate any sections of the public. Their fall was 'deliberately contrived by the Crown'. The episode was, in short, an example of 'the new policies of prestige'. .The young Henry [VIII] made what was to be a characteristic response of his to certain sorts of political difficulties when he had the two ex-ministers executed'. It was, indeed, the first item in tht long series of judicial murders for which the reign of Henry VIII was to become unique in English history. Any avarice that Henry VII mingled with his practice of 'government by recognizances' was a mild failing compared with his son's addiction to more savage methods of solving his problems.

p. 215: Recognizances were obligations which recognized or acknowledged a previously established debt or agreement, often made contingent on future conduct. If the recognizer did not fulfil the terms of his bond, he was liable to forfeit the sum specified in the bond. The full penalty, however, might be compounded for a fine. Most, but by no means all these bonds, were for payment, usually by instalments, of legally justified debts to the king.

Footnote to p 317: On Dudley's career, see D, M. Brodie, 'Edmund Dudley, minister of Henry VII', T.R.H.S., 4th ser. XV (1932), 133-61; and her edition of his The tree of the commonwealth (1948). Little modern work has been done on Empson, but the careers of both were very similar. Both were common lawyers by profession, both had been members of parliament and pseakers of the commons, both rose to influence by Henry VII's employment of them as very active members of the Council Learned in the Law. Neither appears to have had powerful relatives or friends.

14. Henry VIII, Jasper Ridley, NY (Viking, Printed in the USA by R R Donnelley & Sons Co, Harrisonburg, Virginia) 1985:

[p 36:] The chief instruments of his [Henry VII's] financial policy were Edmund Dudley and Sir Richard Empson. Dudley was the son of a gentleman of Atherington mear Climping in Sussex; Empson was of lower birth, for his father was a prosperous sieve-maker of Towcester in Northamptonshire. Both became barristers, MPs, and Speaker of the House of Commons, and entered Henry VII's service. Empson was knighted, and was appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, but neither he nor Dudley held any position which would account for their activities in extorting money from the King's subjects.

They seem to have been almost universally hated throught England. They were accused of acting illegally when they extorted large sums of money from wealthy landowners under the recognisance system, and of not only obtaining this money for the King, but of enriching themselves in the process. According to thehistorian, William Camden, who wrote seventy-five years later, Empson once met a blind soothsayer, who could foretell the future. Empson asked him when the sun would change. 'When such a wicked lawyer as you goeth to Heaven', replied the soothsayer.

In recent years, historians have discovered a little more about the activities of Dudley and Empson. Some of this material seems to vindicate them to some extent, or at least to show that everything they did was justified by the law of England. Other documents confirm their high-handed methods. None of them explains why the people hated them so much more than Henry VII's other advisers. Perhaps Francis Bacon, relying no doubt on popular tradition, came nearest the truth when he stated that Empson had very rude manners. People often resent insult more than injury.

[p 42-43:] Empson was brought before the King's Council [in 1509, after Henry VII's death] and charged with illegally extorting money from the people. In a long and reasoned speech, he argued that he had acted on Henry VII's orders, and that everything he had done was justified by ancient laws which were perfectly valid, even if some of them had been obsolete for many years. This was an awkward argument to deal with. But a new accusation was then made against him and Dudley: when they knew that Henry VII was dying, they had consulted their friends and asked them for support if their position was threatened. This could be construed as planning a rebellion, an act of high treason against the new King. In July, Dudley was indicted for high treason at the Guildhall in London; Empson was sent to his native county to be tried on the same charge at Northampton in October. Both were found guilty and sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered.

Henry [VIII] did not order the sentences to be carried out for nearly a year. He may have thought it unsuitable to spoil the months of rejoicing and amnesty by having an important public execution, even of two notorious malefactors, in that happy summer of 1509. dudley and Empson were held prisoners in the Tower of London; in January 1510, their conviction and sentence was confirmed by an Act of Parliament. Their subordinate officials who had been arrested at Henry VIII's accession were sentenced by the Council to be put in the pillory; but no attempt was made to force or trick Brimald to leave sanctuary, and he was allowed to go free. {[p 38:] A few days later [after 23 Apr 1509], some of the most unpopular of Dudley's and Empson's friends and subordinate officials were also arrested, though the worst of them all, John Baptist Brimald, escaped and took sanctuary in Westminster Abbey.]

Dudley wrote a book in the Tower, The Tree of Commonwealth, which he dedicated to Foxe [Richard Foxe, Bishop of Winchester and Lord Privy Seal] and Sir Thomas Lovell, who was Chancellor of the Exchequer and Constable of the Tower. In it, he discussed the principles of good government which a ruler should pursue. He also wrote out a list of eighty-four cases in which he had oppressed Henry VII's subjects, and he asked Foxe and Lovell to make restitution to his victims. He described himself as 'the most wretched and sorrowful creature, being a dead man by the King's laws, and prisoner in the Tower of London, there abiding life or death at the high pleasure of my sovereign lord, to whom I never offended in treason or thing like to it to my knowledge, as my sinful soul be saved'.

Dudley tried to escape from the Tower. The plot was discovered, and this may have been a factor in Henry's decision to proceed to extremities. He commuted the sentence of hanging, drawing and wuartering to the ore merciful death by the headsman's axe. Dudley and Empson were beheaded on Tower Hill on 18 August 1510.

None of the sixteenth-century chroniclers, nor any of the records unearthed by modern research, give any indication as to who was responsible for the decision to overthrow Dudley and Empson and put them to death. Wolsey [Thomas Wolsey, Lord Chancellor for Henry VIII, 1515-1530, died en route to the Tower, accused of high treason], who would have been capable of it, was already in the royal service, but was not yet high enough to do it, or even to suggest it. It is diffilcult to believe that Foxe, Warham, Lovell or Ruthall, who were cautious and slow, and a few years later allowed Wolsey to downgrade them without a struggle, would have been capable of it. Fisher [John Bishop, Bishop of Rochester, later a cardinal] and Margaret Beaufort [see below] might have advised it; and it is even possible that Henry VII, wishing to prove to himself the sincerity of his repentance and thinking of the interests of his successor, advised his son on his deathbed, during their last talk, to sacrifice the most hated agents of his own policy to win the goodwill of the people.

{On Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby, mother of Henry VII: [p 19:] The son of Owen and Catherine [Tudor], Edmund Tudor, married the eleven-year-old Lady Margaret Beaufort, the granddaughter of an illegitimate son of John Gaunt and Katherine Swynford who had afterwards been legitimised by Act of Parliament. When she was fourteen, Margaret Beaufort had a son who by 1485 had become King Henry VII. [p 36:] He [Henry VII] occasionally summoned some of his nobles and bishops to attend meetings of his Council, but he normally ruled his kingdom through a very small body of advisers, while the person who had the greatest influence over him was his mother, Margaret Beaufort.}

But the responsibility and final decision rested with Henry VIII, and perhaps there is no need to look farther than him. Young men of seventeen are capable of making up their own minds without asking anyone's advice, and of taking drastic and cruel action on their own initiative, even when they are not in the first flush of exultation at becoming an absolute monarch. The sudden overthrow and arrest of Dudley and Empson, the straining of the law to find them guilty of treason, and the decision not to show mercy but to put them to death, followed a pattern which was to be repeated on many occasions during Henry VIII's reign: it was unexpected, unjust and popular.

While Dudley and Empson waited in the Tower, not knowing whether they would live or die, Henry began the round of lavish entertainments and gorgeous displays which continued all his life and which so impressed his contemporaries. . . . . .

[p 92:] Henry [VIII] was universally considered to be by far the richest King in Europe. The fact that he had executed Dudley and Empson and cancelled some of the recognisances which they had extorted, did not prevent him from benefitting from the money which they had amassed for Henry VII. This was popularly believed to amount to the enormous sum of 4,000,000; and though the ambassadors at his court thought that it was probably an exaggeration to say that he was as sich as all the other Kings of Europe put together, they had no doubt that he was much richer than anyone of them.

==========

Tue, 8 Dec 1998 13:37:59 -0800 (PST) To: GEN-MEDIEVAL-L@rootsweb.com Date: 8 Dec 1998 14:34:11 -0800 From: UTZ@aol.com Organization: RootsWeb Genealogical Data Cooperative Sender: GEN-MEDIEVAL-L-request@rootsweb.com Subject: Re: Richard EMPSON


Was beheaded at London on Tower-Hill, Aug 15, 1510, in the early part of the reign of Henry VIII. 1503--Made Knight of the Sword dubbed at the creation of prince Henry as Prince of Wales.

I am rectifying my lack of historical education by boning up on Henry VII and Richard Empson and his compatriot Edmund Dudley. It seems they were unfairly treated by Henry VIII. I came across this quote:- The sudden overthrow and arrest of Dudley & Empson, the straining of the law to find them guilty of treason, and the decision not to show mercy but to put them to death, followed a pattern which was to be repeated on many occasions during Henry VIII's reign: it was unexpected, unjust and popular. Henry VIII. Jasper Ridley Constable 1984 pp 43. At least their sentence was commuted from being hung drawn and quartered to decapitation with an axe. Said to be more merciful.

While in Oxford Library following an unconnected lead the following caught my eye. Thomas Worthe of Worth....He seems, like very many others his contemporaries, to have attracted the attention of Richard Empson, one of the iniquitous agents of Henry VII., for we find from the Royal Household Accounts (m.s.. Add. 21480, fol.35) that 'Thomas Worthe of Devonshire hath enfeoffed Richard Empson, and others in his manor called Berkenden, for a yearly annuity of £20, to be given at the King's pleasure,' and further, that the said Thomas Worthe 'shall owe, by obligacion, at mydsomer, £150-4s-10d.' Thus, as is well known, the existing laws of that period were perverted for the purposes of extortion by the King's shrewd lawyers, Messrs. Empson and Dudley, and quiet country gentlemen like poor Thomas Worthe were compelled to pay similar enormous fines to avoid their ruin."

Devonshire Wills: A Collection of Annotated Testimentory Abstracts. Charles Worthy Esq. London 1896 pp 438/9.

The interesting thing is that Richard - who was once M.P. for Northampton and also Speaker of the House of Commons originates from Towcester (pronounced Towster by the way). This is not far from the area of Oxfordshire in which my interests are currently concentrated. From analysing Empson wills it is clear that the family migrated southward from Yorkshire through Nottinghamshire to Oxford and East Anglia. The possibility that they originated in Scandinavia is therefore quite strong.

Toodleoo Dick & Irene

There is a full biography of Sir Richard in the Dictionery of National Biography. This quotes a story recorded by Camden. '...Empson, while chaffing a blind man, reputed to be a sure prognosticator of changes of weather, asked 'When doth the sun change?' The blind man replied, 'When such a wicked lawyer as you goeth to heaven.

It has to say about his family. He was the son of Peter Empson d 1473 of Towcester and Elizabeth his wife. In 1476 Richard purchased estates in Northampton. He was granted land and tenaments in the parish of St Bride in Fleet Street (London) in 1507. He lived in St Swithin's Lane next door to Dudley. He is buried in the church of Whitefriars.

His wife Jane survived him. He eldest son was Thomas. A younger son was named John. Of four daughters:- Elizabeth married (1) George Catesby (2) Sir Thomas Lucy; Joan married (1) Henry Sothill (2) Sir William Pierrepoint; a third daughter became the wife of a gentleman named Tyrill; and Jane married (1) John Pinshon (2) Sir Thomas Wilson QEI's well known Secretary of state.

Always optimistic--Dave --------------------

Sir Richard Empson (c.1450 – 17 August 1510), minister of Henry VII, was a son of Peter Empson. Educated as a lawyer, he soon attained considerable success in his profession, and in 1491 was a Knight of the Shire for Northamptonshire in Parliament, and Speaker of the House of Commons.

Contents [hide] 1 Career 2 Marriage and issue 3 Notes 4 References Career[edit] Richard Empson, born about 1450, was the son of Peter Empson (d.1473) and Elizabeth Joseph. John Stow claimed that his father was a sieve maker, but there is no evidence of this. His father, Peter Empson, held property at Towcester and Easton Neston in Northamptonshire.[1]

Early in the reign of Henry VII he became associated with Edmund Dudley in carrying out the King’s rigorous and arbitrary system of taxation, and in consequence he became very unpopular. Retaining the royal favour, however, he was knighted at the creation of the future Henry VIII as Prince of Wales on 18 February 1504,[1] and was soon High Steward of the University of Cambridge,[2] and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, but his official career ended with Henry VII's death in April 1509.

Thrown into prison by order of the new King, Henry VIII, he was charged, like Dudley, with the crime of constructive treason, and was convicted at Northampton in October 1509. His attainder by Parliament followed,[3] and he was beheaded on 17 August 1510.[1] In 1512 his elder son, Thomas, was restored in blood by Act of Parliament.[1]

Marriage and issue[edit] Empson married a wife named Jane whose surname is unknown, by whom he had at least two sons and four daughters, including:[1]

Thomas Empson, eldest son and heir, who married Audrey or Etheldreda, one of the daughters of Sir Guy Wolston.[1][4][5] John Empson, who married Agnes Lovell, daughter of Henry Lovell and Constance Hussey,[6] and a ward of Edmund Dudley.[1][7][8] Elizabeth Empson, who married firstly George Catesby, son of William Catesby, counsellor to Richard III, and secondly, in August 1509, Sir Thomas Lucy.[1][9] Joan Empson, who married firstly Henry Sothill, esquire, of Stoke Faston, Leicestershire, Attorney General to Henry VII, by whom she had twin daughters, Joan Sothill, who married Sir John Constable (son of Sir Marmaduke Constable),[10][11][12] and Elizabeth Sothill, (1505–1575) who married Sir William Drury, M.P., P.C., (c.1500-1558), a son of Sir Richard Empson's successor as Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Robert Drury of Hawstead, Suffolk. She married secondly Sir William Pierrepont of Holme Pierrepont, Nottinghamshire.[13][1] Anne Empson, who married firstly Robert Ingleton (d.1503), a ward of her father, by whom she had a daughter who married Humphrey Tyrrell. She married secondly John Higford, who in 1504 was pardoned for her rape as well as burglary, and other offences.[1] Mary Empson, who married Edward Bulstrode, son of Richard Bulstrode.[1] Notes[edit] ^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g h i j k Condon I 2004. Jump up ^ "Empson, Richard (EM504R)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. Jump up ^ According to Hargrave's note in 1 State Trials No. 26, there was no act of attainder, but only an act to prevent the forfeiture of some property held by Empson and Dudley in trust. Jump up ^ C 1/306/20, manors settled in remainder on Audrey Wolston at her marriage to Thomas Empson, National Archives Retrieved 27 November 2013. Jump up ^ Howard & Armytage 1869, p. 84. Jump up ^ Constance Hussey was the sister of Katherine Hussey, wife of Sir Reginald Bray. Jump up ^ Condon II 2004. Jump up ^ 'Harting', A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 4: The Rape of Chichester (1953), pp. 10-21 Retrieved 27 November 2013. Jump up ^ Richardson IV 2011, p. 278. Jump up ^ Raine 1869, p. 169. Jump up ^ Clay 1908, p. 64. Jump up ^ *Constable, Sir John (d. 1554-6), History of Parliament Retrieved 26 November 2013. Jump up ^ Richardson III 2011, pp. 370-1.

Notes CONFLICT: Was listed in AFN as Mrs. Spencer. Name of Ann Empson was from www.pacifier.com/~gregdm. Dates were from AFN. Name may have been spelled Eupson.

BIOGRAPHY: Was sister of Elizabeth Empson and Sir Richard Empson, minister to Henry VII.

Sources [S96] Associated Families of Gregory D. Maxwell, Compiled by Gregory D. Maxfield, (http://www.pacifier.com/!gregdm/ Lincoln, Henry Spencer).

[S396] Ancestrial File/Family Search, (Familysearch.org/) (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.).

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Sir Richard Empson, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster's Timeline

1450
1450
Easton, Northamptonshire, England
1462
1462
Age 12
Of, Towchester, Northamptonshire, England
1466
1466
Age 16
Towchester, Northamptonshire, England
1466
Age 16
1470
1470
Age 20
Towchester, Northamptonshire, England
1472
1472
Age 22
Towcester, Northamptonshire, England
1490
1490
Age 40
Towchester, Northamptonshire, England
1510
August 17, 1510
Age 60
Tower Hill, London, executed by Henry the VIII
1510
Age 60
Chelmsford, Essex, England
1530
1530
Age 60
Writtle,,Essex,England