Dudley Road, TW9

Place Name

John Dudley (1504 – August 22, 1553) 1st Duke of Northumberland who was a general, admiral, and politician, and the man who as Lord Protector acted as regent to the young King Edward VI from 1550 until 1553, following the death of his father Henry VIII. Dudley inherited land from his mother Baroness Lisle around Kew. And from 1538, he also owned Kew Farm, which was just south of the present Kew Palace. The son of Edmund Dudley, a minister of Henry VII who was executed by Henry VIII, Dudley became the ward of Sir Edward Guildford at the age of seven. He grew up in Guildford’s household together with his future wife, Guildford’s daughter Jane, with whom he was to have 13 children. As Vice-Admiral and Lord Admiral from 1537 until 1547, he set novel standards of navy organisation and was an innovative commander at sea. He also developed a strong interest in overseas exploration. Dudley took part in the 1544 campaigns in Scotland and France and was one of Henry VIII’s intimates in the last years of the reign. His spectacular career came to an end however when he unsuccessfully tried to install his cousin, the protestant Lady Jane Grey, on the throne after the boy King’s death. The rightful heir Queen Mary (who along with her half-sister Elizabeth had been ruled out of the succession by her half-brother) had him beheaded. His son Robert Dudley (born sometime around June 1532 – September 4, 1588), 1st Earl of Leicester, fared better – like his father he had joined in the coup to usurp Mary and lived under a death sentence at the Tower of London, it was eventually lifted when Mary died. An intimate of Queen Elizabeth he was for many years seen as a possible suitor. He remained a favourite and was granted his father’s lands, including Kew Farm, which had been confiscated when he had been executed. It is thought, but by no means certain, that he was also granted the Dairy House, on which the present day palace was later built on. Dudley junior’s efforts to wed the Queen came to nothing and instead he married Amy Robsart at Sheen Charterhouse in 1550. The name of the road was chosen by librarian Alfred Barkas after the Council decided that they should have a say in naming roads which had been part of the Selwyn Court estate.


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