Richard Empson

Sir Richard Empson

Sir Richard Empson (left), with Henry VII and Sir Edmund Dudley.
Spouse(s) Jane (surname unknown)


Thomas Empson
John Empson
Elizabeth Empson
Joan Empson
Anne Empson
Mary Empson
Father Peter Empson
Mother Elizabeth Joseph
Born c.1450
Died 17 August 1510 (aged 5960)
Tower Hill
Buried Whitefriars, London

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.


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

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


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Condon I 2004.
  2. "Empson, Richard (EM504R)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. 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.
  4. C 1/306/20, manors settled in remainder on Audrey Wolston at her marriage to Thomas Empson, National Archives Retrieved 27 November 2013.
  5. Howard & Armytage 1869, p. 84.
  6. Constance Hussey was the sister of Katherine Hussey, wife of Sir Reginald Bray.
  7. Condon II 2004.
  8. 'Harting', A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 4: The Rape of Chichester (1953), pp. 10–21 Retrieved 27 November 2013.
  9. Richardson IV 2011, p. 278.
  10. Raine 1869, p. 169.
  11. Clay 1908, p. 64.
  12. Richardson III 2011, pp. 370–1.


Political offices
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Fitzwilliam
Speaker of the House of Commons
Succeeded by
Sir Robert Drury
Preceded by
Sir John Mordaunt
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Succeeded by
Henry Marney
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