Richard Empson

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Sir Richard Empson
Sir Richard Empson (left), with Henry VII and Sir Edmund Dudley.
Bornc. 1450
Died17 August 1510 (aged 59–60)
Tower Hill
BuriedWhitefriars, London
Spouse(s)Jane (surname unknown)
Thomas Empson
John Empson
Elizabeth Empson
Joan Empson
Anne Empson
Mary Empson
FatherPeter Empson
MotherElizabeth Joseph

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", meaning that his father's attainder was reversed so far as it affected him, by Act of Parliament.[1]

Marriage and issue[edit]

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


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k 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. ^ Flower, Cyril, M. C. B. Dawes, and A. C. Wood. "Inquisitions Post Mortem, Henry VII, Entries 51-100." Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem: Series 2, Volume 3, Henry VII. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1955. 33-56. British History Online Retrieved 19 March 2019. .
  10. ^ Richardson IV 2011, p. 278.
  11. ^ Raine 1869, p. 169.
  12. ^ Clay 1908, p. 64.
  13. ^ *Constable, Sir John (d. 1554-6), History of Parliament Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  14. ^ Richardson III 2011, pp. 370–1.


  • Clay, John William (1908). North Country Wills. CXVI. London: Bernard Quaritch. pp. 64–6. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  • Condon, M.M. (2004). "Empson, Sir Richard (c.1450–1510)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/8799.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  • Condon, M.M. (2004). "Bray, Sir Reynold (c.1440–1503)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/3295.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  • Howard, Joseph Jackson; Armytage, George John, eds. (1869). The Visitation of London Taken in the Year 1568. I. London: Harleian Society. p. 84. Retrieved 27 November 2013.
  • Raine, James (1869). Testamenta Eboracensia. IV. Durham: Andrews & Co. p. 169. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  • Richardson, Douglas (2011). Everingham, Kimball G. (ed.). Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families. III (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City. ISBN 144996639X.
  • Richardson, Douglas (2011). Everingham, Kimball G. (ed.). Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families. IV (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City. ISBN 1460992709.
  • "The Visitation of Warwickshire 1619", London, 1877, p. 284.
  • "The Extinct & Dormant Baronetcies of England, Ireland, and Scotland" by Messrs,John and John Bernard Burke, 2nd edition, London, 1841, p. 498.
  • "History of Henry VII", by Francis Bacon, edited by Joseph Rawson Lumby (Cambridge, 1881).
  • "The Reign of Henry VIII" by J.S.Brewer, edited by James Gairdner (London, 1884).
  • "The Knights of England" by William A. Shaw, Litt.D.,&c., London, 1906, volume II, p. 34.
  • "Plantagenet Ancestry" by Douglas Richardson, Baltimore, Md., 2004, p. 276. Extremely well sourced.
  • "Magna Carta Ancestry" by Douglas Richardson, Baltimore, Md.,2005, p. 668.
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