DUDLEY, alias SUTTON, Robert (1471/72-1539), of Shrewsbury, Salop.
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Family and Education
b. 1471/72, yr. s. of Sir Edmund Dudley of Dudley, Staffs. by 2nd w. Maud, da. of Thomas, 8th Lord Clifford, wid. of Sir John Harington (d. 30 Dec. 1460) of Hornby, Lincs.; poss. bro. of Richard. m. (1) Elizabeth, (2) Catherine (d.1549/50), da. and coh. of Robert Knight of Shrewsbury and Baschurch, Salop, wid. of David Ireland of Shrewsbury, s.p.2
Burgess (common councilman), Shrewsbury in 1512, bailiff 1515-16, 1522-3, 1526-7, 1531-2, coroner 1521-2, alderman by 6 Mar. 1525-d.; warden, mercers’ guild 1523-4, 1530-1; commr. subsidy 1523, 1524.3
Robert Dudley alias Sutton was remembered at Shrewsbury as an ‘alderman of good calling’. Styled ‘esquire’ or sometimes ‘gentleman’, he was of noble origin, and he could count among his kinsmen several of the leading noble and gentle families in the west midlands and the north. Nothing has come to light about his upbringing or early manhood before his admission, on 8 Oct. 1510, simultaneously to the freedom of Shrewsbury and its guild merchant. Within two years he had been chosen to serve for a term as a burgess on the town council, and thereafter he played a role of increasing prominence, holding in turn each of the town’s leading offices and frequently travelling to London on its behalf. In May 1520 he joined the mercers’ guild, which was entering on a period of keen rivalry for the monopoly of the local cloth trade with the drapers’ company, and he soon cut an equally influential figure there.