Sir William Drury - Encyclopedia




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SIR WILLIAM DRURY (1527-1579), English statesman and soldier, was a son of Sir Robert Drury of Hedgerley in Buckinghamshire, and grandson of another Sir Robert Drury (d. 1536), who was speaker of the House of Commons in 1495. He was born at Hawstead in Suffolk on the 2nd of October 1527, and was educated at Gonville Hall, Cambridge. Fighting in France, Drury was taken prisoner in 1544; then after his release he helped Lord Russell, afterwards earl of Bedford, to quell a rising in Devonshire in 1549, but he did not come to the front until the reign of Elizabeth. In 155 9 he was sent to Edinburgh to report on the condition of Scottish politics, and five years later he became marshal and deputy-governor of Berwick. Again in Scotland in January 1570, it is interesting to note that the regent James Stewart, earl of Murray, was proceeding to keep an appointment with Drury in Linlithgow when he was mortally wounded, and it was probably intended to murder the English envoy also. After this event Drury led two raids into Scotland; at least thrice he went to that country on more peaceable errands, during which, however, his life was continually in danger from assassins; and he commanded the force which compelled Edinburgh Castle to surrender in May 1573. In 1576 he was sent to Ireland as president of Munster, where his stern rule was very successful, and in 1578 he became lord justice to the Irish council, taking the chief control of affairs after the departure of Sir Henry Sidney. The rising of the earl of Desmond had just broken out when Sir William died in October 1579.

Drury's letters to Lord Burghley and others are invaluable for the story of the relations between England and Scotland at this time.

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