William Seymour, 2nd Duke of Somerset

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William Seymour, Marquess of Hertford, later 2nd Duke of Somerset (1588-1660), portrait attributed to Gilbert Jackson (c. 1595/1600-post-1648), private collection William Seymour, Marquess of Hertford, later Duke of Somerset (1588-1660), Attributed to Gilbert Jackson (1622 - 1640).jpg
William Seymour, Marquess of Hertford, later 2nd Duke of Somerset (1588-1660), portrait attributed to Gilbert Jackson (c. 1595/1600-post-1648), private collection
Quartered arms of William Seymour, 1st Marquess of Hertford, KG Coat of arms of William Seymour, 1st Marquess of Hertford, KG.png
Quartered arms of William Seymour, 1st Marquess of Hertford, KG
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Arms of Seymour: Gules, two wings conjoined in lure or

William Seymour, 2nd Duke of Somerset, KG (1588 24 October 1660) was an English nobleman and Royalist commander in the English Civil War.

Order of the Garter Order of chivalry in England

The Most Noble Order of the Garter is an order of chivalry founded by King Edward III of England in 1348. It is the most senior order of knighthood in the British honours system, outranked in precedence only by the Victoria Cross and the George Cross. The Order of the Garter is dedicated to the image and arms of Saint George, England's patron saint.

English Civil War Civil war in England (1642–1651)

The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of civil wars and political machinations between Parliamentarians ("Roundheads") and Royalists ("Cavaliers") principally over the manner of England's governance. The first (1642–1646) and second (1648–1649) wars pitted the supporters of King Charles I against the supporters of the Long Parliament, while the third (1649–1651) saw fighting between supporters of King Charles II and supporters of the Rump Parliament. The war ended with Parliamentarian victory at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651.

Contents

Origins

Seymour was the son of Edward Seymour, Lord Beauchamp of Hache (who predeceased his own father) by his wife Honora Rogers. He was the grandson of Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford, by his wife Lady Katherine Grey, a sister of Lady Jane Grey, "The Nine Days Queen", which thus gave him a distant claim to the throne through Katherine's descent from Mary Tudor, younger sister of King Henry VIII. He was the great-grandson of Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset (c. 1500-1552), the uncle of King Edward VI and Lord Protector of England.

Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford 1st Earl of Hertford

Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford, 1st Baron Beauchamp, KG, of Wulfhall and Tottenham House in Great Bedwyn, Wiltshire, of Hatch Beauchamp in Somerset, of Netley Abbey, Hampshire, and of Hertford House, Cannon Row in Westminster, is most noted for incurring the displeasure of Queen Elizabeth I by more than one clandestine marriage.

Lady Katherine Grey Potential successor to the English throne

Katherine Seymour, Countess of Hertford, born Lady Katherine Grey, was a younger sister of Lady Jane Grey.

Mary Tudor, Queen of France Queen of France

Mary Tudor was an English princess who was briefly Queen consort of France, the progenitor of a family that eventually claimed the English throne. She was the younger surviving daughter of King Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York, and the third wife of Louis XII of France, who was more than 30 years older than she. Following his death, she married Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk. The marriage was performed secretly in France during the reign of her brother Henry VIII and without his consent. This necessitated the intervention of Thomas Wolsey; Henry eventually pardoned the couple, but they were forced to pay a large fine.

Imprisonment in the Tower

Lady Arabella Stuart (d.1615), Seymour's first wife Lady Arabella Stuart.jpg
Lady Arabella Stuart (d.1615), Seymour's first wife

Seymour made a secret marriage at Greenwich on 22 June 1610 to Arbella Stuart (died 1615), daughter of Charles Stuart, 1st Earl of Lennox and Elizabeth Cavendish. Arbella was thirteen years his senior, and King James I disapproved of the marriage as the union of two potential Tudor pretenders to the throne, who were respectively fourth and sixth in line, could only be seen as a threat to the ruling dynasty. As a result, William was condemned to life imprisonment in the Tower of London and thus became the fourth of five generations of Seymours to spend time in that prison.

Charles Stuart, 1st Earl of Lennox British noble

Charles Stuart, 1st Earl of Lennox, was the fourth son of Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox and Margaret Douglas, daughter of Margaret Tudor and granddaughter of King Henry VII of England. His brother was Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley.

Elizabeth Stuart, Countess of Lennox née Cavendish was an English noblewoman and the wife of Charles Stuart, 1st Earl of Lennox. She was the mother of Arbella Stuart, a close claimant to the English and Scottish thrones.

Tower of London A historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London

The Tower of London, officially Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the square mile of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill. It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078 and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite. The castle was used as a prison from 1100 until 1952, although that was not its primary purpose. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence. As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. There were several phases of expansion, mainly under kings Richard I, Henry III, and Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries. The general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite later activity on the site.

In June 1611 Seymour escaped from the Tower, planning to meet up with Arbella, who also had escaped captivity. They were to flee to the Continent, but bad weather and other circumstances prevented their meeting, and Arbella was recaptured and placed back in the Tower. [1] William managed to reach safety abroad at Ostend, but was never reunited with Arbella who remained in the Tower until her death in 1615.

Ostend Municipality in Flemish Community, Belgium

Ostend is a coastal city and municipality, located in the province of West Flanders, Belgium. It comprises the boroughs of Mariakerke, Raversijde, Stene and Zandvoorde, and the city of Ostend proper – the largest on the Belgian coast. Most famous for the birth of Divock Origi

Political career

In December 1620 Seymour was elected Member of Parliament for Marlborough in Wiltshire, but vacated the seat soon afterwards on his elevation to the House of Lords, having succeeded his grandfather as Earl of Hertford in 1621. In the House of Lords he became a prominent opponent to King Charles I, where he supported the Petition of Right of 1628, and co-signed the letter of the twelve Peers of 1640, along with his brother-in-law Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex.

Marlborough was a parliamentary borough in Wiltshire, which elected two Members of Parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons from 1295 until 1868, and then one member from 1868 until 1885, when the borough was abolished.

House of Lords upper house in the Parliament of the United Kingdom

The House of Lords, also known as the House of Peers, is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is granted by appointment or else by heredity or official function. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster. Officially, the full name of the house is the Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled.

Charles I of England 17th-century monarch of kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland

Charles I was the monarch over the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649.

During the Long Parliament Hertford eventually parted company with the more radical opponents of the King, and in 1641 was created by him Marquess of Hertford. In the Civil War he was a moderate royalist, along with such figures as Sir Edward Hyde, and throughout sought a compromise settlement, by continuing unofficial negotiations throughout the war with his brother-in-law Essex, the Parliamentary commander. He was nevertheless a trusted supporter of the king, who made him guardian of his son the future King Charles II, and he undertook several important military commands in royalist service over the course of the war, including commanding troops from South Wales.

Long Parliament English Parliament which lasted from 1640 until 1660

The Long Parliament was an English Parliament which lasted from 1640 until 1660. It followed the fiasco of the Short Parliament which had convened for only three weeks during the spring of 1640, and which in turn had followed an 11-year parliamentary absence. In September 1640, King Charles I issued writs summoning a parliament to convene on 3 November 1640. He intended it to pass financial bills, a step made necessary by the costs of the Bishops' Wars in Scotland. The Long Parliament received its name from the fact that, by Act of Parliament, it stipulated it could be dissolved only with agreement of the members; and, those members did not agree to its dissolution until 16 March 1660, after the English Civil War and near the close of the Interregnum.

Marquess of Hertford

The titles of Earl of Hertford and Marquess of Hertford have been created several times in the peerages of England and Great Britain.

Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon 17th-century English politician and historian

Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon was an English statesman who served as Lord Chancellor to King Charles II from 1658, two years before the Restoration of the Monarchy, until 1667. He was loyal to the king, built up the royalist cause, and served as the chief minister after 1660. He was one of the most important historians of England, as author of the most influential contemporary history of the Civil War, The History of the Rebellion (1702). He was the maternal grandfather of two monarchs, Queen Mary II and Queen Anne.

After the end of the First Civil War and the king's imprisonment, Hertford was the most prominent nobleman to remain alongside the king throughout his captivity, and was with him until his execution in 1649. He was one of four lords (the others being the duke of Richmond, and the earls of Lindsey and Southampton) who petitioned the Commons to be allowed to assume responsibility for the king's actions and to suffer death in his place. [2] During the Inter-regnum, Hertford kept himself away from both politics and royalist conspiracies, in the belief that the monarchy would eventually be restored and that conspiracies would only delay that event.

When the Restoration of the Monarchy came in 1660, Hertford was restored to all his former positions, and his services in the Royalist cause were further recognised by King Charles II, who in 1660 restored Hertford to his great-grandfather's Dukedom of Somerset, which had been forfeited in 1552. He thus became the 2nd Duke of Somerset.

Marriages & children

William Seymour married twice:

Firstly and secretly (see above), on 22 June 1610, to his cousin Lady Arbella Stuart (died 1615), who was then fourth in line to the succession of their cousin, King James I. There were no children from the marriage.

Secondly, on 3 March 1617 at Drayton Bassett, he married Lady Frances Devereux (1599–1674), daughter of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, by his wife Frances Walsingham, daughter of Francis Walsingham. By Frances he had at least eight children:

Sons

  1. William Seymour (1621 16 June 1642), who predeceased his father.
  2. Robert Seymour (1622–1646), who predeceased his father.
  3. Henry Seymour, Lord Beauchamp (1626 30 March 1654), who married Mary Capell and had children, including William Seymour, 3rd Duke of Somerset (1654–1671), heir to his grandfather the 2nd Duke.
  4. Edward Seymour, who died in infancy
  5. John Seymour, 4th Duke of Somerset (1646 29 April 1675), heir to his nephew in the dukedom in 1671, who married Sarah Alston in 1656 but left no children.

Daughters

  1. Lady Frances Seymour (1618–1685), who married three times: Firstly to Richard Molyneux, 2nd Viscount Molyneux Secondly (as his third wife) to Thomas Wriothesley, 4th Earl of Southampton, and thirdly (as his third wife) to Conyers Darcy, 2nd Earl of Holderness, by whom she had children.
  2. Lady Judith Seymour (1623–1645), who married Peter Ransone, by whom she had issue.
  3. Lady Mary Seymour (1637 10 April 1673), who married Heneage Finch, 3rd Earl of Winchilsea and had issue.
  4. Lady Jane Seymour (1637 23 November 1679), who married Charles Boyle, 3rd Viscount Dungarvan and had issue. Her modern descendants included Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon.

Death, burial & succession

Hertford died at Essex House in London and was buried on 1 November 1660 at Great Bedwyn in Wiltshire. He was succeeded by his grandson William Seymour, 3rd Duke of Somerset.

Ancestry

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References

  1. "The story of Lady Arbella Stuart". National Trust. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  2. Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Somerset, Earls and Dukes of". Encyclopædia Britannica . 25 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 385.
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Richard Digges
Sir Francis Popham
Member of Parliament for Marlborough
1621
With: Richard Digges
Succeeded by
Walter Devereux
Richard Digges
Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Pembroke
Lord Lieutenant of Somerset
jointly with The Earl of Pembroke 1639–1640
Lord Herbert 1640–1646

1639–1646
English Interregnum
Preceded by
Sir Francis Seymour
Custos Rotulorum of Wiltshire
1626–1646
Honorary titles
English Interregnum Lord Lieutenant of Somerset
1660
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Ormonde
Custos Rotulorum of Somerset
1660
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Berkeley
Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire
1660
Succeeded by
The Earl of Southampton
Custos Rotulorum of Wiltshire
1660
Succeeded by
The Lord Seymour of Trowbridge
Academic offices
Preceded by
Earl of Pembroke
Chancellor of the University of Oxford
1643–1648
Succeeded by
Earl of Pembroke
Preceded by
Richard Cromwell
Chancellor of the University of Oxford
1660
Succeeded by
Earl of Clarendon
Peerage of England
Vacant
forfeit in 1552
Title last held by
Edward Seymour
Duke of Somerset
1660
Succeeded by
William Seymour
New creation Marquess of Hertford
1640–1660
Preceded by
Edward Seymour
Earl of Hertford
1621–1660
Baron Beauchamp
(writ in acceleration)

1621–1660