Seymour family

Seymour, or St. Maur, is the name of an English family in which several titles of nobility have from time to time been created, and of which the Duke of Somerset is the head.

Seymour family

Coat of Arms of the Seymour Dukes of Somerset
CountryKingdom of England, United Kingdom
Current headJohn Seymour, 19th Duke of Somerset

Descent of the estate


Wilhelmina, Duchess of Cleveland (1819–1901), in her 1889 work The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages[1] wrote as follows of the Esturmy family, which held the estates of Tottenham, Wulfhall and the Savernake Forest:

"Esturny for L'Estourmi, the true version of the name, as given on the Dives Roll; without any doubt a sobriquet, and, I am bound to add, to me, at least, incomprehensible. In England the first letter was often dropped, and it became Sturmy, Sturmid (as in Domesday), Stormey, Sturmer, Sturmyn, &c, while in Normandy it has survived to the present day as Etourmy. Jean L'Estourmi, a younger brother of the two companions-in-arms of the Conqueror, had remained at home; and became the ancestor of "a family that from the most remote antiquity held a high rank among the nobles of the province."—Nobiliaire de Normandie. In the seventeenth century they were Seigneurs de St. Privat; and in 1721 of Joinville. They bear D'azur a une fontaine d'argent, surmontee d'un renard couche de mime. Nothing can well be more unlike the coat of the English house: Argent, three demi-lions rampant gules. The two brothers who came over at the Conquest, Richard and Ralph, were both land-owners in 1086; Richard, as the elder, held of the King, and Ralph as a mesne-lord under him in Hants, Wilts, and Surrey. Cowsfield-Esturmy in Wiltshire, and Lysse-Sturmy, in Hampshire, were two of his manors. His descendants continued, for a long succession of generations, Foresters in fee of Savernake. "The Esturmies," says Camden, "from the time of King Henrie the Second were by right of inheritance the Bailiffes and Guardians of the Forest of Savernac lying hard by, which is of great name for plentie of good game, and for a kinde of Ferne there, that yeeldeth a most pleasing savour. In remembrance thereof, their Hunter's horn of a mighty bignesse and tipt with silver, the Earle of Hertford keepeth unto this day, as a monument of his progenitors." They founded the Hospital of the Holy Trinity at Easton, near Marlborough, where a Master (appointed at their presentation to the Bishop), was bound to have his "continual residence, to keep hospitality, and to find five priests to say daily masses for the founder's souls." Besides this "great inheritance" in Wiltshire, they possessed in Hampshire "large holdings at Odiham, Dogmersfield, Winchfield, and Elvetham. In 1206 Henry Esturmy paid at Porchester sixty out of one hundred capons promised in consideration of leave to break up land at Culefield; and in 1280 another Henry was summoned to show warrant for his taking the assize of bread and beer at Elvetham, and pleaded that his ancestors had enjoyed the privilege since the time of King Richard I."—Woodward's Hampshire. A third Henry, who was Sheriff of Wilts in 1362, and married Margaret, daughter and co-heir of Sir John de L'Ortie of Axford, was the father of the last of the line, Sir William Esturmy of Chedham and Wolfs Hall, living temp. Richard II. His only daughter Maud married Roger Seymour, ancestor of the Dukes of Somerset, to whom the great domain of the Esturmies thus accrued. His descendants, transplanted into Wiltshire from their distant home on the Welsh border, held it close upon three hundred years. The (Esturmy) family was represented in many other parts of England—in the Eastern Counties, in Worcestershire, Shropshire, and Yorkshire. In Shropshire, "the first of this race," says Eyton, "that occurs to my notice is Hugh Esturmi, amerced five marks in 1176 for trespass in the Forests of Worcestershire." This Hugh Esturmi came from Sussex, where his father exchanged some land near Chichester with the Earl of Arundel; and Hugh himself received from the same Earl—William de Albini, the first of the name—a grant of half a knight's fee in Offham.—v. Dallaway's Sussex. There is no further mention of the family in Sussex, and their connection with Shropshire had ceased in the first part of the fourteenth century. Stanford-Sturmy and Sutton-Sturmy bear their name in Worcestershire. "We find in the old White Book of the Bishopric, Willielmus Esturmy tenet Rushoke de dono domini Regis. They continued in possession in the reign of Ed. I., when Geoffrey Sturmy held it of the barony of William de Beauchamp, and it belonged to many lords of that name. Laurence Sturmy is reported in the Exchequer to have had it 28 Ed. I.; it then descended to Harry Sturmy, and 20 Ed. III. to Henry Sturmy his heir. Sutton-Sturmy was in early ages the habitation of that Sturmy who distinguished himself by his zeal for the recovery of the Holy Land, and is buried in Tenbury church. This memorable name of Sturmy ended in Rushoke 7 Hen. VI., and the lands were dispersed among the general heirs of Henry Sturmy."—Nash's Worcestershire. Robert Sturmy was knight of the shire in 1309 and 1315; and summoned for service against the Scots in 1322. The Yorkshire Esturmies (there, again, abbreviated to Sturmy) were Lords of Dromonby, in Cleveland, for four generations; their heiress married a younger son of Sir Robert Constable of Flamborough.—Grave's Cleveland. William Sturmy, in 1316, was joint Lord of Worsall, Faceby, and Skutterskelfe in Yorkshire.—Palgrave's Parliamentary Writs. At the same date, and in the same record, we find John Sturmy, joint Lord of Stratton and Thorp, Fritton, Skelton, and Hardwick; and Walter Sturmy, joint Lord of Surlingham, Rockwell, and Brandon; both in Norfolk. John was Admiral of the Fleet in 1325. Robert le Sturmy had received Stratton by grant from the Malherbes; "and gave his name to Sturmyn's or Sturmer's Manor, of which his son was Lord in 1262. The heiress of this family, Anne Sturmer, married Ralph Drury in the time of Edward IV."—Blomfield's Norfolk. Another contemporary family was seated at Buxhall in Suffolk: of whom Sir William Esturmy was High Sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk from 1210 to 1214. "In 1254 his grandson held the manor of Buxhall. About 1367 the last Sir William Esturmy died, leaving one daughter Rhosia, married to William Clement of Stow."—Hollingworth's History of Stowmarket. The name is found in Somersetshire in 1669; and certainly existed for 100 years after that; for it is inscribed on a pyramid of variegated marble in Cheltenham Church, which bears the three demi-lions that appertained to it, and commemorates Henry Sturmy, obt. 1772".

Sir William Esturmy (c. 1356 – 1427)

Sir William Esturmy (c. 1356 – 1427)[2]) was a Speaker of the House of Commons, a Knight of the Shire and an hereditary Warden of the royal forest of Savernake Forest. he was the son of Geoffrey Sturmy (died 1381) and nephew and heir of Sir Henry Sturmy of Wolfhall. He inherited in 1381 and was knighted by October 1388. He held the post of hereditary warden of Savernake Forest from 1381 to 1417 and from 1420 until his death in 1427. He served as knight of the shire for Hampshire in 1384 and again in 1390, and also eight times for Wiltshire and twice for Devon between then and 1422. He was elected Speaker of the House of Commons in 1404. He was appointed High Sheriff of Wiltshire for 1418. He held a number of public posts and served several times as an ambassador abroad. He married Joan Crawthorne, the widow of Sir John Beaumont of Shirwell and Saunton in North Devon, by whom he had no male progeny, only two daughters and co-heiresses including Maud Esturmy, wife of Roger II Seymour (c.1367/70-1420),[3] feudal barony of Hatch Beauchamp in Somerset, by whom she had a son John Seymour (died 1464). He died at Wolfhall in 1427.


The Seymour family (anciently de St. Maur) is earliest recorded seated at Penhow Castle in Glamorgan in the 12th century. The parish church of Penhow is dedicated to St Maur. It should however be differentiated from the Anglo-Norman "baronial family" named St Maur, created Baron St Maur by writ in 1314, who bore different armorials (Argent, two chevrons gules) and which originated at the manor of St. Maur, near Avranches, in Normandy.[4]

No conclusive evidence exists to confirm the "baronial St Maurs" and the "Seymours, feudal barons of Hatch Beauchamp" as derived from a common stock, however Camden believed this to be most probable.[5] The two families adopted different arms at the start of the age of heraldry, c. 1200–1215, with the "baronial St Maurs" bearing: Argent, two chevrons gules. Certainly the "baronial St Maurs" died out in the male line in 1409 when their heir became Baron Zouche of Haryngworth, namely William la Zouche, 5th Baron Zouche (c. 1402 – 1462), whose son was William la Zouche, 6th Baron Zouche, 7th Baron St Maur (c. 1432 – 1468/69). One of the heirs of the St Maur/Zouche family was the Bampfield family of Poltimore in Devon (later Baron Poltimore) which inherited the Devon manor of North Molton from the Zouche family.[6] For the early history of the Seymour family see: Feudal barony of Hatch Beauchamp.

Roger II Seymour (c. 1367/70 – 1420)

Roger II Seymour (c. 1367/70 – 1420), who married Maud Esturmy (alias Esturmi, etc.), a daughter and co-heiress of Sir William Esturmy (died 1427), of Wolfhall in Wiltshire, Speaker of the House of Commons and hereditary Warden of Savernake Forest in Wiltshire. Following his wife's inheritance, he moved his principal seat from Undy to Wolfhall.

Sir John Seymour (c. 1395/1402 – 1464)

Sir John Seymour(c. 1395/1402 – 1464), son and heir, of Wulfhall in Savernake Forest, Wiltshire, and of Hatch Beauchamp. He served as Member of Parliament for Ludgershall in 1422 and Knight of the Shire for Wiltshire in 1435, 1439, and 1445[7] He was also High Sheriff of Wiltshire in 1431–1432, having previously served as High Sheriff of Hampshire.[8] He married Isabel William (alias Williams) (died 1486), daughter of Mark William,[9] a merchant and Mayor of Bristol,[10]

John Seymour (died 1491)

John Seymour (died 1491), grandson and heir, son of John Seymour (1425–1463) who pre-deceased his father. His first wife was Elizabeth Darrell (born c. 1451), daughter of Sir George Darrell (died c. 1474) of Littlecote, Wiltshire, by his wife Margaret Stourton (born c. 1433), a daughter of John Stourton, 1st Baron Stourton, and of Margery or Marjory Wadham, daughter of the Justice of the Common Pleas, Sir John Wadham of Merryfield and Edge.

Sir John Seymour (1474–1536)

Sir John Seymour (1474–1536), eldest son from 1st marriage, knighted in 1497 after the Battle of Deptford Bridge, the father of Queen Jane Seymour (1508–1537), 3rd wife of King Henry VIII.

Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset (c. 1500 – 1552)

The arms of Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset: Quarterly, 1st and 4th: Or, on a pile gules between six fleurs-de-lys azure three lions of England (special grant by his nephew King Edward VI); 2nd and 3rd: Gules, two wings conjoined in lure or (Seymour)[11] These arms concede the positions of greatest honour, the 1st & 4th quarters, to a special grant of arms incorporating the fleurs-de-lys and lions of the royal arms of Plantagenet

Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, KG, (c. 1500 – 1552), eldest son and heir, uncle of King Edward VI (1547–1553) and Lord Protector of England (1547–9). in 1536[11] on his sister's marriage to King Henry VIII, he was created Viscount Beauchamp of Hache and in 1537 was created by the same king Earl of Hertford. He received his dukedom together with the subsidiary title Baron Seymour on the accession of his nephew to the throne in 1547. In 1531 he had served as Sheriff of Somerset and during this time he probably resided at Hache Court.[12] Thomas Gerard in his "Description of Somerset" (1633) wrote as follows:[13]

"The mansion house in which theis nobleman lived which I went to see is soe ruined that were it not called Hach Court you would not believe that it were any of the remaynes of a Barons house. yet I sawe in the Hall Beauchampes Armes and in a little Chappell on the top of the house Seymer's, Winges "Or" in a red shield, and going a little further to the church to see some monuments I find not one, the church having bin new built long since the Beauchamps time".

The Duke was executed in 1552 for felony on the order of his nephew King Edward VI, and was attainted by Parliament shortly thereafter when all his titles were forfeited.

Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford (1539–1621)

It was probably Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford (1539–1621), son and heir of the 1st Duke, of nearby Wulfhall, who in about 1575 built the first Tottenham House, then known as Totnam Lodge, and enclosed its surrounding land to form a deer park.[14] He was the son and heir of Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset (executed 1522), brother of Queen Jane Seymour. The Seymours were hereditary Wardens of Savernake Forest, which office together with most of their Wiltshire estates had been inherited by marriage to the daughter and heiress of Sir William Esturmy (died 1427), of Wulfhall, Speaker of the House of Commons and hereditary Warden of the royal forest of Savernake. The house was still known as the Lodge in 1623, in which year the parish register of Great Bedwyn records the baptism of the 1st Earl's great-granddaughter Frances Seymour, the daughter of Sir Francis Seymour (c. 1590 – 1664) (later created Baron Seymour of Trowbridge), which was performed "at the Lodge in the Great Parke by Henrie Taylor, Vicar of Great Bedwin".[15]

William Seymour, 2nd Duke of Somerset (1587–1660)

William Seymour, 2nd Duke of Somerset (1587–1660), grandson, inherited the estates on the death of his grandfather the 1st Earl, his father having predeceased the latter.

William Seymour, 3rd Duke of Somerset (1652–1671)

William Seymour, 3rd Duke of Somerset (1652–1671), grandson of the 2nd Duke. He inherited at the age of 8 and died aged 19 when his heir became his uncle John Seymour, 4th Duke of Somerset (1629–1675). However, the heir to his estates in Hampshire, namely Netley Abbey (where the 1st Earl had died) and Hound, was his sister Elizabeth Seymour, wife of Thomas Bruce, 2nd earl of Ailesbury, which were soon sold in 1676 to the Marquess of Worcester.

John Seymour, 4th Duke of Somerset (1629–1675)

John Seymour, 4th Duke of Somerset (1629–1675), uncle, inherited the estate in 1671 on the death of his nephew the 3rd Duke, and in 1672 he rebuilt Totnam Lodge and redesigned the deer park, which at that date included long tree-lined walks and a deer "chase".[16] The topographer John Aubrey (1626–1697) visited Wiltshire in 1672 and wrote of Wulfhall, about one mile to the south:[17]

"The ancient seate of the Sturmeys, which house has been much bigger, and great parte pulled downe within these 10 years to build the house of Tocknam Parke. I remember a long gallery. It was never but a timber house, v(ide) Camden. Here is a very long barne of ..... bays, and 3 porches of timber and thatcht; in this barne was the wedding kept for Queen Jane, then hung with tapistry. Hard by is Tocknam Park, which is a most parkely ground and romancy pleasant place; several walks of great lengths of trees planted. Here the Duke of Somerset hath his best seate, which is now (1672) to be made a compleat new pile of good architecture; both in the parish of Bedwyn Magna".

He did not live long to enjoy his new house and died in 1675, aged 46, only three years after having started the rebuilding.

Elizabeth Seymour

The 4th Duke of Somerset was childless, and faced with the Dukedom passing by law to his first cousin once removed and heir male the 5th Duke, who was seated at Marlborough Castle in Wiltshire, he bequeathed the unentailed Seymour estates to his niece Elizabeth Seymour, the wife of Thomas Bruce, 2nd Earl of Ailesbury (1656–1741), and thus the Seymour estates passed to the Bruce family.


The arms of Bruce consist of: Or, a saltire and chief gules on a canton argent a lion rampant azure.

Charles Bruce, 3rd Earl of Ailesbury (died 1747)

Elizabeth Seymour's son and heir was Charles Bruce, 3rd Earl of Ailesbury (died 1747), of Houghton House in the parish of Maulden, in Bedfordshire, who in 1721 rebuilt Totnam Lodge to the design of his brother-in-law the pioneering Palladian architect Lord Burlington. Henry Flitcroft was the executant architect.[18] The 3rd Earl added wings to Burlington's block in the 1730s, and also built in 1743 a Banqueting House in the park to the design of Burlington (demolished in 1824).[19] In 1746, one year before the death of the 3rd Earl, who had no son, it was apparent that on his death the Earldom of Ailesbury would become extinct and his other Earldom of Elgin would pass to a distant cousin and heir male. The former Seymour estates however he was free to dispose of as he pleased. He persuaded the king to create him Baron Bruce of Tottenham, with special remainder to his younger nephew Hon. Thomas Brudenell (1739–1814), 4th son of George Brudenell, 3rd Earl of Cardigan (1685–1732) by his wife Elizabeth Bruce, to whom he also bequeathed his estates with the proviso that he should adopt the additional surname of Bruce, thus having created a new noble family bearing doubly the Bruce name, to continue the custodianship of the Seymour lands.


The arms of Brudenell consist of: Argent, a chevron gules between three caps of maintenance (azure?) their fronts turned towards the sinister.[20]

Thomas Brudenell-Bruce, 1st Earl of Ailesbury (1739–1814)

On the 3rd Earl's death in 1747 his 8 year old nephew Thomas Brudenell duly became Thomas Brudenell-Bruce, 2nd Baron Bruce of Tottenham, having inheited the barony, the estates and the Wardenship of Savernake Forest. In 1776 King George III created him Earl of Ailesbury. In 1814 he was succeeded by his son Charles Brudenell-Bruce, 2nd Earl of Ailesbury (1773–1856).

Charles Brudenell-Bruce, 1st Marquess of Ailesbury (1773–1856)

Charles Brudenell-Bruce, 2nd Earl of Ailesbury (1773–1856) in 1818 added stables to the design of Thomas Cundy II. In 1821 he was granted three further titles, Viscount Savernake, Earl Bruce and Marquess of Ailesbury. In 1823–26 he enlarged and re-modelled the house, again to designs of Thomas Cundy.[21]

George Brudenell-Bruce, 2nd Marquess of Ailesbury (1804–1878)

George Brudenell-Bruce succeeded to his father's titles in 1856. A large church for the estate, St Katherine's, was built 0.6 miles (1 km) north of the house in 1861 by T.H. Wyatt for the marchioness, Mary Caroline (née Herbert).[22]


The family was settled in Monmouthshire in the 13th century. The original form of the name, which was resumed by the dukes of Somerset from early in the 19th century to 1923, seems to have been St. Maur, of which William Camden says that Seymour was a later corruption. It appears that about the year 1240 Gilbert Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, assisted William St. Maur to wrest a place called Woundy (now Undy), near Caldicot in Monmouthshire, from the Welsh. Woundy and Penhow, at the latter of which he made his residence, were the property of Sir Richard St. Maur at the end of the 13th century, but they were lost by the family through the marriage of Sir Richard's great-great-granddaughter, the only child of John St. Maur, who died in 1359. John St. Maur's younger brother Roger married Cecily de Beauchamp (d.1393), one of the daughters and eventual co-heiresses of John III de Beauchamp, 2nd Baron Beauchamp (1306-1343), feudal baron of Hatch Beauchamp in Somerset, who brought to her husband the greater part of her father's extensive estates in Somerset, Devon, Buckinghamshire and Suffolk. The eldest son of this marriage was Sir William St. Maur (d.1390), or Seymour (the modernised form of the name appears to have come into use about this date), who was an attendant on the Black Prince, and who died in his mother's lifetime, leaving a son Roger St Maur (c.1366-1420), who inherited his grand-mother's estates and added to them by his marriage with Maud Esturmy, daughter of Sir William Esturmy (died 1427) of Wolf Hall, Wiltshire.

According to Agnes Strickland: Sir John Seymour, of Wolf-hall, Wiltshire, and Margaret Wentworth, daughter of Sir John Wentworth, of Nettlestead, in Suffolk. The Seymours were a family of country gentry who, like most holders of manorial rights, traced their ancestry to a Norman origin. One or two had been knighted in the wars of France, but their names had never emerged from the herald's visitation-rolls into historical celebrity. They increased their boundaries by fortunate alliances with heiresses, and the head of the family married into a collateral branch of the lordly line of Beauchamp. After that event, two instances are quoted of Seymours serving as high sheriff of Wilts. Through Margaret Wentworth, the mother of Jane Seymour, a descent from the blood-royal of England was claimed from an intermarriage with a Wentworth and a supposed daughter of Hotspur and lady Elizabeth Mortimer, grand-daughter to Lionel duke of Clarence. Few persons dared dispute a pedigree with Henry VIII., and Cranmer granted a dispensation for nearness of kin between Henry VIII. and Jane Seymour – rather a work of supererogation, since the parties could not be related within the forbidden degree. Although the royal kindred appears somewhat doubtful, yet it is undeniable that the sovereign of England gained by this alliance one brother in-law who bore the name of Smith, and another whose grandfather was a blacksmith at Putney.[23]

Sir John Seymour

During the next three or four generations the wealth and importance of the Seymours in the western counties increased, until in the reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII Sir John Seymour of Wolf Hall became a personage of note in public affairs. He took an active part in suppressing the Cornish Rebellion of 1497; and afterwards attended Henry at the Field of the Cloth of Gold, and on the occasion of the emperor Charles V's visit to England in 1522. The eldest of his ten children was Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, the famous Protector in the reign of Edward VI; his third son was Thomas Seymour, Baron Seymour of Sudeley; and his eldest daughter Jane was third wife of King Henry VIII, and mother of Edward VI. The Protector was married twice; and, probably owing to the adultery of his first wife whom he repudiated about 1535, his titles and estates were entailed first on the issue of his second marriage with Anne, daughter of Sir Edward Stanhope.

The Protector's eldest surviving son by his first marriage, Sir Edward Seymour (died 1593), knight, of Berry Pomeroy, Devon, was father of Sir Edward Seymour (died 1613) who was created a baronet in 1611; and the baronetcy then descended for six generations from father to son, all of whom were named Edward, until, in 1750, on the failure of heirs of the Protector by his second marriage, Sir Edward Seymour, 6th baronet of Berry Pomeroy, succeeded to the dukedom of Somerset. The 3rd baronet, in whose time the family seat at Berry Pomeroy was plundered and burnt by the Roundheads, had a younger brother Henry (1612–1686), who was a close personal attendant of Prince Charles during the Civil War, and bore the prince's last message to his father, Charles I, before the latter's execution. Henry Seymour continued his service to Charles II in exile, and at the Restoration he received several valuable offices from the king. In 1669 he bought the estate of Langley in Buckinghamshire, where he lived till his death in 1686. In 1681, his son Henry, at the age of seven years, was created a baronet.

Family tree

Henry VII of England
John Seymour
Mary Tudor, Queen of France
Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scotland
Catherine Parr
Henry VIII of England
Jane Seymour
Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley
Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset
Frances Grey, Duchess of Suffolk
Edward VI of England
Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford
Lady Catherine Grey
Lady Jane Grey
Dukes of Somerset
Many Generations
Many Generations
Elizabeth, Queen of the United Kingdom
George VI of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom

Sir Edward Seymour, 4th Baronet

Sir Edward Seymour, 4th Baronet (1633–1708), speaker of the House of Commons, was elected member of parliament for Gloucester in 1661, and his influence at Court together with his natural abilities procured for him a position of weight in the House of Commons. He was appointed to the lucrative post of treasurer of the navy; and in 1667 he moved the impeachment of Lord Clarendon, which he carried to the House of Lords. In 1672 he was elected speaker, an office which he filled with distinction until 1679, when, having been unanimously re-elected to the Chair, the king refused to confirm the choice of the Commons. On the accession of James II, Seymour courageously opposed the arbitrary measures of the Crown; and at the revolution he adhered to the Prince of Orange. In 1691 he became a lord of the treasury, but losing his place three years Later he took an active part in the Tory opposition to William's Whig ministers; and in later years he was not less hostile to those of Queen Anne, but owing to the ascendancy of Marlborough he lost all influence for some time before his death, which took place in 1708. Seymour was not less arrogant than his relative the proud Duke of Somerset; but he was described by Burnet as the ablest man of his party, the first speaker of the House of Commons that was not bred to the law; a graceful man, bold and quick, and of high birth. Sir Edward Seymour was twice married. By his first wife he had two sons, Edward, 5th baronet, whose son Edward became the 8th duke of Somerset, and William, who became a lieutenant-general; by his second wife, a daughter of Alexander Popham of Littlecote House, he had six sons, the eldest of whom, Popham, on succeeding to the estates of his mother's cousin, Edward, Earl of Conway, assumed the name of Conway in addition to that of Seymour. Popham was killed in a duel with Colonel Kirk in 1669, and his estates devolved on his next brother, Francis, who likewise assumed the name of Conway, and having been created Baron Conway in 1703 was the father of Francis Seymour Conway (1719–1794), created Marquess of Hertford in 1793, and of field-marshal Henry Seymour Conway.

Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford

The eldest son of the Protector's second marriage, Edward Seymour (1537–1621), was relieved by act of parliament in the reign of Queen Mary from the attainder passed on his father in 1551, and was created Baron Beauchamp and earl of Hertford in 1559. In 1560 he secretly married Lady Catherine Grey, second daughter of Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Suffolk, and sister of Lady Jane Grey, claimant of the crown as great-granddaughter of Henry VII, on whose death Catherine stood next in succession to the throne after Queen Elizabeth under the will of Henry VIII. On this account both parties to the marriage incurred the displeasure of Queen Elizabeth; they were imprisoned in the Tower of London, and the fact of their marriage, together with the legitimacy of their two sons, was denied. The eldest of these sons was Edward Seymour (1561–1612), styled Lord Beauchamp notwithstanding the question as to his legitimacy, who in 1608 obtained a patent declaring that, after his father's death he should become earl of Hertford. He, however, died before his father, leaving three sons, one of whom, William, became 2nd duke of Somerset; and another, Francis, was created Baron Seymour of Trowbridge in 1641. The latter had at first taken an active part in the opposition in the House of Commons to the government of Charles I, having been elected member for Wiltshire in 1620. He represented the same constituency in both the Short and the Long Parliaments; and he refused to pay ship money in 1639. When, however, the popular party proceeded to more extreme measures, Francis Seymour refused his support, and was rewarded by being raised to the peerage; he voted in the House of Lords against the attainder of Strafford, and in 1642 he joined Charles at York and fought on the royalist side throughout the Great Rebellion. He died in 1664. His grandson Francis, 3rd baron, succeeded to the dukedom of Somerset in 1675; and on the death of his nephew Algernon, 7th duke of Somerset, in 1750, the male line of the Protector by his second marriage became extinct, and the dukedom reverted to the elder line, the 6th baronet of Berry Pomeroy becoming 8th duke of Somerset.

Henry Seymour

Henry Seymour (1729–1805), a son of the 8th duke of Somerset's brother Francis, was elected to the House of Commons in 1763; in 1778 he went to France, and fixing his residence at Prunay, near Versailles, he became the lover of Madame du Barry, many of whose letters to him are preserved in Paris. He was twice married, and in addition to children by both wives he left an illegitimate daughter, Henriette Felicity, who married Sir James Doughty-Tichborne, by whom she was the mother of Roger Tichborne, impersonated in 1871 by the famous impostor Arthur Orton.

Lord Hugh Seymour

Lord Hugh Seymour (1759–1801), a younger son of Francis Seymour-Conway, marquess of Hertford, was a distinguished naval officer who saw much active service especially under Lord Howe, in whose famous action on 1 June 1794 he took a conspicuous part. His son Sir George Francis Seymour (1787–1870), admiral of the fleet, began his naval career by serving under Nelson; in 1818 he became Sergeant-at-arms in the House of Lords, a post which he retained till 1841, when he was promoted to the rank of rear-admiral and appointed a lord of the admiralty; his eldest son, Francis George Hugh Seymour (1812–1884), succeeded his cousin Richard Seymour-Conway as 5th marquess of Hertford in 1870. Lord Hugh Seymour's younger son, Sir Horace Beauchamp Seymour, was the father of Frederick Beauchamp Paget Seymour, Baron Alcester.

Sir Michael Seymour

A younger branch of the great house of Seymour is said to have settled in Ireland in the reign of Elizabeth, from which Sir Michael Seymour, 1st Baronet (1768–1834) claimed descent. Sir Michael, like so many of his name, was an officer in the navy, in which he rendered much distinguished service in the last decade of the 18th century. He lost an arm in Howe's action on 1 June 1794; and between 1796 and 1810 as commander of the Spitfire, and afterwards of the Amethyst, he captured a great number of prizes from the French in the English Channel. In 1809 he was created a baronet (see Culme-Seymour baronets). Seymour became a rear-admiral in 1832, and died two years later while in chief command on the South American station. His son, Sir Michael Seymour (1802–1887), entered the navy in 1813, and attained the rank of rear-admiral in 1854, in which year he served under Sir Charles Napier in the Baltic Sea during the war with Russia. In 1856 he was in command of the China station, and conducted the operations arising out of the affair of the lorcha Arrow; he destroyed the Qing Chinese fleet in June 1857, took Canton in December, and in 1858 he captured the forts on the Pei Ho (Hai River), compelling the Chinese government to consent to the Treaty of Tientsin. In 1864 he was promoted to the rank of admiral. Admiral Sir Edward Hobart Seymour was the nephew of Sir Michael Seymour (1802–1887).


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  2. Easton Royal History Archived 2011-10-04 at the Wayback Machine
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  4. Battle Abbey Roll. quoting "The Norman People"
  5. Battle Abbey Roll
  6. The monument in North Molton Church to Sir Amyas Bampfylde (1560–1626) displays an escutcheon quartering Zouche and St Maur (Argent, two chevrons gules a label of three points vert)
  7. J. S. Roskell, The Commons in the Parliament of 1422 (Manchester University Press), p. 126 (see footnotes)
  8. Mervyn Archdall, The Peerage of Ireland, p. 16
  9. alias William MacWilliam or Williams of Gloucestershire,(see: Thomas Nicholas, Annals and Antiquities of the Counties and County Families of Wales (1991), p. 194)
  10. Douglas Richardson, Kimball G. Everingham, Magna Carta ancestry: a study in colonial and medieval families (2005), p. 554
  11. Debrett's Peerage, 1968, p.1036
  12. Cookson
  13. Quoted in Cookson
  14. Historic England. "TOTTENHAM HOUSE AND SAVERNAKE FOREST, Burbage (1000472)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  15. Collectanea Topographica Et Genealogica, Volume 5 edited by Frederic Madden, Bulkeley Bandinel, John Gough Nichols, p.31
  16. "Marquess of Ailesbury, 1962", quoted in
  17. Aubrey,John, An Essay Towards the Description of the North Division of Wiltshire, 1672, (ed. Sir T. Phillipps), 1838 Edition, p.71
  18. Rudolf Wittkower, in Architectural Journal 102 1945, noted in Howard Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600–1840, 3rd ed. 1995, s.v. "Boyle, Richard, Earl of Burlington".
  19. Colvin, "Boyle".
  20. Debrett's Peerage, 1968, p.44, Marquess of Ailesbury
  21. Howard Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600–1840, 3rd ed. 1995, s.v. "Cundy, Thomas", "Wyatville, Sir Jeffry".
  22. Historic England. "Church of St Katherine, Great Bedwyn (1183857)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  23. Strickland, Agnes. [1843]. "Jane Seymour," in Lives of the Queens of England from the Norman Conquest. New York: Miller.

Further reading

Seymour, William. 1972. Ordeal by Ambition: An English Family in the Shadow of the Tudors. New York: St. Martin’s.

Strickland, Agnes, and Antonia Fraser. 2011. Agnes Strickland's Lives of the Queens of England. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group.

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