Edward Seymour - Historical Profile

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Edward Seymour - Historical Profile - The Tudors Wiki
The History

Edward Seymour
1506 - 1552 (46 yrs)
  • created 1st Viscount Beauchamp on 5 June 1536.
  • created 1st Earl of Hertford October 1537
  • created 1st Duke of Somerset on 16 February 1547.
In 1552 all honours were forfeited with his execution.

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Miniature of Edward Seymour 1539

  • The Seymours claimed descent from a companion of William the Conqueror, who took his name from St Maur-sur-Loire in Touraine. See :Ancestors of Jane Seymour
  • he was an "enfant d'honneur" to Princess Mary (Tudor) at her marriage to Louis XII in 1514 when he was 8 years old.
  • Appointed esquire of the body to King Henry VIII in 1529, he grew in favour with the king, who visited his manor at Elvetham in Hampshire in October 1535.
  • On the 5th of June 1536, a week after his sister Jane Seymour"s marriage to Henry, he was created Viscount Beauchamp of Hache in Somerset, and a fortnight after Prince Edward Tudor's birth in October 1537, he was raised to the earldom of Hertford.
  • Jane Seymour's death was a blow to his prospects, and in 1538 he was described as being "young and wise" but of "small power." He continued, however, to rise in political importance.

  • In March 1544 he was made Lieutenant-general of the North and instructed to punish the Scots for their repudiation of the treaty of marriage between Prince Edward Tudor and the infant Mary Queen of Scots. He landed at Leith in May, captured and pillaged Edinburgh, and returned a month later.

  • In July he was appointed lieutenant of the realm under the queen regent, Catherine Parr during Henry's absence, but in August he joined the king in Boulogne and was present at the surrender of the town.
  • From October to the end of Henry's reign he was in attendance on the king, engaged in that unrecorded struggle for predominance which was to determine the complexion of the government during the coming minority.
Edward Seymour

This is thought to be a likeness of Edward Seymour although according to art historian Roy Strong, there is only one absolutely certain portrait of Seymour, the miniature painted by Nicholas Hilliard at the top of this page, in 1560 from an earlier painting.
Edward Seymour?
NPG - Originally thought to be Edward Seymour ...
now labelled unknown

When King Henry VIII died in 1547 Seymour was named as executor of the will. Edward Tudor was too young to rule and Seymour was appointed by the Council of Regency as Protector of the Realm. He was also given the title of Duke of Somerset.

Once he held power, Seymour resumed the war in Scotland and won an important victory at Pinkie on 10th September, 1547. However, establishing English garrisons was highly expensive.

The Duke of Somerset was a Protestant and he soon began to make changes to the Church of England. This included the introduction of an English Prayer Book and the decision to allow members of the clergy to get married. Attempts were made to destroy those aspects of religion that were associated with the Catholic church, for example, the removal of stained-glass windows in churches and the destruction of religious wall-paintings.

Seymour also showed concern for the poor and on 14 June 1549, he persuaded King Edward to pardon all those people who had torn down hedges enclosing common land. Many landless people thought that this meant that their king disapproved of enclosures. All over the country people began to destroy hedges that landowners had used to enclose common land.

This led to the Kett Rebellion in Norfolk. The mayor of Norwich refused to let Kett's army enter the city. However, Robert Kett and his men, armed with spears, swords and pitchforks, successfully stormed the city walls. The English government were shocked when they heard that Kett and his rebels controlled the second largest city in England.

Robert Kett formed a governing council made up of representatives from the villages that had joined the revolt. This council then sent details of their demands to King Edward. Seymour responded by sending John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, and a large army to defeat Kett.

The Privy Council became concerned that Seymour's policies were leading to a popular uprising. In October, 1549, he was removed from power and imprisoned in the Tower of London.
Seymour was released in 1550 and allowed to return to the Privy Council. Seymour soon got involved in a conspiracy and he was once again arrested. Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, was found guilty of treason and executed on 22nd January, 1552.
Account of Somerset's execution was made by Henry Machyn, a London undertaker:

"On 22 January, soon after 8 o'clock in the morning, the duke of Somerset was beheaded on Tower Hill. There was as great a company as has been seen... the king's guard being there with their halberds and a thousand more with halberds of the privilege of the Tower, Ratcliffe, Limehouse, Whitechapel, St Katherine's and Stratford Bow, as well as Hoxton and Shoreditch; and the two sheriffs being present there, seeing the execution of my lord, and his head being cut off, and shortly after his body was put into a coffin and carried into the Tower, and there buried in the church, on the northside of the choir of St Peter's, and I beseech God to have mercy on his soul, amen!

And there was a sudden rumbling a little before he died, as if it had been guns shooting and great horses coming, so that a thousand fell to the ground for fear, for they who were at one
side thought no other but that one was killing another, so that they fell down to the ground, one upon another with their halberds, some fell into the ditch of the Tower and other places, and a hundred into the Tower ditch, and some ran away for fear."

  • Loades, David, (2004), Intrigue and Treason: The Tudor Court, 1547–1558
  • Starkey, David (2002), The Reign of Henry VIII
  • Alford, Stephen (2002), Kingship and Politics in the Reign of Edward VI
  • Brigden, Susan (2000), New Worlds, Lost Worlds: The Rule of the Tudors, 1485–1603
  • Loach, Jennifer (1999), in Bernard, George; Williams, Penry, Edward VI


Ed Seymour?

<a class="external" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Somerset_House_by_Kip_1722.JPG" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Old Somerset House, shown here in a drawing by Jan Kip published in 1722, was a sprawling and irregular complex with wings from different periods in a mixture of styles. The buildings behind all four square gardens belong to Somerset House.">Old Somerset House, shown here in a drawing by Jan Kip published in 1722, was a sprawling and irregular complex with wings from different periods in a mixture of styles. The buildings behind all four square gardens belong to Somerset House.</a>
Somerset House
Edward Seymour - The Tudors Wiki
The opulent tomb of Sir Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford , SON of Edward Seymour, includes both his effigy and that of his wife Katherine, sister of Lady Jane Grey. Katherine's effigy is slightly elevated to indicate her higher social standing relative to her husband in Salisbury cathedral
<a class="external" href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a7/Somerset_House_Strand_Block.JPG" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Image:Somerset House Strand Block.JPG</a>
Somerset House today