24th October 1537. The Seymours: Triumph and Disaster.

Like so many of the gentry who had quietly sunk into obscurity in the later Middle Ages, the Seymour Family, originally from St Maur-sur-Loire in France, were descendants of friends of William the  Conqueror.

The patriarch of the family by the time of the Tudors was Sir John Seymour (1474-1536), of Wulfhall in the Savernake Forest, Wiltshire, who had become established as soldier and courtier.

He was the father of Jane, Henry VIII’s third queen, who died Today in 1537, probably resulting from the difficult birth of the future Edward VI.

However whilst Jane was the King’s favourite wife, her two brothers were to suffer death by beheading, all due to scheming and lust for power at the time of the minority of King Edward.

Tomb of Sir John Seymour at Great Bedwyn Wilts

Tomb of Sir John Seymour at Great Bedwyn, Wilts

The unfulfilled final clauses of King Henry’s will, inserted at the last minute, allowed the executors to freely distribute lands and honours to themselves and the Court.

Jane’s younger brother Thomas 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley, became Lord High Admiral, and in 1547 became 4th husband of Henry’s last wife, Catherine Parr.

However at the time he was supposedly implicated with flirting with the future Queen Elizabeth.(see notes below).

He also acquired too many enemies as a schemer and intriguer, and was charged with treason under Attainder (without trial), and beheaded on 20th March 1549.

Jane’s elder brother Edward Seymour had achieved higher things in becoming Lord Protector of the Realm and Governor of the King’s [Edward’s] Person.

He acquired the title Duke of Somerset in 1547 and thus briefly ruled England on behalf of his nephew the king.

However Edward over-reached himself, created enemies, and among other problems, the country saw internal unrest in 1549, which resulted in what we would call a coup d’tat. (1)

Here again he was charged with treason, and without trial beheaded on 22nd January 1552, three years after his brother.

As the young King laconically said: ‘The Duke of Somerset [Edward  Seymour], had his head cut off upon Tower Hill between 8 and 9 in the morning’.(2)

The King obviously wasn’t enamoured of his uncle. later saying he had: ‘ambition, vainglory, had] entered into rash wars in mine youth and enriched of my treasure’.(2)

(1) Elton 1977 p. 350.The Tudors.

(2) From the Chronicle of Edward VI, quoted in Jennifer Loach 1999 P.87. Ed VI.


Tomb of Queen Catherine Parr at Sudeley Castle

Tomb of Catherine Parr at Sudeley Castle, the only private residence to have the tomb of a queen.

The Protestant, Catherine Parr the 6th and last queen of Henry VIII, was the most married English queen having had 4 husbands. She was the first queen of England and Ireland after Henry had acquired the title of King of Ireland.

She died 1548, after giving birth, a year after Henry VIII, with the Protestant service being the first of its kind for a queen. Lady Jane Grey, the later Nine-Day’s-Queen was chief mourner.

Ref: historytoday.com/Vol 6. Issue 9. 7.7.2011.

Ref: flickr.com.Pic of tomb.

Ref: wikipedia.org/jane_seymour.

Ref: edwardseymour/first_duke-of-somerset.


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About colindunkerley

My name is Colin Dunkerley who having spent two years in the Royal Army Pay Corps ploughed many a barren industrial furrow until drawn to the 'chalk-face' as a teacher, now retired. I have spent the last 15 years researching all aspects of life in Britain since Roman times.

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