Will of Margery Seymour: Mother of a Queen, Duke, and Lord Admiral

Written by Rebecca Larson

When it comes to the Seymour family, we generally read about the Duke of Somerset, Jane the Queen consort, and Thomas Seymour. But what about the woman who gave birth to them?


Margery Wentworth was a descendant of King Edward III, and it is through her ancestry, that her daughter Jane would be eligible to wed a king. Although she had royal blood in her veins, Margery could not have expected a life full of so much family drama.

Family Lost

In the time of the Tudors, death and tragedy was more the norm than we know it today. As a history lover we have a fascination with stories of the time, and sometimes forget the conveniences of being a modern woman. Women often died during childbirth when complications arose, but if they survived, there was still the chance that their child could die in infancy. Such was the life of a woman in 16th century England. Margery’s eldest daughter, Queen Jane Seymour, died twelve days after giving birth to the future King Edward VI. Little would Margery know that both her eldest and youngest surviving sons would later be executed for treason.

Margery Seymour was not alone in her loss. Her cousin, Elizabeth Boleyn, was a Howard by birth, and she was aware of the danger that came with coming from such a powerful family. Factions at court could change with the wind, and like her cousin Margery later, Elizabeth had two children executed in 1536. Within two days, she had lost two children.

The details behind Margery’s life are scarce. We do not know much about her location at precise points in history, but by looking at what she left behind, we can get a little sense of how she lived and possibly where. Her husband Sir John Seymour died in December 1535, and did not witness his daughter become the third wife of King Henry. When Sir John died, Margery’s world would have been changed by the fact that her eldest son Edward because the patriarch of the family – possession of Wolfhull was his, but it is believed that Margery remained there.

Evidence of Margery

While searching for original documents in the National Archives, I came across the will of ‘Dame Margery Seymour.’ The digital document is a copy and difficult to read because it’s not the original and is a photocopy of the original. Lack of punctuation in these documents can also make them more confusing than you would expect.

TNA PROB 11-33-450 Will Margery Seymour

The document leads off with:

IN THE NAME OF GOD AMEN I Dame Margery Seymour widowe

sometyme wyfe unto Sir John Seymour knight deceased the 8 day of Marche, 

When I first read the above-quoted lines, it looked like her husband, Sir John Seymour, died on 8 March, which left me confused. For most of history, we have believed that Sir John Seymour died in December 1536, but within the last few years, historian Graham Bathe has argued that his year of death was 1535 and not 1536.

So when I came across Margery’s will, I knew who I had to talk to about this particular document – Graham Bathe. Luckily, Bathe had looked at the will before, and I could compare his transcription with my own. The year on the record is MDXLIX, which is 1549, and that is the year that Margery’s son Thomas was executed.

On the 8th of March, 1549, Margery dictated her will. Days earlier, her son Thomas Seymour, Baron of Sudeley and Lord High Admiral of England, had an Act of Attainder passed against him. He would not be allowed a trial, and he would be executed for treason. It is plausible that Margery resented her son Edward, Duke of Somerset, for allowing his brother (her son) to die. Thomas was Margery’s youngest surviving son and was executed at the Tower of London on the 20th of March, 1549.

Margery Seymour made mention of several family members in her will, including her daughters Elizabeth (Cromwell) and Dorothy (Smith) and her surviving son Sir Henry Seymour. The one name that is notably missing is her eldest son, Edward, Duke of Somerset.

For her youngest daughter Dorothy Smyth/Smith she bequeathed:

one gown of black satten and gardyd with black velvet and embroyderyd / and also the furre

therein of squyrrell and faced with sabill

For her daughter Elizabeth Cromwell:

I give and bequeth unto my daughter Cromwell one pott or jugge of stone coveryd with silver and gilted

For her son Sir Henry Seymour:

twentie poundes of good and lawful money of England 


This would be roughly £5,493.97 or nearly two years of wages for a skilled tradesman.

As you continue to read you’ll notice Margery left a little something to many members of her family, including grandchildren and godchildren. Notably absent from the document is her granddaughter Mary, by her son Thomas. This is yet another clue to show us that Lady Mary Seymour died at an early age.

But Margery’s children were not the only ones mentioned in her will, she also made mention of her son-in-law, godchildren and more.

Top of the list of grandchildren mentioned, the heir to the family dynasty, Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford:

my godsonne the Lorde Edward Seymour sonneunto the Duke of Somerset three poundes of good and lawful money of England

Then next grandchild/godchild listed is the daughter of Dorothy Seymour and Sir Clement Smyth/Smith:

I give and bequeth unto my goddoughter Mabyll Smyth one of the doughters of my sonne

in lawe Sir Clement Smyth knight three pounds of good and lawful money of England

This amount of money would pay for 100 days worth of a skilled tradesman’s wages.

And I give to my said goddaughter Mabyll Smyth a pettercell of crymsyn taffata furred with squirrell

I give unto the Lord Henry Seymour my godsonne one of the sonnes of my sonne the Duke of Somerset three pounds of good and lawful money of England

This amount of money would pay for 100 days worth of a skilled tradesman’s wages.

The witnesses of Margery making out her will included her son-in-law, Sir Clement Smyth/Smith. It is likely that she had been residing with her daughter Dorothy and husband prior to her death and that is why he was present. Her son Sir Henry is not mentioned as being present, but he was listed as an executor of the will.

By the following October (1550), Margery was still alive, and made adjustments to her will. One adjustment being that the money she would leave her son Henry would be cut in half – he would receive ten pounds instead twenty. This change, among others, could indicate that Margery had been ill and that she needed some of the funds to pay for her care. She died two days later, on 18 October 1550.

The additions made to the will included her granddaughter, Anne Smyth/Smith:

a stone jugge covered with silver and three poundes in money 

Both daughters were given more in this revision:

her said daughter Cromwell a boll of sylver and parcell gilt / Item she gevyth unto her said

daughter Dorothe Smyth myne basin and myne ewer

But it wasn’t just her family she wished to gift when her life was over, but also her servants. Her first edition of the will allowed for her servants to receive a large quantity of her clothing, however, that was “revoked”, and instead:

she gevyth unto her gentilwoman Anne Gressye a gowne of tawny Damask gardyd with tawny velvet and her French hood

A male servant of Margery’s was also named, and he must have been important to her because her received money and a bed. Beds, especially fine ones, were a valuable possession.

unto James Leke her servant foure pounds in money / and the bedd that he lyeth uppon with thappurtenances.


While little is known of her life, she clearly lived it and loved her family. The evidence provided by this document leads me to believe that in her final years, Margery resided with her daughter Dorothy and husband Sir Clement Smyth/Smith and their children.

Becoming Elizabeth on Starz

Anyone who has known me for even a short amount of time knows that I am interested in telling the true story behind Thomas Seymour. In 2016 I chose Thomas Seymour as the figure from Tudor history that I wanted to research and write about. At the time, I was unfamiliar with the entire story, but there was something so fascinating about it that I could not step away.

After six years of transcribing and reading original documents held at the National Archives – Kew, I feel well equipped to debunk any falsehoods regarding Thomas Seymour.

Let’s begin by looking at the trailer, shall we?

Inaccuracy #1

When Henry VIII died on 28 January 1547, his son Edward was at Hertford House. His uncle Edward Seymour, then Earl of Hertford, and Sir Anthony Browne retrieved the young king and brought him to Enfield Palace, where his half-sister Elizabeth was. At Enfield, the two siblings were informed of their father’s death. Mary was not present. The opening sequence of the trailer clearly shows all three children together when they were informed. Is this an intentional oversight for dramatic purposes? If we’ve learned anything from Starz, then yes, yes it is. I wish I could be a historical consultant for a series like this and show them that the real history is even more interesting – we don’t need to create one for ratings. The Tudors, or Seymours in this case, knew how to do that all on their own!

I’ll be honest, most of what I’ve seen in the trailer shows me that the show creators chose to turn a large portion of the story in the Thomas/Elizabeth affair. As more is revealed to us I will be as transparent as I can about what really happened.

The Queen’s Presence Chamber – Sudeley

My effort to uncover the true Thomas Seymour has led me to Sudeley Castle once again. While reading The Temptation of Elizabeth Tudor, by Elizabeth Norton, I discovered that the Queen’s Presence Chamber had windows that ran floor to ceiling and made you feel like you were outside in the Queen’s Garden when you stood in the bay window.

Continue reading “The Queen’s Presence Chamber – Sudeley”

Thomas the Diplomat and the Siege of Pest

During my continual research of Thomas Seymour I have come across a many letters that he wrote during his diplomatic missions. I will be honest, when I first found these letters I glanced at them and my eyes instantly glazed over. Most of these letters contained what I considered a bunch of military jargon that made little sense to me.

Continue reading “Thomas the Diplomat and the Siege of Pest”

Seymour Place: First Home of Thomas Seymour

There is not much known about Thomas Seymour’s early years. Historian and author, David Loades believed that when Thomas first came to court (sometime between 1525-1530) that he may have rented a place in London. But once his sister Jane became Queen we can assume that he always had a place at court.

Continue reading “Seymour Place: First Home of Thomas Seymour”

Uncovering the Face of Thomas Seymour

All that’s left is history. Letters to his king and his wife give us small insight into the man – it is what others had to say about him that have left a lasting impression.

Thomas Seymour had blue eyes, red hair and a long red beard and mustache. He was described as “…fierce in courage, courtly in fashion, in personage stately, in voice magnificent but somewhat empty of matter².” 

Continue reading “Uncovering the Face of Thomas Seymour”

Thomas Seymour’s Sudeley Castle

This history of Sudeley Castle goes back centuries. It’s majestic gardens were once visited by the likes of Richard III, Jasper Tudor, Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Katherine Parr and Lady Jane Grey.

It 1469, King Edward IV forced a Lancastrian supporter (his enemies) to sell the castle to the crown. Edward IV then granted it to his younger brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester (future Richard III) who held it for nine years and then it reverted back to the crown because he exchanged it for another castle.

Continue reading “Thomas Seymour’s Sudeley Castle”

Nomination for Knight of the Garter

The Most Noble Order of the Garter was founded by King Edward III in 1348 and was the highest honor obtainable. Edward III inaugurated the Order of the Garter with a great feast and joust.

The Order had a 24-man limit. As members died, were removed or beheaded, they made way for new members. The Sovereign alone could choose the inductees but members would nominate the possible replacements.

Continue reading “Nomination for Knight of the Garter”

Tomb of Sir John Seymour: Father of Thomas

Sir John Seymour was reburied by his grandson, Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford at the Great Bedwyn Church in 1590. The tomb displays the heraldic escutcheons, with a Seymour’s effigy on top which is fully dressed in armor with hands in prayer, his head resting on his helm from which projects the sculpted Seymour crest of a pair of wings. His feet rest on a lion and a sword lies by his side. Continue reading “Tomb of Sir John Seymour: Father of Thomas”

Welcome to the Site Dedicated to Thomas Seymour

Thank you so much for visiting this website whose focus is solely  on the life and death of Sir Thomas Seymour, Baron Seymour of Sudeley.

My name is Rebecca and I am best known as the owner of TudorsDynasty.com but have decided in the last six months to put a bigger focus on Thomas Seymour and discovering who he was as a person. Was he really the villain that history has made him out to be?

Thomas is the topic of a book that I am currently working on. This is will be my first book. I’d like to say it will be historical fiction but I am unsure at this point if it will reach all the guidelines necessary to earn that genre. It will be filled with historical events and letters with a sprinkling of fiction to help carry the story along.

During my research I feel like I have discovered what I believe to be the true Thomas Seymour and I cannot wait to share him with all of you.

Thank you so much for dropping by and don’t forget to follow the blog so you do not miss out on new posts!