On the 20th of March 1549, Thomas Seymour was executed for treason. This shows the thirty-three counts that were laid out against him and my personal translation of each. As I’m still learning something new about Thomas Seymour every day these ‘translations’ may change.
Not all of these indicate whether or not they are Fact or Fiction, but eventually, as I learn more about each, I will be able to come back and edit.
There are a list of 33 charges against Thomas. Let’s go through them, one by one and figure out what’s true and what’s false:
1. Whereas the Duke of Somerset was made Governor of the King’s Majesty’s person and Protector of all his realms, dominions and subjects, to the which you yourself did agree and gave your consent in writing, it is objected and laid unto your charge that this notwithstanding you have attempted and gone about by indirect means to undo this order, and to get into your hands the government of the King’s Majesty; to the great danger of his Highness person and the subversion of the state of the realm.
This first charge explains that Thomas Seymour had agreed and signed-off on his brother being Lord Protector. Since agreeing to the position for his brother Thomas Seymour had tried to gain the governorship of the King for himself.
To this charge, Thomas Seymour had this to say:
He said that about Eastertide he said to Fowler, as he supposeth it was, that if he might have the king in his custody as Mr. Page had he would be glad, and that he thought a man might bring him through the Gallery to his chamber, and so to his house, but this he said he spoke merely meaning no hurt. (Thomas states that he said it all in jest and would never had attempted to do so.)
And that in the meantime after he ‘harde’, and upon that sought out certain precedence, that there was in England at one time on Protector and another Regent of France, and the Duke of Exeter and the Bishop of Winchester, Governors of the King’s person; upon that he had thought to have made suite to the Parliament House for that purpose, and he had the names of all the Lords, and totted them whom he thought he might have to his purpose to labor them; but afterward communing with Mr. Comptroller at Ely Place, being put in remembrance by him of his assenting and agreeing with his own hand that the Lord Protector should be Governor of the King’s person, he was ashamed of his doings and left of that suit and labor. (Seymour makes a good point – during the minority of King Henry VI he had two uncles who shared the power. This is something that Seymour assumed would be the same for him and his brother Edward. Unfortunately it was not.)
2. It is objected and laid unto your charge that by corrupting with gifts and fair promises many of the privy chamber, you went about to allure his highness to condescend and agree to the same your most heinous and perilous purposes; to the great danger of his Highness person and of the subversion of the state of the realm.
I believe this is in reference to Seymour sending money to his nephew, the King, through the King’s servant, Fowler.
To this, Thomas Seymour had this to say:
He said he gave money two or three of them which were about the King. To Cheke he said he gave at Christmastide, when the Queen was at Endfield, xl (40£), whereof to himself xx (20£), the other for the King to bestow where it pleased his Grace among his servants. Mr. Cheke was very reluctant to take it. Howbeit he would need press it upon him, and to him he gave no more at no time as he remembers since the King’s Majesty was crowned. (He gave money to the reluctant John Cheke and to the King to use it as he wished. Cheke was Edward’s tutor and later became Secretary of State.)
To the Grooms of the Chamber he hath at New Years tides given money, he doth not well remember what. (It is unknown which grooms he gave money to.)
To Fowler he said he gave money for the King since the beginning of this Parliament now last at London, xx. (Fowler was the man closest to the King in his privy chamber and Seymour would often have private conversations with Fowler to discover what he could about the King’s life.)
And many times he said the King had sent to him for money and he had sent it, and what time Mr. Latimer preached before the King, the King sent to him to know what he should give Mr. Latimer, and he sent to him by Fowler xl (40£), with this word, that xx (20£) was a good reward for Mr. Latimer, and the rest he might bestow among his servants. (Hugh Latimer was the chaplain for King Edward VI and the King wished to pay the chaplain for his services.)
Whether he gave Fowler any money for himself or no, he doth not remember.
Thomas Seymour was once quoted as telling the king, “ye are a beggarly king ye haue no monie to play or to geue.”
3. It is objected and laid unto your charge that you wrote a letter with your own hand which letter the King’s Majesty should have subscribed or written again after that copy to the Parliament House and that you delivered the to his Highness for that intent; with the which so written by his Highness or subscribed you had determined to have ‘commen’ into the Common House yourself, and their with your ‘fautorurs’ and adherents before prepared to have made a broile or tumulte and uproar; to the great danger of the King’s Majesty’s person and subversion of the state of the realm.
I believe this “letter” that is described is the letter which Thomas wanted the King to sign saying he could be Governor of the King’s Person.
To this, Thomas Seymour had this to say:
He said it is true he drew such a Bill indeed himself and preferred it to the King or else to Mr. Cheke, he can not well tell, and before that he said he caused the King to be moved by Mr. Fowler whether he could be contented that he should have governance of him as Mr. Stanhope had. He knew not what answer he had, but upon that he drew the said Bill, to that effort that his Majesty was content, but what answer he had to the Bill he cannot tell. Mr. Cheke can tell. (If this is referring to the letter that Seymour wanted his nephew to sign it turned out that the King did not sign because he felt that his uncle was doing something wrong.)
After he answered the third charge he said plainly that he would answer to no more before them, and continuing in that mind could by no means be brought or persuaded to answer to any more of the said Articles, and therefore refused also to hear them. The men left with only the answer he had given.
It was the following day that the Bill was put to Parliament. The Bill was hotly debated and argued – finally the the lawyers agreed that the charges encompassed high treason. When no man argued against the charge of high treason against Seymour, the Bill was passed. The date was the 5th of March 1548.
4. It is objected and laid unto your charge that you yourself spoke to many of the council and labored many of the nobility of the realm to stick and adhere unto you for the altercation of the state and order of the realm, and to attain your other purposes; to the danger of the King’s Majesty’s person, now in his tender years, and subversion of the state of the realm.
This charge states that Thomas Seymour spoke to many members of the council and nobility in the realm to assist in his cause against his brother.
5. It is objected and laid unto your charge that you did say openly and plainly you would make the blackest Parliament that ever was in England.
In his deposition given as part of the investigation of Thomas Seymour, Edward Clinton, Earl of Lincoln said Seymour told him: ‘I have heard speaking of a Black Parliament; and they use me as they do begin by God’s precious soul I will make the Blackest Parliament that ever was in England!’
“These words following were spoken by my Lord Admiral to me, the Lord Clinton, in the hearing of my Lord Marquis Dorset (Henry Grey), whom I did ride behind from the Parliament House at that present time. The said Lord Admiral, talking to me said Lord Marquis and me of an Act which passed the same day, for repealing another act for speaking words wherein my said Lord Admiral would a had a promise that men should not have had liberty to a spoken anything against the Queen, said, I do perceive what is meant by this matter; I have heard speaking of a Black Parliament; and they use me as they do begin by God’s precious soul I will make the Blackest Parliament that ever was in England! Where unto I answered, that I was sorry to hear such words pass him, and that such words would do him much hurt; and that, if it should come to the knowledge of my Lord Protector’s Grace, it should be an occasion to lose his favor utterly.
My said Lord Admiral answered me, that he would I should know that he had no need of his favor, and that he might better live without my said Lord’s Grace than he might do without him. And after my Lord Admiral had spoken to me, the Lord Clinton of the black Parliament, he talked with my Lord Marquis; in which talk I remember he said to my Lord Marquis, he would take his (illegible word) from the best of their ears from the highest to the lowest: saying, that he would not spare my Lord Protector’s Grace. My Lord Marquis answered, that these words should not need; he trusted that all should be well, and that my Lord’s Grace and he should be friends, and persuaded him to pacify himself; for my Lord showed himself to be much moved against my Lord’s Grace, as my Lord Marquis can declare: in the which talk my said Lord Admiral said, Why was he made Protector? there is no need of a Protector. Signed F. Clynton¹
So…what does Blackest Parliament truly mean? There is much speculation and assumptions made to this statement. Some have said that Seymour was confident and believed that he could convince many to take his side. Others believe that it has more to do with Westminster’s past with the Blackfriars.
6. It is objected and laid to your charge that being sent for by the authority to answer to such things as were thought to be reformed in you, you refused to come; to a very evil example of disobedience and danger thereby of the subversion of the state of the realm.
When asked to come and meet with the Council about what had been going on Seymour refused. This was seen as an order that Seymour blatantly refused to adhere to.
7. It is objected and laid to your charge that since the last sessions of this Parliament, notwithstanding much clemency showed unto you, you have still continued in your former mischievous purposes, and continually by yourself and others studied and labored to put into the King’s Majesty’s head and mind a misliking of the government of the realm and of the Lord Protector’s doings; to the danger of his person and great peril of the realm.
This charge indicates that Thomas Seymour was warned of his behavior and yet he continued with it. I believe this may pertain to when Somerset discovered what his brother had been up to. He found out that Thomas was inquiring about the Lady Elizabeth’s business – asking how many people she had in her household, comparing her expenses to his own and ask Parry about the value of her lands and where they were located. He was also very adamant about ensuring her Letters Patent on the properties was signed off on. Somerset privately condemned his brother and told him he could not wed the Lady Elizabeth and to stop immediately. Other council members also had strong objections to the idea of the Lady Elizabeth marrying Seymour and also advised him to stop.
If we look at it all objectively, what do we see? We are told that Thomas Seymour was grilling Thomas Parry for information. In the confession of Thomas Parry he mentions how Elizabeth seemed glad of the attentions she received from Seymour but did not like when he made assumptions for her future. Parry also mentions how Kat Ashley was also aware of what was going on because Elizabeth informed her. Ashley confirmed that it was true that the Admiral wished to marry the Lady and she thought the prospect was a wonderful idea.
Parry mentioned in his confession that the last time he spoke to Seymour (on the Twelfth Day of Christmas) that at the time Seymour seemed very suspicious of him. Parry said that he realized later that he was merely being used by Seymour and Ashley.
With these confessions made by Elizabeth’s servants we must remember that some of these events occurred awhile before the confessions were made. How good are you at recalling exactly conversations you had with people, say six months ago? Is it possible that you might remember incorrectly or embellish a bit more to fill in the gaps?
8. It is objected and laid to your charge that the King’s Majesty being of the tender years and as yet by age unable to direct his own things, you have gone about to instill into his Grace’s head, and as much as lied in you persuaded him to take upon himself the government and many of his own affairs; to the danger of his Highness person and great peril of the whole realm.
This charge indicates that Thomas Seymour was trying to convince his nephew, the king, that he should be able to rule on his own. The benefit to Seymour is that he would have the king’s ear in all matters and would have his favor for recommending it.
9. It is objected and laid unto your charge that you had fully intended and appointed to have taken the King’s Majesty’s person into your own hands and custody; to the danger of his Highness person and great peril of the whole realm.
This charge states that Seymour intended to kidnap the king.
G.W. Bernard cannot definitively say whether or not Thomas Seymour meant to kidnap King Edward (and Elizabeth for that fact) – to me that speaks volumes. Nobody knows for certain if that was his intent that night at Hampton Court Palace. We know he was there – that’s a fact. We also know that sometime before the alleged kidnapping that Seymour was discouraged at the number of guards available to protect the king. Those who oppose Seymour see that as him scoping out the joint beforehand. I see it as an uncle who is concerned for his nephews safety.
Henry Bullinger is quoted as condemning Seymour on the 15th of February 1549. Bullinger, a German reformer, put all the blame on Seymour and insisted that Seymour killed the King’s dog and would have killed the King if he had not been halted by the guards.
When we consider the killing of the King’s dog we must remember that there were no witnesses to the murder. It was easy to place the blame on Seymour. Contrary to what some authors have stated, the King’s dog was not next to the King’s bed in his bedchamber, instead he was just outside the room.
Thomas Seymour had brought a few of his servants with him that night at Hampton Court Palace that night. My thought has always been that Seymour was concerned about the safety of his nephew. There was no advantage for him to murder his nephew, but protect him – yes. It is my belief that one of his servants made it to King’s room before Seymour to check if the room was being protected and got scared by the barking dog. In a panic the dog was killed. Seymour’s timing could not have been worse – as he approached the King’s room the King’s guards apprehended him. Seymour insisted that he was checking that the King was securely guarded. It is possible that he was there to kidnap his nephew. He may have seen this as his only option.
10. It is objected and laid to your charge that you have corrupted with money certain certain of the Privy Chamber to persuade the King’s Majesty to have a credit towards you, and so to insinuate you to his Grace that when he lacked anything he should have it of you and none other body, to ‘thintent’ he should mislike his ordering and that you might the better when you saw time, use the King’s Highness for an instrument to this purpose; to the danger of his royal person and subversion of the state of the realm.
This charge indicates that Seymour was bribing council members to get what he wanted. Some of the men he spoke with were the Marquis of Dorset, Marquis of Northampton, Earl of Rutland, Earl of Southampton, Lord Russell and Lord Clinton. Seymour would try and recruit the men as they walked to and from Parliament. It wasn’t only Parliament members but Commons members as well.
11. It is objected and laid unto your charge that you promised the marriage of the King’s Majesty at your will and pleasure.
This charge is in reference to Seymour promising Henry and Frances Grey that their daughter, Jane, would marry the king.
This is indeed fact. We know that because Henry Grey mentions it when he is examined by the Council after the arrest of Thomas.
12. It is objected and laid unto your charge that you have labored and gone about to combine and confederate yourself with some persons, and specially moved those noble men whom you thought not to be contented to depart into their countries and make themselves strong, and otherwise to allure them to serve your purposes by gentle promises and offers, to have a part and faction in a readiness to all your purposes; to the danger of the King’s Majesty’s person and peril of the state of the realm.
This charge is in regards to Thomas finding men around the countryside who were sympathetic to his cause and would ‘fight’ for him — all at a price.
13. It is objected and laid unto your charge that you have parted as it were in your imagination and intent the realm, to set noble men to countervail such other noble men as you thought would let your devilish purposes, and so labored and travailed to be strong to all your devises; to the danger of the King’s Majesty’s person and great peril of the state of the realm.
This charge appears to me to be a duplicate of number 12.
14. It is objected and laid unto your charge that you had advised certain men to entertain and win the favor and good wills of the head yemen and ringleaders of certain countries, to ‘thintent’ that they might bring the multitude and commons when you should think meet to furtherance of your purposes.
This charge appears to me to be a duplicate of number 12 & 13.
15. It is objected and laid unto your charge that you have not only studies and imagined how to have the rule of a number of men in your hands, but that you have attempted to get and also gotten divers stewardship of noblemen’s lands and the *manred, to make your party strong for you purposes aforesaid; to the danger of the King’s Majesty’s person and great peril of the state of the realm.
This charge indicates that Thomas Seymour had been working on gaining the loyalty of many men, as well and their land, to make his “army” strong.
16. It is objected and laid unto your charge that you have retained young gentlemen and ‘hed’ yemen to a great multitude, and far above such number as is permitted by the laws and statutes of the realm, or were otherwise necessary or convenient for your service, place or estate, to the fortifying of yourself towards all your evil entities and purposes; to the great danger of the King’s Majesty and peril of the state and realm.
This charge indicates that Thomas Seymour was trying to build an ‘army’ of men to ‘fight’ for him.
17. It is objected and laid unto your charge that you had so travailed in that matter that you had made yourself able to make of your own men, out of your lands and rules and other your adherents, ten thousand men beside your friends, to the advancement of all your entities and purposes; to the danger of the King’s Majesty’s person and the great peril of the state of the realm.
This charge indicates that Thomas Seymour was indeed building an ‘army’ of men to ‘fight’ for him and his cause.
18. It is objected and laid unto your charge that you had conferred, cast and weighed how much money would find the said ten thousand men for a month, and that you knew how and where to have the same sum, and that you had given warning to have and prepare the said mass of money in a readiness; to the danger of the King’s Majesty’s person and great peril to the state of the realm.
This charge indicates that Thomas Seymour worked out a way (through the Mint) to have money at his disposal in order to pay men to “fight” for him.
19. It is objected and laid unto your charge that you have, not only before you married the Queen, attempted and gone about to marry the King’s Majesty’s sister, the Lady Elizabeth, second inheritor in remainder to the Crown, but also being than let by the Lord Protector and other of the council, sithens that time both in the life of the Queen continued your old labor and love, and after her death by secret and crafty means practiced to achieve your said purpose of marrying the said Lady Elizabeth; to the danger of the King’s Majesty’s person and peril of the state of the realm.
This charge indicates that Thomas Seymour attempted, prior to marrying Parr, to wed the Lady Elizabeth – who was second in line of succession. It also mentions how after the death of Parr he continued to woo Elizabeth into marriage.
I am torn on this matter. The only evidence that I have found that Thomas proposed to Elizabeth prior to Kat Parr was through her rejection letter that Leti translated before his death in 1701. Leti has since been called ‘inaccurate and unfaithful’ and ‘his inexactitude as a historian is notorious’. So who do we believe? What proof do they have of a proposal to Elizabeth prior to Parr?
The second time Seymour was interested in marrying Elizabeth was after the death of his wife. Some people like Elizabeth Tyrwhit would say that Thomas Seymour treated Parr poorly and was responsible for her death. Tyrwhit was no fan of Seymour – never was, so it comes as no surprise that she had negative things about him.
My belief has always been that Thomas Seymour was devastated after the death of his wife. It was after her death that he went off the rails and started making poor decisions. With that being said I do not believe he wished to kill the king. But, in his state it is possible that he saw his only option kidnapping the king.
20. It is objected and laid unto your charge that you married the late Queen so soon after the late King’s death that if she had conceived straight after, it should have been a great doubt whither the child born should have been accompted the late King’s or yours, whereupon a marvelous danger and peril might and was like to have ensued to the King’s Majesty’s succession and quiet of the realm.
This charge is in regards to Thomas’ quick marriage to Katheryn Parr, dowager queen, so soon after the death of Henry VIII. This charge is indeed true as we know for certain that the couple married WAY too soon after the King’s death.
21. It is objected and laid unto your charge that you first married the Queen privately and dissemble and keep close the same, in so much that a good space after you had married her you made labor to the King’s Majesty and obtained a letter of his Majesty’s hand to move and require the said Queen to marry with you, and likewise procured the Lord Protector to speak to the Queen to bear you her favor towards marriage; by the which coloring not only your evil and dissembling nature may be known, but also it is to be feared that at this present you did intend to use the same practice in the marriage of the Lady Elizabeth’s grace.
This charge refers to not only Thomas but Katheryn’s attempt to get approval from the King (in writing) after they had already secretly married. The council believed that he was going to attempt the same thing with Lady Elizabeth — that we do not have evidence to prove. His own statements are that he knew if he did not get the approval of the council that they would have his head this time.
22. It is objected and laid unto your charge that you not only so much as lay in you did stop and let all such things as either by Parliament or otherwise should tend to the advancement of the King’s Majesty’s affairs, but did withdraw yourself from the King’s Majesty’s service, and being moved and spoken unto for your own honor and for the ability that was in you to serve and aide the King’s Majesty’s affairs and the Lord Protector, you would always draw back and feign excuses, and declare plain that you would not do it.
Wherefore upon the discourse of all these foresaid things and of many others it must needs be intended that all these preparations of men and money, the attempts and secret practices of the said marriage, ‘thatbusing’ and persuading of the King’s Majesty to mislike the government, state and order of the realm that now is, and to take the government into his own handle, and to credit you, was to none other end and purpose but after a title gotten to the crown and your part made strong, both by sea and land, with furniture of men and money sufficient, to have aspired to the dignity royal by some heinous enterprise against the King’s Majesty’s person, to the subversion of the hole state of the realm.
This charge indicates that Thomas Seymour was not holding up his duties to serve the king. They say he always pulls back, makes excuses and states that he will not go along with them. He was also charged with convincing the young king to mistrust the government and his advisers and rule on his own – without them. They believed that Thomas planned to take power for himself after the king claimed his rule and that this would result in dangerous to the entire realm.
23. It is also objected and laid unto your charge that you not only had gotten into your hands the strong and dangerous Isles of Sylly, bought of many men, but that so much as lay in your power you travailed also to have Londay; and under pretence to have ‘victualled’ the ships therewith no only went about but also moved the Lord Protector and whole council that you might by public authority have that which by private fraud and falsehood and confedering with Sharington you had gotten, that is, the Mint of Bristol, to be yours holy and only to serve your purposes; casting as may appear that if these traitorous purposes had no good success yet you might thither convey a good mass of money, where, being aided with ships and conspiring at all evil events with pirates, you might at all times have a sure and safe refuge, if any thing for your demerits should have been attempted against you.
I’m still working on this one. Stay Tuned
24. It is also objected and laid unto your charge that having knowledge that Sir William Sharington, knight, had committed treason, and otherwise wonderfully defrauded and deceived the King’s Majesty, nevertheless you both by yourself and by seeking council for him, and by all means you could, did aide, assist and bear him, contrary to your allegiance and duty to the King’s Majesty and the good laws and orders of the realm.
This charge indicates that the Council was aware that Thomas was working with Sir William Sharington on getting the money necessary to raise men. Sharington was fraudulently making coin which was considered treason, and Thomas knew that.
25. It is objected and laid unto your charge that where you ought unto Sir William Sharington, knight, a great sum of money, yet to abet, bear and cloke the great falsehood of the said Sharington, and to defraud the King’s Majesty, you were not afraid to say and affirm before the Lord Protector and the Council that the same Sharington did own unto you a great sum of money; videlz., xxviij; and to conspire with him in that falsehood and to take a bill of that feigned debt into your custody.
This charge indicates that Thomas Seymour owed Sir William Sharington a great deal of money and that he hid the fact from all that Sharington was helping him make the coin.
26. It is objected and laid unto your charge that you by yourself and ministers have not only extorted and bribed great sums of money of all such ships as should go into island, but also as should go any other where in merchandise, contrary to the liberty of this realm and to the great discouragement and destruction of the Navy of the same; to the great danger of the King’s Majesty and the state of the realm.
This charge indicates that Thomas Seymour was colluding with pirates to raise funds.
27. It is objected and laid unto your charge that where many merchants, as well strangers as Englishmen, have had their goods piratously robbed and taken, you have had their goods in your hand and custody, daily seen in your house and distributed among your servants and friends, without any restitution to the parties so injured and spoiled; so that thereby foreign princes have in manner been wary of the King’s Majesty’s amity, and by their Ambassadors many times complained; to the great slander of the King’s Majesty and danger of the state of the realm.
This charge indicates that Thomas Seymour had “robbed” Englishmen and given the goods to servants and friends. These goods had been said to be seen within his household.
I have yet to come across any stories or confessions by people around at the time that indicate Thomas Seymour gave stolen items to her servants and friends.
28. It is objected and laid unto your charge that where certain men have taken certain pirates, you have not only taken from the takers of the said pirates all the goods and ships so taken, without any reward, but have cast the said takers for their good service done to the King’s Majesty into prison and there detained them a great time, some viij weeks, some more, some less, to the discourage of such as truly should serve the King’s Majesty against his pirate and enemies.
This charge indicates that Thomas Seymour turned against the people who were doing right by England and arresting pirates were in turn arrested by the Lord High Admiral and imprisoned for around eight weeks.
29. It is objected and laid unto your charge that divers of the head pirates being brought unto you, you have let the same pirates go again free unto the seas, and taking away from the takers of them not only all their commodity and profit, but from the true owners of the ships and goods all such as ever came into the pirate, and to have had the advantage they could bring unto you.
This charge indicates that Thomas Seymour was working with the pirates and released those that had been arrested after being caught pirating. He then took the goods from the true owners of the ships and returned the pirates to the sea.
30. It is objected and laid unto your charge that where order hath been taken by the Lord Protector and the whole council that certain goods pyratically taken upon the seas, and otherwise known not to be wreck nor forfeited, should be restored to the true owners, and letters thereupon written by the Lord Protectors and the counsil, to the which letters you yourself among others did set unto your hand; yet you this notwithstanding have given commandment to your officers that no such letters should be obeyed, and written your private letters to the contrary, commanding the said goods not to be restored but kept to your own use and profit, contrary to your own hand before in the Council chamber written, and contrary to your duty and allegiance, and to the perilous example of others and great slander and danger of the realm.
This charge alleges that Thomas Seymour chose to keep all the goods from these pirated ships instead of returning the goods to the true owners of it.
31. It is objected and laid unto your charge that where certain strangers which were friends and allies to the King’s Majesty had their ships with wind and weather broken, and yet came unwrecked to the shore, when the Lord Protector and the Council had written for the restitution of the said goods, and to the country to aid and save so much of the goods as might, you yourself subscribing and consenting thereto; yet this notwithstanding you have not only given contrary commandment to your officers, but as a pirate have written letters to some of your friends to help that as much of those goods as they could should be conveyed away secretly by night further of, upon hope that if the same goods were assured, the owners would make no further labor for them, and then you might have enjoyed them, contrary to justice and your honor and to the great slander of this realm.
This charge alleges that even though Thomas knew that the goods should be returned to the true owners he had made it possible for those goods to be moved at night to a safe location.
32. It is objected and laid unto your charge that you have not only disclosed the King’s Majesty’s secret council, but also where you yourself among the rest have consented and agreed to certain things for the advancement of the King’s affairs, you have spoken and labored against the same.
This charge indicates that Thomas Seymour had uncovered the king’s secret council and that he had attempted to persuade all them to his cause even after he had already signed off on Edward’s minority and rule.
33. It is further objected and laid unto your charge that your deputy, steward, and other your ministers of the Holte in the county of Denbighe, have now against Christmas last past at the said Holte made such provision of wheat, malt, beefs and other such things as be necessary for the sustenance of a great number of men, making also by all the means possible a great mass of money, in so much that all the country doth greatly marvel at it, and the more because your servants have spread rumors abroad that the King’s Majesty was dead; whereupon the country is in a great mass, doubt and expectation, looking for some broile, and would have been more if at this present by your apprehension it had not been stayed.
This charge indicates that in one of his properties (Holte) that there was an abundance of wheat, malt, beef and other things that would be necessary to feed a large number of men. This amount of sustenance could only be provided by great sums of money. He was also informed that his servants were spreading rumors abroad that Edward VI was dead, which would benefit your cause.
To this the said Lord Admiral would make none other answer but that he would answer to nothing laid to his charge, neither yea nor nay, except he had his accusers brought before him, and except he were brought in upon trial and arraignment, where he might say before all the world what he could say for his declaration. This answer seeming very strange, and every one of the Lords and others of the Council saying his mind and exhortation unto him to take better advise, the Lord Chancellor commanding him in the King’s Majesty’s name and upon his allegiance to answer to the said Article either year or nay, or such answer as he thought meet to make; his resolute answer was that if they would leave the articles with him he would thank them, but as for answering he said plainly they should not look for it for he would not do it otherwise than he said before.
Hereupon the Council thought it meet that he should depart for a time, and then upon deliberation among themselves they thought it in no wise conveyance to read or open the articles unto him except he would answer unto them. And so when they had called him in again unto them and ‘eftsones’ desired, moved, exhorted, prayed and commanded him to hear and answer to the said Articles, when they perceived him finally and obstinately determined not to answer any thing unto them, they departed from thence and left him in his old custody.
Lord Seymour to Prepare for Death
On the 15th of March the Lord Chancellor and the rest of the Council including the Bishop of Ely were sent to inform Thomas to prepare for death, or to instruct him to the wealth of his soul and how to behave at his execution.
Order for the Execution
On the 17th of March, the Lord Chancellor and the rest of the King’s coucil met at Westminster and heard the report of Bishop of Ely, who said that the Lords and others of the council were sent to instruct and comfort the Lord Admiral. Afterward they discussed a time most convenient for the execution.
They decided that he would be executed on the following Wednesday between 9am and Noon. After the execution Seymours head and body would be buried within the Tower. It was then requested that Bishop of Ely go to Seymour and instruct and teach him the best he could to the quiet and patience suffering of justice and to prepare himself to Almighty God.
¹England Under the Reigns of Edward VI and Mary with the Contemporary History of Europe. [Link]
Acts of the Privy Council of England [Link]
Cobbett’s Political Register [Link]
McLean, John. “The Life of Thomas Seymour, Baron Seymour of Sudeley”
Bernard, G.W. “Power and Politics in Tudor England”