A Castle Fit for a King: Holt

In January 1549, not long after Thomas Seymour was arrested (just days really), two men by the names of Sir Thomas Cawerden and Sir William Goryng were sent to take inventory of his goods, chattels, etc., in and about the Manor Place of Sheffield and Forest of Worthe, co. Sussex. Supposedly properties of Seymours.

When I looked up their locations on a map I immediately noticed its proximity to London – which made me wonder if it could be the connection I’ve been looking for the munitions in the woods. Back in 2016, when I first began digging into Thomas’ history, I read somewhere that munitions were being made in the woods – an accusation to go along his need for 10,000 men. It was an interesting statement to me at the time since Thomas was created Master of Ordnance in 1544 and held the position until he was made Lord High Admiral, at which point the position was granted to Sir Philip Hoby.


Remains of Holt Castle. This was built in the 13th century following the conquest of North Wales by King Edward I. After playing a crucial part in the Civil war in the 17th c. it was partly demolished and the stones from the site were used to build 208567. The remains of the castle, shown above, are believed to be the inner courtyard. The building was also called Castle Lyons originally.  // Peter Craine / Remains of Holt Castle / CC BY-SA 2.0

As Master of the Ordnance, Thomas Seymour was considered a high-ranking officer in the military. He was responsible for things like artilleryengineers, fortifications and military supplies. I recently wrote about Holt Castle being fortified to hold the King after Thomas kidnapped him. In the position of Master of the Ordnance he would have had access to everything he needed to fortify the castle, but would he still have the same power after relinquishing the title to another?


What Holt looked like – Wrexham Borough Council / Chris Jones-Jenkins

My next question: Is there anything in his Act of Attainder about fortifying Holt to house the King? I can answer that. In Thomas Seymour’s Act of Attainder it held thirty-three charges against the King’s  uncle. Charge #33 was:

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 (Thomas Seymour’s) 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.

Did you see anything in there about Holt Castle being fortified to hold the King? What I read is that they were suspicious as to why Holt was well-provisioned. It is assumed that it is to feed an army of men. Without a response from Seymour on the matter we only have one side of the story. As we all know, history is written by the victors.

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