All posts by Rebecca Larson

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.

That got me thinking – could I locate through images and videos the section of Sudeley Castle that contained the Queen’s Presence Chamber?

In this below screen cap from a video you can clearly see large windows (white arrow) that appear to go from floor to ceiling, but it was not confirmed to me until I noticed the fireplace (green arrow) – the fireplace would obviously be at floor level and so, that to me, indicates that the ruins are indeed part of what Thomas Seymour had built for his queen.

In addition, the Queen’s Garden (pink arrow) are just on the other side of the windows but is now obstructed by a tree, or trees. This could most definitely be the Presence Chamber with dowager queen Kateryn Parr would have accepted visitors to her court as Sudeley was considered a second court. It is uncertain whether or not the chamber was ever used by the dowager queen.

The Presence Chamber Thomas Seymour built for Kateryn Parr. It is said that it had ceilings that went from floor to ceiling and that the windows made you feel like you were standing in t

Now it stands in ruins at Sudeley Castle in Winchcombe, most likely destroyed during the Civil War. We can only imagine the magnificence that would have appeared before visitors who entered.

This theory has been confirmed by Dr. Sarah Morris of The Tudor Travel Guide.

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.

It wasn’t until very recently that I decided to look at the letters again to help me truly understand who Thomas Seymour was. He wasn’t just the fourth son of John and Margery Wentworth, or the brother of Queen Jane and Edward Seymour – he was a soldier, a man of the sea, an ambassador to the Low Countries and to the King of Hungary. He was also, by the standards of the mid-16th century, worldly. Thomas had traveled to France, Germany, Austria and Hungary…to name the ones that I know of for sure. He was, for the most part well-liked by all. Thomas had the charisma that his brother Edward did not; and the looks his sister Jane apparently lacked.

As I navigated through the passages of these letters, I discovered that Thomas had a flair for the dramatic as well. There is one part where he states “we have lost our boats” – making it appear worse by not expounding. When reading that line you get the impression that ships sank. Quite the contrary, they just veered off course. Thomas had a way of drawing attention to himself, even in letters.

It is with all this in mind that I chose to write about what I believe was Thomas’ first mission abroad – As ambassador to the King of Hungary.

In order to grasp the entire subject of this post, I need to start with the Siege of Buda – this will help a bit to explain the events leading up to Thomas Seymour being appointed ambassador in 1542.

Siege of Buda (1541)

The Siege of Buda lasted from 4 May to 21 August 1541 and resulted in the capture of Buda (in Hungary) by the Ottoman Empire, headed by Suleiman the Magnificent.

 

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Siege of Buda, 1541 by Erhardt Schön

A little back story: Ferdinand of Hungary was the ruler of the Austrian hereditary lands of the Habsburgs. and two years before the Siege of Buda, his accomplished commander, Wilhelm von Roggendorf resigned from combat.  — Well, when it was decided that Ferdinand and his allies would lay siege on Buda, von Roggendorf could not resist a good fight for his master. He threw on his armor and joined the allies probably in Vienna.

The Hapsburg Empire and the Ottoman Empire had a lasting feud with one another. Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and Suleiman the Magnificent, ruler of the Ottoman Empire, appear to have enjoyed fighting one another for the land in Hungary.

Ferdinand, in 1541, was the King of Hungary, Bohemia, Germany, Croatia, King of the Romans and Archduke of Austria. Between Ferdinand and his brother the Emperor, those two ruled most of Europe. By the 16th century, the Ottomans had become a serious threat to the European powers.

This siege was nothing new. From 1526 – 1568, the Habsburgs and the Ottoman Empire were engaged in a series of campaigns called the Little War of Hungary…that’s 42 years of fighting! Am I the only one that thinks 42 years is far from little?

The conflict with Buda had really begun much, much earlier.

This was an ongoing battle with the winner often changing. So the Habsburgs claimed it and then it was taken by the Ottoman Empire. The Habsburgs reclaimed Buda and eventually the Ottoman Empire snatched it up again. That is exactly what happened leading up to the Siege of Buda. The Ottoman Empire after claiming Buda again decided that they wanted Vienna as well and would try to use the momentum gained from the victory at Buda. It did not work and they were horribly defeated in Vienna.

So we are left with both Buda and Pest in the hands of the Ottoman Empire after the Siege of Buda. Of course, the Habsburgs could not let this be. They wanted both Buda and Pest back in their control.

This is when England and Thomas Seymour comes into the story.

Siege of Pest (1542)

In June 1542, Thomas Seymour was named ambassador to the court of King Ferdinand of Hungary. A trip to Nuremberg quickly followed and Thomas was accompanied by Charles Howard. Charles was the brother of the late Katheryn Howard and Thomas the brother of the late Jane Seymour. The trip to Nuremberg would be the beginning of their trip to take part in the expedition against Hungary, or what it would later be called, “Siege of Pest”.

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Thomas Seymour’s estimated (by modern maps) path from England to Hungary

Europe

It appears from letters that this ambassador traveled with the allied troops and discussed any interactions he may had as ambassador to Hungary.

The allies traveled through Europe until they arrived at Vienna, where (it appears) they regrouped before heading to their final stop before Buda, at Esztergom.

On the 6th of July 1542, it was reported that the whole army would moved on Buda (it would take about 10 days from Esztergom). Thomas Seymour, in a letter, tells King Henry that there are about 80,000 troops in all, of which 6,000 were upon the Danube, in boats. Along the way the army was able to determine that Buda was strongly fortified with 15,000 men.

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Vienna to Ezstergom to Buda and Pest

Then on the 10th of July, Thomas wrote to King Henry that the army ‘is camped on the other side of the Danube’. Half of the army came across the Danube by the town castle, where the king and queen, as well as lords and ladies stood for ‘8 or 9 hours‘ to see them pass. I have been trying to figure out which castle he is referring to in his letter. I’m assuming that he is referring to the mammoth sized Buda Castle that lies on the banks of the Danube but I cannot be certain on their plan of attack.

The following day the rest of the men followed. In the same letter to his King, Thomas explains how the King (of Hungary) did not intend to besiege Buda the following day and that he planned to depart for Nuremberg to meet the Council of the Empire.

So, here is Thomas, ambassador to Hungary, and he just revealed that the man who the English army was there to assist (brother to the Emperor), would abandon the field to go to Nuremberg for a meeting.

The plan moving forward was that the army would besiege Pest. If they won the battle they would fortify it and end the campaign for the year. Once fortified they would await the instructions from the Council of the Empire.

 

The Siege of Pest

 

There was a snag in the plans when the Turks chose not to send their 8,000 footmen, but in their place they would send 20,000 light horse. Seymour then goes on to explain in his letter that they will ‘tarry here five days for pioneers to mend the way’.

The scene changed a bit by the time August arrived – still in Hungary, here is a transcribed letter by Thomas Seymour:

News is here so uncertain that he cannot vouch for it. The Turk is coming in person to Buda with 300,000 men, divided in six battles, intending to attack on six sundry days. This army intends, therefore, to tract time until the midst of October; for in the end of October the Danube is frozen, so that the Turk cannot then bring his victuals by water. If it was certain that the Turk would not come in person, even if he sent 200,000 men, as Baron Hedeke says, they would straight to Pest, which could be taken in three days, and then besiege Buda, which might be battered sufficiently for the assault in eight days. Missing it, they would garrison Pest, Stregone, Rabbe, and other strongholds and retire home for the winter. This enterprise can wait six weeks yet. The Turk has lately sent 14,000 men to Buda and Pest, making 32,000 in all; but they are sore punished with plague, men falling dead as they walk in the streets.

A few days after his letter to Henry VIII, the King replied to Thomas Seymour telling him that he had essentially done his job as ambassador and that his ‘service here is required‘ and that ‘shall upon receipt of this take leave and return home‘.

So…evidently, Thomas left Buda and headed back toward Vienna, because that is the next time we hear from him, on the 5th of September where he updates the progress of the upcoming siege.

 

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Sir Thomas Seymour, ambassador to Hungary.

So the Bishop of Warden sent a man to the King of Hungary and told him that if he will come to Buda in person that the Bishop will accompany him with 8,000 horses. If he does NOT come then neither he nor the 15,000 troops at Stregonne (Esztergom) will advance.

Inevitably, the Siege of Pest was a failure. The ally armies were led by a seasoned Austrian military leader, Wilhelm von Roggendorf.  Roggendorf was wounded in battle near the end of the siege and died two days later.

Had it been the King of Hungary leading his men this story may have had a different ending. King Ferdinand, whatever his reasons, left HIS battle! Does that seem odd to you?

On the 5th of October, Thomas Seymour reported that ‘after battering a breach, they assaulted Pest, but failed; and afterwards, for lack of wages, the soldiers refused to keep watch and ward or to make assault’.

After all the excitement in Hungary, Thomas Seymour was sent back (under order of the King) to Nuremberg. There he had more discussions and negotiations with other German ambassadors who said they would not fight for the Emperor, but that they could find men who would.

As stated previously, the Siege of Pest was an utter failure and the Ottoman Empire ruled there for another 150 years!

Before doing all this research I did not really know anything about Ferdinand of Hungary. Once I discovered he was the brother to the Holy Roman Emperor it all made more sense.

Here is Charles V and his wife Isabella of Portugal. Charles was the son of Juana of Castile, and Isabella the daughter of Maria of Aragon. Juana and Maria were both sisters of Katherine of Aragon. Charles and Isabella were not only husband and wife but also first cousins.

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Charles V and his wife Isabella of Portugal

 

Now, check this out: Ferdinand of Hungary, younger than Charles V by about three years. He doesn’t appear to have the strong Hapsburg chin but definitely the long jaw.

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Portrait of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor, 1559 – Workshop of Jan Cornelisz. Vermeyen

 

Let’s be honest, if you look at their portraits side by side you’ll notice the similarity in features. They were, by the way, both sons of Philip I and Juana of Castile. Juana, the sister of Katherine of Aragon.

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Charles on the left and Ferdinand on the right

 

So, that’s the story of Thomas Seymour as diplomat and the Siege of Pest. I truly hope you enjoyed taking this adventure with me to learn the truth about Thomas’ life and another interesting piece of Tudor history. I will continue on this path for future posts!

Ladies for a Queen: Sudeley Castle

One of the most popular stories that comes to mind in the saga of Thomas Seymour and teenage Lady Elizabeth, is the one about Thomas proposing to Elizabeth after the death of Kateryn Parr. In this article I will attempt to explain some of the circumstances surrounding that situation but mostly try to explain the dowager queen’s ladies and maids being kept at Sudeley after her death and how some have assumed it was because Seymour wished to marry the Lady Elizabeth.

Wardship of Jane Grey

At some point prior to the death of dowager Queen, Kateryn Parr, Thomas Seymour negotiated with Henry Grey, Marquis of Dorset about purchasing the wardship of his daughter, Lady Jane Grey. Jane’s mother Frances Brandon was the daughter of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk and Mary Tudor, dowager queen of France and Duchess of Suffolk. This meant that Henry VIII was Jane Grey’s great-uncle and she was a cousin to Edward VI.

Dorset finally agreed to the terms of the deal when Seymour told him that he would arrange a marriage between his nephew, the King and Jane. Lady Jane Grey, if married to Edward VI would become queen consort. Since she was much further down in the line of succession this option seemed like the perfect way to raise the family’s status once again. The Dorsets were no different from any other noble family of the time, they were social climbers.

Jane stayed primarily at Seymour Place and only very rarely was in the same location as the Lady Elizabeth. We honestly do not know what type of relationship the two teenagers had, if they had one at all. We also can assume that Jane was not present for the alleged escapes between Seymour and Elizabeth.

After the Lady Elizabeth was sent to Cheshunt Place, Seymour, Parr and Jane moved to the newly refurbished Sudeley Castle where Parr would do her “lying in” prior to giving birth.

Changes After Death of Parr

All seemed well until Parr died only days after giving birth to a daughter. Thomas was reportedly devastated and this was about the time it appears he went off the rails. I am confident that he did not expect Parr to die, and when she did it catapulted him into a world where he didn’t have a “powerful” queen dowager at his side.

It was not long after the death of Parr that I had always believed that Seymour chose to disband her ladies and maids as well as his ward, Lady Jane Grey. I would soon discover that he did not disband the Queen’s former servants at all, only his ward, Lady Jane Grey.  When it came to Jane it did not take long for Seymour to realize he made a hasty decision and wrote to the Dorsets to let them know he wished to have their returned to him.

Seymour said in his letter that he wrote to Henry Grey:

in a time when partly with Queen’s Highness’ death, I was so amazed, that I had small regard either to myself or to my doings; and partly then thinking that my great loss must presently have constrained me to have broken up and dissolved my hole house, I offered unto your Lordship to send my Lady Jane unto you….“.

Seymour then went on to mention how he had now put his ‘trust in God’ and decided to ‘begin anew’ to establish his household. He said that he would have not only the Gentlewomen of the Queen’s Highness’ privy chamber but also her maids. He mentioned that some of the Maids and Gentlemen requested a month off to see their friends and then immediately would return to Sudeley.

But Seymour evidently did not believe that the Queen’s household would be enough to entice Dorset to return his daughter. Maybe he believed they were concerned that she did not have a strong female to guide her any longer. He mentioned that “My Lady, my mother, shall and will, I doubt not, be as dear unto her, as though she were her own daughter.”

Letters did not appear to do the trick. Seymour got on his horse and went straight to the Dorsets and convinced them in person to send Jane back to Sudeley. I assume with more promises of Jane marrying Edward VI. The plan worked. Jane was returned to Seymour.

Household for a Queen

It was Elizabeth Tyrwhit, former lady to Kateryn Parr (and a woman known to despise Seymour) who, in her confession, stated that she believed Seymour kept the Queen’s household together to wait upon Elizabeth because he wished to marry her. It appears Tyrwhit’s husband had connection with the council, so it may be that she heard the rumors from her husband.

Through my research I have been unable to discover proof that Thomas proposed to Elizabeth in the Fall of 1548, other than a hint of it in Professor G.W. Bernard’s essay about the downfall of Seymour. This may have something to do with the suspicion of the council. Lord Russell, who was a member of the council, warned Thomas Seymour that if he would go about any such thing, he [Seymour] would undo himself. Seymour definitely was familiar with the suspicions and told his friend and brother-in-law, William Parr, Marquess of Northampton that ‘he was credibly informed, that my Lord Protector had said he would clap him in the Tower if he went to my Lady Elizabeth’.¹ When Kat Ashley asked Thomas about a marriage with Elizabeth he responded: “I look not to lose my life for a wife. It has been spoken of, but it cannot be.”² Seymour understood, fully, that if he attempted to marry the Lady Elizabeth that he would most likely be executed.

Seymour’s servant, Harrington mentions the marriage between Edward VI and Lady Jane Grey:

And some say that he meaned to marry the Lady Jane to the King’s Majesty, but I understand by other men’s danger, what it is to marry a king; and therefore I ‘entred’ not that; but if I might have any in my house, whom the king might ‘phantase” (fantasy), I were much to blame, if I would be against it.

I don’t trust Kat Ashley’s statements but she mentioned to Mr. Cheke that she spoke with Seymour and that he wished to visit Elizabeth but was concerned that it would appear he was wooing her.

Conclusion

There are times in Tudor history that all is not as it appears – I believe this to be one of those instances. It is my believe that Thomas Seymour kept on the ladies and maids of Kateryn Parr to serve Lady Jane Grey, not the Lady Elizabeth. Why? Well, because Thomas planned to marry her to the King Edward VI and she would require a household of a queen – something that he already had in place due to his deceased wife. I would be kidding myself if I said that such a move would not benefit Seymour, but that is a different topic for another day.

Notes:

¹ State Papers – Confession of Marquess of Northampton – page 79-80

² Froude, JA. History of England from the Fall of Wolsey to the Death of Elizabeth 

Elizabeth, in the Gallery, with a Man

Thomas Parry was Lady Elizabeth’s Cofferer and was one of the servants close to Elizabeth who was interrogated during the downfall of Sir Thomas Seymour, Baron Seymour of Sudeley and Lord High Admiral.

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Thomas Parry

As the Cofferer, Parry would have been responsible for in the incoming and outgoing money that belonged to his mistress, the Lady Elizabeth. In such a position one must assume that he and Kat Ashley had a decent relationship since they both worked closely with her Grace. In Parry’s confession it appears that Kat Ashley would confide in her co-worker, either about stuff she knew or had heard.

Thomas Parry’s Confession about what Kat Ashley told him:

…one time the queen, suspecting the often access of the Admiral to the Lady Elizabeth’s grace, came suddenly upon them, where they were all alone (he having her in his arms)

So what Thomas Parry is telling us there is that Kat Ashley told him that Kateryn Parr found Elizabeth in Thomas’ arms. Got that? Kateryn Parr.

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Kat Ashley

Now when we look at Kat Ashley’s confession the story changes a bit:

At Hanworth, the Queen told this examinate [Kat Ashley] that my Lord Admiral looked in at the gallery-window, and see my Lady Elizabeth cast her arms about a man’s neck. The which hearing, this examinate inquired for it of my Lady’s Grace, who denied it weeping, and bade ask all her women: they all denied it: and she knew it could not be so, for there came no man, but “Gryndall”, the Lady Elizabeth’s Schoolmaster. 

Now Kat Ashley has changed the story and states that she was told by the Queen [Kat Parr] that Thomas Seymour witnessed Elizabeth with her arms about a man’s neck. So…who was the man? Did this event ever happen? Was it all made up?

With the changing of the story in mind, we should look at some of the other things that Ashley said in her confession. Some things that will give you a better impression of what kind of Governess to the princess she was.

Why would a “mother” or Governess for that fact, tell her charge that the woman she adores (Kat Parr) was Thomas Seymour’s second choice? Here is what Elizabeth said exactly in her confession:

Kat Ashley told me, after that my Lord Admiral was married to the queen, that if my Lord might have had his own will, he would have had me, before the queen.

It was obvious to many people, including Ashley, Parry and Ashley’s husband (as well as others) that Elizabeth had a crush on the handsome Seymour. That she would blush as the saying of his name.

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Lady Elizabeth

What was Ashley’s point in telling Elizabeth that Seymour would have rather married her over the Queen? It seems that she was actively trying to get Elizabeth to go along with a marriage to Seymour, however, when Elizabeth was questioned about it she defended her Governess:

I suspect she [Ashley] told me, that if the council did consent to it, she thought it was not amiss. Be which sayings, and all the rest, “That if the council would consent it, I thought she had right good will thereunto.”

I get the strong impression that Kat Ashley was taking advantage of the feelings of a teenager…but for what reason other than the advantage of the entire household I do not know.

In Ashley’s confession she also said:

…divers times she hath had talk, and had communications of that matter with the said Lady Elizabeth, and hath wished both openly and privately, that they two were married together, meaning my Lord Admiral and the Lady Elizabeth; but she ever did “adjoyne” unto it, if the council were content.  

Ashley understood how dangerous a secret marriage between Elizabeth and Seymour could have been. She would have witnessed many of the events that occurred at Kat Parr secretly wed the Admiral. So why was she in favor of the wedding?

While writing this piece I came to a conclusion: Kat Ashley enjoyed attention. She liked to talk – even if her story would change. We have all known someone like that, haven’t we? Personality defects like that weren’t created in our time, they have been around for centuries. Kat Ashley, in my opinion, is the prime example of that.

So the moral of the story here is: Just because someone “confessed” something, especially under physiological torture, it should not immediately be taken as truth. This story will lead me to debunking and comparing many other statements Ashley made in regards to Thomas Seymour.

Source:

A Collection of State Papers, relating to Affairs In the Reigns of King Henry VIII, King Edward VI, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth : From the year 1542 to 1570

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.

It would be awhile before Seymour would have a place of his own. It wasn’t until he was recognized for his military and political achievements that he finally made some progress in that arena.

In summer 1543 he was marshal of the English army in the Low Countries, serving under Sir John Wallop. This military experience may explain his appointment as master of the ordnance for life on 18 April 1544, a striking mark of royal favour, and he took part in the capture of Boulogne on 14 September. In October of that year he was appointed an admiral of the fleet, and he was much involved in naval action in 1545.¹

Thomas Seymour was ‘rewarded’ Hampton Palace in November 1544 and soon renamed it Seymour Place. Hampton Place had been previously owned by William Fitzwilliam, Earl of Southampton until his death in 1542. Since Hampton Place was available to Thomas Seymour in 1544, and Southampton died it 1542, we can assume that after Southampton’s death the property reverted back to the Crown. That is until it was given to Thomas Seymour on the 29th of November 1544.

In less than three years from the time he was rewarded with Seymour Place, King Henry VIII was dead and Thomas Seymour, uncle to the King, was created Baron Seymour of Sudeley and as such became the owner of Sudeley Castle.

Description and Location

The best description of location I have found of Seymour Place was that it was to the East of Somerset Place and just outside Temple Bar. In this illustration below, you will see “Temple barre” in the top right. Just down and to the right of the words you will notice an arch – that is Temple Bar.

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The Agas Map of Early Modern London: https://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/agas.htm

What was Temple Bar exactly?

…was the principal ceremonial entrance to the City of London on its western side from the City of Westminster. It is situated on the historic royal ceremonial route from the Tower of London to the Palace of Westminster, the two chief residences of the medieval English monarchs, and from the Palace of Westminster to St Paul’s Cathedral

Here is what Temple Bar looked like in 1870 (sketch) and 1878 (photograph):

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Images in the Public Domain

Seymour Place, which after the execution of Thomas Seymour became Arundel Place, was located on the River Thames and was between Milford Lane and Strand Lane. Strand Lane is what separated Seymour Place from Somerset Place. Arundel place was to the south of St. Clement Dane (church) and adjacent to the Roman Baths at the Strand.

In the below image you will notice that Arundel Place, just to the right (or East) of it is Milford Lane. Thomas’ home was very near Temple Bar and was technically in Westminster and not London.

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Agas Map https://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/agas.htm

These below sketches were created by Wenceslas Hollar in his lifetime (1607-1677 ) and it gives you a feel for what it may have looked like during the life of Thomas Seymour:

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Arundel House, from the South [from the Thames side] by Wenceslas Hollar. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
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Arundel House, from the North by Wenceslas Hollar. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

 Here is another image of Arundel Place in 1677:

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This Image © Copyright MAPCO 2009

Even after Arundel House was demolished in 1680 to 1682, it was remembered in descriptions of LondonJohn Strype recorded a brief history of Arundel House in his 1720 update to Stow’s A Survey of London, terminating in the house’s demolition:

Formerly the Bishop of Bath’s Inn: Which in Process of Time came to the Family of the Howards, Dukes of Norfolk, the late Duke dwelling there. It then was a very large and old built House; with a spacious Yard for Stablings, towards the Strand, and with a Gate to enclose it, where there was the Porters Lodge; and as large a Garden towards the Thames. This said House and Grounds was some Years since converted into Streets and Buildings.
(Strype 4.7.117

Seymour Place was the location at which Lady Jane Grey stayed during the time that Thomas Seymour owned her wardship. Grey also eventually moved to Sudeley Castle in 1548 with Seymour and Parr.

My original impression of Seymour Place was that it was a small home. It wasn’t until I was able to get a good look at it through maps that I discovered it was quite the property and I have no doubt that Thomas Seymour made it into a grand estate.

Notes:

¹ Bernard, G.W., Oxford Dictionary of National Biography:  Seymour, Thomas, Baron Seymour of Sudeley

² Wikipedia. Temple Bar, London
³ Maps of Early Modern London – Arundel House

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.” 

The portraits that remain vary in appearance yet all have something in common. The sitter. There is a Holbein sketch located at the Victoria and Albert Museum that is labeled as possibly Sir Thomas Seymour. The sketch is dated between 1535 and 1540. The sitter is without a cap (unusual compared to his other portraits) and wearing a fur collar. The sitter appears to be ‘middle-aged’¹ and the head it turned slightly.

Whether or not it is truly Thomas Seymour we may never know. The sitter has some similarities to the “1545” miniature portrait that is available at the National Maritime Museum – a portrait that is believed (by the National Portrait Gallery) to be the basis for all subsequent portraits. If indeed the Holbein portrait is that of Thomas Seymour we must believe that it is a true likeness of the man since Holbein was quite possibly the most talented artist at Tudor court.

There is another mysterious portrait (see below) of Thomas Seymour that was created by an unknown artist. This portrait has an inscription on the side as well. The portrait itself is mostly black with the inscription in gold lettering. There is so much black in the portrait that it appears to show a floating head. I have since taken this dark portrait and lightened it up to uncover a detail that was previously unseen.

What immediately caught my eye was the barely visible white color in the brightened image. When I zoomed in on the color is appears to have some type of black embroidery on it – was this an homage to his sister Jane’s wonderful handiwork?

This portrait and all the other ones where Seymour is dressed in black definitely appear to be copied from the “1545” miniature shown above.

I have attempted to transcribe the inscription on the portrait and here is what I came up with:

“Of person rare strong limbs & manly shape
Of nature framed to serve on sea & land
Of friendship firm in good state or ill hope
In peace ‘heade’ and in war great bold hands
On horse on foot in peril or play
None could excel though many did say
A subject true to king
A servant great
Friend to God’s truth, enemy to Rome’s deceit
‘Sumptuose’ abroad for honor of the land
Temperate at home yet kept great state (& stay)
And gave more mouths more meat
then some advanced on higher steps to stand
Yet against nature reason & just laws
His blood was spilt justly without just cause”

Then there is probably the most commonly used portrait of Thomas Seymour. In this portrait, like the others, Thomas is dressed in black and wears a black plumed hat with the ‘Little George of the Garter’ pinned to it. The pin indicates Seymour’s induction into the Order of Garter.

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Image reference: BHC3021 National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London Artist: Nicholas Denizot

Becoming a member of the Order of the Garter was not immediate for Seymour. He was nominated every year from 1543 to 1547 (five times), before he was officially voted in under the reign of his nephew, King Edward VI.

Now that we know that he wears the pin of the Order of the Garter in this portrait we must once again look at the “1545” miniature. In that portrait he is also wearing the pin, so the date of that portrait could not be correct. It must be sometime between 1547 and 1548, but not later as he was arrested in January of 1549.

All we truly know is that Thomas Seymour was said to have been an attractive man with charisma. He was liked by both men and women. He was clever, yet reckless.

Notes:

¹Victoria & Albert Museum
²Hayward, John, A Complete History of EnglandThe LIfe and Reign of Edward VI, page 301

Sources:

Victoria & Albert Museum
National Portrait Gallery
National Maritime Museum

To Protect Thyself and Thy King

When the Lord Protector, Thomas Seymour’s brother Edward, Duke of Somerset was off fighting the Battle of Pinkie in Scotland in 1547, Thomas used his time wisely by gaining friends and support from the King’s inner circle of servants and privy chamber members.

Thomas, as the Lord High Admiral of England, should have been in Scotland as well, but he had stayed in London to allegedly intrigue against Somerset. If I recall he feigned illness. This would not be the last time Thomas Seymour shirked his duties as Admiral.

It was also during the time when Somerset was at the Battle of Pinkie that Seymour was able to convince the King to write a letter approving of a marriage between Thomas and Kateryn Parr. Of course, nobody knew that the two had already wed, but Seymour got a letter written that protected himself and the queen dowager.

During this time Thomas Seymour was believed to have given money to two or three of the members of the King’s privy chamber and grooms of the chamber. By accepting the money from Seymour he believed that they would in return become ‘his men’.

The question that always remains is what was the catalyst that caused the falling out between the two Seymour brothers for Seymour to act this way?

The main cause of the following out between Thomas and his brother Edward was the fact that Edward became Lord Protector of the Realm and Governor of the King upon the accession of their nephew, Edward VI. Thomas believed that the titles should have been shared by the two brothers as had happened in the past. He even went so far to search the chronicles for precedents and discovered evidence to back him up: ‘that there was in England at one time one Protector and another Regent of France and the Duke of Exeter and the Bishop of Winchester, Governors of the King’s Person‘.¹

Some have suggested that John Dudley, Earl of Warwick instigated Seymour’s intrigues to cause discord between the brothers. After the death of Henry VIII, Thomas Seymour felt that he was unfairly treated and this caused a wound between the brothers. Like a vulcher, Warwick attacked the wounded prey.

Prior to the death of Henry VIII there is nothing of note to indicate that the brothers were anything but civil with one another. As a matter of fact, Thomas wrote to his brother when he was away that he had checked on his wife (Anne Stanhope) and Prince Edward:

“Our master and mistress, with my lord Prince, are merry, and so is my lady my sister, whom I will visit ere (before) I sleep. And thus most heartily fare ye well, and send you  a prosperous journey. Westminster, [14 March 1544]”

So Warwick, understanding that there was an opportunity to be had, promised that if Thomas pursued the cause to become Governor of the King with the council, that he would give him his support. Seymour played into Warwick’s hands like a puppet – he had already been angry and jealous toward his brother and the nudge from Warwick was enough to push him over the edge. When Thomas raised the matter at a council meeting his brother, Duke of Somerset upon hearing his statement, stood up (without saying anything) and ended the meeting.

The one thing that Warwick had not mentioned was the discord caused by having two uncles in charge – looking no further than the Duke of Gloucester and Cardinal Beaufort (previously mentioned Regent of France and Bishop of Winchester) during the minority of King Henry VI. This was something that Thomas’ brother, Somerset had mentioned and was one of the reasons he was reluctant to give his brother such a title.

We also know Thomas was not too keen on education, so did he know English history? Was he aware what had happened the last time two uncles held power during the minority of their nephew?

As Thomas pushed and pushed about the matter of becoming Governor, it only incensed Somerset further. It was brought to Seymour’s attention that he willfully signed the document making Edward, Lord Protector of the Realm and Governor of the King. This did not dissuade Seymour from his mission, however.

Ultimately, the council turned against Thomas Seymour – probably led by the Earl of Warwick and they convinced Somerset that his brother was a danger to his life.

Edward VI

Now, if we look at King Edward VI and his relationship with Somerset, we see a young King, who was the son of Henry VIII – that in itself probably means that Edward had a strong personality and wanted things his way.

John Fowler, servant to King Edward VI, had mentioned that Seymour would come to the privy buttery and drink there alone and ask him whether the king would say anything of him. Thomas had been giving the King gifts of money so that he could give gifts to his servants and have money of his own – you see, the Lord Protector had also put restrictions on his nephew the King and so Thomas may have believed he and the King were kindred spirits in the is matter…both were being held back by the Lord Protector. Seymour, while protecting and encouraging his nephew to become King in his own right was not only fighting for his nephew, but also for himself. He saw it as unfair and so had the King. At one time mentioning how he wished that his uncle Somerset was dead.

Alleged Kidnapping Attempt

On the night of the 16th of January 1549, Thomas Seymour was arrested for allegedly killing the King’s dog and attempting to kidnap the King. What is not fully stated in most cases is the facts that surround the case.

Weeks earlier, Thomas Seymour had made complaints that his nephew was not well protected. That he needed more guards. On the night of the incident it was reported that Thomas dispersed some of the guards to run errands, which left a gap in security. The Duke of Somerset had made it very clear prior to this that Thomas should not have access to his nephew. Would these guards have been brave enough to work against the Lord Protector by taking orders from his younger brother? I’m skeptical.

The story then continues with King Edward’s dog being shot outside the royal bedchamber. The sound of the gunshot alerted a nearby guard (why wasn’t there one closer?) who then collected other guards before approaching the door to the bedchamber. It was then that they spotted Thomas Seymour standing there. Immediately Thomas was accused of shooting the dog and plotting to kidnap the king.

Professor 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.²

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.²

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.²

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.²

Did Thomas Seymour want to kidnap his nephew? Well, he certainly mentioned one time that he wished to have the King in his possession. Here is how he responded to that charge against him:

“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.”²

After his arrest, Thomas Seymour was examined and mentioned that he and Fowler had a discussion about Mr. Stanhope’s paranoia surrounding the King. That he asked to be woken anytime someone came to the door. Then they went on to ask if he was afraid that any man may come and take the King. To which it was implied that that man was Seymour – he said, “If he think that I will go about it, he shall watch a good while”.³

The story of Thomas Seymour and his nephew ended with Edward VI turning against his uncle and Seymour being executed on the 19th of March 1549. Then a few years later, on the 22nd of January 1552, his other uncle and former Lord Protector was executed, leaving John Dudley as the most powerful man in England.

The Tudor court was full of scandal and intrigue and the reign of Edward VI was obviously no different.

We may never know the whole story when it comes to Thomas Seymour, but I promise you I will continue to dig until we have a better understanding of all the events that occurred between 1547 and 1549.

Notes:

¹ Dasent, J.R., Acts of the Privy Council

² Thomas Seymour Blog, Charges Against Thomas Seymour [5 March 2018]

³ A Collection of State Papers 1542-1570, Examination of the Lord Admiral [1549]

Sources:

England Under the Reigns of Edward VI and Mary with the Contemporary History of Europe

Bernard, G.W., Power and Politics in Tudor England – The downfall of Thomas Seymour (essay) [2000] ISBN 0 7546 0245 1

McLean, John, The Life of Thomas Seymour, Baron Seymour of Sudeley

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.

When Richard became King of England he once again held ownership of Sudeley Castle.

After Richard III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1483, one must assume that the castle became the property of King Henry VII since he now wore the crown. The following year he granted the castle to his uncle, Jasper Tudor, Duke of Bedford who held it until his death in 1495. The castle was once again the property of the crown.

Forty years later (1535) the castle must have still been in good condition because Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn stopped there on their tour. The King and Cromwell met at Winchcombe Abbey and planned further dissolution of monasteries together. During this visit to Sudeley Anne Boleyn is also noted to have investigated the “Blood of Christ” at Hailes Abbey which, if I remember correctly, turned out to be duck’s blood.

In 1547, when Thomas Seymour was raised by his nephew Edward VI to Baron Seymour of Sudeley he obtained the sprawling castle in need of desperate up keep. It is unknown how much Seymour spent on renovations on the castle but one can imagine it was a small fortune; He was preparing for a dowager queen to be present and their home together to be like a second court.

Author Cooper Willyams of “The History of Sudeley Castle, Near Winchcomb, Glocestershire” states that Thomas Seymour was believe to “have built his chapel of rich gothic architecture, of which the shell is now remaining here.” That statement was written in 1803.

In 1548, the castle was ready for it’s homeowners. Seymour and Parr moved into their new home along with Seymour’s ward, Lady Jane Grey and the cleric, Miles Coverdale.

The house was full of staff including ladies who would serve the dowager queen along with “more than 120 gentlemen of the household and Yeoman of the Guard.

In August of that same year Parr gave birth to a daughter, Mary Seymour and unfortunately died of puerperal fever about five days later. Her funeral was the first Protestant funeral in England with Lady Jane Grey leading as Chief Mourner. She was buried in the chapel that Seymour built. Seymour was not present at the funeral, which was common for the time but was noted by a friend as being extremely upset by the loss of his wife. (Once I locate the quote again I’ll post it here.)

Eventually, due to his reckless behavior and fear from his brother the Lord Protector, Thomas Seymour was arrested on 33 counts of treason and convicted without trial. He was executed on the 20 March 1549, afterwhich the castle once again reverted to the crown.

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.

Thirty-six knights of the Garter have been beheaded, with Henry VIII alone accounting for six. These six men were:

  • Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham
  • Edmund de la Pole
  • Henry Courtenay, 1st Marquess of Exeter
  • Nicholas Carew
  • Thomas Cromwell
  • Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey

Thomas Seymour was popular with members of court – there is no question about that. It has often been said that people liked him better than his older brother Edward, Earl of Hertford. This article is to show his popularity by the number of times he was nominated for the Order of the Garter and to understand how politics would often determine a man’s choice.

Edward, Earl of Hertford, Thomas’ older brother (and favorite of the King) had been inducted into this prestigious group of men in 1541 – the same year as Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, Sir John Gage and Anthony Wingfield.

Eventually, in 1547, Thomas Seymour was admitted into the elusive club. It is believed that King Henry VIII (on his death bed) said Thomas should be admitted but it wasn’t until after his death that it happened. Is it possible that this was one of those “facts” that was fabricated by men like Hertford and Paget? Sure that’s possible, as it appears that they may have taken liberties when Henry could no longer acknowledge the use of his signature stamp, but it is also possible that Henry understood it was important to give this honor to the uncle of the next king. We will never know for certain – but I believe he deserved the title.

1543 Nomination

It is noted in Letters and Papers from December 1543 that Thomas Seymour was nominated by several Order of the Garter members to fill the vacancy left by Thomas Manners, Earl of Rutland who passed away in September.  This meeting was held at Hampton Court Palace on Christmas Ever.

He was nominated by:

  • William Parr, Earl of Essex
  • John Dudley, Viscount Lisle
  • Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey
  • Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk

Here are those mens votes:

Earl of Essex :P. : Dorset, Shrewsbury, Derby. B. : Delaware, Cobham, Matrevers. K. : Wallop, Sir Thos. Semer, Sir Hen. Knevett.
Viscount Lisle :P. : Dorset, Derby, Worcester. B. : Matrevers, Delaware, Parre. K. : Wallop, Semer, Sir Fras. Bryan.
Earl of Surrrey :P. : Dorset, Shrewsbury, Derby. B. : Matrevers, Cobham, Parre. K. : Wallop, Bryan, Semer.
Duke of Norfolk : P. : Dorset, Shrewsbury, Derby. B. : Delaware, Cobham, Parre. K. : Wallop, Bryan, Semer.

The schedule of the nominations being brought to the King, Sir John Wallop was made a member of the Order, to the joy of all present.

Every member had nominated Sir John Wallop and he was then voted in by the King.

1544 Nomination

In April 1544, Sir Thomas Seymour was nominated for the Order of Garter. King Henry had already married Seymour’s love Kateryn Parr and Thomas had accepted diplomatic missions on behalf of the King which left him often out of the country. As we know, being away from the King often left you out of his immediate favor – out of sight, out of mind sort of deal.

As stated previously, Thomas had to be nominated by a member of the Order of the Garter. Each member could nominate nine candidates. Three had to have the rank of earl or higher, three the rank of baron or higher, and three the rank of knight or higher. The King would choose as many nominees as were necessary to fill any vacancies in the Order. The King was also not required to choose those who received the most nominations – he could fill the posts as he pleased. Thomas was nominated along with friend Sir Francis Bryan (both were knights) and seven other men by Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey. I’ll be honest, it surprises me a bit that the Earl of Surrey would nominate Thomas since he saw the Seymour family as “upstarts” without noble birth. This, I believe, says something about Thomas – he was liked by Surrey enough to be nominated and the two (in my opinion) were kindred spirits.

Here are the men who voted for Thomas:

  • William Parr, Earl of Essex
  • Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey

Here are those men’s votes:

Earl of Essex:—Princes and barons: as Wingfield. Knights: Sir Thos. Seamoure, Sir Hen. Knevet and Selenger.

Earl of Surrey:—Princes: as Wingfield. Barons: Parre of Horton, Wharton and Grey of Wilton. Knights: Sir Thomas Seymoure, Sir Hen. Knevet and Sir Fras. Bryan.

Sir John Wallop was inducted into the Order in 1544.

1545 Nomination

In April of 1545, nominations were taken at St. James Palace from the dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk, earls of Surrey, Essex, Hertford and Arundel, lord Russell, Viscount Lisle, lord St. John, Sir Ant. Browne, Sir John Gage and Sir Ant. Wingfield.

The following men nominated Thomas Seymour:

  • John Russell, Lord Privy Seal
  • Henry Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel
  • Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford
  • William Parr, Earl of Essex
  • Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey
  • Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk
  • Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk

Here are those men’s entire nominations:

Lord Russell:—Princes: as Wingfield. Barons: Poynyngs, Cobham, Wriothesley. Knights: Strangways, Brian, Semer.

Earl of Arundel:—Princes: as Lord St. John. Barons: Wriothesley, Poynyngs, Parre. Knights: Sir Wm. Paget, Sir Thos. Semer, Sir Wm. Herbert.

Earl of Hertford:—Princes: as Lord St. John. Barons: Wriothesley, Cobham, Poynyngs. Knights: Sir Hen. Knyvet, Sir Thos. Darcy, Sir Thos. Semer.

Earl of Essex:—Princes: as Lord St. John. Barons: Wriothesley, Par of Horton, Poynyngs. Knights: Semer, Herbert, Bryan.

Earl of Surrey:—Princes: as Wingfield. Barons: Wriothesley, Poynyngs, Delaware. Knights: Bryan, Semer, Knyvet.

Duke of Suffolk:—Princes: as Wingfield. Barons: Wriothesley, Delaware, Poynyngs. Knights: Semer, Darcy, Bryan.

Duke of Norfolk:—Princes: as Wingfield. Barons: as Suffolk. Knights: Semer, Bryan, Knyvet.

The King having read over the names, Shrewsbury and Wriothesley were chosen.

1546 Nomination

In August of 1545 the Duke of Suffolk died leaving a vacancy in the Order – it appears that the spot was not filled until May of 1546. Once again, Thomas Seymour was nominated.

He was nominated by:

  • Thomas Wriothesley, Baron Wriothesley
  • Sir Anthony St. Leger
  • John Russell, Lord Privy Seal

Here is how those men voted:

Lord Wriothesley:—Princes: Marquis Dorset, earl of Cumberland and earl of Sussex. Barons: lords Cobham, Par of Horton and Wharton. Knights: Sir Wm. Paget, Sir Thos. Seymer, and Sir Wm. Herbert.

[Sir Anthony] St. Leger:—Princes: Dorset, Worcester, Sussex. Barons: Delaware, Cobham, Grey of Wilton. Knights: Sir Fras. Bryan, Sir Thos. Semer, Sir Wm. Sydney.

Lord Russell:—Princes: as Wingfield. Barons: Par of Horton, Cobham, Delaware. Knights: Strangwais, Semer, Sydney.

No election followed. I am unclear if anyone was nominated. This wonderful research does not show anyone added in 1546 – click here. The feast of St. George appointed to be kept at Windsor, 6 June, by Lord Russell assisted by Cheyney, Wingfield and St. Leger: which was done in due course. So they had a feast but it does not appear that anyone was actually inducted.

1547 Nomination

In 1547, under the reign of his nephew, King Edward VI,  Thomas Seymour was the 320th person to be inducted into the Knight of the Garter. I have been unable to discover who nominated him but would like to believe it was either his brother or the King. Here is evidence that he was indeed inducted: Click Here It has also been mentioned in several articles by reputable sites online including the List of Knights and Ladies of the Garter.

Thomas was joined into the Order with three other inductees:

  • Sir William Paget
  • Edward Stanley, 3rd Earl of Derby
  • Henry Grey, 3rd Marquess of Dorset

The four men who had died or were degraded to make room for them were:

  • King Henry VIII (died)
  • Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk (degraded)
  • King Francis I of France (died)
  • Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (degraded & executed)

It was only 23 months later that Thomas Seymour would be executed for treason and open a vacancy for another member to be inducted.


References:

https://www.britannica.com/topic/The-Most-Noble-Order-of-the-Garter
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Knights_and_Ladies_of_the_Garter
‘Henry VIII: Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII

Did Thomas Seymour Cause a Woman’s Death?

I recently picked up “The Reign of Edward VI” by James Anthony Froude and started looking for information on Thomas Seymour. It was while searching that I came across some new information.

On page 77, in the section of the book about the Protectorate, I found this line:

the admiral had seduced and deserted at least one innocent woman, who fell into crime and was executed.

The source for this statement is merely listed as “Latimer’s Sermons before King Edward”. So, of course, I went looking for this story in Latimer’s sermons. Unfortunately for me Froude did not give a more specific location in Latimer’s sermons. Luckily for me, the book is available online and I could do a search within it to find the reference to this woman.

The book is titled “Sermons by Hugh Latimer, sometime Bishop of Worcester, Martyr, 1555” and I found the reference on page 164 (Latimer’s fourth sermon preached before Edward VI).

“I heard of a wanton woman, naughty liver. A whore, a vain body, was led from Newgate to the place of execution for a certain robbery that she had committed, and she had a wicked communication by the way. Here I will take occasion to move your grace, that such men as shall be put to death may have learned men to give them instruction and exhortation. For the reverence of God, when they be put to execution, let them have instructor; for many of them are cast away for lack of instruction, and die miserably for lack of good preaching. This woman, I say, as she went by the way, had wanton and foolish talk, as this: “that if good fellows had kept touch with her, she had not been at this time in that case.” [And amongst all other talk she said that such an one (and named this man) had first misled her: and, hearing this of him at that time, I looked ever what would be his end, what would become of him. He was a man the farthest fear of God that ever I knew or heard of in England. First, he was the author of all this woman’s whoredom; for if he had not led her wrong, she might have been married and become an honest woman, whereas now being naught with him, she fell afterward by that occasion to other: and they that were naught with her fell to robbery, and she followed; and thus was he the author of all of this.

After reading all that I was left wondering: Who was this woman? Did this really happen or was it fabricated by Latimer to further tarnish the reputation of Seymour to the King?

This got me thinking…how well did Latimer know Thomas, or the Seymour family at that. I found online, “Hugh Latimer; a biography” and in Chapter 4 it states that Latimer was in Wiltshire from 1531 to 1535. If you are not familiar with the Seymours, their home at Wolf Hall was in Wiltshire. In the book “Ordeal by Ambition” by William Seymour  states that their home was in Burbage. Hugh Latimer was preaching at West Kington. I used Google maps to see what kind of distance were between the two locations and it appears to be about 36-38 miles, a bit far for the family to attend mass. In “Hugh Latimer; a biography”, the author states that while Thomas Seymour was in the Tower he requested that “Mr. Latimer might come to him”. The author believed that Seymour had heard countless praises of Latimer from his late wife, dowager queen Kateryn and that Latimer had converted Parr to the Protestant faith. Latimer visited Seymour in the Tower and may have attended him the day of his execution.

Latimer, indeed, without mentioning Seymour’s name, assumed that his audience “knew what he meant well enough.” But there were many who doubted his guilt; Latimer’s words were consequently much censured; and in his next sermon before the Court, on March 29, he deemed it necessary to defend himself by narrating all that he knew of Seymour’s death.

Latimer was also the person who reported the small notes that Seymour had written:

The man being in the Tower, wrote certain papers, which I saw myself. They were two little ones, one to my Lady Mary’s Grace, and another to my Lady Elizabeth’s Grace, tending to this end, that they should conspire against my Lord Protector’s Grace; surely, so seditiously as could be.

These notes were reported to Latimer by his servant and were found in Seymour’s shoe. The notes were sewn between the soles of a velvet shoe. He also goes on to mention how creative Seymour had been in creating ink to write. “He made his ink so craftily and with such workmanship, as the like hath not been seen.” “He made his pen of the aglet of a point, that he plucked from his hose, and thus wrote these letters…”

John Lingard of “Lingard’s History of England” was no fan of Latimer or Somerset. He said that Latimer was merely staying on the good side of Somerset with his sermons.

So, from all this we can determine that Thomas Seymour may have known, or at least known of Latimer through his late wife. We can, if we believe Lingard, determine that Latimer was a man who understood he had to appease the Lord Protector, and with that give sermons to the King that disparaged Thomas.

I have been, thus far, unable to corroborate Latimer’s sermon about the wonton women who was executed because of Thomas Seymour. I will continue my search to discover the truth and update this post if new information comes to light.

——-

Sources:

Hugh Latimer; a biography. by Demaus, R. (Robert), 1829?-1874; Tract Society, London. Publication date [1881?]

Lingard’s History of England by Dom Henry Norbert Birt, O.S.B.. London. George Bell & Sons [1903].

The Reign of Edward VI” by James Anthony Froude. Published by J. M. Dent & Company [1926].

Sermons by Hugh Latimer, sometime Bishop of Worcester, Martyr, 1555. Publisher Cambridge : Printed at the University Press [1844].

Ordeal by Ambition: An English Family in the Shadow of the Tudors by William Seymour. Published by Sidgwick & Jackson Ltd [1972].

Tudor Power Couple: Edward and Anne Seymour

The consummate “power couple from hell” Edward Seymour and his wife Anne Stanhope were portrayed in Showtime’s “The Tudors” as selfish, greedy and uncompromising. In real life you could say the same…or is there more to the story?

Edward Seymour

Born in 1500, Edward Seymour was the second son of John Seymour and Margery Wentworth and grew up at Wolf Hall. The eldest son of the couple, John most likely died in infancy – so Edward was now the oldest. He had nine siblings in all – most notably Thomas and Jane. It is believed that Edward was brought up at Wolf Hall under the supervision of his mother.

John Seymour must have had a great relationship with King Henry VIII because on the 12th of October 1514, a fourteen year old Edward Seymour was made a page “to do service to the queen”. Katherine of Aragon, you ask? No, actually Mary Tudor, Queen of France – favorite sister of King Henry. This must have been a very exciting adventure for such a young man, but unfortunately it would not last long. In a matter of weeks Edward, along with many other of the new French queen’s attendants were sent back to England.

In the Spring of 1514, Edward Seymour married Katherine Fillol, heiress to her father’s fortune. The marriage was most likely arranged by their fathers since the couple were so young – Edward being only 14 years old. The couple lived in the household of Sir John Seymour at Wolf Hall until Edward turned twenty-one because his father had agreed to provide for the young couple until they came of age. It was important for John Seymour to take care of the young couple because his new daughter-in-law stood inherit some great lands upon her father’s death.

Edward and Katherine had two sons, the eldest was John, named for his grandfather and the second was Edward, presumably named for his father.

Edward’s social standing continued to climb when, in December 1516 he was listed as a gentleman attendant in the king’s privy chamber. Then on the 15th of July 1517 he was secured the position of constable of Bristol Castle. He was only seventeen years old at the time so the position was in title only and his duties would have been performed by his father’s deputies – must be nice.

AKG1070001
Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset

The couple were married for over a decade before all hell broke lose.

In a book called, The Seymour Family by Amy Aubrey Locke the story is told. There are two different stories to explain – the first is a story that was given by Peter Heylen who was the author of “History of the Reformation” which was published in 1674 and it states:

When Edward Seymour was in France, possibly when he had accompanied the Duke of Suffolk in 1532, he had acquainted himself with a learned man who had great skill in magic. From this man he could be told how all his relations were back home. The way Heylen explains it it almost seems as if Edward was ‘shown’ what was happening – like possibly in a crystal ball. I don’t know. Seymour saw a male acquaintance in a “familiar posture with his wife than was agreeable to the honour of either party”. Whatever he saw he believed it – so much so that when he arrived back in England he estranged himself from his wife and their two sons, and instead of divorcing her sent her to a convent.

The second story is by Horace Walpole, which is found in Vincent’s Baronage in the College of Arms, that state in latin, but I’ve translated it to: “Because of his father, divorced after a marriage being acknowledged.

So if we were to combine the two statements we’d find that Edward Seymour separated from Katherine Fillol because of his father’s familiar relationship with her that was not agreeable to their honor.

To back up the fact that Katherine Fillol disgraced her family, her father was so upset with her that she would no longer inherit all that she was supposed to as his sole heiress. Instead, in her father’s will dated 1527, she is excluded from inheriting, “for many diverse reasons and considerations from any part or parcel of his manors and estates” – instead she was left with an annual pension from the estate of 40£, provided she go and “virtuously and abide in some house of religion of women”. In other words, a convent. So apparently her father was so disgusted by his daughter’s actions that he took away her inheritance.

Interestingly enough author David Loades in The Seymour Family of Wolf Hallbelieves that the separation did not affect their children’s legitimacy – even though it had been suspected that John and Edward were actually John Seymour’s children and brother’s to Edward Seymour, not his children. He does mention in the book that the boys were not able to claim Edward Seymour’s titles and that they played no part in his career. Supposedly both boys went away with their mother and stayed with her until her death in 1535 – then they were returned to the custody of Edward Seymour. Interesting, right?

Depending on who you read the following information varies regarding the marriage of Edward Seymour to his second wife, Anne Stanhope.

David Loades says they married on the 9th of March 1535, while Antonia Fraser says it was sometime in 1534 before Katherine Fillol’s death and Margaret Scard says by the 9th of March 1535. So we don’t know for certain if it was before or after the death of her first wife. We can assume from the three authors that they were definitely married by the 9th of March 1535.

Regardless of when they were married the new bride immediately put her foot down and said she wanted nothing to do with his sons, so they were both sent away from court to be educated.

Anne Stanhope

Anne Stanhope was the only child of Sir Edward Stanhope and Elizabeth Bourchier and was born in 1510. Unfortunately, when she was about one year old her father died. There is little evidence that remains about Anne’s childhood – it is, however, believed that she was a maid-of-honour to Katherine of Aragon.

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Anne Stanhope, Duchess of Somerset

Her mother did eventually marry again, this time to Sir Richard Paget, who was also well-connected to King Henry VIII. Paget was a gentleman of the Privy Chamber for King Henry and also Vice-Chamberlain in the household of Henry Fitzroy.

Man on the Rise

Edward Seymour’s position, thanks to his father’s connection to the king, continued to rise at Tudor court. When his sister caught the king’s eye in 1536 it only helped Edward’s advancement.

Before the execution of Anne Boleyn on the 17th of May 1536, Edward Seymour became a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber; and when his sister Jane became queen he was ennobled as Viscount Beauchamp.

Queen Jane is always referred to as sweet, or as a peace-maker, she apparently got along well with her sister in law Anne and never showed any interest in her nephews that were sent away. It always amazes me that a family with so much scandal surrounding it could end up with a daughter as queen.

When Prince Edward was born on the 12th of October 1537, Seymour was raised to the earldom of Hertford – and his younger brother, Thomas Seymour succeeded Edward’s position in the privy chamber.

Only twelve days later Queen Jane was dead and Prince Edward was only an infant. With infant mortality so high the Seymour family would have been on edge – they understood well how fast one family could fall from favor.

Lucky for them Edward was healthy child and things seemed more stable for Edward Seymour as the eldest uncle of the Prince.

Sometime in 1538, most likely on Anne’s insistence, his boys by Katherine Fillol were excluded from Edward Seymour’s property and titles by Act of Parliament – she meant business, wanting her children to benefit from their father’s standing, not his supposed children from his first marriage.

Death of King Henry VIII

Both Edward and Anne Seymour continued to play important roles at Tudor court throughout the reign of Henry VIII but when the king died on the 28th of January 1547 everything changed and they became the most powerful couple in England.

Henry VIII had actually revised his will in December 1546 a month before his death. The reason behind the revisions were to:

  1. Revise the composition of the Council (these men are the same people who would be executors to his will)
  2. To distribute the Howard property since the Duke of Norfolk and Earl of Surrey were both convicted of treason and sentenced to death.
  3. To name whether after Prince Edward’s ascension he should be aided by a council or a protector. (It’s been noted that King Henry was more interested in a council)

Upon Henry VIII’s death the details regarding the distribution of the Howard land and the issue of a protectorate had not yet been finalized.

Edward Seymour and Sir William Paget (the king’s secretary & Seymour’s ally) and possibly the executors of the late king’s will as well, are believed to have changed it.  They did so so that they could be in charge of distributing the Howard land and honors to whomever they pleased. Henry’s will was signed with a stamp, so changes appeared easy to make.

Three days after the king’s death Edward Seymour was named Lord Protector AND Governor of the King.

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Author Margaret Scard said it best: Henry VIII never intended a protectorate “his failure to recognize the inherent weakness in the terms of his will left the government of the country at the mercy of ambitious men”.

The transfer from one king to the next was always a hairy situation, especially when the new king was a mere child – see Henry VI as another example with the Wars of the Roses – that history lesson should have been enough warning for the eldest Seymour brother.

Edward Seymour had made promises to William Paget to get him on his side – we know this because of a letter that Paget wrote him two years later. He starts by reminding him that they had discussed something in the gallery of Westminster before the King died and how they had talked about their plan to make Seymour Lord Protector. Evidently, Seymour had told Paget that he would listen to his advice above any other man. Of course, that wasn’t the case – Seymour got what he wanted from Paget. What was he going to do now? Seymour was already Lord Protector and could do as he wished.

In his will Henry VIII had listed sixteen men to be both executors of his will and members of the Regency Council. That is how he wanted things to be. He didn’t want a protectorate. He also named twelve assistant executors, one of which was Edward’s younger and equally ambitious brother Thomas Seymour.

Thomas Seymour believed that he would be named Governor of the King, like with the minority of Henry VI his uncles shared the powerful positions. It wasn’t only Thomas Seymour that was annoyed; Kateryn Parr had believe that she would be named Regent – even going so far as changing her signature to indicate her new position.

In mid-February 1547, Edward Seymour decided to be styled as the Duke of Somerset – truly amazing since that title is traditionally associated with the Beaufort line of ancestors of Henry VIII.

Now as Lord Protector, Governor of the King and Duke of Somerset, Edward Seymour’s authority had grown – he could now add and remove councillors at will and convene the Council at anytime. He could act without permission and was essentially ‘de facto King’. Exactly what Henry VIII did NOT want. He even went so far as to address King Francis I as “brother” in a letter, something reserved to another monarch. Just as Henry VIII had called Francis I, his brother.

When the newly titled Duke of Somerset (how I will try to refer to him going forward) raised his brother Thomas to Baron Seymour of Sudeley, Thomas took it as a slap in the face – he believed Governor of the King was his position. Somerset tried to placate him by also making him Lord High Admiral. While this pleased him it didn’t cure his desire to have more.

Looking for more power and wealth Thomas Seymour did what he knew how to do best evidently – he schemed. First he asked Princess Elizabeth Tudor to marry him. Knowing full well that being married to Elizabeth would bring him as close to the throne as he could achieve. She turned him down, in the sweetest manner possible – saying she needed to mourn her father and could not consider a marriage for at least two years.

Secret Wedding

Thomas, slightly discouraged, went to the next best choice, his former love and dowager queen Kateryn Parr. Parr still loved Seymour and was acting like a young girl in love. She had married the aging, obese king instead of Seymour in 1543 because she felt that it was God’s will to do so. So when she had the opportunity to be with Seymour again she jumped at the chance.

The couple secretly married in the Spring of 1547 – way too soon for the widow of the late king. Thomas and Kateryn looked for a way to get away with their secret marriage without getting in trouble because they hadn’t asked Somerset or the Council’s permission to marry.

When Somerset discovered the two had married he was livid that his own brother had went behind his back to get permission from the young king. He even went to young King Edward and yelled at him about giving them permission. King Edward had noted in his diary about that exchange and said, “the Lord Protector was much offended’” and that was all. Now, who’s the king exactly?

Edward’s wife Anne Seymour was equally displeased with the union. Not only did Thomas and Kateryn marry too soon after Henry VIII’s death but Kateryn Parr was marrying well beneath her station since Thomas was merely a baron. Both Edward and Anne felt Thomas had disgraced their family name by going behind their back.

Kateryn Parr still played the role as queen – with a household the same size as when she was married to Henry. Thomas Seymour, being the husband of Kateryn, would have finally felt he had some of the power and status he deserved.

Tudor-Power-Couple-1

Anne, Duchess of Somerset was annoyed with the fact that Kateryn Parr would take precedence over her as the wife of the Lord Protector – the story that has been told is that she would push, or nudge the dowager queen out of the way to as to walk in front of her – showing she took precedence…now, I’ve been just as guilty of telling this story as others, but apparently we may all have been mistaken and I want to clear it up.

Author Margaret Scard states that it is unlikely that the Duchess of Somerset was resentful toward Kateryn Parr. Anne would have understood that she would have to take her place behind Kateryn, just as she would behind Anne of Cleves as the “king’s sister”.

The real issue appears to be between the Duchess of Somerset and Thomas Seymour – she took issue with the precedence he felt he deserved since he was married to the dowager queen. He believed that his marriage to Kateryn would and should raise him above other noblemen. Maybe that means he felt he could walk alongside his wife in a procession – this would be what the duchess was opposed to. In addition to that, both the duke and duchess of Somerset were angry with Thomas for embarrassing them by going behind their back and marrying Kateryn. That information is found in the book by Margaret Scard about Edward Seymour and references the original rumor to the 1550’s by Catholic writers. That makes a bit more sense right? They wanted to make the heavily protestant Anne Seymour, Duchess of Somerset look bad.

If we look at Chris Skidmore’s book about Edward VI he continues with the story that the Duchess of Somerset, who was described as, “A woman for many imperfections intolerable, and for pride monstrous, subtle and violent”, as does Antonia Fraser when she states in the Wives of Henry VIII that the Duchess of Somerset “openly jostled with Queen Catherine for precedence on the grounds that as the wife of the Protector she was the first lady in England”. However, there is no justification for her actions – Kateryn Parr had been granted precedence by statute and the Duchess would also have to walk behind Princess Mary, Princess Elizabeth and Anne of Cleves.

Interestingly enough, in Elizabeth Norton’s book about Kateryn Parr she states that Anne Seymour had always resented having to pay court to the former Lady Latimer – coming from an aristocratic courtly family herself she felt she need not carry the train of her husband’s younger brother.

Edward Seymour, Lord Protector and Duke of Somerset refused to get in the middle of this quarrel and told his brother Thomas, “Brother, are you not my younger brother, and am I not Protector, and do you not know that your wife, before she married the king, was of lower rank than my wife? I desire therefore, since the queen is your wife that mine should go before her.” Thomas, now more angry replied with, “I am sorry there should be any anger between them, but I can tell you that the queen is determined not to allow it, so do not blame me for it.

After the brother’s conversation Thomas went back and informed his wife of what words had been exchanged and Kateryn was humiliated – she left is recorded as saying, “I deserve this for degrading myself from a queen to marry an Admiral.

Not only was Kateryn being pushed aside by the Duke and Duchess of Somerset for marrying Thomas but now they refused to allow her access to her jewels in the Tower of London. Somerset stated that they were the property of the Crown now. This infuriated Kateryn because some of the jewels were actually her possessions – gifts that she had been given by the late king and her mother. She was not asking for the queen’s jewels. Both Thomas and Kateryn tried everything to get her jewels back – they hired legal council and even discussed with the young king…to no avail. Kateryn would never see her jewels again.

Death of Kateryn Parr

Kateryn Parr’s death came as a surprise to everyone, especially her husband Thomas. You could say her death catapulted him into a death spin that would ultimately lead to his execution.

After his wife’s death, Thomas had asked the Duchess of Suffolk to raise their daughter, Mary.

It wasn’t long after the death of the dowager queen that Thomas Seymour’s reckless behaviour caught up with him. It is believed that his brother, the Duke of Somerset is the one who gave the order to investigate and gather information against Thomas. Eventually, evidence would be found, or possibly fabricated, and Somerset would sign the order for his brother’s execution.

For his actions against his brother he was heavily criticized – what he actually had done was weakened his own standing. In 1550 he was removed from the office of Protector but was readmitted to the council the following year. All the plotting and scheming that Somerset had done himself was now happening to him by John Dudley, Earl of Warwick – when on the 16th of October 1551 Somerset was arrested and sent to the Tower of London. He was executed, just like his brother had been, on the 22nd of January 1522.

A man by the name of John Hayward is noted as saying that the downfall of the Seymour brothers was the direct result of the rivalry of their wives.

The Duke and Duchess of Somerset were indeed the power couple of Tudor court during the reign of Edward VI – unfortunately, between the two of them they were also responsible for the disgrace of the Seymour name.

Interested in the Podcast about this topic? Click this image:

Further Reading:

Starkey, David; Rivals in Power – Lives and Letters of the Great Tudor Dynasties
Lipscomb, Suzannah; The King is Dead
Weir, Alison; The Six Wives of Henry VIII
Fraser, Antonia; Wives of Henry VIII
Loades, David; The Seymours of Wolf Hall
Scard, Margaret; Edward Seymour – Lord Protector
Skidmore, Chris; Edward VI – The Lost King of England
Norton, Elizabeth; Catherine Parr

Between Two Brothers: Edward and Thomas Seymour

Unless you are an only child you are familiar with the love that siblings bear one another. The events of life, along with the meddling of others caused a rift between these two men and ultimately cost both of them their lives. The Seymour brothers, Edward and Thomas.

Brothers

There are instances when situations fester and cause strife between siblings that tear them apart. You know, like when one sibling critiques the parenting of another – that’s going to cause a few arguments and then probably some avoidance.

These statements ring true for the Seymour brothers – Edward and Thomas. Even though Edward was only three years older than Thomas he behaved as the eldest son and the one who would gain the most in life.

While Thomas was the fourth son and the youngest at that – his future was not as bright as his older brother, but Thomas wasn’t like most youngest sons. He was ambitious, and while he knew he would never outrank his brother Edward, he wanted to get as close to the sun as possible.

Of the three remaining sons of Sir John Seymour of Wiltshire, Edward was the oldest, followed by Henry and then Thomas. Edward Seymour eventually became Lord Protector and Duke of Somerset. Henry hung around court for a bit and then went on to be country gentry – a subtler life…While the youngest Thomas followed in his eldest brother’s footsteps. He grew confidence when he recognized his own way with people. Most people liked Thomas, more so than his brother, Edward.

I have a feeling that Edward and Thomas had an even closer relationship when their brother Henry was around. Those two could only get along for short while before things got heated. Henry was able to play peacemaker. But with him away from court there were outside influences on their relationship that neither brother could see coming.

Warwick

While it appears that the brothers had a normal relationship, there are clues of jealousy and greed intertwined with manipulation and revenge.

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John Dudley

The breakdown of their relationship began with John Dudley, newly titled Earl of Warwick, and his desire to see another in the position of ‘Lord Protector’, namely himself.

So what did the Earl of Warwick have to do with it? Warwick played a game of chess with the brothers. Speaking to Edward about what a great Lord Protector he was and then going to Thomas and telling him how he should have been named Governor of the king.

Warwick wedged himself in between the two brothers; Putting himself in a very dangerous situation as well. Lucky him, it all worked out, for a little while at least.

With Warwick whispering in his ear, the natural desire he already had to become more only intensified. Thomas Seymour felt he deserved a lot more as an uncle to the king and no matter what he did to obtain that goal he was thwarted, either by others or himself.

During all these arguments with his brother, Thomas was continuously trying to get a bill passed through Parliament that would make him Governor to the King. A position he believed, and had convinced many others, he deserved. Unfortunately for Thomas, those who said they would back him did not follow through when the time came.

Eventually, Edward Seymour would get a new letter patent through Parliament which named him Lord Protector and Governor of the King, which he would hold during the ‘king’s pleasure’ – this was changed from when the king turned eighteen. (explaining why Thomas Seymour continually tried to get Edward VI to rule on his own)

Marriage

Was Dudley’s interactions with the brothers what caused Thomas Seymour to seek a strong marriage? Seymour had only talked marriage a few times in his entire life and they were all later in life. There was Mary Howard, Elizabeth Tudor and Kateryn Parr. I also believe he proposed once to Mary Tudor as well. If we look at all those women, what do we see? I see power. I see support in case one should need it. A duchess and a Howard at that, a princess with Protestant supporters, a dowager queen with history and power, and another princess – a very Catholic princess. All great matches for a man like Thomas.

wives

The only way Thomas could marry any of those women was without permission because he knew they all needed permission to wed…and then hope you can find a way to convince the Lord Protector that it was all his idea. When Thomas suggested to his brother that he marry Kateryn Parr, Edward quickly turned him down – it wouldn’t happen. Luckily for Thomas, he was already married to Kateryn Parr and wished to stay that way. Without gaining approval from the Lord Protector, Kateryn and Thomas decided to use their close connection with Edward VI, they believed they could convince the young king to suggest Kateryn as a perfect bride for his uncle Thomas. They had played their cards right, Edward VI eventually named Kateryn after a bit of coaxing from his servant John Fowler who was doing the dirty work for Thomas.

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Edward and Anne Seymour, Duke & Duchess of Somerset

When Edward Seymour discovered the two had married he was furious that his own brother had went behind his back to get permission from the young king. Edward’s wife Anne Seymour was equally displeased with the union. Not only did Thomas and Kateryn marry too soon after Henry VIII’s death, but Kateryn was marrying well beneath her station since Thomas was merely a baron.

Author Margaret Scard of Edward Seymour, Lord Protector suggests that the beef was actually between Anne Seymour and Thomas, not the brothers or the wives.

Kateryn Parr still played the role as queen – with a household the same size as when she was married to Henry. Thomas Seymour, being the husband of Kateryn would have loved the feeling he got when he was the most powerful man in the room.

Anne Seymour – let’s just call her duchess going forward, since she was the Duchess of Somerset. The Duchess did not like sharing center stage with Kateryn Parr apparently. Once while walking in a procession, the Duchess is said to have nudged or pushed Parr out-of-the-way so she could take precedence over her. She believed she had that right as the wife of the Lord Protector and because Kateryn was only married to a baron. Author Scard believes that the Duchess was adamantly against the idea of Thomas Seymour taking precedence over her and that’s where the dispute began. That Thomas, as the husband of the dowager queen would be able to walk alongside his wife.

It wasn’t only what order to walk in a procession. The Duchess took it even further and wouldn’t allow Kateryn her jewels from the Tower of London. Both of the women believed the jewels were theirs – Kateryn only seemed to care about the gifts that were given to her by Henry VIII and a couple of pieces from her mother, I believe it was. The Duchess would not allow Kateryn to have her jewels.

Eventually the two brothers were involved in the dispute between their wives. Thomas approached Edward on the issue and they both agreed that Kateryn should have the jewels. Edward told his brother that he would speak with his wife on the subject and go from there. Well, we’re not sure what happened after that but Kateryn never got her jewels.

Southampton

Somerset, during this time, not only had to deal with the disobedience of his brother but also of members of the Council:

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Thomas Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Southampton by Holbein

Thomas Wriothesley, in accordance with Henry VIII’s wishes was created Earl of Southampton in February 1547 and was also a member of the Regency Council. Southampton was one of the few men who ‘had always been engaged in an opposite party to Somerset’.¹ This marked Southampton as the enemy since he did not support Somerset ruling with the power of a monarch over the council. A month after being created Earl of Southampton, Thomas Wriothesley was suddenly dismissed from the title of Lord Chancellor (which he held since 1544)  and he also lost his seat on the Privy Council. This was obviously to serve as a lesson to those who would disagree with Somerset.

Death of Queen Kateryn

After Kateryn Parr died I feel like Thomas became a little unhinged. He erratically proposed to Elizabeth Tudor again and then is suspected of trying to kidnap his nephew, the king.

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Thomas Seymour, Baron Seymour of Sudeley

Eventually things got so bad that Thomas was thrown in the Tower. I’m certain that Edward felt horrible knowing his brother was in the Tower but I also feel like he knew what had to be done.

The Seymour brothers, had they joined forces, could have become even more powerful alongside each other as uncles to the King of England. Unfortunately for Thomas, his brother Edward felt that the power should all be his for the keeping.

After Kateryn Parr died, a servant of Thomas Seymour told him that: “If ever any grudge were borne toward him [Thomas] by my Lady of Somerset, it was as most men guess for the queen’s cause, who now being taken away by death, it will undoubtedly follow that she [Duchess] will bear him as good heart as ever she did in her life.”¹

Also after Kateryn’s death, her cousin, Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, hoped that Thomas would change his attitude towards his brother, Edward. He encouraged him to be more humble towards his brother and offered advice that if he were ‘either wise or politic he would become a new manner of man borth in heart and service’. Throckmorton also condemned Thomas for his laziness and his ambitions to get what he wanted and told him that he should ‘alter his manners, for the world beginneth to talk unfavorably of him’.¹

In The End

From early on the Seymour brothers were gifted with titles. Edward was given the title Viscount Beauchamp after his sister married the King in 1536. The following summer he became Earl of Hertford. At the same time his younger brother Thomas became Gentleman of the Privy Chamber. A year later he was granted the castle and manor of Holt in Cheshire and knighted prior to the christening of his nephew, Prince Edward, into the Knight of the Bath.¹ From that point, until the death of King Henry, Thomas was continually given lands, but no greater titles – those were saved for his elder brother, Edward. As we’ve discovered through this podcast it was never enough.

We can see from the beginning, after the death of the late king that Somerset appeared to want to elevate his own brother:

My lords, you know how long my brother, Master Seymour, has served, and how the King esteemed him, and if he had not died would have given him great rewards; and you also know that it is time the Earl of Warwick was allowed to rest, and had another less laborious office. My brother is young and is well fitted for this post, so if you approve I propose to make Warwick the Earl Constable, and my brother High Admiral.²

If Edward and Thomas had only found a way to settle their differences maybe neither of them would have eventually been executed. But, we’ll never know.

Sources:

The History of England, Under the House of Tudor
Scard, Margaret; Edward Seymour, Lord Protector – Tudor King in All But Name
Lipscomb, Suzannah; The King is Deadb
Loades, David; The Seymours of Wolf Hall
Loades, David; Jane Seymour
McLean, John; The Life of Sir Thomas Seymour
Porter, Linda; Katherine Parr
Norton, Elizabeth; Catherine Parr
James, Susan; Catherine Parr
Starkey, David; Elizabeth – The Struggle for the Throne
Norton, Elizabeth; The Temptation of Elizabeth Tudor: Elizabeth I, Thomas Seymour, and the Making of a Virgin Queen

Notes:

¹Scard, Margaret; Edward Seymour, Lord Protector – Tudor King in All But Name

Similar Fates: Anne Boleyn and Thomas Seymour

This will not be the first time I mention this idea and it won’t be the last – Anne Boleyn and Thomas Seymour had very similar fates.

The thought came to me one day when I was reading one of my many primary sources about Thomas Seymour. If you did not know already I’ve been researching and writing a book about Thomas Seymour for a while now – a book to show a side of Thomas Seymour that no other author has dared to write about. I’ve even started a separate website and Facebook page just for him because I feel that he is unjustly vilified.  Continue reading Similar Fates: Anne Boleyn and Thomas Seymour

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

The Conscience of Thomas Seymour

Here we take a look at statement made by Thomas Seymour to his keeper, Christopher Eyre during the time that Eyre was his keeper after his arrest.

16 February 1548 – Upon communication of the Lord Admiral with his keeper Christopher Eyre. Christopher Eyre was responsible to report the demeanor of Seymour and any statements he may have made to him and to assess his loyalty to the King and his succession.  Continue reading The Conscience of Thomas Seymour