Francis Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Trowbridge

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Francis Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Trowbridge (c. 1590 – 12 July 1664) was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1621 and 1641 when he was raised to the peerage as Baron Seymour. He supported the Royalist cause during the English Civil War.

Early life[edit]

Seymour was the third son of Lord Beauchamp and his wife Honora Rogers, daughter of Sir Richard Rogers of Bryanstone, Dorset. In June 1611 he was accused of abetting the escape of his brother William and Arabella Stuart, but protested his innocence.[1] He was knighted by James I at Royston on 23 October 1613.

Parliamentary career[edit]

In 1621 Seymour was elected Member of Parliament for Wiltshire. In May he proposed that distinctly harsh penalties be inflicted on Edward Floyd. He was elected MP for Marlborough in 1624. In this parliament, he worked hard to induce a war with Spain, but protested against any extensive military operations in continental Europe and opposed sending an army to the Palatinate on the ground of the "extreme charge". In 1625 he was again elected MP for Wiltshire. On 30 July he proposed that the grant be limited to one subsidy and one-fifteenth, about a tenth of what King Charles required to meet his engagements. He rejected the overtures which the Duke of Buckingham made to him, and in July he refused to join in the attack on Lord-keeper Williams because it the Duke was secretly abetting this. In August he attacked the government for conducting a continental war, inveighing against peculation in high places and the sale of offices at court. On these grounds he dissuaded the house from granting supplies. He was re-elected to the new parliament summoned in February 1626, but was made Sheriff of Wiltshire to prevent his sitting. In the following July his name was struck off the commission of the peace. Thenceforth Seymour adhered to Wentworth's policy of moderation. In 1628 he was elected MP for Wiltshire and Marlborough and chose to sit for Wiltshire. On 29 April he joined Noy and Digges when they tried to modify the commons' bill of liberties, and supported Wentworth's Habeas Corpus Bill. He also advocated, with Wentworth against Eliot, a joint-committee of the two houses on the petition of right.[1]

In May 1639 Seymour refused to pay ship-money, and in the following March he was elected without opposition as MP for Wiltshire to the Short Parliament. In this parliament he spoke powerfully against granting any subsidies to the King before receiving any redress of grievances, and apparently compared "our affayres to the bondage of the Israelites in Egypt". In November 1640 he was elected MP for Marlborough to the Long Parliament. He soon began to differ from the popular party, and on 19 February 1641 he was created Baron Seymour of Trowbridge, Wiltshire.[1] In the House of Lords, he insisted on voting against Strafford's attainder, although the opposite party denied his competence to vote because he was not a peer when the charges against Strafford were first brought up.

Civil War[edit]

In June 1642 Seynour signed the declaration that the king had no intention of war. He followed the King to York, offering to raise twenty horse in his cause and parliament accordingly declared him a delinquent. In autumn 1642, he went with his brother, the Marquis of Hertford, into the west to organise the royalist forces and suppress the parliamentary militia. He crossed from Minehead to Glamorganshire on a similar errand in September. In December 1643 he signed the letter of the peers to the council in Scotland, protesting against the invitation sent by parliament to the Scots to invade England. Early in 1645 he was on the commission for the defence and government of Oxford and the adjacent counties. In February he was one of the commissioners appointed to treat at Uxbridge, and in May he was made Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. He was at Oxford when it surrendered on 22 June. He was admitted to composition, and his fine was fixed at £3,725. He attended a council at Hampton Court on 7 October 1647, but took no part in politics during the Commonwealth and Protectorate periods.

Restoration[edit]

After the Restoration Seymour was re-appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, serving from 1660 until 1664.

Seymour died at the age of about 74, and was buried in the chancel of Bedwyn Magna church.

Family[edit]

Seymour married firstly in 1620 Frances Prinne, daughter of Sir Gilbert Prinne, of Allington, Wiltshire. After her death, he married in 1635 Catherine Lee (died 1701), daughter of Sir Robert Lee and Anne Lowe of Billesley, Warwickshire. By his first wife he had a son Charles and a daughter Frances who married Sir William Ducie.

Seymour's house at Marlborough was used as an inn until the 19th century, when it became Marlborough College.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c  "Seymour, Francis (1590?-1664)". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 

References[edit]

Parliament of England
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Howard
Sir Henry Poole
Member of Parliament for Wiltshire
1621
With: Sir Edward Bayntun
Succeeded by
Edward Hungerford
Sir John St John
Preceded by
Walter Devereux
Richard Digges
Member of Parliament for Marlborough
1624
With: Richard Digges
Succeeded by
Richard Digges
Edward Kyrton
Preceded by
Edward Hungerford
Sir John St John
Member of Parliament for Wiltshire
1625
With: Sir Henry Ley
Succeeded by
Sir Henry Poole
Preceded by
Sir Henry Poole
Walter Long
Member of Parliament for Wiltshire
1628-1629
With: Sir William Button
Succeeded by
Parliament suspended until 1640
Preceded by
Parliament suspended since 1629
Member of Parliament for Wiltshire
1640
With: Philip Lord Herbert
Succeeded by
Sir James Thynne
Sir Henry Ludlow
Preceded by
Sir William Carnaby
Francis Baskerville
Member of Parliament for Marlborough
1640-1641
With: John Francklyn
Succeeded by
John Francklyn
Philip Smith
Political offices
Preceded by
The 1st Earl of Hertford
Custos Rotulorum of Wiltshire
1621 – bef. 1626
Succeeded by
The 2nd Earl of Hertford
Preceded by
The Lord Barrett of Newburgh
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
(Royal nominee - de jure only)

1644–1645
Succeeded by
No further royal nomination made
Preceded by
Sir Gilbert Gerard
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
1660–1664
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Ingram
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Edward Reade
High Sheriff of Wiltshire
1625
Succeeded by
Sir Giles Estcourt
Preceded by
The Duke of Somerset
Custos Rotulorum of Wiltshire
1660–1664
Succeeded by
The Lord Seymour of Trowbridge
Peerage of England
New creation Baron Seymour of Trowbridge
1641–1664
Succeeded by
Charles Seymour