Sir Edward Seymour, 4th Baronet

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The Right Honourable
Sir Edward Seymour
Bt
Sir Edward Seymour, 4th Bt by Sir Peter Lely.jpg
Speaker of the House of Commons
In office
1673–1679
Preceded by Job Charlton
Succeeded by William Gregory
Treasurer of the Navy
In office
1673–1681
Preceded by Sir Thomas Osborne
Succeeded by The Viscount Falkland
Personal details
Born 1632
Died 17 February 1708
Spouse(s) Margaret Wale
Laetitia Popham

Sir Edward Seymour, of Berry Pomeroy, 4th Baronet, MP (1632/1633 – 17 February 1708) was a British nobleman, and a Royalist and Tory politician.

Life[edit]

Born at Berry Pomeroy Castle of a family greatly influential in the Western counties, he was a son of Sir Edward Seymour, 3rd Baronet, and wife Anne Portman, and a descendant of Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, in the senior line. (Because of the alleged adultery of the Duke's first wife, the Dukedom had been entailed with preference to his sons by his second marriage.) A skilled debater and politician, he was twice Speaker of the House of Commons during the Cavalier Parliament, the first non-lawyer to be chosen for that position for a considerable time.

He was one of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty from 1673 until 1679, when he was made a Privy Counsellor. He also held office as Treasurer of the Navy from 1673 until 1681, Lord Commissioner of the Treasury from 15 November 1690 to 2 May 1696 and Comptroller of the Household from 1702 to 1704. He was also responsible for the Habeas Corpus Act 1679.[1]

Though able, Seymour's character was marred by his haughty pride in his ancestry (much like his cousin, the 6th Duke of Somerset) and by venality. However, his influence was much courted, and he led a powerful faction of Western members in Parliament. An opponent of the Exclusion Bill and a quintessential country gentleman, his Tory credentials were impeccable. Samuel Pepys in his Diary records the unpleasant impression Seymour's arrogance made on most people who met him;[2] nearly 40 years later the Duke of Marlborough wrote that while one should not wish for any person's death, he was sure Seymour's death would be no great loss.[3]

From the security of this position, Seymour moved that the Loyal Parliament investigate the irregularities surrounding the election of its members before it granted any revenues to James II, but as no other member dared to second it, it brought about no immediate consequence. He continued to oppose the arbitrary measures of James throughout his reign.

During the Glorious Revolution, he was one of the first Tories to declare for the Prince of Orange. The remarks that supposedly passed between the two on the first meeting are indicative of his pride of birth: "I think, Sir Edward," said the Prince, "that you are of the family of the Duke of Somerset." "Pardon me, your highness," replied Seymour, "the Duke of Somerset is of my family." However, he adhered to the Tory party, acting as a sort of whip or manager, and remained a vigorous rhetorical opponent of the Whig. He particularly attacked Lord Somers, the Chancellor, and managed the several attempts made to remove him from office. In 1699, the death of his third son, Popham Seymour-Conway, from the effects of a wound incurred in a duel with Captain George Kirk, prompted him to make an attack upon the standing army.

He seems to have suffered from diabetes in later life, an exchange of wit between Seymour and his physician, Dr. Ratcliffe, being recorded in Joe Miller's Jests. He died at Bradley House, Maiden Bradley.

Family[edit]

On 7 September 1661, he married Margaret Wale (d. bef. 1674), daughter of Sir William Wale, of North Lappenham, Rutland, Alderman of London, and wife, and sister of Elizabeth Wale, married to the Hon. Henry Noel[disambiguation needed], of North Luffenham, Rutland, Member of Parliament, by whom he had two children:

In 1674, he married Laetitia Popham (d. 16 March 1714), daughter of Alexander Popham and wife Letitia Carre, by whom he had seven children:

  • Col. Popham Seymour-Conway (1675–1699)
  • Francis Seymour-Conway, 1st Baron Conway (1679–1732)
  • Charles Seymour, of Staston, Dorset, married and had a daughter:
    • Jane Seymour, m. August 1750 Adm. Thomas Lynn
  • Anne Seymour (d. 10 May 1752), married 8 January 1707/1708 William Berkeley-Portman, of Pylle and Orchard Portman, Somerset (d. 1737), son of Edward Berkeley, of Pylle, Somerset (d. 1707) and wife Elizabeth Ryves (d. 1724), by whom she had a son
  • Henry Seymour, died without male issue
  • Alexander Seymour, died without male issue
  • John Seymour, died young

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Complete Peerage vol.XIIpI, p.84.
  2. ^ Diary of Samuel Pepys 11 October 1665
  3. ^ Kenyon J.P. The Stuarts B.T. Batsford Ltd. 1958

External links[edit]

Parliament of England
Preceded by
Sir George Grobham Howe, 1st Baronet
Sir Thomas Thynne
Member of Parliament for Hindon
1661–1679
With: Sir George Grobham Howe, 1st Baronet 1660–1677
Robert Hyde 1677–1679
Succeeded by
Richard Howe
Thomas Lambert
Preceded by
Sir John Rolle
Sir Coplestone Bampfylde, 2nd Baronet
Member of Parliament for Devon
1679
With: Sir William Courtenay, 1st Baronet
Succeeded by
Sir William Courtenay, 1st Baronet
Samuel Rolle
Preceded by
Sir Edward Seymour, 3rd Baronet
John Kelland
Member of Parliament for Totnes
1679–1681
Succeeded by
John Kelland
Charles Kelland
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Carew
Thomas Walker
Member of Parliament for Exeter
1685–1695
With: James Walker 1685–1689
Henry Pollexfen 1689
Christopher Bale 1689–1695
Succeeded by
Edward Seyward
Sir Joseph Tily
Preceded by
Henry Seymour Portman
Thomas Coulson
Member of Parliament for Totnes
1695–1699
Succeeded by
Thomas Coulson
Francis Gwyn
Preceded by
Edward Seyward
Sir Joseph Tily
Member of Parliament for Exeter
1698–1707
With: Sir Bartholomew Shower 1698–1702
John Snell 1702–1707
Succeeded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Parliament of England
Member of Parliament for Exeter
17071708
With: John Snell
Succeeded by
John Snell
John Harris
Political offices
Preceded by
Sir Job Charlton
Speaker of the House
1673–1678
Succeeded by
Sir Robert Sawyer
Preceded by
Sir Robert Sawyer
Speaker of the House
1678–1679
Succeeded by
Sir William Gregory
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Osborne
Treasurer of the Navy
1673–1681
Succeeded by
The Viscount Falkland
Preceded by
The Lord Wharton
Comptroller of the Household
1702–1704
Succeeded by
Thomas Mansel, 1st Baron Mansel
Baronetage of England
Preceded by
Edward Seymour
Baronet
(of Berry Pomeroy)
1688–1708
Succeeded by
Edward Seymour