Edward Seymour, 12th Duke of Somerset
The Duke of Somerset
The Duke of Somerset, by Carlo Pellegrini, 1869.
|First Commissioner of Woods
17 April 1849 – 1 August 1851
|Prime Minister||Lord John Russell|
|Preceded by||The Earl of Carlisle|
|Succeeded by||Office abolished|
|First Commissioner of Works|
1 August 1851 – 21 February 1852
|Prime Minister||Lord John Russell|
|Preceded by||New office|
|Succeeded by||Lord John Manners|
|First Lord of the Admiralty|
27 June 1859 – 26 June 1866
|Prime Minister||The Viscount Palmerston
The Earl Russell
|Preceded by||Sir John Pakington, Bt|
|Succeeded by||Sir John Pakington, Bt|
|Born||20 December 1804|
|Died||28 November 1885|
|Spouse(s)||Jane Georgiana Sheridan
|Alma mater||Christ Church, Oxford|
Edward Adolphus Seymour (later St. Maur), 12th Duke of Somerset, etc. KG, PC (Piccadilly, London, 20 December 1804 – Stover Lodge, near Torquay, 28 November 1885), styled Baron Seymour until 1855, was a British Whig aristocrat and politician, who served in various cabinet positions in the mid-19th century, including that of First Lord of the Admiralty.
Background and education
Somerset was the eldest son of Edward St. Maur, 11th Duke of Somerset, and Lady Charlotte, daughter of Archibald Hamilton, 9th Duke of Hamilton. He was baptized on 16 February 1805 at St. George's, Hanover Square, London. He was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford.
Somerset sat as Member of Parliament for Okehampton between 1830 and 1831 and for Totnes between 1834 and 1855. He served under Lord Melbourne as a Lord of the Treasury between 1835 and 1839, as Joint Secretary to the Board of Control between 1839 and 1841 and as Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department between June and August 1841 and was a member of Lord John Russell's first administration as First Commissioner of Woods and Forests between 1849 and 1851, when the office was abolished. He served on the Royal Commission on the British Museum (1847–49). In August 1851 he was appointed to the newly created office of First Commissioner of Works by Russell. In October of the same year he entered the cabinet and was sworn of the Privy Council. He remained First Commissioner of Works until the government fell in February 1852.
Somerset succeeded his father in the dukedom in 1855 and entered the House of Lords. He did not serve in Lord Palmerston's first administration, but when Palmerston became Prime Minister for a second time in 1859, Somerset was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty, with a seat in the cabinet. He held this post until 1866, the last year under the premiership of Russell. He refused to join William Ewart Gladstone's first ministry in 1868, but gave independent support to the chief measures of the government.
He was made a Knight of the Garter in 1862 and in 1863 he was created Earl St. Maur, of Berry Pomeroy in the County of Devon. "St. Maur" was supposed to have been the original form of the family name and "Seymour" a later corruption. From some time in the early 19th century until 1923, "St. Maur" was used for the family name, but since 1923 the dukes have again used the familiar "Seymour".
- Lady Jane Hermione Seymour (1 January 1832 – 4 April 1909), m. 26 October 1852 Sir Frederick Ulric Graham, of Netherby, 3d Baronet (2 April 1820 – 8 March 1888), and had issue (the Countess of Verulam and the Duchess of Montrose)
- Lady Ulrica Frederica Jane Seymour (Burton Hall, 12 January 1833 – 26 or 28 January 1916), m. 1 June 1858 Rt. Hon. Lord Henry Frederick Thynne (2 August 1832 – 28 January 1904), Privy Councilor, Member of Parliament and Treasurer of the Household (1859), son of the 3rd Marquesses of Bath
- Edward Adolphus Ferdinand Seymour, Earl St. Maur (17 July 1835 – London, 30 September 1869). He had two illegitimate children by Rosina Eliabeth Swan: a son, Richard Harold St. Maur, who asserted that his parents had been married and claimed his father's titles; and a daughter, Ruth Mary St. Maur, a women's suffragist and socialist, who married (William George) Frederick Cavendish-Bentinck.
- Lord Edward Percy Seymour (19 August 1841 – Yellapoor, India, 20 December 1865), diplomat, unmarried and without issue; died after being mauled by a bear
- Lady Helen Guendolen Seymour (1846 – 14 August 1910), m. 2 August 1865 Sir John William Ramsden, 5th Baronet (14 September 1831 – 15 April 1914), son of John Charles Ramsden (30 April 1788 – 29 December 1836), Member of Parliament, and wife (m. 4 May 1814) Hon. Isabella Dundas (1790 – 6 December 1887), daughter of 1st Baron Dundas. Lady Guendolen inherited the Bulstrode estate.
The Duchess of Somerset died in December 1884. Somerset survived her by less than a year and died in November 1885, aged 80, and was buried with her in St James's Churchyard in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire. As his two sons had both died in his lifetime, the family titles (except the Earldom of St. Maur, which became extinct) devolved on his younger brother, Archibald Seymour, 13th Duke of Somerset.
- thepeerage.com Edward Adolphus Seymour, 12th Duke of Somerset
- The Complete Peerage vol.XIIpI, p.86.
- Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition
- leighrayment.com House of Commons: Ochil to Oxford University
- leighrayment.com House of Commons: Tipperary South to Tyrone West
- The Life of Sir Anthony Panizzi, Volume 1, by Louis Alexander Fagan, p257
- The London Gazette: . 24 October 1851.
- The London Gazette: . 23 May 1862.
- The London Gazette: . 19 June 1863.
- leighrayment.com Peerage: Slim to Sramfordham
- The Complete Peerage vol.XIIpI, p.87, note b.
- Notes & Queries, vol. 133 (1916), p. 318 (snippet)
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Duke of Somerset
- Ducal House of Somerset