Henry Seymour (16th-century MP)

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Sir Henry Seymour
Born Henry Seymour
c. 1503
Wulfhall, Wiltshire, England
Died 5 April 1578(1578-04-05) (aged 74–75)
Occupation English MP
Known for Brother of Jane Seymour, Queen consort of Henry VIII
Spouse(s) Barbara Wolfe
Children Sir John Seymour
Jane Seymour
Parent(s) Sir John Seymour
Margery Wentworth

Sir Henry Seymour (c. 1503 – 5 April 1578)[1] was an English landowner and MP, the brother of Jane Seymour, queen consort of Henry VIII, and consequently uncle to Edward VI.[1] He was created a Knight of the Bath after his nephew's coronation.[2]


Sir Henry Seymour was born around 1503, probably at Wulfhall, Wiltshire.[3] He was the third son of Sir John Seymour (c.1474[4][5] – 21 December 1536.[6]) and Margery Wentworth (c. 1478[7] – 18 October 1550[8]). His family rose to prominence following his sister Jane's marriage to the King in 1536.[1] As well as Queen Jane, Henry Seymour's siblings included Elizabeth Seymour, Lady Cromwell, the daughter-in-law of Henry VIII's chief minister, Thomas Cromwell; Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, who was Lord Protector of England during the minority of their nephew; and Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley, the fourth husband of Catherine Parr, and stepfather to the future Elizabeth I.[7]


Seymour may have begun his career in the service of Richard Foxe, Bishop of Winchester.[1] By 1526 he had followed his father and siblings into royal service, although he does not seem to have shared the ambitions or abilities of his brothers, Edward and Thomas, and did not progress at court.[1] He served under four Tudor monarchs, although for the most part, he lived in relative obscurity, seldom appearing at court, and did not seek honours and preferments.[9]

He held a number of offices, including:[1]

Following his sister's marriage, he was appointed to several offices chiefly related to the administration of her estates, some of which he lost at her death. Jane left him "several valuable chains" in her will in 1537.[1] He was carver in the households of Anne of Cleves (1540) and Catherine Parr (1545). In 1544 he was made captain of the ship Lyon of Hamburgh under the command of his brother Thomas, Lord High Admiral, but was held to be culpable when it foundered in the Dart estuary during a storm. He was offered no further military or naval command following this incident, and some time in 1545, lost his position in the household of Catherine Parr.[1]

He was made a Knight of the Bath in February 1547, soon after his nephew's accession to the throne.[2][10] In the autumn of 1547, he was elected MP for Hampshire.[1] He is not mentioned in the diaries of Edward VI, although he received a number of royal grants of land during the reign of his nephew.[11] While both his brothers were executed after conspiring against their rivals in their struggles for power, Henry Seymour appears unscathed. In 1549, his brother, Edward, Lord Protector of England, wrote to him and asked him to bring troops to support him. It seems Henry Seymour did not respond, and did well under the administration of his brother's replacement, John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland.[1] He was the sole executor of his mother's Will following her death on 18 October 1550,[12] by which she bequeathed "various legacies of plate, jewels etc. to her relations."[13] In 1551, he was granted the manors of Marvell and Twyford, which had constituted a portion of the estates of the bishopric of Winchester, and the following year, grants for life of the manors of Somerford and Hurn, in the parish of Christchurch, with other lands to the value of £202 6s. 9d.[11]

During the reign of Elizabeth I, he was High Sheriff of Hampshire for 1568–69.[1]

Marriage and issue[edit]

Henry Seymour married Barbara (born c. 1515), the daughter of Morgan Wolfe, and by her had three sons and seven daughters:[1][14]

  • Edward Seymour
  • Henry Seymour
  • Thomas Seymour
  • Jane Seymour (died February 1634) married Sir John Rodney (c. 1551–died 6 August 1612) of Stoke Rodney, Somersetshire. They had sixteen children, of whom four sons and three daughters survived:[16]
  • Elizabeth Rodney
  • Sir Edward Rodney married Frances Southwell, the daughter of Sir Robert Southwell of Woodrising, Norfolk and Lady Elizabeth Howard, and by her had thirteen children.
  • George Rodney (1608–1630) married Anna Lake
  • Anthony Rodney (died 1705) married Constantia Clarke
  • Henry Rodney (died 1737) married Mary Newton
  • Henry Rodney
  • William Rodney
  • Jane Rodney
  • Penelope Rodney


Seymour died at home in Winchester 5 April 1578. He had made his will a week earlier. He was succeeded by his son and heir, John.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Hawkyard 1982.
  2. ^ a b Saint Maur 1902, p. 21, He "was made a Knight of the Bath, 27 February 1547 ..."
  3. ^ Norton 2009, p. 11.
  4. ^ Norton 2009, p. 7.
  5. ^ Aubrey 1862, p. 375–376:John Seymour's monument gives his age as 60 which points to a birth year of 1476. "This Knight departed this Lyfe at LX years of age, the XXI day of December, Anno 1536 ..."
  6. ^ Norton 2009, p. 125–126.
  7. ^ a b Pollard 1897, pp. 299–310.
  8. ^ Seymour 1972, p. 340.
  9. ^ Locke 1911, p. 29.
  10. ^ Strype II(I) 1822, p. 36.
  11. ^ a b Burke III 1838, p. 201–202.
  12. ^ Acts of the Privy Council III: 1550–1552, p. 142.
  13. ^ Burke III 1838, p. 201.
  14. ^ Aubrey 1862, p. 377.
  15. ^ Burke III 1838, p. 202.
  16. ^ Collins 1768, p. 142–143.


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