Tag Archives: Lord Protector

On this day in 1587 – Anne Seymour died

Anne Seymour was the second wife of Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector of Edward VI. Anne was born in 1497 to Sir Edward Stanhope and his wife Elizabeth and it is through her mother that Anne is descended from Thomas of Woodstock, youngest son of King Edward III.

Anne married Edward Seymour sometime in 1535. Edward was the brother of the future queen of England, Jane Seymour. After Jane’s marriage to King Henry VIII the Seymour’s began being honoured with lands and titles. Edward was elevated to Viscount Beauchamp and in 1537 after Jane gave birth to Henry’s son, Edward, he was created Earl of Hertford. Finally in 1547 he was created Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector of his young nephew, Edward.

Anne and Edward had ten children and Queen Jane Seymour acted as godmother to their first child as well as Thomas Cromwell and Princess Mary.

Anne did not go unnoticed at court Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey took a fancy to her and although he had argued with her husband Howard still went on to write a sonnet about Anne entitled ‘A lady who refused to dance with him’ it portrayed Anne as a spiteful and cold lady.

Anne in 1545 sent aid to Anne Askew, the Protestant preacher who was burned at the stake for foretelling the King’s death. This showed that she was in favour of the Protestant faith and it was not the first she would be implicated in Protestant conspiracies.

Anne Seymour had a very prominent life at court; she was present throughout the latter days of Henry VIII’s reign and was not afraid of confrontation. Although she was present at Henry’s wedding to his final queen, Catherine Parr. Once Henry died and her husband became Lord Protector, Anne and Catherine found it difficult to get along. Anne deemed herself the most important lady in the realm and the rift deepened when Catherine married Anne’s brother in law, Thomas Seymour. Anne refused to enter a room behind Catherine however; Catherine invoked the Third Act of Succession, Henry’s final Act which restored Mary and Elizabeth to the line of succession. The Act also stated that Catherine, Mary, Elizabeth and Anne of Cleves were still took precedence over any other woman in the country and this included Anne Seymour.

Anne’s husband, Edward, was appointed Lord Protector by 13 of the 16 members of the council created in Henry VIII’s will to govern for the young King Edward VI until he was 18. This appointment made Seymour the most powerful man in England. After a series of rebellions during 1548/49 the blame fell at Seymour and the Privy Council had Edward Seymour and his wife arrested and placed in the Tower. Anne was released soon after and Seymour in January 1550. Anne was helpful in securing Seymour’s release by making visits to John Dudley, the new head of the council. Through Anne’s negotiations Seymour was admitted back into the Privy Council and her daughter was married to the eldest son of John Dudley.

Edward Seymour was arrested again on 1st December 1551 and was executed less than a month later on 22nd January 1552 Anne was released on 30th May 1553.

With the death of Edward Seymour Anne remarried to Francis Newdigate who was steward to her late husband. Little is known of their relationship and marriage. Anne appears to have taken herself away from court. Anne died at Hanworth Palace, Middlesex on 16th April 1587 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Anne Seymour

On this day in 1549 – An Act of Attainder was passed against Thomas Seymour

Thomas Seymour, brother to the late Queen Jane Seymour, husband of the Dowager Queen Catherine Parr and uncle to King Edward VI saw an Act of Attainder passed against him on 5th March 1549 declaring him guilty of high treason.

Upon the ascension of Edward VI, Thomas was created Baron Seymour of Sudeley and as the King’s uncle a member of the new Privy Council. In 1547 he married King Henry VIII’s widow, Catherine Parr, controversially only months after Henry had died. Due to the Dowager Queen’s position of step-mother and guardian of Princess Elizabeth they lived at Chelsea Manor in London. Upon Catherine and Thomas’ marriage he also moved into the property, which raised some concerns as during the final months of Henry’s life Thomas had put forward the notion of marrying one of the Princesses, preferably Elizabeth, although this did come to nothing at the time.

With Elizabeth now under the same roof as Thomas their relationship became too familiar with reports that Thomas would enter her chambers dressed in just his nightclothes and would tickle and slap the Princesses behind whilst she was in bed. These incidents were reported to Catherine who tried to put them down to innocent fun and she even partook in a few of them herself to try and ease the situation.

Catherine became pregnant in 1548 and the couple moved to Sudeley Castle. Elizabeth was sent to Hertfordshire to live as a precaution to ensure that Thomas didn’t do anything towards her whilst Catherine was in confinement. Catherine gave birth in September 1548 to a daughter but only a few days later Catherine died from complications of childbirth. Upon her death Thomas inherited all of Catherine’s wealth and once again his attentions turned towards Elizabeth and the idea of marriage.

Sudeley Castle      Sudeley Castle home of Thomas Seymour and Catherine Parr

Throughout King Edward VI’s reign Thomas was jealous that his brother, Edward, was appointed Protector and not him. The jealousy worsened over time and Thomas attempted to do what he could to gain influence over the nine year old King. He began visiting the King in secret and giving him an allowance behind his brothers back. He also tried to convince the King that he could rule in his own right and did not have a need for a Protector, on this occasion Edward did not listen to his uncle for fear of betraying the man appointed to look after him and his interests.

In 1547, with his brother invading Scotland in the Kings name, Thomas began voicing concern over his brothers ability to rule in the Kings name and he even went as far as approaching other nobles for their support in case of a rebellion. Upon his return from Scotland, Edward Seymour called for a council meeting for his brother to explain himself. Thomas failed to show up.

Thomas Seymour’s downfall took a further turn for the worse when on 16th January 1549 Thomas was found outside King Edward’s chambers with a loaded pistol after breaking in to Hampton Court Palace. It is unclear of his intentions but to the council it appeared that he was attempting to abduct the King.

The following morning Thomas was arrested and sent straight to the Tower of London and in the following five weeks was charged with 33 counts of treason and other offenses. Instead of receiving a trial in front of a jury of his peers Thomas Seymour was found guilty via an Act of Attainder. The Act was sent to the Lords on 25th February where it passed through twice before it was sent to the Commons for final approval. It was signed off on 5th March 1549. The Act of Attainder stripped Thomas of his land and titles as well as condemning him to execution.

Thomas Seymour was executed on 20th March 1549.

Thomas Seymour