EDWARD ADOLPHUS SEYMOUR,
DUKE OF SOMERSET
This family, from the station of ancient gentry, rose
at once into the highest rank, in the reign of Henry VIII. in
consequence of the marriage of queen Jane Seymour, with the monarch
himself. Sir Edward Seymour, her brother, was created viscount Beauchamp,
to him and the heirs male of his body, on June 5, 1536, to grace the
solemnity of his sister's marriage. In the following reign, he makes a
conspicuous figure as protector to the young king; but fell a sacrifice to
family and political intrigues, and lost his head, 1552, in consequence
of which, this dukedom, like that of Norfolk, was suspended till after the
restoration. A singular piece of retributive justice has attended
the eldest branch of his male descendants By the unhappy ascendancy of his
second wife, Anne Stanhope, he was induced to surrender up his first
patent of peerage, which was in favor of the issue male of his first
marriage, and to obtain a re-grant, postponing the succession of this
elder branch to the issue male of his second wife; and, when he was
created duke of Somerset, 1547, by Edward VI. followed the same unjust
line of entail. In this younger branch the honors descended till all their
male issue failed in 1750, when they fell on sir Edward Seymour, of
Maiden Bradley, in Wiltshire, bart. the descendant of the first marriage
of the first duke, thus unjustly postponed.
The title of earl of Hertford was enjoyed by this
family during the suspension of the dukedom; from whence Charles I. raised
them to the rank of Marquis, a title conspicuous during the civil wars.
The marriage of duke Charles, called the Proud Duke, in 1862, with the
heiress of the great house of Percy, gave a vast addition to their
splendor. His grand-daughter and heir carried the name of Percy , the
earldom of Northumberland, and the greater part of his estates to Sir Hugh
Smithson; while other part; with the celebrated mansion of Petworth, and
the earldom of Egremont, were transferred to the house of Wyndham, by the
marriage of his daughter Catharine with sir William Wyndham, bart.
Sir Edward Seymour, immediate ancestor of the present
duke, and of the marquis of Hertford, makes a figure temp. Charles II. as
speaker of the House of Commons, 1672, and again 1679, and a violent
The present duke is son of lord Webb Seymour, who
succeeded to the dukedom, 1792, and died 1793. He was born 1775, and
married, 1800, lady Charlotte, daughter of the present duke of Hamilton.
He is sail to be a young man of amiable disposition, and to do honor to
his rank, by patronizing the Literary Fund, and other beneficial
Female descent.] Fillol, Walsh, Champernon,
Killegrew, Portman, Wale, Popham , Webs, Bonnel.
Chief Seat.] Maiden-Bradley, in Wiltshire; Bury
Pomeroy Cattle, the ancient residence of this branch, being a ruin. The
earl of Ailesbury inherits, by female descent, the most ancient parts of
the Seymour estates, about Tottenham and Savernake Forest, in Wiltshire.
Heir.] His brother, (or infant son, if he
Younger Branches.) Marquis of Hertford, &e.
Biographical Peerage Of The Empire Of Great Britain