The Other Seymours: John Seymour, Son of Katherine Fillol

Players

I have no delusions that this article will not be confusing with all the Edwards and Johns, and it’s because of that I’ve included this list of players to help you differentiate between them:

Edward Seymour/Sir Edward – Later Duke of Somerset, married both Katherine Fillol and Anne Stanhope.

Sir John Seymour – Father of Edward Seymour, later Somerset.

John Seymour – First son born to Katherine Fillol and ?

Edward Seymour/Lord Edward – Son of Edward Seymour and Katherine Fillol

Katherine Fillol – First wife of Edward Seymour/Sir Edward

Anne Stanhope – Second wife of Edward Seymour/Sir Edward

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Book Review: “The Path to Somerset” by Janet Wertman

Jane Seymour (8)

If you know anything about me at all you know I love all things Thomas Seymour. It’s because of my love for Thomas that I tend to hold Edward Seymour in a bad light – he, after all, was at the helm when Thomas was executed.

The Path to Somerset is the second book in the Seymour saga by Janet Wertman – her first book was on Jane Seymour, called Jane the Quene. This book covers the career of Edward Seymour starting in March 1539. Queen Jane has been dead for a year and a half and the Henry VIII is considering a foreign bride.

Wertman was very generous and sent me an advance review copy. Here is a blurb about the book from Wertman’s website (janetwertman.com):

After the tragic romance of Jane the Quene, the second book in The Seymour Saga trilogy, The Path to Somerset, takes a dark turn through an era in which King Henry VIII descends into cynicism, suspicion and fits of madness ? and in which mistakes mean death.

Edward?s future is uncertain. Although his sister Jane bore Henry the son he?d sought for twenty years, when she died in childbirth, Henry?s good nature died with her. Now the fiercely ambitious Edward must carve a difficult path through Henry?s shifting principles and wives. Challenged at every turn by his nemesis, Bishop Stephen Gardiner, Edward must embrace ruthlessness in order to safeguard not only his own future but England?s as well.

This is the account of Henry?s tumultuous reign, as seen through the eyes of two opponents whose fierce disagreements over religion and common decency fuel epic struggles for the soul of the nation. And for power.

My Review

As I stated previously I was concerned that I was going to have issues with Wertman’s portrayal of Edward. It was to my surprise that I grew to love his “character” as well as his chosen path in life.

Edward Seymour’s first marriage left him a damaged man – he felt betrayed by his wife and his father for having an affair – as anyone would be. Edward apparently made amends with his father but never forgave his first wife, Katherine Fillol. It’s when he met Anne Stanhope that the pieces began to come together for Edward.

I might sound like a hypocrite but Wertman even made me like Anne Stanhope – a woman whom I have dubbed as a “wicked woman” many times in the past few years. I always saw Stanhope as more ambitious and vindictive than her husband. It’s in Wertman’s superb storytelling that I looked at the couple in a completely different light – they were a team, and in Tudor England it was important to have strong allies. Were they ambitious? Sure. But they were also the aunt and uncle of the future King of England and it was in their best interest to secure their future.

In The Path to Somerset, Anne plays the uber supportive wife who always has the right advice for her husband. Often Edward recalls the advice given by Anne and admits that she was right. So refreshing to read that in a book about this time period.

Edward Seymour, was human – he had emotions and opinions like any of us but his “boss” was the tyrannical King Henry VIII. He had a job to do and was loyal to his King. Having an opinion that differed from or displeased the King could cause you to quickly lose favor or worse, your head. He also understood how, as brother to Jane (Henry’s beloved third wife), he could use that card to get the King to see his way.

The way this story is told truly makes history come to life. Page after page you get the sense that you are back in Tudor England when things began to really change with Henry VIII – when he lost his temper quickly and had no problem signing a death warrant if the men around him convinced him to do so. He could be smiling one minute and yelling the next. Henry was in constant pain from the ulcers in his legs and the stench that surrounded him somehow became unbearable. Imagine walking into a room with the worst smell every punching you in the face. If the King saw you make a face regarding the small you could lose everything.

The Duke of Norfolk and Gardiner are definitely the antagonists in this book. There were times when I wanted to reach inside the book and strangle both men because of their scheming to advance themselves and the Catholics. In the end they both got what was coming to them.

Wertman mentions in her “Author Note” after the story that she tried to stay as true as possible to the history and she did a wonderful job doing so – the dialogue could very well have been what these men (and sometimes women) said to one another and it made the story flow.

I highly recommend ordering this book! The?The Path to Somerset?covers a very important part of Tudor history and you will not be disappointed. It will be available in August 2018 and is available for pre-order.

To stay up to date on release information please go to: JanetWertman.com and be sure to subscribe!

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Tudor Power Couple: Edward and Anne Seymour



The consummate ‘power couple from hell’, Edward Seymour and his wife Anne Stanhope were portrayed in Showtime’s The Tudors as selfish, greedy and uncompromising. In real life you could say the same…or is there more to the story?

Edward Seymour

Born in 1500, Edward Seymour was the second son of John Seymour and Margery Wentworth and grew up at Wolf Hall. The eldest son of the couple, John most likely died in infancy – so Edward was now the oldest. He had nine siblings in all – most notably Thomas and Jane. It is believed that Edward was brought up at Wolf Hall under the supervision of his mother.

John Seymour must have had a great relationship with King Henry VIII because on the 12th of October 1514, a fourteen year old Edward Seymour was made a page “to do service to the queen”. Katherine of Aragon, you ask? No, actually Mary Tudor, Queen of France – favorite sister of King Henry. This must have been a very exciting adventure for such a young man, but unfortunately it would not last long. In a matter of weeks Edward, along with many other of the new French queen’s attendants were sent back to England.

In the Spring of 1514, Edward Seymour married Katherine Fillol, heiress to her father’s fortune. The marriage was most likely arranged by their fathers since the couple were so young – Edward being only 14 years old. The couple lived in the household of Sir John Seymour at Wolf Hall until Edward turned twenty-one because his father had agreed to provide for the young couple until they came of age. It was important for John Seymour to take care of the young couple because his new daughter-in-law stood inherit some great lands upon her father’s death.



Edward and Katherine had two sons, the eldest was John, named for his grandfather and the second was Edward, presumably named for his father.

Edward’s social standing continued to climb when, in December 1516 he was listed as a gentleman attendant in the king’s privy chamber. Then on the 15th of July 1517 he was secured the position of constable of Bristol Castle. He was only seventeen years old at the time so the position was in title only and his duties would have been performed by his father’s deputies – must be nice.

Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset

The couple were married for over a decade before all hell broke lose.

In a book called, The Seymour Family by Amy Aubrey Locke the story is told. There are two different stories to explain – the first is a story that was given by Peter Heylen who was the author of History of the Reformation which was published in 1674 and it states:

When Edward Seymour was in France, possibly when he had accompanied the Duke of Suffolk in 1532, he had acquainted himself with a learned man who had great skill in magic. From this man he could be told how all his relations were back home. The way Heylen explains it it almost seems as if Edward was ‘shown’ what was happening – like possibly in a crystal ball. I don’t know. Seymour saw a male acquaintance in a “familiar posture with his wife than was agreeable to the honour of either party”. Whatever he saw he believed it – so much so that when he arrived back in England he estranged himself from his wife and their two sons, and instead of divorcing her sent her to a convent.



The second story is by Horace Walpole, which is found in Vincent’s Baronage in the College of Arms, that states in latin, but I’ve translated it to: ‘Because of his father, divorced after a marriage being acknowledged.’

So if we were to combine the two statements we’d find that Edward Seymour separated from Katherine Fillol because of his father’s familiar relationship with her that was not agreeable to their honor.

To back up the fact that Katherine Fillol disgraced her family, her father was so upset with her that she would no longer inherit all that she was supposed to as his sole heiress. Instead, in her father’s will dated 1527, she is excluded from inheriting, “for many diverse reasons and considerations from any part or parcel of his manors and estates” – instead she was left with an annual pension from the estate of 40, provided she go and “virtuously and abide in some house of religion of women”. In other words, a convent. So apparently her father was so disgusted by his daughter’s actions that he took away her inheritance.

Interestingly enough author David Loades in The Seymour Family of Wolf Hall believes that the separation did not affect their children’s legitimacy – even though it had been suspected that John and Edward were actually John Seymour’s children and brother’s to Edward Seymour, not his children. He does mention in the book that the boys were not able to claim Edward Seymour’s titles and that they played no part in his career. Supposedly both boys went away with their mother and stayed with her until her death in 1535 – then they were returned to the custody of Edward Seymour. Interesting, right?



Depending on who you read the following information varies regarding the marriage of Edward Seymour to his second wife, Anne Stanhope.

David Loades says they married on the 9th of March 1535, while Antonia Fraser says it was sometime in 1534 before Katherine Fillol’s death and Margaret Scard says by the 9th of March 1535. So we don’t know for certain if it was before or after the death of her first wife. We can assume from the three authors that they were definitely married by the 9th of March 1535.

Regardless of when they were married the new bride immediately put her foot down and said she wanted nothing to do with his sons, so they were both sent away from court to be educated.

Anne Stanhope

Anne Stanhope was the only child of Sir Edward Stanhope and Elizabeth Bourchier and was born in 1510. Unfortunately, when she was about one year old her father died. There is little evidence that remains about Anne’s childhood – it is, however, believed that she was a maid-of-honour to Katherine of Aragon.

Anne Stanhope, Duchess of Somerset

Her mother did eventually marry again, this time to Sir Richard Paget, who was also well-connected to King Henry VIII. Paget was a gentleman of the Privy Chamber for King Henry and also Vice-Chamberlain in the household of Henry Fitzroy.

Man on the Rise
Edward Seymour’s position, thanks to his father’s connection to the king, continued to rise at Tudor court. When his sister caught the king’s eye in 1536 it only helped Edward’s advancement.

Before the execution of Anne Boleyn on the 19th of May 1536, Edward Seymour became a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber; and when his sister Jane became queen he was ennobled as Viscount Beauchamp.

Queen Jane is always referred to as sweet, or as a peace-maker, she apparently got along well with her sister in law Anne and never showed any interest in her nephews that were sent away. It always amazes me that a family with so much scandal surrounding it could end up with a daughter as queen.

When Prince Edward was born on the 12th of October 1537, Seymour was raised to the earldom of Hertford – and his younger brother, Thomas Seymour succeeded Edward’s position in the privy chamber.



Only twelve days later Queen Jane was dead and Prince Edward was only an infant. With infant mortality so high the Seymour family would have been on edge – they understood well how fast one family could fall from favor.

Lucky for them Edward was healthy child and things seemed more stable for Edward Seymour as the eldest uncle of the Prince.

Sometime in 1538, most likely on Anne’s insistence, his boys by Katherine Fillol were excluded from Edward Seymour’s property and titles by Act of Parliament – she meant business, wanting her children to benefit from their father’s standing, not his supposed children from his first marriage.

Death of King Henry VIII

Both Edward and Anne Seymour continued to play important roles at Tudor court throughout the reign of Henry VIII but when the king died on the 28th of January 1547 everything changed and they became the most powerful couple in England.

Henry VIII had actually revised his will in December 1546 a month before his death. The reason behind the revisions were to:

Revise the composition of the Council (these men are the same people who would be executors to his will)
To distribute the Howard property since the Duke of Norfolk and Earl of Surrey were both convicted of treason and sentenced to death.
To name whether after Prince Edward’s ascension he should be aided by a council or a protector. (It’s been noted that King Henry was more interested in a council)
Upon Henry VIII’s death the details regarding the distribution of the Howard land and the issue of a protectorate had not yet been finalized.

Edward Seymour and Sir William Paget (the king’s secretary & Seymour’s ally) and possibly the executors of the late king’s will as well, are believed to have changed it. They did so so that they could be in charge of distributing the Howard land and honors to whomever they pleased. Henry’s will was signed with a stamp, so changes appeared easy to make.



Three days after the king’s death Edward Seymour was named Lord Protector AND Governor of the King.

Author Margaret Scard said it best: Henry VIII never intended a protectorate “his failure to recognize the inherent weakness in the terms of his will left the government of the country at the mercy of ambitious men.”

The transfer from one king to the next was always a hairy situation, especially when the new king was a mere child – see Henry VI as another example with the Wars of the Roses – that history lesson should have been enough warning for the eldest Seymour brother.

Edward Seymour had made promises to William Paget to get him on his side – we know this because of a letter that Paget wrote him two years later. He starts by reminding him that they had discussed something in the gallery of Westminster before the King died and how they had talked about their plan to make Seymour Lord Protector. Evidently, Seymour had told Paget that he would listen to his advice above any other man. Of course, that wasn’t the case – Seymour got what he wanted from Paget. What was he going to do now? Seymour was already Lord Protector and could do as he wished.

In his will Henry VIII had listed sixteen men to be both executors of his will and members of the Regency Council. That is how he wanted things to be. He didn’t want a protectorate. He also named twelve assistant executors, one of which was Edward’s younger and equally ambitious brother Thomas Seymour.

Thomas Seymour believed that he would be named Governor of the King, like with the minority of Henry VI his uncles shared the powerful positions. It wasn’t only Thomas Seymour that was annoyed; Kateryn Parr had believe that she would be named Regent – even going so far as changing her signature to indicate her new position.

In mid-February 1547, Edward Seymour decided to be styled as the Duke of Somerset – truly amazing since that title is traditionally associated with the Beaufort line of ancestors of Henry VIII.

Now as Lord Protector, Governor of the King and Duke of Somerset, Edward Seymour’s authority had grown – he could now add and remove councillors at will and convene the Council at anytime. He could act without permission and was essentially ‘de facto King’. Exactly what Henry VIII did NOT want. He even went so far as to address King Francis I as ‘brother’ in a letter, something reserved to another monarch. Just as Henry VIII had called Francis I, his brother.

When the newly titled Duke of Somerset (how I will try to refer to him going forward) raised his brother Thomas to Baron Seymour of Sudeley, Thomas took it as a slap in the face – he believed Governor of the King was his position. Somerset tried to placate him by also making him Lord High Admiral. While this pleased him it didn’t cure his desire to have more.



Looking for more power and wealth Thomas Seymour did what he knew how to do best evidently – he schemed. First he asked Princess Elizabeth Tudor to marry him. Knowing full well that being married to Elizabeth would bring him as close to the throne as he could achieve. She turned him down, in the sweetest manner possible – saying she needed to mourn her father and could not consider a marriage for at least two years.

Secret Wedding

Thomas, slightly discouraged, went to the next best choice, his former love and dowager queen Kateryn Parr. Parr still loved Seymour and was acting like a young girl in love. She had married the aging, obese king instead of Seymour in 1543 because she felt that it was God’s will to do so. So when she had the opportunity to be with Seymour again she jumped at the chance.

The couple secretly married in the Spring of 1547 – way too soon for the widow of the late king. Thomas and Kateryn looked for a way to get away with their secret marriage without getting in trouble because they hadn’t asked Somerset or the Council’s permission to marry.

When Somerset discovered the two had married he was livid that his own brother had went behind his back to get permission from the young king. He even went to young King Edward and yelled at him about giving them permission. King Edward had noted in his diary about that exchange and said, ‘the Lord Protector was much offended’ and that was all. Now, who’s the king exactly?

Edward’s wife Anne Seymour was equally displeased with the union. Not only did Thomas and Kateryn marry too soon after Henry VIII’s death but Kateryn Parr was marrying well beneath her station since Thomas was merely a baron. Both Edward and Anne felt Thomas had disgraced their family name by going behind their back.



Kateryn Parr still played the role as queen, with a household the same size as when she was married to Henry. Thomas Seymour, being the husband of Kateryn, would have finally felt he had some of the power and status he deserved.

Anne, Duchess of Somerset was annoyed with the fact that Kateryn Parr would take precedence over her as the wife of the Lord Protector – the story that has been told is that she would push, or nudge the dowager queen out of the way to as to walk in front of her – showing she took precedence…now, I’ve been just as guilty of telling this story as others, but apparently we may all have been mistaken and I want to clear it up.

Author Margaret Scard states that it is unlikely that the Duchess of Somerset was resentful toward Kateryn Parr. Anne would have understood that she would have to take her place behind Kateryn, just as she would behind Anne of Cleves as the ‘king’s sister’.

The real issue appears to be between the Duchess of Somerset and Thomas Seymour – she took issue with the precedence he felt he deserved since he was married to the dowager queen. He believed that his marriage to Kateryn would and should raise him above other noblemen. Maybe that means he felt he could walk alongside his wife in a procession – this would be what the duchess was opposed to. In addition to that, both the duke and duchess of Somerset were angry with Thomas for embarrassing them by going behind their back and marrying Kateryn. That information is found in the book by Margaret Scard about Edward Seymour and references the original rumor to the 1550s by Catholic writers. That makes a bit more sense right? They wanted to make the heavily protestant Anne Seymour, Duchess of Somerset look bad.



If we look at Chris Skidmore’s book about Edward VI he continues with the story that the Duchess of Somerset, who was described as, “A woman for many imperfections intolerable, and for pride monstrous, subtle and violent”, as does Antonia Fraser when she states in the Wives of Henry VIII that the Duchess of Somerset “openly jostled with Queen Catherine for precedence on the grounds that as the wife of the Protector she was the first lady in England”. However, there is no justification for her actions – Kateryn Parr had been granted precedence by statute and the Duchess would also have to walk behind Princess Mary, Princess Elizabeth and Anne of Cleves.

Interestingly enough, in Elizabeth Norton’s book about Kateryn Parr she states that Anne Seymour had always resented having to pay court to the former Lady Latimer – coming from an aristocratic courtly family herself she felt she need not carry the train of her husband’s younger brother.

Edward Seymour, Lord Protector and Duke of Somerset refused to get in the middle of this quarrel and told his brother Thomas, “Brother, are you not my younger brother, and am I not Protector, and do you not know that your wife, before she married the king, was of lower rank than my wife? I desire therefore, since the queen is your wife that mine should go before her. Thomas, now more angry replied with, “I am sorry there should be any anger between them, but I can tell you that the queen is determined not to allow it, so do not blame me for it.”

After the brother’s conversation Thomas went back and informed his wife of what words had been exchanged and Kateryn was humiliated – she left is recorded as saying, “I deserve this for degrading myself from a queen to marry an Admiral.”



Not only was Kateryn being pushed aside by the Duke and Duchess of Somerset for marrying Thomas but now they refused to allow her access to her jewels in the Tower of London. Somerset stated that they were the property of the Crown now. This infuriated Kateryn because some of the jewels were actually her possessions – gifts that she had been given by the late king and her mother. She was not asking for the queen’s jewels. Both Thomas and Kateryn tried everything to get her jewels back – they hired legal council and even discussed with the young king…to no avail. Kateryn would never see her jewels again.

Death of Kateryn Parr

Kateryn Parr’s death came as a surprise to everyone, especially her husband Thomas. You could say her death catapulted him into a death spin that would ultimately lead to his execution.

After his wife’s death, Thomas had asked the Duchess of Suffolk to raise their daughter, Mary.

It wasn’t long after the death of the dowager queen that Thomas Seymour’s reckless behaviour caught up with him. It is believed that his brother, the Duke of Somerset is the one who gave the order to investigate and gather information against Thomas. Eventually, evidence would be found, or possibly fabricated, and Somerset would sign the order for his brother’s execution.

For his actions against his brother he was heavily criticized – what he actually had done was weakened his own standing. In 1550 he was removed from the office of Protector but was readmitted to the council the following year. All the plotting and scheming that Somerset had done himself was now happening to him by John Dudley, Earl of Warwick – when on the 16th of October 1551 Somerset was arrested and sent to the Tower of London. He was executed, just like his brother had been, on the 22nd of January 1552.

A man by the name of John Hayward is noted as saying that the downfall of the Seymour brothers was the direct result of the rivalry of their wives.

The Duke and Duchess of Somerset were indeed the power couple of Tudor court during the reign of Edward VI – unfortunately, between the two of them they were also responsible for the disgrace of the Seymour name.

Interested in the Podcast about this topic? Click this image:

Further Reading:

Fraser, Antonia; Wives of Henry VIII

Lipscomb, Suzannah; The King is Dead

Loades, David; The Seymours of Wolf Hall

Norton, Elizabeth; Catherine Parr

Scard, Margaret; Edward Seymour – Lord Protector

Skidmore, Chris; Edward VI – The Lost King of England

Starkey, David; Rivals in Power – Lives and Letters of the Great Tudor Dynasties

Weir, Alison; The Six Wives of Henry VIII

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Thomas Seymour: Prisoner to Greed

thomas-seymour-prisoner-to-greed

Thomas Seymour had a way with women – his charisma so great and his looks so good that even Katherine Parr couldn’t help but fall for him. He was described as “…fierce in courage, courtly in fashion, in personage stately, in voice magnificent.” Yet with all those wonderful attributeshe did not marry until he was nearly forty years old.

In 1547, after the death of King Henry VIII, his son Edward succeeded him as King Edward VI of England. Young Edward’s mother, Jane, died days after giving birth to him and the only remaining connection to her was through his uncles, aunts and grandmother.

king-edward-vi

The Seymour Brothers

From early on the Seymour brothers were gifted with titles. Edward was given the titleViscount Beauchampafter his sister married the King in 1536. The following summer he became Earl of Hertford. At the same time his younger brother Thomas becameGentleman of the Privy Chamber. A year laterhe wasgranted the castle and manor of Holt in Cheshire and knighted prior to the christening of his nephew, Prince Edward, into the Knight of the Bath. From that point, until the death of King Henry, Thomas was continually given lands, but no greater titles – those were saved for his elder brother, Edward.

In Henry VIII’s will he named Thomas Seymour as an assistant to the King’s council and was gifted money, however, the will of the late monarch has been disputed and claims that it was changed prior to his death are widespread.”The purported leaders of this faction were Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford; John Dudley, Lord Lisle; and Sir William Paget, the kings chief secretary. All were apparently united by their evangelicalism that is, their eagerness for further religious reformation.

When Prince Edward became King of England Thomas Seymour’ssocial standings grew immensely; He was now uncle to the King. Finally he was given a title…though not a dukedom like his brother Edward who became Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector but Baron of Sudeley and Lord Admiral, along with several pieces ofland. As an uncle to the King he should have received more, at least an earldom. Some chroniclers and historians have said that his brother Edward was behind the lack of any great titles.edward-seymour

Edward Seymour surely wanted to give the impression that he was a fair brother; After he was made Lord Protector he had this to say to the Council:

My lords, you know how long my brother, Master Seymour, has served, and how the King esteemed him, and if he had not died would have given him great rewards; and you also know that it is time the Earl of Warwick was allowed to rest, and had another less laborious office. My brother is young and is well fitted for this post, so if you approve I propose to make Warwick the Earl Constable, and my brother High Admiral.

When we look back at previous kings in their minority it was more common that any remaining uncles were given much greater titles than what Thomas Seymour received. With his brother Edward as Lord Protector of the Realm, he had the power to recommend to council to give his brother a greater title. It’s almost as if Edward Seymour knew that his brother would attempt to over-throw him and take a more powerful position for himself.

Thomas never believed hewas given enough and always thought he deserved more. That was definitely his weakness. It’s easy to see him as a villain, but he was also a victim of his brother’s ambitions. I believe this was his true motivator. However, imagine seeing your elder brother and your younger sister getting everything they desired and you, as a middle child, feeling like you were always forgotten.

Possible Marriages

Thomas Seymour was nearly forty years old and unmarried when Henry VIII died in 1547. There is no doubt thathe could have married any noble woman of his choosing but his ambitions were always higher and greater than most expected. He wanted a marriage that would give him more money, more property and more political standing.

Before Katherine Parr was married to Henry VIII, she and Seymour had hopedto marry after the imminent death of her third husband, Lord Latimer. Merely a couple of months after the death of Latimer, Henry VIII asked Katherine to be his wife. She could not refuse. This may have fueled Seymour’s internal fire to strive for what he thought he deserved and what he thought should be his.

untitled-design-28

It was necessary to have a lengthy mourning period after the death of a husband, but especially if that husband was the King. If the wife was of child-bearing age she had to wait until a sufficient amount of time went by for everyone to see that she was not with the King’s child. As an example, the dowager queen, Catherine of Valois, was told she could not remarry until her son (who was a minor) came of age and could give consent.

Had Thomas Seymour proposed to Katherine in 1543 right after the death of her husband it would have been seen as improper. He had to give it some time before proposing marriage. The King however, did not have to follow the same rules as his subjects.

With Katherine married and out of the picture, Thomas had every opportunity to marry, yet he did not. He was send abroad several times by Henry VIII on embassies or battlesand that sufficiently kept him away from Katherine Parr during the King’s lifetime.

When Seymour’s nephew, Edward succeeded the throne it opened up a new door of opportunity for Thomas. Seymour had approached the King’s servant, John Fowler to plead his case to the King regarding marriage. He had asked Fowler:

Mr. Fowler, I pray you, if you have any communications with the King’s Majesty soon, or tomorrow as his highness whether he would be content I should marry or not; and if he says he would be content, I pray you ask his grace whom he would have to be my wife?

When Fowler saw the King next he brought up Seymour in conversation by marveling how he had not yet been married. The King had no response. Then Fowler asked, “Could your grace be contented he should marry?” The King responded by saying only, “Ye-very well.” Fowler than proceeded to ask Edward whom Seymour should marry. The King said that Thomas Seymour should marry “My Lady Anne of Cleves.” He paused a moment and then changed his mind saying that Seymour should marry his sister Mary – to help “turn her opinions.” This must reference her religion.

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Princess Elizabeth, Anne of Cleves, Princess Mary and Katherine Parr

The above reference situation is not dated so I am unsure when it actually occurred. I believe this was aboutthe time that Thomas proposed to Elizabeth and married Katherine Parr. It appears he’s looking for the King to name one of the two ladies.

The Lord Protector approached Council regarding his brother marrying the dowager queen. That he deserved a wife of a great title as he was the uncle of the King. The dowager queen favored the marriage but worried to Pagets wife that she would lose her title as queen. She was assured that it was not the case.

Thomas Seymour secretly wed Katherine Parr in 1547. There marriage was short-lived but did produce a child, Mary.

After the death of Parr, Seymour asked the Council if he could marry Madam Elizabeth. He said that he, as uncle to the King, and someone whom had formerly been married to the dowager queen, deserved to marry her above everyone else. Nothing, of course, came from his request.

Things started to escalate from that point and Seymour showed signs of desperation after the death of the dowager queen and turned down request to marry Elizabeth.

We’ll stop there for now and continue on with a future article about what happened next.

Notes and Sources:

Wriothesley Chronicle
Chronicle of King Henry VIII

Literary Remains of King Edward the Sixth: Edited from His Autograph Manuscripts, with Historical Notes and a Biographical Memoir, Part 2 (page cxv & cxvi)

MacLean, John; The Life of Thomas Seymour, Knight, Baron Seymour of Sudeley and Master of the Ordance

History Extra.com – “Who Hijacked Henry VIII’s Will?”

‘Henry VIII: December 1546, 26-31’, in Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 21 Part 2, September 1546-January 1547, ed. James Gairdner and R H Brodie (London, 1910), pp. 313-348. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/letters-papers-hen8/vol21/no2/pp313-348 [accessed 14 October 2016].

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Edward Seymour: Father or Brother?

Edward Seymour-

 

In about 1527 Edward Seymour (future Earl of Hertford/Duke of Somerset) and brother of Jane Seymour, married his first wife, Katherine Fillol. Katherine was the daughter of Sir William Fillol and an heiress to his lands.

In 1527 they had a son…John and in 1529, another son…Edward. It would seem the first child was named after Edward’s father, John Seymour and the second named after Edward himself.

As someone who does a lot of genealogical research I can assure you that naming your first child (especially a son) after a father is not uncommon, and it is normally after the paternal grandfather as is such in this case. However, when the rest of this story is told, you may wonder if that was the true reason for the name.

As the story goes, it was discovered sometime between 1527 and 1530 that Edward’s wife Katherine Fillol had an affair. The scandalous part is that it was a long affair with…yep, Edward’s father, Sir John Seymour. When Edward discovered the affair he was outraged, as any spouse would be after such a discovery, but he was enraged by the fact that the culprit was his own father.

Photo Credit: National Trust, Ham House
Photo Credit: National Trust, Ham House

After discovering what happened, Edward immediately sent his wife to a nunnery. While not knowing for certain the paternity of his sons, he disowned both of them — after all, how would he know if the boys were hissons, or brothers? How could he look at them without wondering?



There is no definitive proof that Edward’s father, Sir John Seymour was indeed the man who Katherine Fillol had an affair with, but many historiansbelieve so, including Alison Weir. However, in Weir’s book, The Six Wives of Henry VIII she states that all of Henry’s court was aware of what had happened with the Seymours – would this be true? If that’s the case would Henry have been so interested in Jane Seymour, a woman from a family of scandal?

Only a few things point in the direction of Sir John Seymour being the culprit:

A handwrittennote is recorded in the marginofVincent’s Baronagein the College of Arms: “repudiata quia pater ejus post nuptias eam cognovit.” Roughly translated, it says, “Divorced because she was known by his father after the wedding.” It alleges that the affair Catherine was having was with her own father-in-law, Sir John Seymour.

In the book, The Seymour Family by Amy Audrey Looke, she states:

One story given by Peter Heylyn states that when the Earl, then Sir Edward Seymour, was in France, he ‘did there acquaint himself with a learned man, supposed to have great skill in magick; of whom he obtained by grat reward and importunities, to let him see, by the help of some magical perspective, in what estate all his relation stood at home. In which impertinent curiosity he was so far satisfied as to behold a gentleman of his acquaintance in a more familiar posture with his wife than was agreeable to honor of either party. To which diabolical illusion, he is said to have given so much credit that he did not only estrange himself from her society at his coming home, but furnished his next wife with an excellent opportunity for pressing him to disinheriting of his former children.

Collection of Marquess of Bath, Longleat House, Wiltshire.

It seems from the above statement that Edward Seymour saw a psychic or a seer in France who showed him his wife having an affair – however, it is not clear from the above statement whether or not that was with his father. You’ll have to draw your own conclusions.



Also noted should be the fact that Katherine’s father, Sir William Fillol adjusted his will:

Something happened during her marriage to Edward. In her father’s will, dated 1527, Catherine is excluded from inheriting “for many dyverse causes and considerations … Catherine nor hir heiress of hir boody ne Sir Edward Seymour hir husbonde in any wyse have any part or parcell’ of his manors or estates.Instead, Catherine is leftan annual pension from the estate of 40, provided she go and “virtuously and abide in some house of religion of women.” In other words, a convent.

A bit more on the sons and their father as quoted from, The Seymour Familyby A. Audrey Locke:

“The Duke of Somerset, by his first wife Katherine Fillol, had two sons; John, who was sent to the Tower with his father in October 1551, and dying there in December 1552, was buried in Savoy Hospital, and Edward, who was knighted at the Battle of Pinkie in 1547, and was restored to blood by Act of Parliament in 1553. He settled at Berry Pomeroy, in Devonshire, and was the ancestor of the Seymours of Berry Pomeroy, the present Dukes of Somerset.

We’ll never know for certain whether or not Katherine Fillol had an affair with Edward’s father, Sir John Seymour — I think we can agree that she most likely had an affair with someone, otherwise why would Edward have reacted the way he did. The interesting part to me is that Edward Seymour was “shown” his wife having an affair by a “learned man” while in France. Is that part really true, or did he find this out from someone back home?

 

Sources:

The Six Wives of Henry VIII, by Alison Weir
http://under-these-restless-skies.blogspot.com/2013/11/catherine-fillol.html
http://www.digplanet.com/wiki/Catherine_Fillol
http://susandhigginbotham.blogspot.com/2011/03/marital-misadventures-of-edward-seymour.html
https://archive.org/stream/seymourfamilyhis00lockuoft#page/n7/mode/2up
https://books.google.com/books?id=hmlnAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA32&lpg=PA32&dq=Peter+Heylyn+Edward+Seymour+magic&source=bl&ots=sJe5SDBEHK&sig=oWd-q2PSF4wVo41dZO5VdgiOOYI&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Bg6EUrW-F4-osAS3iICQDw#v=onepage&q=Peter%20Heylyn%20Edward%20Seymour%20magic&f=false

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