The Other Seymours: Dorothy Seymour Smith Leventhorpe

Written by Rebecca Larson

In my previous post about Sir Henry Seymour, I briefly mentioned another sister called Dorothy. As far as all the living Seymour siblings go it is Henry and Dorothy that we know very little about. When I decided to write an article the lesser known Seymour daughter I hoped that I could come across something that had never been published about her – that I would find some contemporary evidence that would give a glimpse at who she was as a person. But, like most women of the time, little was written about her and we can only learn who she was through the men she married – so that is what I’ve done here. I have, I believe, found information about her spouses and children that has yet to be published in a site like mine. All of this put together should give us a good idea of her life and her family.



Birth

Like most of the other Seymour children, there is no birth certificate to indicate when Dorothy Seymour was born, however, it has been commonly said that she was indeed the youngest surviving child of Sir John Seymour and Margery Wentworth.

Marriage to Sir Clement Smith

We don’t have an exact date of marriage to her first husband, but it is believed to have been by 1536 that Dorothy Seymour wed Clement Smith of Little Baddow in Essex. The couple had three sons and four daughters together. Of the children, the names I was able to locate were:

John, Clement and Dorothy (who married Edmund Parker)[1]

While Dorothy’s eldest brother Edward was clearly a reformist, her sister Jane seemed to sympathize with the Catholics. So it came as no surprise to discover that Dorothy wed a Catholic. The entire Seymour family appears to have been torn on the proper religion. But for Dorothy’s husband, Clement Smith, his beliefs had nearly landed him in Fleet Prison in April 1550. Clement, Sir Anthony Browne and a Mr. Sargent Morgan, all servants in the household of Lady Mary, were caught hearing mass, and as such were punished. Browne and Morgan were thrown in the Fleet while Smith, an uncle to the King (through marriage) was ‘chided’ for his actions.[2][3]

In 1547, after the death of Henry VIII and succession of Edward VI, Smith was knighted, however no date is given to when the ceremony occurred.[4]

In 1539, Smith became Lord Treasurer Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk’s Remembrancer in the Exchequer, a position that had previously been held by his older brother. ‘He was admitted and took the oath on 2 Dec. in the presence of Cromwell as chancellor of the Exchequer.’[5]

Clement Smith died 26 August 1552, and “in his will, he left nothing to his wife because the king had already given her ‘fair lands which with the poor jointure and other such lands as I have put her in jointly with me for the term of her life . . . and her dowry be double as much as all my lands, manors, and tenements.”[6]

The xxvjth?day of August ded ser Clementt Smyth knyght, and unkull unto owre soverayn lord and kyng Edward the vjth, the wyche ser Clement mared qwyne Jane(‘s) syster; and he ded in Essex, at a plasse callyd Badow.[7]

A couple of months after the death of her husband, Dorothy’s eldest brother Edward, Duke of Somerset was executed. Records show that Dorothy was granted a pension of 100 marks per year to help with the raising of Edward’s youngest daughter – her niece, Elizabeth.



Marriage to Thomas Leventhorpe, Esq.

In 1553, not long after the death of her first husband, Dorothy wed Thomas Leventhorpe of Sawbridgeworth and Albury Hall, Hertfordshire. Thomas Leventhorpe was twice High Sheriff of the county.[8] Records indicate he held that position in 1573 and 1587.[9]  The office of High Sheriff was a powerful position considering Thomas would have been responsible for the maintenance of law and order for the county.

Discovery of Information

There is a memorial brass at a church in Albury, Hertfordshire that mentions both Thomas and Dorothy. On the brass it mentions that Thomas died 8 June 1588 and Dorothy died 4 January 1574.[10] It also states that they had six children together. Of those six children we know of a son named Thomas who attended University of Cambridge and was baptized 10 August 1567, and died 1594.[11]

There is another list of their children together that show the following: Jane, Margaret, Catherine, John, Edward and Rafe.[12]

Death

Dorothy Seymour died 4 January 1574, and her last will and testament was made and she bequeathed ‘divers legacies of plate, jewels, etc to her relations, and mentions Edward and Henry Seymour, sons of the Duke of Somerset, as her godsons’.[13]

Notes/Works Cited:

[1] Notes and Querier: A Medium of Intercommunication for Literary Men, General Readers, Etc. Fifth Series – Volume Twelfth, July-December, 1879. p275

[2] Literary Remains of King Edward the Sixth: Preface, containing an account of the sources of the work. Biographical memoir. Appendix. Letters. Orationes. Exercises in the French language. Poetry ? Edward VI (King of England), ccxxvi

[3] Edward (England, King, VI.),?John Gough Nichols, Literary Remains:?Ed. from His Autogr. Mss. with Historical Notes, and a Biographical Memoir, Volume 2. 1857?p 310

[4] Literary Remains of King Edward the Sixth: Preface, containing an account of the sources of the work. Biographical memoir. Appendix. Letters. Orationes. Exercises in the French language. Poetry ? Edward VI (King of England), cccvi

[5] https://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1509-1558/member/smith-clement-1515-52#footnoteref2_jql1sfn

[6] http://www.tudorwomen.com/?page_id=707

[7] ‘Diary: 1552 (July – Dec)’, in The Diary of Henry Machyn, Citizen and Merchant-Taylor of London, 1550-1563, ed. J G Nichols (London, 1848), pp. 21-28. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/camden-record-soc/vol42/pp21-28 [accessed 29 June 2020].

[8] Memorial Brasses in Hertfordshire Churches Front Cover William Frampton Andrews G. Price, 1903 p 19

[9] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Sheriff_of_Hertfordshire

[10] Memorial Brasses in Hertfordshire Churches Front Cover William Frampton Andrews G. Price, 1903, pg 19

[11] Venn, John, Alumni Cantabrigienses:?A Biographical List of All Known Students, Graduates and Holders of Office at the University of Cambridge, from the Earliest Times to 1900. Cambridge University Press,?Sep 15, 2011, p 77

[12] The Visitations of Hertfordshire: Made by Robert Cooke, Esq.,Clarencieux, in 1572, and Sir Richard St. George, Kt., Clarencieux, in 1634 with Hertfordshire Pedigrees from Harleian Mss. 6147 and 1546. Ed. by Walter C. Metcalfe Front Cover Robert Cooke Ye Wardovr Press, 1886, p 150-1

[13] A genealogical and heraldic history of the commoners of Great Britain and Ireland, enjoying territorial possessions or high official rank; but univested with heritable honours. London, H. Colburn; [etc., etc.] (1835-38), p 201

 

Sources/References:

Andrews, William Frampton, Memorial Brasses in Hertfordshire Churches. G. Price, 1903.

Anonymous, Notes and Querier: A Medium of Intercommunication for Literary Men, General Readers, Etc. Fifth Series – Volume Twelfth, July-December, 1879. John C. Francis, 1879.

Aubrey, John, WiltshireThe Topographical Collections of John Aubrey, F. R. S., A. D. 1659-70, with Illustrations. Printed and sold for the Society by H. Bull, 1862.

Burke, John, A genealogical and heraldic history of the commoners of Great Britain and Ireland, enjoying territorial possessions or high official rank; but univested with heritable honours. London, H. Colburn; [etc., etc.] 1835-38.

Cook, Robert, St. George, Sir Richard, The Visitations of Hertfordshire: Made by Robert Cooke, Esq.,Clarencieux, in 1572, and Sir Richard St. George, Kt., Clarencieux, in 1634 with Hertfordshire Pedigrees from Harleian Mss. 6147 and 1546, Edited by Walter C. Metcalfe, Ye Wardovr Press, 1886.

King Edward VI, Literary Remains of King Edward the Sixth: Preface, containing an account of the sources of the work. Biographical memoir. Appendix. Letters. Orationes. Exercises in the French language. Edited by John Gough Nichols, J.B. Nichols and Son, 1857

Machyn, Henry, The Diary of Henry Machyn, Citizen and Merchant-taylor of London, from A.D. 1550 to A.D. 1563. Edited by John Gough Nichols, Works of the Camden Society, Issue 42, Camden Society.

Venn, John, Alumni Cantabrigienses: A Biographical List of All Known Students, Graduates and Holders of Office at the University of Cambridge, from the Earliest Times to 1900. Cambridge University Press, Sep 15, 2011.

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