Sir Edward Seymour, 1st Baron Beauchamp of Hache and 1st Earl of Hertford (2nd creation), KG (12 October 1537 – 6 April 1621) was the son of Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, by his second wife Anne Stanhope. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Seymour,_1st_Earl_of_Hertford
Following Somerset's disgrace and execution, his son was also created 1st Earl of Hertford in its second creation, the earldom being recreated for him in 1559 by Queen Elizabeth I, but he lost it again shortly afterwards for secretly marrying Lady Catherine Grey, sister of Lady Jane Grey.
A series of clandestine marriages
His first wife, Lady Catherine, was a potential claimant to Elizabeth's throne, and law established that it was a penal offence for her to marry without notifying the Sovereign. They were married by an anonymous clergyman at Hertford House, Canon Row, before 25 December 1560. The marriage was kept secret until August nearly a year later when Catherine became visibly pregnant and she confided the reason to Lord Robert Dudley (the Dudleys and the Seymours continue their rivalry). Each was ordered to confinement in the Tower; Catherine was confined immediately, and Seymour imprisoned upon his return. While in custody, they were questioned about every aspect of their marriage, but they both claimed to have forgotten the date.
A commission was begun, headed by Archbishop Parker in February 1562. Under this pressure, Lady Catherine finally declared that they had waited for Elizabeth to quit the capital for Eltham Palace. Servants were questioned, and none of them could remember the exact date either. John Fortescue said it was 'in November'. The priest could not be located, but by consulting the accounts of the Cofferer of the Household the marriage date was decided to be 27 November. His son Edward was declared illegitimate and the father was fined 15,000 pounds in Star Chamber for "seducing a virgin of the blood royal."
Despite all this, the Earl apparently found a way to continue marital relations with his wife in the Tower. In February 1563, Thomas Seymour was born. Lady Catherine died in 1568, and Seymour was finally allowed out of the Tower and allowed to re-appear at court. Officially his sons remained bastards.
His eldest son was Edward Seymour, Viscount Beauchamp (1561–1612) whose son William Seymour, 2nd Duke of Somerset was imprisoned for secretly marrying Arbella Stuart (see below). In fact, Edward, William, and William's elder brother, another Edward, were all, at various times, considered possible matches for Arbella.
In 1582, he married his second wife, Frances Howard. Their union was in secret, and remained a secret for nearly a decade, with Frances serving as a gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber. Hertford attempted to have this marriage set aside in 1595 (hoping to clear his still illegitimate sons' claim to the throne). He was arrested again, and Frances died in 1598.
May 1601, he secretly married once more, to a widow named Frances Prannell (born, interestingly enough, Frances Howard).”
http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Seymour,_Edward_(1539%3F-1621)_(DNB00) Some further interesting information on Stanhope’s Edward.
“On the outbreak of the plague he was removed from the Tower in August 1563, and placed under custody of his mother and her second husband, Francis Newdigate, at Hanworth. But owing to John Hales's published assertion of his wife's claim to the royal succession [see Hales, John, (d. 1571), and Seymour, Catherine] he was, on 26 May 1564, committed to the custody of Sir John Mason [q. v.] The death of his wife on 27 Jan. 1567–8 relieved Hertford to some extent of the royal displeasure; he was released late in the same year, but was kept in easy confinement in various country houses until 1571 (Wilts Arch. Mag. xv. 153; but cf. Notes and Queries, 8th ser. vii. 422–3).” Probably just coincidence, but there seem to be so many. Here we see that the half brother of our John of Sawbo, who was then Earl of Hertford, was finally freed at the same time that John seems to have started receiving some help from Dorothy Seymour and Sir Leventhorpe. I guess that Dorothy and Leventhorp would need his permission, as leader of the clan, to do anything like that. After spending so much time imprisoned,and having his son born there, Edward might have been feeling a little sympathetic towards his half brother’s difficult existence in Sawbridgeworth with a family and struggling along as a cobbler. “Warned by experience, Hertford henceforth lived as quietly as possible. On 30 Aug. 1571 he was created M.A. of Cambridge, and on 2 Feb. 1571–2 was admitted a member of Gray's Inn. In 1578 he was placed on the commission for the peace in Wiltshire, and in the following year was joint commissioner for musters in the same shire. But he again incurred Elizabeth's wrath in November 1595 by renewing the petition to have the declaration of the invalidity of his marriage set aside, and was once more committed to the Tower (cf. Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1595, p. 121; ib. Addenda, 1580–1625, pp. 406–8). He was released on 3 Jan. following. On 29 May 1602 he was made lord lieutenant of Somerset and Wiltshire, and in June 1603 custos rotulorum of the latter shire. On 19 April 1605 he was sent as ambassador-extraordinary to Brussels. On 28 June 1608 he was reappointed lord-lieutenant of Somerset and Wiltshire, and from June 1612 to March 1619 was high steward of the revenues to Queen Anne. In January 1620–1 he attended parliament (D'EWES, Autobiogr. p. 170). He died on 6 April 1621, and was buried with his first wife in Salisbury Cathedral, where a magnificent monument was erected to his memory. A portrait engraved from it is given in Doyle's ‘Official Baronage.’”
Let’s see what the 2nd Duke of Somerset was up to at this time. Remember, he’s not in our line, but also through Edward and Anne Stanhope. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Seymour,_2nd_Duke_of_Somerset
Sir William Seymour, 2nd Duke of Somerset, KG (1588 – 24 October 1660) was an English nobleman and Royalist commander in the English Civil War.
Seymour was the grandson of Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford (2nd creation, so great grandson of the Protector) and Catherine Grey, which thus gave him a distant claim to the throne through the latter's descent from Mary Tudor, younger sister of King Henry VIII of England. His parents were Edward Seymour, Lord Beauchamp of Hache, and Honora Rogers. William was the great-grandson of the first Duke of Somerset.
He married, firstly, Arbella Stuart, daughter of Charles Stuart, 1st Earl of Lennox and Elizabeth Cavendish, on 22 June 1610, in a secret marriage at Greenwich.
Arbella was thirteen years his senior, and the marriage was disapproved of by King James I of England - the marriage of two potential Tudor pretenders to the throne, who were fourth and sixth in line to the English throne, could only be seen as a threat to the ruling dynasty. As a result, William was condemned to life imprisonment in the Tower of London (thus becoming the fourth of five generations of Seymours to spend time in the Tower).
In June of 1611, he escaped from the Tower, planning to meet up with Arbella, who also had escaped captivity. They were to flee to the Continent, but bad weather and other circumstances prevented their meeting, and Arbella was recaptured. While she herself was placed in the Tower, William managed to reach safety abroad at Ostend. Arbella remained there until her death in 1615, without ever being reunited with her husband.
Seymour married, secondly, Lady Frances Devereux, daughter of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex and Frances Walsingham, daughter of Francis Walsingham, on 3 March 1616 at Drayton Bassett, and had seven children:
Earl of Hertford
Seymour, who succeeded his grandfather as Earl of Hertford in 1621 (while our Richard was living in Sawbo as a young man), became a prominent member of the opposition to King Charles I in the House of Lords, supporting the Petition of Right of 1628, and co-signing the letter of the 12 Peers of 1640, along with his brother-in-law the Earl of Essex.
However, Hertford parted company with the more radical opponents of the King in the Long Parliament in 1641, and was created Marquess of Hertford by the King. In the Civil War, Hertford, along with such figures as Sir Edward Hyde, was a moderate royalist, and throughout sought a compromise settlement, continuing unofficial negotiations with his brother-in-law Essex, who became the Parliamentary commander, throughout the war. He was nevertheless a trusted supporter of the King, who made him guardian of his son the Prince of Wales, and who undertook several important military commands in royalist service over the course of the war, commanding troops from South Wales (near Penhow).
After the end of the First Civil War and the King's imprisonment, Hertford was the most prominent nobleman to remain alongside the king throughout his captivity, and was with him up until his execution in 1649. During the Interregnum, Hertford largely kept himself away from both politics and royalist conspiracies, believing that the monarchy would be restored given time, and that conspiracies would only delay the restoration.
When the Restoration came in 1660, Hertford was restored to all his former positions, and his services in the Royalist cause were further recognised by Charles II who restored Hertford to his great-grandfather's dukedom of Somerset which had been forfeited in 1552. He died at Essex House, London and was buried on 1 November 1660 at Great Bedwyn, Wiltshire. He was succeeded by his grandson William Seymour.
Well that covers many, but by no means all of the major players in the Tudor-Seymour tangled mess. Five generations of Seymours would spend time in the Tower, thrown in there by the Tudors and then the Stuarts for trying to marry and procreate their way onto the throne. Following is a little history on this “Tower” that has been mentioned so much in our family history: Sketch in 1597
The Tower with the River Thames and Tower Bridge to the south. The outer curtain walls were erected in the 13th century.
Interior of the innermost ward. To the right is the 11th-century White Tower; the structure at the end of the walkway to the left is Wakefield Tower. Beyond that can be seen Traitors' Gate.
I once missed a connecting flight between Zurich and Abu Dhabi going through London, and had to spend the night. I immediately hopped on the Tube (“please mind the gap”) and went down to the Tower for the tour. There were maybe only 20 tourists on that cold winter day, and the tour guide asked 2-3 of us our surnames, including me. When I told him Seymour, he got a kind of look on his face, and told me that I, indeed had a couple of relatives here, and told some of the story of Edward and Thomas. This was before I knew the whole history, and couldn’t really appreciate it as much. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tower_of_London
“Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill. It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078, and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite. The castle was used as a prison since at least 1100, although that was not its primary purpose. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence. As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. There were several phases of expansion, mainly under Kings Richard the Lionheart, Henry III, and Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries. The general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite later activity on the site.
The Tower of London has played a prominent role in English history. It was besieged several times and controlling it has been important to controlling the country. The Tower has served variously as an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public records office, and the home of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. From the early 14th century until the reign of Charles II, a procession would be led from the Tower to Westminster Abbey on the coronation of a monarch. In the absence of the monarch, the Constable of the Tower is in charge of the castle. This was a powerful and trusted position in the medieval period. In the late 15th century the castle was the prison of the Princes in the Tower. Under the Tudors, the Tower became used less as a royal residence, and despite attempts to refortify and repair the castle its defenses lagged behind developments to deal with artillery.
The peak period of the castle's use as a prison was the 16th and 17th centuries, when many figures fallen into disgrace, such as Elizabeth I before she became queen, were held within its walls. This use has led to the phrase "sent to the Tower". Despite its enduring reputation as a place of torture and death, popularized by 16th-century religious propagandists and 19th-century writers, only seven people were executed within the Tower before the World Wars of the 20th century. Executions were more commonly held on the notorious Tower Hill to the north of the castle, with 112 occurring there over a 400-year period (only 2 Seymours, glad to report, although many more spent time in the Tower). In the latter half of the 19th century, institutions such as the Royal Mint moved out of the castle to other locations, leaving many buildings empty. Anthony Salvin and John Taylor took the opportunity to restore the Tower to what was felt to be its medieval appearance, clearing out many of the vacant post-medieval structures. In the First and Second World Wars, the Tower was again used as a prison, and witnessed the executions of 12 men for espionage. After the wars, damage caused during the Blitz was repaired and the castle reopened to the public. Today the Tower of London is one of the country's most popular tourist attractions. It is cared for by the charity Historic Royal Palaces and is protected as a World Heritage Site.”
There’s a lot of circumstantial evidence supporting the possible motives for keeping the birth of John a secret over in Sawbridgeworth, and the basic decency of Edward which would support his looking after him in at least a minor way, such as passing along the seal with family crest, and his living at Pishiobury, even though any documentary evidence of his relationship couldn’t be allowed to exist. Let’s move on to Herts County and Pishiobury Manor and learn why that connection is important.