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Seymour Of Sudeley, Thomas Seymour, Baron

SEYMOUR OF SUDELEY, THOMAS SEYMOUR, BARON (c. 1508-1549), lord high admiral of England, was fourth son of Sir John Seymour of Wolf Hall, Wiltshire, and younger brother of the Protector Edward Seymour, 1st duke of Somerset. His sister Jane Seymour became the third wife of Henry VIII. in 1536, and another sister, Elizabeth, married Thomas Cromwell's son. Seymour's connexions thus ensured his promotion, and he quickly won the favour of the king, who gave him many grants of land and employed him in the royal household and on diplomatic missions abroad. From 1540 to 1542 he was at Vienna, and in 1 543 in the Netherlands, where he served with distinction in the war against France, holding for a short time the supreme command of the English army. In 1544 he was rewarded with the post of master of the ordnance for life, becoming admiral of the fleet a few months later, in which capacity he was charged with guarding the Channel against French invasion. Henry VIII. left Seymour a legacy by his will, and is said to have directed that he should be raised to the peerage. In February 1547 he was accordingly created Baron Seymour of Sudeley and appointed lord high admiral. From this time forward he was mainly occupied in intrigue against his brother the Protector, of whose power he was jealous; and he aimed at procuring for himself the position of guardian of the young king, Edward VI. Several matrimonial projects entered into Seymour's schemes for gratifying his ambitions. No sooner was Henry VIII. dead than the lord high admiral tried to secure the princess (afterwards queen) Elizabeth in marriage; and when this project was rustrated he secretly married the late king's widow, Catherine Parr, whose hand he had vainly sought as early as 1^543. He also :ook steps to ingratiate himself with Edward, and proposed a marriage between the king and the Lady Jane Grey. He entered into relations with pirates on the western coasts, whom it was his duty as lord high admiral to suppress, with a view to securing their support; and when the Protector invaded Scotland in the summer of 1547 Seymour fomented opposition to his authority m his absence. On the death of his wife in September of the next year he made renewed attempts to marry the princess Elizabeth. Somerset strove ineffectually to save his brother from ruin, and in January 1 549 Seymour was arrested and sent to the Tower; he was convicted of treason, and executed on the 20th of March 1 549.

See Sir John Maclean, Life of Sir Thomas Seymour (London, 1869) ; Chronicle of Henry VIII., translated from the Spanish, with notes by M. A. S. Hume (London, 1889); Literary Remains of Edward VI., with notes and memoir by J. G. Nichols (2 vols., London, 1857); Mary A. E. Green, Letters of Royal and Illustrious Ladies of Great Britain to the Close of the Reign of Mary (3 vols., London, 1846). See also SOMERSET, EDWARD SEYMOUR, 1st DUKE OF, and the authorities there cited.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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