EDWARD SEYMOUR, duke of Somerset (?..), known as the Protector, was the first of the line of dukes to which the holder of the title at the present day belongs, having been created Viscount Beauchamp of Hache, Co. Somerset, in 1336; earl of Hertford in 1537; and in 1547 Baron Seymour and duke of Somerset. His honours, which were entailed on the issue of xxv. 13 his second in priority to that of his first marriage, being forfeited by attainder in 1552, Robert Carr became earl of Somerset (g.v.) in 1613, but died without male issue in 1645, when his title became extinct. A curious incident in the history of this title was the grant by Charles I. in 1644 of a commission to Edward Somerset, son of Henry, 1st marquess of Worcester, empowering him to fill up certain blank patents of peerage with a promise of the title of duke of Somerset for himself. After the Restoration this instrument was cancelled in consequence of a resolution of the House of Lords declaring it to be " in prejudice to the peers "; and the grantee, who had meantime succeeded to the marquessate of Worcester, surrendered his claim to the dukedom of Somerset in September 1660. In the same month the dukedom of Somerset and barony of Seymour were restored to William Seymour (1588-1660), great-grandson of the Protector, who in 1621 inherited the titles of earl of Hertford and Baron Beauchamp which had been granted to his grandfather Edward Seymour in 1559, and who, in 1640, had himself been created marquess of Hertford. This nobleman, who in early life had incurred the displeasure of James I. by marrying the king's cousin, Lady Arabella Stuart, and had been imprisoned in the Tower for the offence, had later an exceptional claim on the gratitude of the royal house of Stewart, for he fought with distinction on the royalist side -in the civil war, and was one of four lords (the others being the duke of Richmond, and the earls of Lindsey and Southampton) who petitioned the Commons to be allowed to assume responsibility for the actions of Charles I. and to suffer death in his place. He died in November 1660, a few weeks after his restoration to the dukedom, and, having outlived his three eldest sons, was succeeded by his grandson William, 3rd duke of Somerset (c. 1651-1671). As the latter died unmarried, his sister Elizabeth brought to her husband, Thomas Bruce, 2nd earl of Ailesbury, the great estates of Tottenham Park and Savernake Forest in Wiltshire; while the Somerset title devolved on John Seymour (c. 1628-1675), the 2nd duke's fifth and youngest son. At the death of the latter without issue in April 1675 the marquessate of Hertford became extinct, and his cousin Francis Seymour (1658-1678) became sth duke of Somerset. This nobleman was the eldest surviving son of Charles Seymour, 2nd Baron Seymour of Trowbridge, whose father Sir Francis Seymour (c. 1590-1664), a younger brother of the 2nd duke of Somerset, was created a baron in 1641.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)