conspicuous part in court ceremonial; his vanity, which earned him the sobriquet of “the proud duke,” was a byword among his contemporaries and was the subject of numerous anecdotes; Macaulay’s description of him as “a man in whom the pride of birth and rank amounted almost to a disease,” is well known. His son Algernon (1684–1750), by his first wife Elizabeth Percy, was called to the House of Lords as Baron Percy in 1722; and after succeeding his father as 7th duke of Somerset in 1748, was, on account of his maternal descent, created Baron Warkworth and earl of Northumberland in 1749, with remainder to Sir Hugh Smithson, husband of his daughter Elizabeth; and also Baron Cockermouth and earl of Egremont, with remainder to the children of his sister, Lady Catherine Wyndham. At his death without male issue in February 1750 these titles therefore passed to different families in accordance with the remainders in the patents of their creation; the earldom of Hertford, the barony of Beauchamp, and the barony of Seymour of Trowbridge became extinct; and the dukedom of Somerset, together with the barony of Seymour, devolved on a distant cousin, Sir Edward Seymour, 6th baronet of Berry Pomeroy, Devonshire. (See Seymour, or St Maur.)
The Seymours of Berry Pomeroy were the elder branch of the family, being descended from the protector Somerset by his first marriage, the issue of which had been excluded from succession to the titles and estates until after the failure of the issue of his second marriage (see above), which failure occurred on the death of the above-named Algernon, 7th duke. Sir Edward Seymour (1695–1757), who thus became 8th duke of Somerset, was grandson of Sir Edmund Seymour, Speaker of the House of Commons in the reign of Charles II. His two sons succeeded in turn to the dukedom, and his grandson Edward Adolphus, 11th duke (1775–1855), was a mathematician and scientist of some distinction. The latter’s son Edward Adolphus, 12th duke (1804–1885), was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, and from 1830 till he succeeded to the peerage in 1855 he was a Liberal member of the House of Commons as Lord Seymour, first for Okehampton, and afterwards for Totnes. He held various offices in Lord Melbourne’s administration from 1835 to 1841; was a member of Lord John Russell’s cabinet in 1851; and first lord of the admiralty from 1859 to 1866. In 1863 he was created Earl St Maur of Berry Pomeroy. He refused to join W. E. Gladstone’s ministry in 1868, but he gave independent support to the chief measures of the government. He died in November 1885. In 1830, while still Lord Seymour, he married Jane Georgiana, youngest of the three celebrated daughters of Thomas Sheridan, who was the “Queen of Beauty” at the famous Eglinton Tournament in 1839. The duke was the author of Christian Theology and Modern Scepticism (1872), and Monarchy and Democracy (1880). As his two sons both died unmarried in his lifetime, the family titles, except the earldom of St Maur, which became extinct, devolved on his two brothers successively; the younger of whom, Algernon Percy Banks, 14th duke (1813–1894), was succeeded by his son Algernon (b. 1846) as 15th duke of Somerset.
The title of Earl St Maur adopted by the 12th duke in 1863 is said to have been the original form of the family name of which Seymour was a later corruption, and since the last-mentioned date it has been assumed as the family surname of the dukes of Somerset.
SOMERSET, EDMUND BEAUFORT, Duke of (c. 1404–1455), was the younger son of John, earl of Somerset, and grandson of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster. He was taken prisoner at Baugé in 1421 during his first campaign, and did not return to England till 1431. He was then styled earl of Mortain, and in 1432 was one of the envoys to the council of Basel. In 1436 he served at the relief of Calais, two years later he commanded with some success in Maine, and in 1440 recovered Harfleur. Next year he was made earl, and in 1443 marquess of Dorset. In 1444 on the death of his elder brother he became duke of Somerset. As head of the Beaufort party he was the rival of Richard of York, whom in 1446 he superseded as lieutenant of France. He lacked statesmanship, and as a general could do nothing to stop French successes. The loss of Rouen and Normandy during the next four years was precipitated by his incompetence, and his failure naturally made him a special object of Yorkist censure. The fall of Suffolk left Somerset the chief of the king’s ministers, and the Commons in vain petitioned for his removal in January 1451. In spite of York’s active hostility he maintained his position till Henry’s illness brought his rival the protectorate in March 1454. For a year he was kept a prisoner in the Tower “without any lawful process.” On the king’s recovery he was honourably discharged, and restored to his office as captain of Calais. Mistrust of Somerset was York’s excuse for taking up arms. The rivalry of the two leaders was ended by the defeat of the Lancastrians and death of Somerset at St Albans on the 22nd of May 1455. Though loyal to his family, Somerset was without capacity as a leader. It was a misfortune for Henry VI. that circumstances should have made so weak a man his chief minister. Thomas Basin, the French chronicler, describes Somerset as a handsome, courteous and kindly man. By his wife, Eleanor, daughter and co-heiress of Richard Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, he had two sons, Henry and Edmund, who were executed by Edward IV. after the battles of Hexham and Tewkesbury.
SOMERSET, EDWARD SEYMOUR, Duke of (c. 1506–1552), protector of England, born about 1506, was the eldest surviving son of Sir John Seymour of Wolf Hall, Wiltshire, by his wife Margaret, eldest daughter of Sir Henry Wentworth of Nettlested, Suffolk. The Seymours claimed descent from a companion of William the Conqueror, who took his name from St Maur-sur-Loire in Touraine; and the protector’s mother was really descended from Edward III. His father was knighted by Henry VII. for his services against the Cornish rebels at Blackheath in 1497, was present at the two interviews between Henry VIII. and Francis I. in 1520 and 1532, and died on the 21st of December 1536. Edward was “enfant d’honneur” to Mary Tudor at her marriage with Louis XII. in 1514, served in Suffolk’s campaign in France in 1523, being knighted by the duke at Roze on the 1st of November, and accompanied Wolsey on his embassy to France in 1527. Appointed esquire of the body to Henry VIII. in 1529, he grew in favour with the king, who visited his manor at Elvetham in Hampshire in October 1535. On the 5th of June 1536, a week after his sister Jane’s marriage to Henry, he was created Viscount Beauchamp of Hache in Somerset, and a fortnight after Edward VI.’s birth in October 1537, he was raised to the earldom of Hertford.
Queen Jane’s death was a blow to his prospects, and in 1538 he was described as being “young and wise” but of “small power.” He continued, however, to rise in political importance. In 1541, during Henry’s absence in the north, Hertford, Cranmer and Audley had the chief management of affairs in London; in September 1542 he was appointed warden of the Scottish marches, and a few months later lord high admiral, a post which he almost immediately relinquished in favour of the future duke of Northumberland (q.v.). In March 1544 he was made lieutenant-general of the north and instructed to punish the Scots for their repudiation of the treaty of marriage between Prince Edward and the infant Mary Queen of Scots. He landed at Leith in May, captured and pillaged Edinburgh, and returned a month later. In July he was appointed lieutenant of the realm under the queen regent during Henry’s absence at Boulogne, but in August he joined the king and was present at the surrender of the town. In the autumn he was one of the commissioners sent to Flanders to keep Charles V. to the terms of his treaty with England, and in January 1545 he was placed in command at Boulogne, where on the 26th he brilliantly repelled an attempt of Marshal de Biez to recapture the town. In May he was once more appointed lieutenant-general in the north to avenge the Scottish victory at Ancrum Moor; this he did by a savage foray