Seymour, Francis (1590?-1664) (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

SEYMOUR, FRANCIS, first Baron Seymour of Trowbridge (1590?–1664), born about 1590, was the third son of Edward Seymour, lord Beauchamp (1561–1612), by his wife Honora, daughter of Sir Richard Rogers of Bryanstone, Dorset. Edward Seymour, earl of Hertford [q. v.], was his grandfather. William Seymour, second duke of Somerset [q. v.], was his eldest brother. Francis was knighted by James I at Royston on 23 Oct. 1613. In June 1611 he was accused of abetting the escape of his brother William and Arabella Stuart, but protested his innocence (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1611–1618, p. 39). On 26 Dec. 1620 he entered parliament as member for Wiltshire. In the following May he distinguished himself by the severity of the penalties he proposed to inflict on Edward Floyd [q. v.] During the session of 1624 he made strenuous efforts to bring about a war with Spain, but protested against any extensive military operations on the continent, and opposed the despatch of an army to the Palatinate on the ground of the ‘extreme charge’ (Gardiner, v. 342, 345; Seeley, British Policy, i. 336). On 10 May 1625 he was again returned for Wiltshire, and on 30 July following proposed to limit the grant to one subsidy and one-fifteenth, about a tenth of what Charles required to meet his engagements. Buckingham made overtures to him which were rejected, and in July Seymour refused to join in the attack on Lord-keeper Williams because it was secretly abetted by the duke. In August he attacked the government for engaging in a continental war, inveighing against peculation in high places and the sale of offices at court; on these grounds he dissuaded the house from granting supplies. He was re-elected to the new parliament summoned in February 1625–6, but was made sheriff of Wiltshire to prevent his sitting. In the following July his name was struck off the commission of the peace.

Thenceforth Seymour adhered to Wentworth's policy of moderation. In March 1627–8 he was elected to parliament as member both for Wiltshire and Marlborough. On 29 April he joined Noy and Digges in their attempt to modify the commons' bill of liberties, and supported Wentworth's Habeas Corpus Bill. He also advocated with Wentworth against Eliot a joint-committee of the two houses on the petition of right. The proposal made by the lords was rejected by the commons. In May 1639 he refused to pay ship-money, and in the following March was elected without opposition member for Wiltshire to the Short parliament. He was re-elected for the same constituency to the Long parliament. In April 1640 he spoke against ecclesiastical grievances, and in November he again attacked the government. But he soon began to differ from the popular party, and on 19 Feb. 1640–1 he was created Baron Seymour of Trowbridge, Wiltshire. He insisted on voting against Strafford's attainder in the lords, though the opposite party denied his competence to vote on the ground that he was not a peer when the charges against Strafford were first brought up. In June 1642 he signed the declaration that the king had no intention of war, followed him to York, and offered to raise twenty horse in his cause; parliament accordingly declared him a delinquent. In the following autumn he accompanied his brother, the Marquis of Hertford, into the west to organise the royalist forces and suppress the parliamentary militia, and in September he crossed from Minehead to Glamorganshire on a similar errand. In December 1643 he signed the letter of the peers to the council in Scotland, protesting against the invitation sent by parliament to the Scots to invade England. Early in 1645 he was on the commission for the defence and government of Oxford and the adjacent counties; in February he was one of the commissioners appointed to treat at Uxbridge, and in May he was made chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster. He was at Oxford when it surrendered on 22 June. He was admitted to composition, and his fine was fixed at 3,725l. He attended a council at Hampton Court on 7 Oct. 1647, but took no part in politics during the Commonwealth and Protectorate. At the Restoration he was reappointed chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster. He died on 12 July 1664, and was buried in the chancel of Bedwyn Magna church (Aubrey, Top. Coll. Wilts, p. 378). His house at Marlborough, where Aubrey visited him at Christmas 1648 (cf. Evelyn, Diary, ed. Bray, i. 289), was used as an inn until 1842, when it became Marlborough College.

Seymour married, first, Frances, eldest daughter and coheir of Sir Gilbert Prynne (d. 1628) of Chippenham; by her he had issue Charles, second Baron Seymour of Trowbridge (d. 1665), whose son Francis in 1675 succeeded his cousin as fifth duke of Somerset [see Seymour, Charles, sixth Duke of Somerset]. He married, secondly, Catherine, daughter of Sir Robert Lee, by whom he had no issue.

[Seymour's Correspondence and Family Papers are extant in Addit. MS. 32324; a tract by him on usury is in Egerton MS. 71. See also Addit. MSS. 6411 f. 30, 29315 f. 17; Cal. State Papers, Dom. passim; Cal. Clarendon State Papers, ed. Macray; Journals of the Lords and Commons; Off. Ret. Members of Parliament; Strafford Papers, i. 264; Metcalfe's Book of Knights; Clarendon's Hist. of the Rebellion; Gardiner's Hist. and Civil War; Forster's Eliot; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. vi. 500, vii. 28.]

A. F. P.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.245
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
318 i 30 Seymour, Francis, 1st Baron Seymour of Trowbridge: for is now an inn read was used as an inn until 1842, when it became Marlborough College