Thomas Seymour biography, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley

Thomas Seymour Facts


Born in 1508, Sir Thomas Seymour is one of the most controversial personalities of the Tudor age.

He belonged to the royal family and was the brother of English queen Jane Seymour, third wife of King Henry VIII. His brother Edward Seymour was the first Duke of Somerset and the Lord Protector of his nephew King Edward VI.

Thomas was ambitious and used much of his royal connections to his advantage. He was popular as a womanizer and had several relationships throughout his lifetime.

He was not only flirtatious but particularly came into limelight when stories began to spread that he was sexually abusive towards Queen Elizabeth I whom he desired to marry.

Thomas Seymour
Thomas Seymour

Royal connection

Thomas Seymour was the fourth son of Sir John Seymour of Wolf Hall, Wiltshire and his mother was Margaret Wentworth.

Henry VIII wanted a son from his second wife Anne Boleyn who was the Queen of England but with no result. So, his interest grew elsewhere to Thomas’s sister Jane.

After Anne’s execution in 1536, Henry married Jane and had a son Edward who will later be coronated to the throne of England as Edward VI.

Jane died two weeks after childbirth due to complications. Soon Thomas and his older brother Edward became uncles and guardians to his nephew Edward.

Edward Seymour was appointed the Lord Protector of the minor king Edward. Thomas became 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley.

Thomas Seymour family tree
Thomas Seymour family tree

Thomas Seymour and Catherine Parr

Thomas Seymour’s marriage to Catherine Parr

Thomas Seymour’s royal connections further extended with his marriage to Catherine Parr the sixth wife of Henry VIII.

Catherine used to spend a lot of time in London and it was here that she met Thomas Seymour in 1542 and soon they became close.

Catherine was loyal to her husband John Neville, the 3rd Baron Latimer and took great care of him until his death in 1543. His death left her incredibly rich and wealthy with a lot of fortune in her name.

Catherine soon returned North and started living at Queen Mary Tudor’s household. There she met Henry VIII who expressed his desire to marry Catherine.

Catherine felt obliged and couldn’t resist the proposal and married Henry on 12th July 1543. In 1547, Henry died to leave behind much of his jewels, wealth and estate to Catherine.

Catherine was always in love with Thomas and the duo later married in April 1547 just three months after the King’s death.

The marriage was not favoured well and many considered Thomas a power-hungry and ambitious man who used Catherine just to establish himself in the society.

Catherine Parr
Catherine Parr

The political career of Thomas Seymour

In 1538, Seymour along with Sir Anthony Browne, a constable of Calais reached the embassy of the French Court. He was also appointed to meet Anne of Cleves on 13 December 1539.

After a few weeks, he was sent to Ferdinand, King of Hungary to lend his support against France and Scotland.

War broke out between England and France and Seymour was appointed the Marshall of English Army on 26th June 1543.

On July 24, 1543, the troupe captured and destroyed the Castles of Rinquecen and Arbrittayne at Boulogne, France.

Thomas as a reward for his valiant act in duty was awarded the prestigious Master-General of the Ordnance in 1544 and Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports in 1545.

Catherine Parr and Thomas Seymour
Catherine Parr and Thomas Seymour

Thomas’s relationship with young Prince Edward

Thomas was extremely jealous of his brother Edward Seymour who was appointed as Protector Regent to young King Edward. He wanted to overthrow his brother and was always plotting out schemes that will endeavour his desire/mission.

He started manipulating the young prince who was just 9 years old at that time. Despite being a prince, young Edward did not get an allowance. So, Thomas started would often devour him with gifts and allowance of coins.

Prince Edward quite oblivious with Thomas’s plans succumbed to his pleasures. Thomas on several occasions tried to persuade his nephew to pass a bill to make him the Governor General, but the young prince was hesitant to act against his Protector, uncle Edward.

Thomas even tried to convince Edward that it is better to overthrow Somerset and let him die. But, on either occasion, Thomas failed to succeed.

Edward VI
Edward VI

The controversy surrounding Queen Elizabeth

What did Thomas Seymour do to Elizabeth?

After marriage, Thomas moved to Chelsea Manor, his wife’s mansion. There he met young Elizabeth who was just 14 at that time. Thomas was distantly related to Elizabeth and was the uncle to her half-brother.

Thomas as the Casanova he was started flirting with the young princess. He would often tease her or walk into her night chambers. It was believed that Elizabeth bore some affection towards Thomas.

Catherine soon came to know about her husband’s intentions and sent Elizabeth away to Hertfordshire.

In September 1548, Catherine gave birth to their daughter Mary Seymour but died due to complications of childbirth. Elizabeth was 15 at that time.

Thomas showed little remorse upon his wife’s death and it was quite evident that he desired to marry Elizabeth. Elizabeth out of fear of being ridiculed returned back to her childhood home.

Young Queen Elizabeth I
Young Queen Elizabeth I

The downfall of Thomas Seymour

Thomas was the Lord High Admiral and used his power against his brother. He even started a rebellion against him.

On 18 January 1549, Thomas was arrested and brought before the Regency Council and questioned for his act of treason against the King and also about his relationship with Elizabeth.

Elizabeth also faced the trial and cleared herself of all charges. It was later established that it was, in fact, Thomas who was trying to persuade the young princess.

How did Thomas Seymour die?

Thomas was charged with treason and was later executed on March 20, 1549.

Why was Thomas Seymour executed?

Thomas Seymour was executed because after his wife died, Seymour tried to marry Princess Elizabeth and take control of the new king, Edward VI. He was therefore charged with treason and killed in 1549.

What happened to Edward and Thomas Seymour?

In 1552, Edward Seymour who was the Duke of Somerset was executed on Tower Hill.

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