John Seymour (1474–1536)

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Sir John Seymour
Knight banneret
Arms of Seymour: Gules, two wings conjoined in lure or
Born John Seymour
c. 1474
Died 21 December 1536(1536-12-21) (aged 61–62)
Resting place Church of St Mary, Great Bedwyn
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Occupation English courtier
Known for Father of Jane Seymour, Queen consort of Henry VIII of England
Spouse(s) Margery Wentworth
Children Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, Elizabeth Seymour, Lady Cromwell, Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley, Jane Seymour, Henry Seymour.
Parent(s) John Seymour
Elizabeth Darrell
File:Wolfhall Farm - - 1141700.jpg
Wolfhall Farm, all that remains of Wulfhall Hall, home of the Seymours

Sir John Seymour of Wulfhall in the parish of Great Bedwyn in the Savernake Forest, Wiltshire, Knight banneret (c. 1474[1][2] – 21 December 1536.[3]) was an English soldier and a courtier who served both Henry VII and Henry VIII. Born into a prominent gentry family, he is best known as the father of the Henry VIII's third wife, Jane Seymour.[4]


The Seymours were descendants of a companion of William the Conqueror, who took his name from St. Maur-sur-Loire in Touraine, and was an ancestor of William de St. Maur, who in 1240 held the manors of Penhow and Woundy (now called Undy in Monmouthshire). William's great-grandson, Sir Roger de St. Maur, had two sons: John, whose granddaughter conveyed these manors by marriage into the family of Bowlay of Penhow, who bore the Seymour arms; and Sir Roger (c.1308 – Before 1366), who married Cicely, eldest sister and heir of John de Beauchamp, 3rd Baron Beauchamp. Cicely brought to the Seymours the manor of Hache, Somerset, and her grandson, Roger Seymour, by his marriage with Maud, daughter and heir of Sir William Esturmy, acquired Wulfhall (or Wolf Hall) in Wiltshire.[5] Sir John Seymour, was a great-great-grandson of this Roger Seymour.[4]

Sir John Seymour, was born around 1474,[1][2] the eldest son of John Seymour (c. 1450 – 26 October 1491) of Wulfhall, Wiltshire, by his marriage to Elizabeth Darell (or Darrell) (born c. 1451). He married Margery, the daughter of Sir Henry Wentworth of Nettlestead, Suffolk, and his wife Anne Say.[4] Anne was the daughter of Sir John Say and his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Lawrence Cheney (or Cheyne) (c.1396–1461) and Elizabeth Cokayne.[4] Margery Wentworth's grandfather, Sir Philip Wentworth, had married Mary, daughter of John Clifford, 7th Baron de Clifford, whose mother Elizabeth was daughter of Henry Percy (Hotspur) and great-great-granddaughter of Edward III.[6] Margery was renowned for her beauty as well as her quiet and gentle demeanour, and she came to the attention of the poet, John Skelton.[7]


He succeeded his father in 1492, was knighted in the field by Henry VII for his services against the Cornish rebels at Blackheath in 1497.[8] He was present at the sieges of Thérouanne and Tournay in 1513 as well as the two meetings between Henry VIII and Francis I:– the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520 and again in 1532. He was knighted 17 June 1497 and made Knight banneret in 1513.[4][9]

Offices held

His offices included:[9]

Marriage and Issue

File:JohnSeymour Died1510 GreatBedwynChurch Wiltshire.jpg
Monumental brass of John Seymour (died 15 July 1510), eldest son of Sir John Seymour (d.1536) of Wulfhall. Great Bedwyn Church

Sir John Seymour (1474–21 December 1536),[3][2] of Wulfhall, Savernake, Wiltshire, married Margery Wentworth (c.1478–18 October 1550) on 22 October 1494.[10] The couple had ten children: [10][11]

  • John Seymour (died 15 July 1510),[12][13] eldest son and heir apparent who predeceased his father without progeny. His monumental brass survives set into the floor of Great Bedwyn Church, inscribed as follows:[14]
"Here lyeth the body of John Seymour sonne and here of Sr John Seymour, Knight, & of Margery oon of the daughters of Sr Henry Wentworth, Knight, which decessed ye xv day of July the yer of or Lord MVCX on whos soule Jh(es)u have m(er)cy & of yor charitie say a Pater Nost(er) & a Ave (Maria)"

Of the ten children born at Wulfhall, six survived:– three sons: Edward, Henry and Thomas, and three daughters: Jane, Dorothy and Elizabeth. Edward, Thomas, Jane and Elizabeth were courtiers. Edward and Thomas, would both be executed during the reign of Edward VI. Henry Seymour, who lacked his brothers' ambition, lived away from court, in relative obscurity.[17]

He also had an illegitimate son:[27][28][29]

  • Sir John Seymour (c. 1530 – before August 1599[27]), married in March 1568 Jane or Joan Poyntz, daughter of Sir Nicholas Poyntz and Joan Berkeley.[27][30]

Notable children

Four of the Seymour children achieved prominence at the royal court:– Edward, Thomas, Jane and Elizabeth.

Jane Seymour, the eldest surviving daughter, was a maid of honour of Henry's first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and then later of Anne Boleyn. Henry VIII stayed at Wulfhall with Queen Anne in the summer of 1535 for a few days.[31] In early 1536, Henry declared his love for Jane and began spending increasing amounts of time with her, chaperoned by her brother, Edward. Henry and Jane were officially betrothed the day after Anne Boleyn was arrested and executed on charges of treason, adultery and incest. After Jane became queen on 30 May 1536, her family scaled the social ranks, as was befitting the family of a royal consort.

Her eldest brother, Edward, was made an earl and eventually a duke and briefly ruled England on behalf of his nephew, King Edward VI. Her second brother, Thomas, was made a baron and Lord High Admiral, and in 1547 eloped with Henry VIII's widow, Queen Catherine Parr. Both men were beheaded for treason, only a few years apart.

Seymour's second daughter, Elizabeth, was first married to Sir Anthony Ughtred (c.1478 – 1534), secondly to Gregory Cromwell (c.1520 – 1551), son of Henry VIII's chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, and for a third time to John Paulet, Baron St John (c.1510 – 1576), who succeeded his father as Marquess of Winchester in 1572.

Death & burial

Seymour died on 21 December 1536.[9] By royal custom, his daughter Queen Jane did not attend the funeral.[3] He was first buried in the church of Easton Priory, but following the collapse of that building was reburied in 1590 by his grandson, Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford, in the church of Great Bedwyn,[32][33] the parish church of Wulfhall, where survives his monument.[34][35] His eldest son and heir, Edward Seymour, inherited lands to the annual value of £275.[9]

Monument, Great Bedwyn

His Monument in Great Bedwyn Church consists of a chest tomb diplaying heraldic escutcheons, surmounted by his recumbent effigy, fully dressed in armour with hands in prayer, his head resting on his helm from which projects the sculpted Seymour crest of a pair of wings. His feet rest on a lion and a sword lies by his side.[36] On the wall above is fixed a tablet inscribed as follows:[37]

"Here lyeth intombed the worthie Sr John Seymour of Wolfhall, Knight, who by Margerie his wyfe, daughter of Sr Henry Wentworthe, Knight, from whome the nowe Lorde Wentworthe is discended, had sixe sonnes and fower daughters, to wete, John who dyed unmaryed; Edwarde, Duke of Somerset, Earl of Hertforde, Vicount Beauchampe and Baron Seymour, uncle to Kinge Edwarde the Sixt, Governor of his Royall Person, Protector of all his Dominions and Subjects, Lorde Treasorer and Earle Marshall of Englande; w(i)ch Duke maryed Anne, daughter of Sr Edwarde Stanhope, Knight, by Elizabeth his wyfe, daughter of Sr Foulke Burgchier, Lorde Filzwaryn, (sic) from whome the moderne Earles of Bathe are discended; Sr Henry Seymour, Knight, who maried Barbara daughter of Thomas Morgan, Esquier; Thomas Lorde Seymour of Sudeley, Highe Admirall of Englande, who maryed Katherine, Queene of Englande, and wydow to Kinge Henry the Eight. One other Jhon, and Anthony, who dyed in theire infancy. Jane Qveene of Englande, wyfe to Kynge Henry the Eight, and mother to Kynge Edwarde the Sixt; Elizabeth, firste maryed to Sr Henry Ughtred,(sic) Knight, after to Gregorie, Lorde Cromwell, and last to Jhon Lorde Sainct John of Basinge,(sic) after Marquesse of Winchester; Margery, who dyed in her infancy, and Dorothe, maryed to Sr Clement Smythe, Knight. This Knight departed this lyfe at LX yeares of age, the XXI day of December, Anno 1536, and was firste buryed at Eston Priorie Churche amongst divers of his auncestors, bothe Seymours and Sturmyes. Howbeit that Churche beinge ruyned, and thereby all theire monumentes either whollie spoyled, or verie much defased duringe the mynoritie of Edwarde, Earle of Hertforde, sonne to the said Duke, the said Earle after, as well for the dutyfull love he beareth to his said grandefather, as for the better contynuans of his memory, did cause his bodie to be removed, and here to be intombed at his own coste and chardge, the laste daye of September, Anno 1590, in the XXXII yeare of the moste happye raigne of our gratious Soveraigne Ladie Queene Elizabeth."

A transcript was made of the inscriptions of the Seymour monuments by the topographer John Aubrey on his visit to the church in 1672, who also recorded the heraldry on the monument at that date, much of which has been lost.[38]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Norton 2009, p. 7.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Aubrey 1862, p. 375–376:John Seymour's monument gives his age as 60 which points to a birth year of 1476. "This Knight departed this Lyfe at LX years of age, the XXI day of December, Anno 1536 ..."
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Norton 2009, p. 125–126.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Pollard 1897, pp. 299–310.
  5. Roskell & Knightly 1993.
  6. Seymour 1972, p. 18.
  7. Norton 2009, pp. 9–10.
  8. Loades 2013, p. 20.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Davids 1982.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Norton 2009, p. 11.
  11. Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry III 2011, p. 111.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Norton 2009, p. 13.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Aubrey 1862, p. 377.
  14. Frederic Madden, Bulkeley Bandinel, John Gough Nichols, (Eds.), Collectanea Topographica Et Genealogica, Vol.5, pp.21-24 [1]
  15. Beer 2009.
  16. Pole 2008, p. 481.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Hawkyard 1982b.
  18. Hawkyard 1982c.
  19. Seymour 1972, p. 65.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Burke III 1836, p. 201.
  21. Wagner & Schmid 2012, p. 1000.
  22. 22.0 22.1 Strong 1967, pp. 278–281: "The portrait should by rights depict a lady of the Cromwell family aged 21 c.1535–40..."
  23. College of Arms 2012, p. 63.
  24. Machyn 1848, p. 24, 326.
  25. Shingle Hall is also listed as Shingey, Shingley and Shinglehall in various sources.
  26. Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry III 2011, p. 82.
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 MacLean 1887, p. 152, Will proved 4 August 1599
  28. Seymour 1972, p. 26.
  29. Chitty 1885, p. 129.
  30. Burke 1965, p. 581.
  31. Lauder 2002, p. 138.
  32. Aubrey 1862, p. 374–375.
  33. Sherlock 2008, p. 34, 36.
  35. For description of monument and transcript of inscription see: Collectanea Topographica Et Genealogica, Volume 5 edited by Frederic Madden, Bulkeley Bandinel, John Gough Nichols, pp.21-24 [2]. For images see: [3][4]
  37. Text from: Frederic Madden, Bulkeley Bandinel, John Gough Nichols, (Eds.), Collectanea Topographica Et Genealogica, Vol.5, pp.21-24, corrected from observation of photograph [5]
  38. Aubrey,John, An Essay Towards the Description of the North Division of Wiltshire, 1672, (ed. Sir T. Phillipps), 1838 Edition, pp.72-4


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