Who Was … Thomas Seymour, Baron Seymour of Sudeley?


Thomas Seymour was brother to Henry VIII’s third wife, Jane Seymour, and to Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector to Edward VI. He married Henry VIII’s sixth wife, Katherine Parr, after Henry’s death, and supposedly then proposed marriage to Princesses Mary and Elizabeth after her death. He was executed on the orders of his brother and nephew (the two Edwards) for treason in 1549.

Name: Thomas Seymour

Title/s: Baron Seymour of Sudeley

Birth: c.1508, probably at Wolf Hall, Wiltshire, England

Death: 20 March 1549 on Tower Hill, London, England

Buried: Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula, Tower of London, England

Spouse: Katherine Parr 1512-1548

Children: Mary Seymour 1548-?

Parents: Sir John Seymour 1474-1536 and Margery Wentworth 1478-1550

Siblings: John Seymour ?-1510 / Edward Seymour Duke of Somerset c.1500-1552 / Henry Seymour 1503-1578 / Anthony Seymour ?-1528 / Jane Seymour c.1509-1537 / Margery Seymour ?-1528 / Elizabeth Paulet Marchioness of Winchester 1518-1568 / Dorothy Leventhorpe 1515-1552

Noble Connections: His sister, Jane, became Queen of England as the third wife of Henry VIII, and through this marriage he was uncle to Edward VI. His brother, Edward, was Lord Protector during the minority of Edward VI, and he married the dowager queen, Katherine Parr.

Controversy: The main controversy surrounding Seymour is his relationship with Princess Elizabeth (later Elizabeth I). It has been suggested that Seymour was having an affair with Elizabeth and that she fell pregnant by him. It seems that Seymour was inappropriate towards Elizabeth, but we don’t know if the relationship went any further.

Works of Fiction:

  • Suzannah Dunn, The Sixth Wife (2007)
  • Elizabeth Fremantle, Queen’s Gambit (2013)
  • Philippa Gregory, The Taming of the Queen (2015)
  • Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies (2012)
  • Jean Plaidy, The Sixth Wife (1953)
  • C.J. Sansom, Revelation (2008)

Portrayals on Screen:

  • Iain Batchelor, Wolf Hall, 2015, 3 episodes
  • Peter Clay, Henry VIII and his Six Wives, 1972, directed by Waris Hussein
  • Rupert Frazer, The Prince and the Pauper, 1996, 5 episodes
  • Andrew McNair, The Tudors, 2009-10, 13 episodes
  • Miles Richardson, Elizabeth, 2000, directed by Steven Clarke
  • John Ronane, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, 1970, 2 episodes

Further Reading:

  • David Loades, The Seymours of Wolf Hall (2015)
  • Elizabeth Norton, Catherine Parr (2011)
  • Linda Porter, Katharine the Queen: The Remarkable Life of Katherine Parr (2010)
  • Chris Skidmore, Edward VI: The Lost King of England (2007)
  • Thomas Seymour at the Royal Armouries at the Tower of London.

Author: Helene Harrison

I have an MA in History, with a thesis entitled 'The Many Faces of Anne Boleyn: Perceptions in History, Literature and Film'. I have an interest in the Tudors and the Wars of the Roses along with my love of reading and literature.

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