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Seymour, Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron

Seymour, Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron (1508–49). Seymour played for high stakes and lost. He was the brother of Jane Seymour, Henry VIII's third wife, and the younger brother of Somerset, protector to the young Edward VI. His spectacular rise began with his sister's marriage in May 1536. He was made a gentleman of the bedchamber and employed on important diplomatic and military missions. In 1544 he was appointed master-general of ordnance for life and lord admiral. As soon as his nephew became king in 1547 he was created a peer and given the Garter. Within months of Henry VIII's death he had married his widow Catherine Parr, to his brother's indignation. On her death in childbirth, he seems to have aimed at marriage with Princess Elizabeth, whom he had certainly treated with familiarity. But in January 1549 he was accused of conspiring against his brother, of whom he was envious. He was said to have tried to suborn the young king with lavish presents and urged him to exert his authority. Condemned by attainder, he was executed on Tower Hill. Edward noted his uncle's death in his diary without undue grief and Elizabeth is reported to have dismissed him as ‘of great wit but very little judgement’.

J. A. Cannon

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Seymour of Sudeley, Thomas Seymour, Baron

Thomas Seymour Seymour of Sudeley, Baron, 1508?–1549, English nobleman. After the marriage (1536) of his sister Jane to Henry VIII, he served on various diplomatic missions, was in command of the English army in the Netherlands in 1543, and was admiral of the fleet in 1544. When, on the death of Henry in 1547, his brother Edward Seymour, duke of Somerset, became the protector of the young Edward VI, Thomas was made lord high admiral and Baron Seymour of Sudeley. Thereafter he tried to supplant his brother as guardian of the king. In 1547 he married the dowager queen, Catherine Parr. He was influential in securing an act of Parliament (1547) that made the duration of the protectorate dependent on the king's pleasure instead of being fixed until the king was 18, and he carefully cultivated the friendship of Edward. He also used his position as admiral to come to an understanding with pirates, in the hope of securing their support. After his wife's death (1548) he sued unsuccessfully for the hand of Princess Elizabeth (later Elizabeth I), to whom he had already made advances. His activities provoked questioning by the council, and he was convicted of high treason and executed.

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