William Seymour 1587-1660
William SEYMOUR, 2nd Duke of Somerset 1587-1660
Son of Edward Seymour, Lord Beauchamp, who predeceased his own father Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford; William inherited the Hertford title, as 2nd Earl, in 1621. BA Magdalen College, Oxford 1607, MA 1636. He fell foul of James I by marrying, illicitly, the King's cousin Lady Arabella Stuart (d.1615) in 1610. MP for Marlborough 1620; after assuming the peerage, he received a few court and local appointments. Through his second marriage, to Frances Devereux, he became friendly with his new brother-in-law Robert Devereaux, 3rd Earl of Essex; in the 1640s he became much closer to Charles I and a leading political and military agent on the royalist side, while seeking an accommodation between the two sides. He sought to avoid controversy during the Interregnum, and at the Restoration, shortly before his death, the family title as Duke of Somerset was granted to him.
Books with one of several armorial stamps used by Seymour survive. His library of ca. 1000 volumes was given to Lichfield Cathedral by his widow Frances in 1673.
- British Armorial Bindings.
- Hoare (gen.ed.), P. The Cambridge history of libraries in Britain and Ireland. 3 vols. Cambridge, 2006. II 125.
- Smith, David L. "Seymour, William, first marquess of Hertford and second duke of Somerset (1587–1660), politician and royalist army officer." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.