SEYMOUR, John (1560-1618), of Merwell, Hants.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. 25 Jan. 1560, 1st s. of Sir Henry Seymour of Merwell by Barbara, da. of Morgan Wolfe. m. c.1581, Susan, da. of Chideock Paulet of Wade, 3s. suc. fa. 1579. Kntd. 1591.

Offices Held

J.p. Hants from 1587, q. by 1593, sheriff 1592-3.1


In his will Sir Henry Seymour appointed his nephews Edward, Earl of Hertford, and Henry Ughtred executors, giving them permission to administer the lands until Seymour’s majority. Hertford and Ughtred secured his wardship, the court of wards survey giving the yearly income of the estates as £245 14s.d. or £208 1s.8d. excluding the income from the manor of Hurn, in Hampshire, which was to be sold under the terms of Sir Henry’s will to pay his debts and legacies. In Hampshire, besides the residence at Merwell, Sir Henry possessed the manor and advowson of Twyford, and a lease of the parsonage there, as well as the manor of Temple Gothington. He owned one tenement in Southampton itself, a number of houses in Winchester, and, in the neighbouring county of Buckingham, the manor of West Wycombe. At his death Seymour himself was still in possession of most of this property. The manor of West Wycombe had been sold in 1598, but Hurn—apparently not sold as Sir Henry had requested—was still in his possession.2

Seymour gained his seat at Great Bedwyn through the influence of the Earl of Hertford. No record of any parliamentary activity has been found.

Seymour was added to the commission of the peace for Hampshire in 1587 on the recommendation of the 4th Earl of Sussex, who had been asked by Burghley and the lord chancellor to present the names of gentlemen who would strengthen the commission, ‘especially at this time’. In 1586 he was involved with a number of other gentlemen—including Henry Ughtred and William Paulet—in settling the counties of Connello and Kerry, a total of 8,000 acres, in Munster. For that purpose they were licensed to take money, gold, or silver out of the realm. In 1589 he was involved in a dispute with Dr. Bennett, master of the hospital of St. Cross, Winchester, over the possession of the manor of Twyford, which Seymour attempted to gain by force. In 1597 the Privy Council became concerned with a dispute between him and Edward Darcy, groom of the privy chamber, over the possession of Waltham Park, Seymour again having attempted forcible entry. For this he was called before the Council, Darcy’s rights were confirmed, and Seymour was ordered to pay costs. Another reprehensible affair was his attempt in 1601 to deprive the copyholders of Twyford and Merwell of their rights of common grazing and wood cutting.3

Seymour died at Merwell on 10 Aug. 1618, and was buried at Winchester cathedral. His wife survived him; his heir was his eldest son Edward, then 27 years old.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: A. M. Mimardière


  • 1. C142/183/64, 373/49; Hoare, Wilts. Mere 117; SP12/205/59; E163/14/8; Hatfield ms 178.
  • 2. PCC 20 Langley; Wards 9/140, ff. 635-6; VCH Bucks. iii. 137; C142/373/49.
  • 3. VCH Wilts. v. 115; Hoare, Wilts. Mere 117; SP12/205/59; CSP Ire. 1586-88, p. 51; APC, xiv. 191; xvii. 265-6; xxvi. 533, 551-2, 555-6; xxvii. 318.
  • 4. C2.Eliz./T11/59; C142/373/49.