SEYMOUR, Sir Henry, 1st Bt. (1674-1714), of Langley, Bucks.
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Family and Education
b. 20 Oct. 1674, o. s. and h. of Henry Seymour† of Langley, by his 2nd w. Ursula, da. of Sir Robert Austen, 1st Bt., of Bexley, Kent and sis. of Sir John Austen, 2nd Bt.* unm. cr. Bt. 4 July 1681; suc. fa. 1687.
?Clerk of the hanaper 1687–?1710.1
In recognition of his father’s zealous Royalism and services to Charles II as a groom of the bedchamber, Seymour was created a baronet at the age of seven. Sir Harry, as he was known, inherited his father’s reversionary grant of the clerkship of the hanaper office, a place which he later sold, probably in 1710. In 1693 he obtained a pass to travel abroad for three years. He was returned for East Looe at a by-election in 1699 on the interest of his cousin Bishop Trelawny of Exeter. A first cousin of Sir Edward, 4th Bt.*, Seymour naturally followed his family’s Tory line in Parliament. He was listed in February 1701 among the likely supporters of the Court over the ‘Great Mortgage’, and was classed as a Tory by Robert Harley* in his analysis of December 1701. Blacklisted for having opposed the preparations for war with France, Sir Henry favoured the motion on 26 Feb. 1702 vindicating the Commons’ proceedings in the impeachments of the previous session. On 24 Apr. he was a teller in favour of a clause to exempt Great Yarmouth from duties raised for the repair of Whitby piers. He voted on 13 Feb. 1703 against agreeing with the Lords’ amendment to the bill for enlarging the time for taking the oath of abjuration. He was forecast in March 1704 as a supporter of the 2nd Earl of Nottingham (Daniel Finch†) over his handling of the Scotch Plot. Evidently a High Churchman, or at least prepared to follow his cousin’s lead, he voted for the Tack on 28 Nov. 1704. Marked as ‘True Church’ in 1705, he voted on 25 Oct. against the Court candidate for Speaker. He was again ranked as a Tory on a list of Parliament early in 1708, and voted against the impeachment of Sacheverell in 1710.2
At the 1710 election Seymour sought to exert influence in his own county of Buckinghamshire, where he joined with Viscount Fermanagh (John Verney*), for whom he had expressed support as early as 1699. Despite laying out £500 to buy votes, Seymour was unsuccessful at the poll. He therefore took refuge at East Looe, where Trelawny, now bishop of Winchester, ‘being bound by a very considerable debt to him’ felt obliged to ‘serve him, tho’ against his inclination’, since Trelawny had become an ally of Harley. Seymour was classified as a Tory on the ‘Hanover list’ of 1710, and as one of the ‘worthy patriots’ who, in the first session of the new Parliament, detected the mismanagements of the previous administration. He was a member of the October Club, and in May 1712 was nominated to the ‘Board of Brothers’, though poor health prevented him from taking up the invitation. Illness may also have been the reason why he stood down at East Looe in 1713. He died unmarried in April 1714, without leaving a will. Lord Fermanagh reported in May that Seymour had intended his whole estate to pass to his sister and her children; but because of his failure to make a will she received only his personal property, whereas the landed estate went to (Sir) Edward Seymour II (5th Bt.*), who sold it in July of that year to Lord Masham (Samuel*).3