SEYMOUR, Robert (c.1480-1545), of Ivy Church, Wilts. and London.
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Family and Education
Member, council of Tournai 1517; capt. Crist 1522; sewer by 1526; steward, lordship and hundred of Amesbury, lordship of Winterbourne Earls and hundred of Alderbury, Wilts. 1526-?d.; sheriff, Anglesey 1527-34; gent. usher, the chamber by 1528; warden, Melchet forest, Wilts. 1530-1; capt. Newnham Bridge 1533-9.2
Since his fellow-Member was Sir John Seymour of Wolf Hall, Robert Seymour may be taken to have been Sir John’s younger brother and not one of the insignificant Robert Seymours of Lincolnshire. His election is to be ascribed to a combination of royal favour and local standing: he may also have enjoyed a personal connexion with Walter Hungerford, lord of the manor of Heytesbury, who in June 1536 was to grant him an annuity. Of Seymour’s parliamentary career nothing is known. It is likely that he was returned again in 1536 in accordance with the King’s request for the re-election of the previous Members, and it may have been his homecoming from that Parliament (which ended on 18 July) which prompted the purchase a week earlier of sugar and spices for his nephew Edward’s kitchen ‘against the coming down of Mr. Robert Seymour’. This was probably the last the Commons saw of him, for in 1539 he was serving at Calais and there is no trace of him in the Parliament of 1542.3
On his own showing, Seymour had entered the royal service at about the time of Henry VIII’s accession, and he seems to have been chiefly engaged in overseas military duties. In 1515 he received payment as a footman after the Tournai campaign and he remained there as one of the council. When war came again in 1522 he was at first captain of the Crist, but later in that year Sir William Sandys told the King of his part in overcoming resistance during the Picardy campaign and in 1523 he served in the Duke of Suffolk’s expedition across the Somme. In 1532 he was to have been in the King’s retinue at the meeting with Francis I at Calais, but William Raynsford’s name was substituted for his on the list of those so designated: no royal displeasure need be suspected, for upon the King’s return to Dover he drew £4 13s.4d. to play at the tables with Seymour.4
In 1535 Seymour went to Calais to deliver letters from Cromwell to Sir Thomas Palmer, his precursor as captain of Newnham Bridge. His attachment to Cromwell continued, for in 1536 he was back in England on the minister’s business: it was at this time, too, that he sought Cromwell’s protection for his chaplain and successfully contended for his favour with John Tregonwell over the priory of Ivy Church. Later, it was to his own rising nephew Edward Seymour that he looked for support, as he did in 1539 in his unsuccessful effort to retain his office at Newnham Bridge: it was then that he spoke of his 30 years in royal service.5
Seymour’s closing years can be traced only from fragments of evidence and his death dated only approximately. In October 1543 he was still receiving (from its new owner, his nephew Edward) his fee of £5 6s.8d. for the stewardship of Amesbury, and he is last heard of in a land transaction in April 1545. His death before November 1546 is probably to be inferred from the grant then made to David Seymour of an annuity of £6 13s.4d., a similar grant having been made to Robert Seymour by Sir Walter Hungerford in 1536; and if (which is not certain) David Seymour was his son, he had died before 23 July 1546. He is thus almost certainly to be distinguished from the Robert Seymour who figures in a Star Chamber case for forcible expulsion in Wiltshire in May 1547, as well as the man of thes ame name who in 1551 was compensated for the non-ransoming of prisoners he had taken.6
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: R. L. Davids
- 1. Date of birth estimated from eldest brother’s. H. St. Maur, Annals of the Seymours, ped. opp. p. 1.
- 2. Lansd. 1(62), f. 201; Strype, Eccles. Memorials, i. 11; VCH Hants, iv, 541; Egerton 2604; LP Hen. VIII, iv, v, xiv, xvi; P. T. J. Morgan, ‘The govt. of Calais, 1485-1558’ (Oxf. Univ. D. Phil. thesis, 1966), 297.
- 3. LP Hen. VIII, xxi; HMC Bath, iv. 329.
- 4. LP Hen. VIII, ii, iii, xiv; HMC Bath, iv. 2; Privy Purse Expenses of Hen. VIII, ed. Nicolas, 273.
- 5. VCH Wilts. iii. 294; LP Hen. VIII, ix, xii, xiii-xv; SP1/144/19.
- 6. LP Hen. VIII, xix-xxi; LC2/2; St.Ch.3/6/76; APC, iii. 290; HMC Bath, iv. 129, 333; Clothworkers’ Co. orders of ct. 1536-58, f. 187.