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Edward Seymour, 12th Duke of Somerset

Edward Adolphus Seymour (later St. Maur), 12th Duke of Somerset, etc., KG, PC (20 December 1804 – 28 November 1885), styled Lord Seymour until 1855, was a British Whig aristocrat and politician, who served in various cabinet positions in the mid-19th century, including that of First Lord of the Admiralty.


The Duke of Somerset

12th Duke of Somerset.png
The Duke of Somerset, by Carlo Pellegrini, 1869.
First Commissioner of Woods
and Forests
In office
17 April 1849 – 1 August 1851
MonarchVictoria
Prime MinisterLord John Russell
Preceded byThe Earl of Carlisle
Succeeded byOffice abolished
First Commissioner of Works
In office
1 August 1851 – 21 February 1852
MonarchVictoria
Prime MinisterLord John Russell
Preceded byNew office
Succeeded byLord John Manners
First Lord of the Admiralty
In office
27 June 1859 – 26 June 1866
MonarchVictoria
Prime MinisterThe Viscount Palmerston
The Earl Russell
Preceded bySir John Pakington, Bt
Succeeded bySir John Pakington, Bt
Personal details
Born(1804-12-20)20 December 1804
Piccadilly, Westminster, United Kingdom
Died28 November 1885(1885-11-28) (aged 80)
Stover Lodge, Teigngrace, Devon, United Kingdom
NationalityBritish
Political partyWhig
Spouse(s)Jane Georgiana Sheridan
(d. 1884)
Children5, including Ferdinand
ParentsEdward St Maur, 11th Duke of Somerset
Lady Charlotte Hamilton
Alma materChrist Church, Oxford
Shield of arms of Edward Seymour, 12th Duke of Somerset, as displayed on his Order of the Garter stall plate in St. George's Chapel.

Background and educationEdit

Somerset was the eldest son of Edward St. Maur, 11th Duke of Somerset, and Lady Charlotte, daughter of Archibald Hamilton, 9th Duke of Hamilton.[1] He was baptized on 16 February 1805 at St. George's, Hanover Square, London.[2] He was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford.[3]

Political careerEdit

Somerset sat as Member of Parliament as Lord Seymour[3] for Okehampton between 1830 and 1831[4] and for Totnes between 1834 and 1855.[5] He served under Lord Melbourne as a Lord of the Treasury between 1835 and 1839, as Joint Secretary to the Board of Control between 1839 and 1841 and as Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department between June and August 1841 and was a member of Lord John Russell's first administration as First Commissioner of Woods and Forests between 1849 and 1851, when the office was abolished. He served on the Royal Commission on the British Museum (1847–49).[6] In August 1851 he was appointed to the newly created office of First Commissioner of Works by Russell. In October of the same year he entered the cabinet and was sworn of the Privy Council.[7] He remained First Commissioner of Works until the government fell in February 1852.

Somerset succeeded his father in the dukedom in 1855 and entered the House of Lords. He did not serve in Lord Palmerston's first administration, but when Palmerston became Prime Minister for a second time in 1859, Somerset was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty, with a seat in the cabinet.[3] He held this post until 1866, the last year under the premiership of Russell. He refused to join William Ewart Gladstone's first ministry in 1868, but gave independent support to the chief measures of the government.[3]

He was made a Knight of the Garter in 1862[8] and in 1863 he was created Earl St. Maur, of Berry Pomeroy in the County of Devon.[9] "St. Maur" was supposed to have been the original form of the family name and "Seymour" a later corruption. From some time in the early 19th century until 1923, "St. Maur" was used for the family name, but since 1923 the dukes have again used the familiar "Seymour".

Somerset was also the author of Christian Theology and Modern Scepticism (1872), and Monarchy and Democracy (1880).[3] Between 1861 and 1885 he served as Lord Lieutenant of Devon.[10]

FamilyEdit

Somerset married in Grosvenor Square, London, on 10 June 1830, Jane Georgiana Sheridan, who was the “Queen of Beauty” at the Eglinton Tournament of 1839.[3] The Somersets had two sons and three daughters:

The Duchess of Somerset died in December 1884. Somerset survived her by less than a year and died in November 1885, aged 80, and was buried with her in St James's Churchyard in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire. As his two sons had both died in his lifetime, the family titles (except the Earldom of St. Maur, which became extinct) devolved on his younger brother, Archibald Seymour, 13th Duke of Somerset.[1]

The 12th Duke left his London residence, Somerset House in Park Lane, to his eldest daughter Lady Hermione Graham.[12]

AncestryEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b thepeerage.com Edward Adolphus Seymour, 12th Duke of Somerset
  2. ^ The Complete Peerage vol.XIIpI, p.86.
  3. ^ a b c d e f McNeill, Ronald John (1911). "Somerset, Earls and Dukes of s.v. Edward Adolphus, 12th duke" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. 25 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 386.
  4. ^ "leighrayment.com House of Commons: Ochil to Oxford University". Archived from the original on 16 August 2011. Retrieved 4 September 2009.
  5. ^ "leighrayment.com House of Commons: Tipperary South to Tyrone West". Archived from the original on 15 July 2018. Retrieved 4 September 2009.
  6. ^ The Life of Sir Anthony Panizzi, Volume 1, by Louis Alexander Fagan, p257
  7. ^ "No. 21256". The London Gazette. 24 October 1851. p. 2775.
  8. ^ "No. 22628". The London Gazette. 23 May 1862. p. 2672.
  9. ^ "No. 22746". The London Gazette. 19 June 1863. p. 3132.
  10. ^ leighrayment.com Peerage: Slim to Sramfordham
  11. ^ The Complete Peerage vol.XIIpI, p.87, note b.
  12. ^ Notes & Queries, vol. 133 (1916), p. 318 (snippet)

External linksEdit