Elizabeth Seymour of Somerset

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Elizabeth Seymour of Somerset (Percy)

Birthdate: (55)
Birthplace: Petworth House, Sussex, England
Death: November 24, 1722 (55)
Northumberland House, London, England
Place of Burial: Salisbury Cathedral
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Joceline Percy, 11th Earl of Northumberland and Elizabeth Percy
Wife of Henry Cavendish, Earl of Ogle; Thomas Thynne, MP, "Tom from Ten Thousand" and Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset
Mother of Algernon Seymour, 7th Duke of Somerset; Elisabeth Seymour O'Brien of Thomond; Catherine Seymour Wyndham; Anne Seymour Osborne of Leeds and Charles Seymour-Percy of Hereford
Sister of Lord Henry Percy
Half sister of Lady Anne Montagu and John Montagu, 2nd Duke of Montagu

Managed by: Private User
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About Elizabeth Seymour of Somerset

Elizabeth Percy, Duchess of Somerset (26 January 1667 – 24 November 1722), major heiress, was born Lady Elizabeth Percy, the only surviving child of the 11th Earl of Northumberland and deemed Baroness Percy in her own right. She carried the earldom of Northumberland to her son Algernon. Lady Elizabeth was one of the closest personal friends of Queen Anne, which led Jonathan Swift to direct at her one of his sharpest satires, The Windsor Prophecy in which she was named 'Carrots'.

Henry Cavendish, Earl of Ogle

She married firstly, Henry Cavendish, Earl of Ogle, the heir of the 2nd Duke of Newcastle on 27 March 1679, but he died the following year.

Thomas Thynne

She married secondly, Thomas Thynne, "Tom of Ten Thousand" due to his great wealth, a relative of the 1st Viscount Weymouth, on 15 November 1681, but he was murdered the following February by Swedish Count Karl Johann von Königsmark using a gang after gossip said her marriage was unhappy and Königsmark began to pursue her.

Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset

Five months after the death of Thomas Thynne she married on 30 May 1682 Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset, and so became Duchess of Somerset. She was Mistress of the Robes to Queen Anne from 1710 to 1714.

The Duke and Duchess were among the Queen's oldest friends, with whom she had taken refuge in 1692 after a violent quarrel with William III and Mary.[1] LIke the Duke of Marlborough before him, Somerset used his wife's position as confidante to advance his career. Both of them became the target of violent verbal attacks, especially from Swift who hoped to influence the Queen through Abigail Masham, the obvious rival for the position of confidante. Apparently against Mrs. Masham's wish he published a violent diatribe, The Windsor Prophecy, against the Duchess, referred to as "Carrots" (a common nickname derived from the Duchess' red hair). Swift explicitly accused the Duchess of murdering her second husband, and wildly suggested she might poison the Queen "I have been told, they assassin when young and poison when old".[2]The Queen was outraged and from then on refused to consider Swift for preferment; but insisted on retaining the Duchess.

The Duke's pride and arrogance eventually wore out the Queen's patience and he was dismissed from his court offices early in 1712. The Queen's doctor, Sir David Hamilton, advised her to keep the Duchess in her service "for her own quiet", and the Queen agreed. The Duchess remained with the Queen to the end by which time Lord Dartmouth described her as "much the greatest favourite".

Elizabeth's influence on the Queen, together with her colourful past, made many enemies. Like her husband she seems to have been proud, although Dartmouth called her "the best bred as well as the best born person in England".[3] She showed great skill in dealing with the Queen, her secret, it was said being, never to press the Queen to do anything, in contrast to Abigail Masham who constantly pressed for favours.

Lady Elizabeth Percy brought immense estates to her husbands and in addition her residences: Alnwick Castle, Petworth House, Syon House and Northumberland House in London.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17]

Lady Elizabeth had four children:

  • Algernon Seymour, 7th Duke of Somerset (11 November 1684 – 7 February 1749)
  • Lady Elizabeth Seymour (1685 – 2 April 1734)
  • Lady Catherine Seymour (1693 – 9 April 1731)
  • Lady Anne Seymour (1709 – 27 November 1722)

References and notes

  • 1.^ Gregg, E.G. ( 1980 ) Queen Anne
  • 2.^ Gregg: Queen Anne
  • 3.^ Gregg
  • 4.^ Cokayne et al., The Complete Peerage, volume I, p.212
  • 5.^ Cokayne et al., The Complete Peerage, volume I, p.90
  • 6.^ Cokayne et al., The Complete Peerage, volume XII, p.488
  • 7.^ The Diary of John Evelyn
  • 8.^ The Letters of Horace Walpole
  • 9.^ Calendar of state papers, domestic series, 1682, 49
  • 10.^ Cokayne et al., The Complete Peerage, volume XII, p.586
  • 11.^ See
  • 12.^ Burke, John – "Somerset, Duke of" and "Northumberland, Earl of":Burke's Peerage
  • 13.^ de Fonblanque, E. B.,Annals of the house of Percy, from the conquest to the opening of the nineteenth century, p.507
  • 14.^ The diary of Sir David Hamilton, 1709–1714, p.49, edited by Roberts, P. (1975)
  • 15.^ A Journal to Stella, Swift, Jonathan, edited by Williams, H. (1948)
  • 16.^ Holmes, G. S., British politics in the age of Anne (1967)
  • 17.^ Life and Letters of Sir George Savile, p.244


  • British Library, Blenheim manuscripts
  • Bucholz, R. O.. "Seymour (née Percy), Elizabeth, duchess of Somerset (1667–1722), courtier and politician". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 6 August 2007.
  • Bucholz, R. O. (1993). The Augustan court: Queen Anne and the decline of court culture.
  • Chatsworth House, Devonshire manuscripts
  • Cokayne, George (1887–1898). The Complete Peerage. Sutton, Alan.
  • Gregg, E. G. (1980). Queen Anne.
  • Holmes, G. S. (1967). British politics in the age of Anne.
  • Snyder, H. L. (1975). The Marlborough–Godolphin correspondence.
  • West Sussex Record Office, Petworth House archives, Somerset papers
  • From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Seymour%2C_Duchess_of_Somerset
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Elizabeth Seymour of Somerset's Timeline

January 26, 1667
Petworth House, Sussex, England
March 1682
Age 15
November 11, 1684
Age 17
Petworth House, Petworth, Sussex, England or Trowbridge, Wiltshire, England
Age 17
Petworth, Sussex
Age 25
Age 41
November 24, 1722
Age 55
Northumberland House, London, England