Mary Somerset, Duchess of Beaufort

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Mary Somerset (Capell)

Birthplace: Little Haddam, Hertfordshire, England
Death: January 07, 1714 (83-84)
Chelsea, London, England
Place of Burial: St Michael and All Angels Churchyard, Badminton, Gloucestershire, England
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Arthur Capell, 1st Baron Capell of Hadham and Elizabeth Capell
Wife of Henry Seymour, Baron Beauchamp of Hache and Henry (Lord Herbert of Raglan) Somerset, 1st Duke of Beaufort
Mother of Elizabeth Seymour, Lady Beauchamp; Charles Somerset, Marquess of Worcester; Arthur Somerset; Lady Anne Coventry (Somerset); Lady Mary Somerset and 2 others
Sister of Arthur Capell, 1st Earl of Essex; Elizabeth Capell; Henry Capell, 1st and only Baron Capell of Tewkesbury; Anne Strangways; Theodosia Hyde and 1 other

Managed by: Douglas John Nimmo
Last Updated:

About Mary Somerset, Duchess of Beaufort


from Gardening Women by Catherine Horwood 2010


"Mary grew up surrounded by garden lovers; her eldest brother, Arthur, later Earl of Essex, had a passion for trees and, in consultation with John Evelyn, created what was probably the first 'wooded' garden in the country at Cassiobury in Hertfordshire. ... Another brother, Sir Henry Capel, built what may have been the first conservatory in Britain in the late 1670's at his gardens in Kew, on the site that was to become the Royal Botanic Gardens, and he was certainly a source of seeds for his sister"

She had a collection of plants running into thousands, and she kept detailed records of them all. Her contribution to late 17th Century British horticulture was inestimable. She cultivated extensive gardens at Badminton, north of Bath, and Beaufort House in London.

She corresponded regularly with Sir Hans Sloane, and was later to bequeath to him the 12 albums of her herbarium - dried and preserved specimens - volumes now in the British Museum's natural history Collection.

She is commemorated by Beaufortia decussata - an exotic variety of Australian Myrtle named for her in 1812 by Robert Brown, plant explorer and botanist-librarian to Sir Joseph Banks.

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Mary Somerset, Duchess of Beaufort's Timeline

December 16, 630
Hadham Parva, Hertfordshire, England
Little Haddam, Hertfordshire, England
December 1660
St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, London, England
London, Middlesex, , England
January 7, 1714
Age 84
Chelsea, London, England