Saturday, September 16, 2006

Question from Hayley - Mary Seymour

Mary Seymour-the daughter of Katherine Parr by Thomas Seymour -was thought to have died in her teens which would partly explain her mysterious disappearance from History. However, about five years ago, I read that a Historian had uncovered evidence that she may well have survived and was fairly optimistic that he had even traced her living descendants . Do you know if his theory was proved correct?

12 comments:

Liam said...

Alison Weir says any evidence that claims Mary survived should be treated with extreme caution . . . she says that a 'Queen's Child' wouldn't have just disappeared from history if she had survived.

Hayley said...

It is understandable to say that royal children don't just 'disappear' from history, but by the same token surely her importance should have merited an official record of her death? The historian who found evidence for Mary's survival also explains that her low profile may have been deliberately and carefully stage- managed in order to protect her from the persecution of Protestant families by Mary Tudor, whose reign followed.

Anonymous said...

I read that Mary married twice .last time to a man by the name of Stewart.
she had 2 children to HenryV111.
a Boy called Henry and a girl called Catherine
I read this information in a book called "The other Boleyn .

Anonymous said...

The other boleyn series is historical fiction and should not be used as a source.

Sara said...

The Other Boleyn Girl has nothing to do with Mary Seymour or Mary Tudor. It is about Mary Boleyn, who is completely different (and her second husbands last name was Stafford). Mary was a very popular name.

Adri said...

I beleive that Mary Seymour did live to adult hood, but may of never had children of her own. Maybe she 'disappeared' from history for her own protection.

Sarah said...

'The Other Boleyn Girl' was abut Anne Boleyn's sister, Mary, not our Mary Seymour. There were lots of Mary's about at the time. I've heard lots of versions about what could have happened to her. 1) she married Sir Edward Bushel, a member of the household of Queen Anne of Denmark. they had a daughter who married a guy called Silas something and managed to recumerate the rest of Mary's confiscated wealth. 2) She escaped to France as a baby with the Duchess of Suffolk (named to care for in Thomas Seymour's will and a great friend of Catherine parr) to get away from the Protestant persecution under Mary Tudor...they returned in 1559 to England where Mary died two years later, aged 13 from consumption. 3) she was removed to Wexford, Ireland where she lived with friends of her fathers, the Harts who had been involved in profits from piracy with him along the Irish coast...a ring was found in their family that came directly from Thomas, not that this proves much. I do hope she lived to adulthood, married, was loved and happy.

Scott84 said...

I have written an article, detailing the theories surrounding Mary Seymour's life and death. Take a look and let me know what you think:
http://www.suite101.com/content/mary-seymour-daughter-of-queen-catherine-parr-a107898

Anonymous said...

In the epilogue of Robin Maxwell's novel, "Virgin," she states that from her research she found that Mary was "unwanted" by her relations and was briefly cared for the Duchess of Somerset, Catherine's sister-in-law--who, by most accounts, was not a nice woman who had no love for Catherine--then went to live with the Duchess of Suffolk,Catherine Willoughby (4th wife of Charles Brandon), as stated in Catherine Parr's will. According to Maxwell, "history soon lost track of the girl and she died in obscurity at an unknown date." Mary was a destitute orphan, after all, since her father was considered a traitor and his wealth was confiscated for the crown. Historian Linda Porter says in her 2010 biography, "Katherine the Queen," that the Duchess resented the imposition of having to support Mary herself. According to a Wikipedia entry about Catherine Willoughby, "the Duchess's letter to her friend William Cecil, asking for funds to support the Queen's infant daughter, is the last definite record of this child," and she disappears from all historical record after 1550, when she was two years old. (It may be only coincideence that Lady Willoughby lost both her sons in 1551 to a "sweating sickness".)

Victorian author Agnes Strickland claims in her biography of Catherine Parr that Mary Seymour did survive to adulthood, and in fact married Edward Bushel, a member of the household of Queen Anne of Denmark, however, Wikipedia cautions that "Strickland's researches were laborious and conscientious, and she remains a useful source, but she failed to exercise the level of objectivity that a modern historian would aspire to." She may have gotten carried away by the romanticism of her era.

To address the comment that "royal children don't just disappear from history" is not altogether true. The two "lost princes in the Tower" are a perfect example of that...one day there, then just never seen on Tower Green anymore. No remains have ever *positively* been identified, so no one knows if the bodies of the children buried under the stairs were truly the York princes or if they lived longer than was assumed, being exiled for a few years before dying of some other cause. Consider too that Mary was no longer a "royal child." When Catherine Parr and Thomas Seymour married, they did so without permission, and Lord Seymour thereafter had her announced at public functions as Lady Seymour, not the Dowager Queen.

Whatever the case, Mary does, in fact, disappear from history, with the last record of her being on her second birthday in 1550. There is no official date of death recorded, but neither is there further mention of needing money for the girl's bringing up, nothing to show that she was betrothed or married off, or that her wardship was sold to some other lord (as Catherine Willoughby's was to Charles Brandon, who first raised her with his own children, then married her himself 3 months after the death of his third wife, Mary Tudor [Henry VIII's sister], when Catherine was just 14. Which, in my mind, really makes this man no better than Thomas Seymour, who pursued Elizabeth I, his stepdaughter, when she was just 13, but I digress.)

By and large, unless a female was wealthy and/or made some great contribution to society during her lifetime, generally she was not important enough for history to keep up with. So very little is said about the female issue of noble unless they are possible successors to some title or another that is in dispute. It was just the attitude of that time that daughters were not important unless they made powerful marriages. Look at the fact that after 600 years, historians *still* cannot agree on when Anne Boleyn--a former Queen of England--was born and whether she or Mary was the elder sister. (That's a debate for another post, however.)

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if Mary Seymour Married A John Langdon?

Alexandria said...

I think the very large range of different fates for Mary is actually evidence that she did not survive. Mary of course was a very common name, and Seymour not that uncommon. This Mary was not really a royal child. She was a Queen's daughter, but that Queen was a dowager without powerful relations of her own. She was also a king's first cousin (her father Thomas Seymour was the brother of Queen Jane Seymour and thus uncle of Edward VI) but after Edward's early death this would have ceased to be of importance. She does disappear, apart from the John Davenport epitaph which may be for her, there is no trace of her at all after late 1550, either way. The most likely fate of this unfortunate child is a natural death at Grimsthorpe Castle, Lincolnshire (the country home of Katherine Willoughby duchess of Suffolk) at some date between January 1550 when she was reinstated in her father's estates (although there was nothing left of them anyway) and September 1550 when the next instalment of the pension she had been granted by the Privy Council should have been paid but was not. Katherine Willoughby appears not to have complained about its non-payment, although earlier she had complained about the expense of keeping the child.

MARIE ELDRIDGE said...

I would assume that Mary daughter of Catherine Parr and Thomas Seymour would have been more noted in history if she had survived.By being the daughter of Someone who was once married to Henry VIII I would have thought she wouldn't have been totally forgotten if she had survived. So that probably showed that she did not survive for very long. Unless it wasn't thought of as that important.