Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Question from Annette - Jane Seymour's betrothal to William Dormer


i';m hoping to start a novel based on jane seymour..fingers crossed..wondered if anyone had information on her bethrothal to william dormer..what year and such and whether she was actually in france the same time as anne boleyn, serving and finishing her education there..i know theres not alot known about her early life..but any information and dates would be useful!

Thanks muchly!


  1. While Jane is not the wife I've done the most research on by far, this is the first I've heard about any possibility that she was in France during Anne's time there. It is highly unlikely given that the Seymours were of a more modest house and that they didn't have the Boleyns more powerful connections. Further, by all accounts, Jane was no where near as educated or "French" as Anne, something that made her that much more appealing to Henry at the time. It seems more likely that Jane was raised at home as she was well versed in running a household and embroidery, but could only read and write a little.

    As for the betrothal to William Dormer, I couldn't find anything but an uncited Wikipedia reference, so whatever betrothal there was, if there was one, was likely something that happened before 1532 when she was maid of honour to Katherine of Aragon and before she came to Henry's attention.

  2. There was no betrothal to William Dormer (my direct ancestor in the male line - my maiden name was Dormer). Henry Clifford the contemporary and biographer of Jane Dormer recorded her story that a marriage had been mooted, but that the Dormers had decided that Jane Seymour wasn't posh enough. I strongly suspect this was just a dig at the Protestant Seymours from the Catholic Jane Dormer, and I would take it with a large pinch of 16rg century salt! Still, might have been true, and could make a good twist to your story since Jane Seymour goes on to marry rather better than some not very important Dormer! Also I wonder if Jane Dormer was named after Jane Seymour? Not sure of the year of her birth, but could very easily have been around the right time!

  3. Jane Dormer was born in 1538, the year after Queen Jane's death. Mary Sidney was likely pregnant with her at the time of the Queen's death.

    I've heard the story about Jane being in France in Princess Mary's retinue when she went to marry Louis XII of France, but it doesn't stand up to historical scrutiny. Princess Mary went to France in the autumn of 1514, whereas the most likely birth date for Jane is usually cited as 1508-9.

    But Laura's assertion that the Seymours weren't grand enough to go to France in the royal retinue is incorrect - Edward Seymour, Jane's older brother, was in Mary's retinue as a page boy.


All comments are moderated so your replies may not show up immediately. Please be patient. Thanks!