On this day in Tudor history, 19th March 1568, Elizabeth Seymour, Lady Cromwell, died. She was around fifty years old at her death.
Elizabeth was the sister of a queen, and a lord protector, and two of her brothers were executed as traitors, but what else do we know about Elizabeth Seymour and how is she linked to the Cromwell family and a portrait once thought to be of Queen Catherine Howard?
Find out more in today’s talk.
On this day in history, 19th March 1568, Elizabeth Seymour, the wife of John Paulet, Lord St John died. She was laid to rest on 5th April in the Paulet family church of St Mary at Basing, Hampshire.1 She was around fifty years of age.
The undated inscription on the wall of the vault in the church (as transcribed by Lord Bolton, 16th Dec. 1903) reads:
“Hic jacet D[omina] Cromwell, quondam conjux Johis, Marchionis Winton.”2
Known by her superior title of Lady Cromwell, Elizabeth was never a Marchioness – her husband succeeded his father as 2nd Marquess of Winchester after her death.
Elizabeth Seymour was a younger daughter of Sir John Seymour and his wife, Margery Wentworth. Her date of birth is unknown but is estimated to have been between 1511 and 1518. She married her first husband, Sir Anthony Ughtred, in January 1531; since sixteenth-century women could marry, at the earliest, at the age of twelve, realistically Elizabeth could have been born no later than January 1519. Such an early marriage, however, would have been extraordinary, since the Seymours were a respected gentry family, but they were not nobility. Historians have noted that Tudor noble- and gentlewomen tended to marry by the age of twenty. It is possible that Elizabeth served alongside her sister Jane in the household of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife, who became queen in 1533. Usually, the queen’s maidens were aged in their mid-to-late teens, although Jane herself would have unusually been around twenty-four years old when appointed to Anne’s household. For Elizabeth to have married Ughtred in 1531 and to have served the queen two or three years later would indicate that she was probably born no later than c. 1515.