The "Tradition" of Mary Dyer & Lady Arabella Stuart
There is no proof to this legend. It is still fun to think you are related to royalty.
Mary was supposedly the daughter of Lady Arabella Stuart, first cousin of King James, by her 3rd cousin, William Seymour. When Queen Elizabeth died in 1603, she left no heirs and the crown shifted to other descendants of Henry VII. James I was the son of Mary, Queen of Scots, a great granddaughter of Henry VII. King James felt threatened by the equal eligibility of his cousin Arabella, daughter of Elizabeth Cavendish and Charles Stuart, James' uncle. (Charles was also a great grandson of Henry VII.)
Arabella had no desire to be Queen, but aggressive political suitors from England and France hoped that, by marrying her, they would capture the throne and restore Catholicism to England. King James, made rather anxious by this prospect, prohitited his cousin from marrying anyone. But Arabella fell in love with Sir William Seymour, also a descendant of Henry VII and they were secretly wed in 1610. Within a year, they had a daughter [unsubstantiated], which disturbed King James further, as this marriage doubled Arabella's qualifications to the throne. He order Arabella sent to Highgate and William Seymour imprisoned in the Tower of London.
Arabella tried to flee Highgate, dressed as a man, but although she escaped from prison she was recaptured on board a ship headed to Calais and sent to the Tower of London where she spent the remaining four years of her life. William Seymour escaped to France and when he eventually returned to England after the death of King James, he became tutor to the eleven-year-old Prince of Wales, the future King Charles II.
The infant daughter was left in the care of Arabella's lady-in-waiting, Mistress Mary Dyer, who gave her own name to her adopted child and brought her up quietly and reclusively in the country. King James sent out scouts searching for the child, but was denied information by anyone who was questioned. When Mary was twenty-two years old, she married her foster mother's first cousin William Dye
LADY ARABELLA STUART As a descendant of Henry VIII's older sister Margaret, Queen of Scotland (from her second marriage), Arabella was a claimant to the throne. In the reign of James I, she was imprisoned in the Tower for marriage to William Seymour (who also had a claim to the throne through the Suffolk line) without the monarch's consent. She died in the Tower and was laid to rest in Westminster Abbey near her Stuart relations.
Arbella's father died in 1576 when she was still an infant. She was raised by her mother Elizabeth Cavendish until 1581. The death of her mother left six-year-old Arbella an orphan, whereupon she became the ward of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley.
During most of her childhood she lived in the protective isolation of Hardwick Hallwith her maternal grandmother, the redoubtable Bess of Hardwick, who had been married in 1568 to George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury. There were, apparently, periodic visits to the court of Elizabeth I of England and to London, including one that lasted for a few years, from September 1589 to July 1592. Historian David Durant has suggested that, during this period, "In effect Bess was moving the operational centre of her business empire from Derbyshire to London".
An extant note in French, written to Lord Burghley in Arbella's Italic hand and addressed on the eve of the Spanish Armada battles, was dated 13 July 1588 and "postmarked" from the Talbots' Coleman Street Residence in London. It is certain proof of the London visits.
About 1589, one "Morley" became Arbella's "attendant" and "reader," as reported in a dispatch from Bess of Hardwick to Lord Burghley, dated 21 September 1592.Bess recounts "Morley's" service to Arbella over "the space of three years and a half." She also notes he requested a lifetime stipend from Arbella based on the fact he had "been much damnified by leaving the University"; this has led to speculation that 'Morley' was the poet Christopher Marlowe.
Heiress to the English throne
For some time before 1592, Arbella was considered one of the natural candidates for succession to the English crown, after her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I (Marshall, 601). However, between the end of 1592 and the spring of 1593, the influential Cecils, Elizabeth's Secretaries of State Lord Burghley and his son Sir Robert Cecil) turned their attention away from Arbella towards James VI of Scotland, regarding him as a preferable successor. Burghley wrote "If my hand were free from pain I would not commit this much to any other man's hand".
In 1603, after James's ascension to the English throne, there was a plot (in which SirWalter Raleigh was alleged to being involved) to overthrow him and put Arbella on the throne; but when she was invited to participate by agreeing in writing to Philip III of Spain, she reported the plan to James.
In the closing months of Elizabeth's reign, Arbella fell into trouble via reports that she intended to marry Edward Seymour, a member of the prominent Seymour family. This was reported to the Queen by the supposed groom's grandfather, Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford. Arbella denied having any intention of marrying without the Queen's permission, which she would have required for any marriage to be legal.
In 1588, it was proposed to James VI of Scotland that Esmé Stuart, 2nd Duke of Lennox should be married to Arbella, but nothing seems to have come of this suggestion. In 1604, Sigismund III Vasa, King of Poland sent an ambassador to England to ask for Arbella to be his queen. This offer was rejected.
There are some indications that Arbella tried to elope in about 1604 and that she fell out of favour with King James I as a result; she was certainly out of sight until 1608, when she was restored to the King's good graces.
Marriage to William Seymour
William Seymour The 2nd Duke of Somerset.
In 1610, Arbella, who was fourth in line to the English throne, was in trouble again for planning to marry William Seymour, sixth in line, grandson of Lady Catherine Grey, a younger sister of Lady Jane Grey and a granddaughter of Mary Tudor, younger sister of King Henry VIII and Arbella's ancestress, Margaret Tudor. Although the couple at first denied that any arrangement existed between them, they later married in secret on 22 June 1610 at Greenwich Palace. For marrying without his permission, King James imprisoned them: Arbella in Sir Thomas Perry's house in Lambeth and Seymour in the Tower of London. The couple had some liberty within those buildings, and some of Arbella's letters to Seymour and to the King during this period survive. When the King learned of her letters to Seymour, however, he ordered Arbella's transfer to the custody of William James, Bishop of Durham. Arbella claimed to be ill, so her departure for Durham was delayed.
The couple used that delay to plan their escape. Arbella dressed as a man and escaped to Lee (in Kent), but Seymour did not meet her there before their getaway ship was to sail for France. Sara Jayne Steen records that Imogen, the virtuous, cross-dressed heroine of William Shakespeare's play Cymbeline (1610-1611) has sometimes been read as a reference to Arbella. Seymour did escape from the Tower, but by the time he reached Lee, Arbella was gone, so he caught the next ship to Flanders. Arbella's ship was overtaken by King James's men just before it reached Calais, France, and she was returned to England and imprisoned in the Tower of London. She never saw her husband again and died in the Tower in 1615.
William and Mary's marriage had been prohibited by James I, Arabella's cousin, as they were cousins. When James learned of their June 22, 1610 marriage, both were imprisoned. Arabella managed a clever escape for them both but she was caught and later died in the Tower of London. Even James suspected them of having a child. They were definitely together long enough. Arabella was confined for a time at her uncle's estate, long enough to have given birth, and during that period she refused to travel on the basis of her "frail health." Many family members and supporter's wished to see her or her heir take the throne, although she herself did not wish to, and would have been able to provide her with the means to protect such a child. Three years after Arabella's death James had the matter investigated. Far from settling the matter, his "final report" added fuel to the rumors. He declared that "If such a child existed, it was of no threat to him" period. He should have been able to find out, and it would have been to his advantage to declare that no child existed. Given her age (born about 1612), the high level of education Mary Dyer obviously had; her closeness to Ann Marbury Hutchinson (a member of the royal court and relative of Arabella who would have been in her 20's when Mary was born), the mystery of such a woman having appeared, seemingly from nowhere at age 22, the day she married William Dyer (from a family with close ties to the families of Ann Marbury and William Hutchinson) is just too much to be coincidence. In one of her letters to William she mentions "Rachel weeping for her lost child" as if it were a code that they both understood. Add to this, Arabella's closest confidant, her aunt Mary, became estranged from her during her last year in the Tower over an unmentioned matter about their respective religions. Mary was a Catholic and Arabella was a Protestant, but from what we do know, the matter was not about either Arabella's choice of faith, or her tolerance for her aunts. Was it possibly over Arabella's desires for the upbringing of her daughter? We do know that shortly after the death of king James would have reached them (and after the death Ann Hutchinson and her family) Mary Dyer left New England for London. Leaving a new born child, in addition to her other children, she sailed alone to England in the dead of winter, not the prefered time to travel. She remain there for some time, during which she became familiar with George Fox, later becoming a Quaker. Her husband visited her there, and no credable reports of marital difficulties between them have surfaced. She returned home after Cromwell took the power of the throne for himself. After this time she throws herself into her support for the Quakers, ending in her death. Contradicting this myth is the research by and others which demonstrate the unlikehood of Mary Barrett being the daughter of Lady Arabella. For example, see The "Tradition" of Mary Dyer & Lady Arabella Stuart
William Seymour, 2nd Duke of Somerset KG (1588 – October 24, 1660) was an English nobleman and Royalist commander in the English Civil War.
Seymour was the grandson of Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford and Catherine Grey, which thus gave him a distant claim to the throne through the latter's descent from Mary Tudor, younger sister of Henry VIII. His parents were Edward Seymour, Lord Beauchamp of Hache, and Honora Rogers. William was the great-grandson of the first Duke of Somerset.
He married, firstly, Arbella Stuart, daughter of Charles Stuart, 1st Earl of Lennox andElizabeth Cavendish, on 22 June 1610, in a secret marriage. Arbella was thirteen years his senior, and the marriage was disapproved of by King James I of England - the marriage of two potential pretenders to the throne, who were fourth and sixth in line to the English throne, could only be seen as a threat to the ruling dynasty. As a result, William was condemned to life imprisonment in the Tower of London (thus becoming the fourth of five generations of Seymours to spend time in the Tower). In June of 1611, he escaped from the Tower, and planned to meet up with Arbella and flee to the Continent; bad weather and other circumstances prevented their meeting, and Arbella was recaptured and herself placed in the Tower, while William managed to reach safety abroad. Arbella died in 1615, without their ever being reunited.
Seymour married, secondly, Lady Frances Devereux, daughter of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex and Frances Walsingham, daughter of Francis Walsingham, on 3 March 1616 at Drayton Bassett, and had seven children:
- William Seymour (1621–16 June 1642)
- Robert Seymour (1622–1646)
- Henry Seymour, Lord Beauchamp (1626–30 March 1654), married Mary Capell and had issue.
- Lady Mary Seymour (1637–10 April 1673), married Heneage Finch, 3rd Earl of Winchilsea and had issue.
- Jane Seymour (1637–23 November 1679), married Charles Boyle, 3rd Viscount Dungarvan and had issue. Ancestors of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon.
- Frances Seymour (1642–?)
- John Seymour, 4th Duke of Somerset (1646–29 April 1675) married Sarah Alston in 1656. No issue.
Seymour, who succeeded his grandfather as Earl of Hertford in 1621, became a prominent member of the opposition to King Charles I in the House of Lords, supporting the Petition of Right of 1628, and co-signing the letter of the 12 Peers of 1640, along with his brother-in-law the Earl of Essex.
However, Hertford parted company with the more radical opponents of the King in the Long Parliament in 1641, and was created Marquess of Hertford by the King. In the Civil War, Hertford, along with such figures as Sir Edward Hyde, was a moderate royalist, and throughout sought a compromise settlement, continuing unofficial negotiations with his brother-in-law Essex, who became the Parliamentary commander, throughout the war. He was nevertheless a trusted supporter of the King, who made him guardian of his son the Prince of Wales, and who undertook several important military commands in royalist service over the course of the war, commanding troops from South Wales.
After the end of the First Civil War and the King's imprisonment, Hertford was the most prominent nobleman to remain alongside the king throughout his captivity, and was with him up until his execution in 1649. During the Interregnum, Hertford largely kept himself away from both politics and royalist conspiracies, believing that the monarchy would be restored given time, and that conspiracies would only delay the restoration.
When the Restoration came in 1660, Hertford was restored to all his former positions, and his services in the Royalist cause were further recognised by Charles II who restored Hertford to his great-grandfather's dukedom of Somerset which had been forfeited in 1552. He died at Essex House, London and was buried on 1 November 1660 at Great Bedwyn, Wiltshire. He was succeeded by his grandsonWilliam Seymour.
Shared by Robert Holmes on www.ancestry.com and attached to William Dyre William Dyre is the 9th (possibly the 8th) great grandfather of Harold Melvin Wotton (1911-1994)