There is not much known about Thomas Seymour’s early years. Historian and author, David Loades believed that when Thomas first came to court (sometime between 1525-1530) that he may have rented a place in London. But once his sister Jane became Queen we can assume that he always had a place at court.
It would be awhile before Seymour would have a place of his own. It wasn’t until he was recognized for his military and political achievements that he finally made some progress in that arena.
In summer 1543 he was marshal of the English army in the Low Countries, serving under Sir John Wallop. This military experience may explain his appointment as master of the ordnance for life on 18 April 1544, a striking mark of royal favour, and he took part in the capture of Boulogne on 14 September. In October of that year he was appointed an admiral of the fleet, and he was much involved in naval action in 1545.¹
Thomas Seymour was ‘rewarded’ Hampton Palace in November 1544 and soon renamed it Seymour Place. Hampton Place had been previously owned by William Fitzwilliam, Earl of Southampton until his death in 1542. Since Hampton Place was available to Thomas Seymour in 1544, and Southampton died it 1542, we can assume that after Southampton’s death the property reverted back to the Crown. That is until it was given to Thomas Seymour on the 29th of November 1544.
In less than three years from the time he was rewarded with Seymour Place, King Henry VIII was dead and Thomas Seymour, uncle to the King, was created Baron Seymour of Sudeley and as such became the owner of Sudeley Castle.
Description and Location
The best description of location I have found of Seymour Place was that it was to the East of Somerset Place and just outside Temple Bar. In this illustration below, you will see “Temple barre” in the top right. Just down and to the right of the words you will notice an arch – that is Temple Bar.
What was Temple Bar exactly?
…was the principal ceremonial entrance to the City of London on its western side from the City of Westminster. It is situated on the historic royal ceremonial route from the Tower of London to the Palace of Westminster, the two chief residences of the medieval English monarchs, and from the Palace of Westminster to St Paul’s Cathedral.²
Here is what Temple Bar looked like in 1870 (sketch) and 1878 (photograph):
Seymour Place, which after the execution of Thomas Seymour became Arundel Place, was located on the River Thames and was between Milford Lane and Strand Lane. Strand Lane is what separated Seymour Place from Somerset Place. Arundel place was to the south of St. Clement Dane (church) and adjacent to the Roman Baths at the Strand.
In the below image you will notice that Arundel Place, just to the right (or East) of it is Milford Lane. Thomas’ home was very near Temple Bar and was technically in Westminster and not London.
These below sketches were created by Wenceslas Hollar in his lifetime (1607-1677 ) and it gives you a feel for what it may have looked like during the life of Thomas Seymour:
Here is another image of Arundel Place in 1677:
Even after Arundel House was demolished in 1680 to 1682, it was remembered in descriptions of London. John Strype recorded a brief history of Arundel House in his 1720 update to Stow’s A Survey of London, terminating in the house’s demolition:
Formerly the Bishop of Bath’s Inn: Which in Process of Time came to the Family of the Howards, Dukes of Norfolk, the late Duke dwelling there. It then was a very large and old built House; with a spacious Yard for Stablings, towards the Strand, and with a Gate to enclose it, where there was the Porters Lodge; and as large a Garden towards the Thames. This said House and Grounds was some Years since converted into Streets and Buildings.
Seymour Place was the location at which Lady Jane Grey stayed during the time that Thomas Seymour owned her wardship. Grey also eventually moved to Sudeley Castle in 1548 with Seymour and Parr.
My original impression of Seymour Place was that it was a small home. It wasn’t until I was able to get a good look at it through maps that I discovered it was quite the property and I have no doubt that Thomas Seymour made it into a grand estate.
¹ Bernard, G.W., Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: Seymour, Thomas, Baron Seymour of Sudeley