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Evelyn Francis Edward Seymour, 17th Duke of Somerset KStJ DSO OBE (1 May 1882 – 26 April 1954) was a British Army officer, landowner, peer, and for eight years Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire. He was also a baronet.


Early life

The son of Edward Seymour, 16th Duke of Somerset, by his marriage to Rowena Wall, Seymour was born in Colombo, Ceylon. He returned to England and was educated at Blundell's School, Tiverton, and later at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. He was gazetted a second lieutenant on the Unattached List in January 1901,[1] before being attached to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers.

Military career

Seymour served throughout the South African War and received the Queen’s medal with five clasps. He took part in the operations in the Aden Protectorate in 1903.

In April 1913, Seymour, then of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, was appointed adjutant of the 25th (County of London) Cyclist Battalion the London Regiment,[2] in which posting he continued until 1916, before returning to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers to take command of its 10th Battalion. In December 1917, he was promoted Acting Lieutenant Colonel.[3] In 1918, he was awarded the DSO and in 1919 served in the Adjutant General's department of the War Office. He was appointed OBE in 1919 and retired the service in 1920. He succeeded to his father's dukedom in 1931.

During World War II, Somerset returned to the army. With effect from 1 November 1939, he was appointed a Lieutenant Colonel of the Devonshire Regiment,[4] in which he commanded a battalion, and later held an appointment as a full colonel on the General Staff.

Civilian life

Somerset was a member of The Magic Circle for many years, having first joined it in 1907, after becoming a pupil of the magician Ernest Noakes. He became the organization's President in 1935, after the death of Lord Ampthill.

On 12 May 1937, he bore the Sceptre with the Cross at the Coronation of King George VI.[5]

On his retirement from active service with the Army, Somerset returned to Maiden Bradley to take charge of his estates in Wiltshire and Somerset.

On 4 May 1942 he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, succeeding Sir Ernest Wills.[6]

On 19 March 1949, "having exceeded the age limit", he relinquished his commission as an honorary Colonel of the Devon Regiment on retired pay.[7]

In 1950, he was appointed a knight of the Venerable Order of Saint John.[8]

He was a member of the Army and Navy Club, the Naval & Military Club, and the Marylebone Cricket Club.[9]


In London on 3 January 1906, he married Edith Mary Parker (d. Maiden Bradley, Wiltshire, 19 April 1962), daughter of William Parker, of Whittington Hall, Derbyshire, England, and wife, and had four children:

  • Lord Francis William Seymour (28 December 1906 – 14 May 1907)
  • Lord Algernon Francis Edward Seymour (22 July 1908 – 14 February 1911)
  • Percy Hamilton Seymour, 18th Duke of Somerset (27 September 1910 – 15 November 1984)
  • Lady Susan Mary Seymour (Crowborough, 26 April 1913 – 23 May 2004), unmarried and without issue.

Somerset died in London on 26 April 1954.

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir Ernest Wills, Bt
Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire
Succeeded by
The Lord Herbert
Peerage of England
Preceded by
Edward Seymour
Duke of Somerset
Succeeded by
Percy Seymour


  1. ^ London Gazette, Issue 27264, 8 January 1901, page 160 online at
  2. ^ London Gazette, Issue 28709 published on 11 April 1913, page 2640 at
  3. ^ London Gazette, Issue 30450 published on the 28 December 1917, Supplement to Gazette dated 1 January 1918, page 25 at
  4. ^ London Gazette, Issue 34770 published on 9 January 1940, Supplement to Gazette of 12 January 1940, page 217 at
  5. ^ London Gazette, Issue 34453 of 10 November 1937 (Supplement), page 7043 at
  6. ^ London Gazette Issue 35557 of 12 May 1942, page 2073 at
  7. ^ London Gazette, Issue 38564 of 18 March 1949, page 1380 at
  8. ^ London Gazette, Issue 38804 of 3 January 1950, page 60 at
  9. ^ 'SOMERSET, 17th Duke of', in Who Was Who (A. & C. Black, 1920–2008, online edition by Oxford University Press, December 2007) (subscription site)
  • Obituary of the Duke of Somerset, Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, in The Times, 27 April, 1954 (pg. 10; Issue 52916; col E)

External links



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