Charles Seymour, sixth Duke of Somerset

I have long been interested in the personality of the absurdly arrogant sixth Duke of Somerset, known as ‘the Proud Duke’, who was responsible for the construction of Petworth in the aftermath of the Glorious Revolution.   He inherited the title aged sixteen after his older brother was shot in Lerice;  he then travelled abroad with a tutor called Alexander de Resigade;  on his return, he married the widowed heiress to the Northumberland estates;  and by the time he was twenty four he was a Knight of the Garter.   It is not known who he employed as his architect at Petworth.   It’s fairly French in style, grandly reticent, probably by a Huguenot, possibly Daniel Marot, since Somerset moved in the grandest court circles and Marot was paid £20 by the Duke on 30 September 1693, as well as borrowing a book from his library.   Jeremiah Milles describes staying at Petworth in 1743.   The Duke ‘lived in a grand retirement peculier and agreable only to himself.   He comes down to breakfast at 8 of ye clock in ye morning in his full dress with his blue ribbon, after breakfast, he goes into his offices, scolds and bullies his servants and steward till dinner time, then very formally hands his Duchess downstairs’.   Not a very nice character.


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