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Seymour, Edward Adolphus (1775-1855) (DNB00)

SEYMOUR, EDWARD ADOLPHUS, eleventh Duke of Somerset (1775–1855), born on 24 Feb. 1775 at Monckton Farley in Wiltshire, was the third but eldest surviving son of Webb Seymour, tenth duke, by his wife Anna Maria, daughter and heir of John Bonnell of Stanton-Harcourt in Oxfordshire. His grandfather, Edward (1695–1757), who came of the elder branch of the Seymour family, succeeded as eighth Duke of Somerset on the failure of the younger line in 1750 [see Seymour, Edward, first Duke of Somerset]. Edward was educated at Eton and matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford, on 31 Jan. 1792. He succeeded to the peerage on the death of his father on 15 Dec. 1793. He was created M.A. at Oxford on 2 July 1794, and received the honorary degree of D.C.L. on 3 July 1810. From an early age he devoted himself to science and mathematics, displaying genuine aptitude for both studies. He was equally well versed in historical and antiquarian knowledge, and Patrick Fraser Tytler [q. v.] the historian valued his judgment in these matters highly. In 1797 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society, in 1816 a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and in 1820 a fellow of the Linnean Society. He was also a member of the Royal Asiatic Society. He took an interest in the Royal Institution, of which he was president for some years, and from 1801 to 1838 he was president of the Royal Literary Fund. From 1826 to 1831 he was vice-president of the Zoological Society, and in 1834 he was chosen president of the Linnean Society, and held the office till 1837. He was bearer of the orb at the coronation of William IV in 1831 and of Victoria in 1838. On 19 April 1837 he was elected a knight of the Garter. He was esteemed an excellent landlord, and, unlike most large landowners, supported the repeal of the corn laws. In the period of agricultural depression which followed he showed his confidence in the measure by making large purchases of land. He died in London at Somerset House, Park Lane, on 15 Aug. 1855, and was buried at Kensal Green cemetery.

He was twice married: first, to Charlotte, second daughter of Archibald, ninth duke of Hamilton; she died on 10 June 1837, leaving three surviving sons and four daughters. The sons, Edward Adolphus Seymour, twelfth duke [q. v.], Archibald Henry Algernon, and Algernon Percy Banks (father of the present duke), all succeeded in turn to the title. The second wife of the eleventh duke of Somerset was Margaret, eldest daughter of Sir Michael Shaw-Stewart of Blackhall, Renfrewshire. She died at Somerset House on 18 July 1880.

The duke was the author of: 1. ‘The Elementary Properties of the Ellipse deduced from the Properties of the Circle,’ London, 1842, 8vo. 2. ‘Alternate Circles and their Connexion with the Ellipse,’ London, 1850, 12mo.

[Times, 16 Aug. 1855, 1st ed.; Gent. Mag. 1855, ii. 425; Michell's Tour of the Duke of Somerset through parts of England, Wales, and Scotland in 1795, published 1845; Foster's Alumni Oxon., 1715–1886; G. E. C.'s Peerage; Foster's Peerage.]

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