30 August 1548 – Catherine Parr’s daughter is born

On this day in history, 30th August 1548, Catherine Parr, Queen Dowager and wife of Thomas Seymour, Baron Seymour of Sudeley, gave birth to her first and only child, a daughter, at Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire.

The healthy baby girl was baptised ‘Mary’ after her godmother, the Lady Mary, eldest daughter of King Henry VIII and Catherine’s stepdaughter. Unfortunately, Catherine was taken ill shortly after Mary’s birth and died on 5th September 1548, probably of puerperal fever, also known as childbed fever. Little Mary was orphaned when her father was executed for treason in March 1549.

Lady Mary Seymour’s story is a strange one, perfect for a novelist, because she disappears from the records before her second birthday. Click here to read more about this.

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8 thoughts on “30 August 1548 – Catherine Parr’s daughter is born”
  1. What a shame that Katherine Parr died so soon after the birth of little Mary as she would have made a remarkable mother. Her father was executed for treason a year later and poor little Mary Seymour was left alone. We don’t know what happened to the little girl who who was last recorded in the care of Katherine, Duchess of Suffolk in 1550/51 at the age of two or three. Did she die or did the support stop? As a ward of the state this seems unlikely, but a poem suggested that she may have lived and even married. While sadly it seems more likely that little Mary Seymour died very young, as did so many children at this time, one can only hope that she lived on and more evidence will give us clues and answers one day.

  2. What indeed did happen to Lady Mary Seymour, the daughter of a respected and much loved queen consort, cousin to a King and the child of the disgraced notorious traitor Thomas Seymour? I like to think she was abducted by the gypsys one day when her nurse wasn’t looking and she lived a life on the open road, singing songs dancing at fairs with flowers in her hair, and reading fortunes, I can see authors having flights of fancy with this one,if she had indeed lived what would she have looked like, both her parents had been attractive people and Katherine Parr was an intelligent woman, her father a handsome charismatic man, a seaman! and she may have inherited some of their characteristics, maybe some of Thomas’s not very sensible ones! Her disappearance is a mystery and sadly she seemed to be an unwanted burden on her relatives, her first guardian Lady Katherine Brandon whilst being good friends with her mother, resented the enormous upkeep of providing for her, quite reasonably as the govt was meant to pay for her upkeep and had to write to William Cecil as no grants were forthcoming from the child’s uncle who was protector at the time, as Samdra Byrd mentions she was last heard of in 1550 when a grant was made for her household then there is no more mention of her, it seems unbelievable that she could have died in obscurity as is supposed due to the sad lament which is said to be her tombstone epithet, I’m not sure I buy this as she was such a high born baby her death surely would have been recorded, she was not base born, her parents were lawfully married, many kings bastards have had their deaths and places of burial recorded so what on earth happened to Mary? Agnes Strickland wrote that she married an Edward Bushel and went on to serve Queen Anne of Denmark but she does not mention the source, several families claim descent from her and one family believe they possess a ring that belonged to her father Thomas, if their claim is true that would be wonderful, but unless you have the help of an expert geanologist many errors can be made whilst researching family ancestry, the fact that we hear so little of her makes me think maybe sadly she did die in infancy, there is the epithet that Katherine Parr’s chaplain wrote and is said to refer to her, but unless she was not cared for properly and neglected by lazy nurses and hurriedly buried in shame and guilt, why then is her date of death not recorded? This is an injustice on her mother and her lineage, as mentioned kings bastards have had more mention than little Lady Mary Seymour, if she had fallen ill and died in infancy she at least deserved to have her death recorded, she was not a nobody, she had a name and her mother had been King Henry V111’s wife, her cousin was King Edward V1, if she had indeed grown up and married as Strickland mentions why do we hear no more of her, I find the disappearance of Mary very frustrating and hope one day we will hear the truth of what happened to her.

  3. Hello, a bit off the subject but in following various links about Katherine Parr and Snape Castle, how did the Pre=Reformation chapel in the castle escape destruction by Henry VIII’s agents?

    1. Henry’s agents aimed any destruction at the monastic houses and shrines, not usually private chapels. The covering up and removal of the Rood Screen was under Edward and Elizabeth, although much restoration has replaced a number of traditional items back into the old Catholic household chapels and even the more important Churches. The fact that Snape is in the North also gives you a clue as things went much slower than in the South. Although the monastic houses suffered, the Catholic North resistance meant that the so called agents were also local gentry, reluctant to push too much for change. A great many private estates and their chapels escaped full scale make overs by the Reformation or restored them at a more tolerant time in history.

  4. It is a mystery about Mary Seymour and a subject with limited information. For Katherine Parr and Thomas Seymour to have a child and then lose their lives didn’t bode well for Mary’s protection. I am surprised at Katherine, Duchess of Suffolk’s reaction considering the friendship between the two women. Didn’t Katherine, Duchess of Suffolk go abroad when Mary Tudor took the throne? What about Thomas’s brother and his wife. They were all protestants so I am surprised that the support network was so weak.

    1. I find it very sad that this little baby lost her mother so young and had the misfortune to have Thomas Seymour as her father who put power and ambition before the welfare of his child, he was all she had now and he should have acted more responsible, after his inevitable execution poor Mary was passed from pillar to post, no one seemed to want the poor little mite, Katherine must have felt sympathetic towards her but she found it stressful and very costly having the upkeep of her, whatever happened to her I hope she had some happiness.

  5. I agree Christine. Thomas Seymour clearly had his eye on the main chance with Elizabeth as he must have realised that if Edward and Mary had no heirs then Elizabeth would be queen. I hope Mary Seymour had some happiness. If Mary had served Anne of Denmark then she would have been following the tradition of Maud Parr of being a lady in waiting. It must have been through Jane Seymour that Catherine met Thomas so it was a pity that the celebrations were limited and tragedy took over.

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