Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset

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About Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset

"Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, KG, (c. 1500 – 22 January 1552) was Lord Protector of England during the minority of his nephew King Edward VI (1547–1553), in the period between the death of Henry VIII in 1547 and his own indictment in 1549."














Citations / Sources:

[S6] G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume II, pages 40-41. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.

[S20] Magna Carta Ancestry: A study in Colonial and Medieval Families, Richardson, Douglas, (Kimball G. Everingham, editor. 2nd edition, 2011), vol. 2 p. 169; vol. 3 p. 110.

[S21] L. G. Pine, The New Extinct Peerage 1884-1971: Containing Extinct, Abeyant, Dormant and Suspended Peerages With Genealogies and Arms (London, U.K.: Heraldry Today, 1972), page 167. Hereinafter cited as The New Extinct Peerage.

[S25] #798 The Wallop Family and Their Ancestry, Watney, Vernon James, (4 volumes. Oxford: John Johnson, 1928), FHL book Q 929.242 W159w; FHL microfilm 1696491 it., vol. 3 p. 702, 718, 786.

"Sir Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, Earl of Hertford, Viscount Beauchamp, Baron Seymour; Protector of the Realm; b. 1506; beheaded 22 January 1551-2."

[S32] #150 [1879-1967] A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage, Together with Memoirs of the Privy Councillors and Knights (1879-1967), Burke, Sir John Bernard, (London: Harrison, 1879-1967), FHL book 942 D22bup., 1884 ed. vol. 2 p. 1229.

[S37] #93 [Book version] The Dictionary of National Biography: from the Earliest Times to 1900 (1885-1900, reprint 1993), Stephen, Leslie, (22 volumes. 1885-1900. Reprint, Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1993), FHL book 920.042 D561n., vol. 17 p. 1237, 1268.

[S54] #21 The complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom, extant, extinct, or dormant, Cokayne, George Edward, (Gloucester [England] : Alan Sutton Pub. Ltd., 1987), 942 D22cok., vol. 12 pt. 1 p. 36, 64.

[S64] #248 [Reprint, 1977] A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland Enjoying Territorial Possessions or High Official Rank but Uninvested with Heritable Honours (1834-1838; reprint 1977), Burke, John, (1834-1838. Reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1977), 942 D2bc 1977; FHL microfiche 6035997-035999; FHL ., vol. 3 p. 201.

[S67] #205 Baronagium Genealogicum, Or, the Pedigrees of the English Peers, Deduced from the Earliest Times, of Which There Are Any Attested Accountes Including, as Well Collateral as Lineal Descents (1764-1784), Segar, Sir William, (6 volumes. [London]: Engraved and printed for the author, [1764-1784].), Volumes 1-4 FHL microfilm 164,680; volume 5 FHL mi., vol. 1 p. 7.

[S73] #542 Pedigrees of the County Families of Yorkshire (1874), Foster, Joseph, (2 volumes in 12. London: W. Wilfred Head, 1874), FHL book Q 942.74 D2f; FHL microfilm 924,024., vol. 1 pt. 4 Pedigree of Wentworth of Woodhouse.

[S118] #241 A Complete English Peerage: Containing a Genealogical, Biographical, and Historical Account of the Peers of this Realm, Together with the Different Branches of Each Family, Including a Particular Relation of the Most Remarkable Transaction, Jacob, Alexander, (3 parts in 1. London: Alexander Jacob, 1766), FHL book Q 942 D22ja., vol. 1 p. 131.

[S126] #1853 [1558-1603] The House of Commons 1558-1603 (1981), Hasler, P. W ., (The History of Parliament [Series]. 3 volumes. London: H.M.S.O., 1981 http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org NOTE: Online source has no page numbers, but individuals are in alphabetical order.), FHL book 942 D3hp., vol. 2 p. 405.

[S134] #65 Baronia Anglica Concentrata, Or, a Concentrated Account of All the Baronies Commonly Called Baronies in Fee: Deriving Their Origin from Writ of Summons, and Not from Any Specific Limited Creation (1843-1844), Banks, Thomas Christopher, (2 volumes. Ripon: Thomas C. Banks, 1843-44), FHL book Q 942 D22bt; FHL microfilm 845,140 items ., vol. 1 p. 121.

[S335] #506 Visitation of England and Wales, Notes (1896-1921), Howard, Joseph Jackson, (14 volumes. [London]: Frederick Arthur Crisp, 1896-1921), FHL book 942 D23hn., vol. 7 p. 36.

[S452] #21 The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct, or Dormant (1910), Cokayne, George Edward (main author) and Vicary Gibbs (added author), (New edition. 13 volumes in 14. London: St. Catherine Press,1910-), vol. 2 p. 40, 41; vol. 3 p. 558.

[S868] #969 The History of Modern Wiltshire (1822-1844), Hoare, Sir Richard Colt, (14 parts in 6 volumes. London: J. Nichols, 1822-1844), FHL book Q 942.31 H2h; FHL microfilms 1,426,001-1,., vol. 1 p. 117.

[S869] Annals of the Seymours : being a history of the Seymour family, from early times to within a few years of the present, St. Maur, Richard Harold, (London : Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1902), 929.242 Se96s., p. 22.

[S887] The royal descents of 600 immigrants to the American Colonies or the United States : who were themselves notable or left descendants notable in American history, Roberts, Gary Boyd, (Baltimore [Maryland] : Genealogical Pub. Co., c2004), 973 D2rrd., p. 150.

Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset KG (c. 1500[3] – 22 January 1552) was Lord Protector of England from 1547 until 1549 during the minority of his nephew, King Edward VI (1547-1553). He was the eldest brother of Queen Jane Seymour (d.1537), the third wife of King Henry VIII.

Origins and early career
Edward Seymour was born circa 1500, the son of Sir John Seymour (1474-1536) by his wife Margery Wentworth. In 1514 aged about 14 he received an appointment in the household of Mary Tudor.

When Edward's sister Jane Seymour married King Henry VIII in 1536, he was created Viscount Beauchamp on 5 June 1536, and Earl of Hertford on 15 October 1537. He became Warden of the Scottish Marches and continued in royal favour after his sister's death on 24 October 1537.

Somerset's Protectorate Council of Regency Upon the death of Henry VIII (28 January 1547), Seymour's nephew became king as Edward VI. Henry VIII's will named sixteen executors, who were to act as Edward's Council until he reached the age of 18. These executors were supplemented by twelve men "of counsail" who would assist the executors when called on. The final state of Henry VIII's will has occasioned controversy. Some historians suggest that those close to the king manipulated either him or the will itself to ensure a shareout of power to their benefit, both material and religious. In this reading, the composition of the Privy Chamber shifted towards the end of 1546 in favour of the Protestant faction.

Rebellion During 1548, England was subject to social unrest. After April 1549, a series of armed revolts broke out, fuelled by various religious and agrarian grievances. The two most serious rebellions, which required major military intervention to put down, were in Devon and Cornwall and in Norfolk. The first, sometimes called the Prayer Book Rebellion, arose mainly from the imposition of church services in English, and the second, led by a tradesman called Robert Kett, mainly from the encroachment of landlords on common grazing ground. A complex aspect of the social unrest was that the protestors believed they were acting legitimately against enclosing landlords with the Protector's support, convinced that the landlords were the lawbreakers.

The same justification for outbreaks of unrest was voiced throughout the country, not only in Norfolk and the west. The origin of the popular view of Somerset as sympathetic to the rebel cause lies partly in his series of sometimes liberal, often contradictory, proclamations, and partly in the uncoordinated activities of the commissions he sent out in 1548 and 1549 to investigate grievances about loss of tillage, encroachment of large sheep flocks on common land, and similar issues. Somerset's commissions were led by the evangelical M.P. John Hales, whose socially liberal rhetoric linked the issue of enclosure with Reformation theology and the notion of a godly commonwealth. Local groups often assumed that the findings of these commissions entitled them to act against offending landlords themselves. King Edward wrote in his Chronicle that the 1549 risings began "because certain commissions were sent down to pluck down enclosures".

Whatever the popular view of Somerset, the disastrous events of 1549 were taken as evidence of a colossal failure of government, and the Council laid the responsibility at the Protector's door. In July 1549, Paget wrote to Somerset: "Every man of the council have misliked your proceedings ... would to God, that, at the first stir you had followed the matter hotly, and caused justice to be ministered in solemn fashion to the terror of others ...".

Fall of Somerset The sequence of events that led to Somerset's removal from power has often been called a coup d'état. By 1 October 1549, Somerset had been alerted that his rule faced a serious threat. He issued a proclamation calling for assistance, took possession of the king's person, and withdrew for safety to the fortified Windsor Castle, where Edward wrote, "Me thinks I am in prison".

Meanwhile, a united Council published details of Somerset's government mismanagement. They made clear that the Protector's power came from them, not from Henry VIII's will. On 11 October, the Council had Somerset arrested and brought the king to Richmond. Edward summarised the charges against Somerset in his Chronicle: "ambition, vainglory, entering into rash wars in mine youth, negligent looking on Newhaven, enriching himself of my treasure, following his own opinion, and doing all by his own authority, etc."

In February 1550, John Dudley, Earl of Warwick, emerged as the leader of the Council and, in effect, as Somerset's successor. Although Somerset was released from the Tower and restored to the Council in early 1550, he was executed for felony in January 1552 after scheming to overthrow Dudley's regime.[49] Edward noted his uncle's death in his Chronicle: "the duke of Somerset had his head cut off upon Tower Hill between eight and nine o'clock in the morning". Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset was interred at St. Peter ad Vincula, Tower of London.

Historiography Historians have contrasted the efficiency of Somerset's takeover of power in 1547 with the subsequent ineptitude of his rule. By autumn 1549, his costly wars had lost momentum, the crown faced financial ruin, and riots and rebellions had broken out around the country. Until recent decades, Somerset's reputation with historians was high, in view of his many proclamations that appeared to back the common people against a rapacious landowning class.[52] In the early 20th century this line was taken by the influential A. F. Pollard, to be echoed by Edward VI's 1960s biographer W. K. Jordan. A more critical approach was initiated by M. L. Bush and Dale Hoak in the mid-1970s. Since then, Somerset has often been portrayed as an arrogant ruler, devoid of the political and administrative skills necessary for governing the Tudor state.

EDWARD SEYMOUR, DUKE OF SOMERSET, Lord Protector of England, born about 1506, was the eldest surviving son of Sir John Seymour of Wolf Hall, Wiltshire, by his wife Margaret, eldest daughter of Sir Henry Wentworth of Nettlested, Suffolk. The Seymours claimed descent from a companion of William the Conqueror, who took his name from St Maur-sur-Loire in Touraine; and the protector's mother was really descended from Edward III. His father was knighted by Henry VII for his services against the Cornish rebels at Blackheath in 1497, was present at the two interviews between Henry VIII and Francis I in 1520 and 1532, and died on the 21st of December, 1536.

Edward was "enfant d'honneur" to Mary Tudor at her marriage with Louis XII in 1514, served in the Duke of Suffolk's campaign in France in 1523, being knighted by the duke at Roze on the 1st of November, and accompanied Cardinal Wolsey on his embassy to France in 1527. Appointed esquire of the body to Henry VIII in 1529, he grew in favour with the king, who visited his manor at Elvetham in Hampshire in October 1535. On the 5th of June 1536, a week after his sister Jane's marriage to Henry, he was created Viscount Beauchamp of Hache in Somerset, and a fortnight after Edward VI's birth in October 1537, he was raised to the earldom of Hertford.

Queen Jane Seymour's death was a blow to his prospects, and in 1538 he was described as being "young and wise" but of "small power." He continued, however, to rise in political importance. In 1541, during Henry's absence in the north, Hertford, Cranmer and Audley had the chief management of affairs in London; in September 1542 he was appointed warden of the Scottish marches, and a few months later Lord High Admiral, a post which he almost immediately relinquished in favour of the future Duke of Northumberland. In March 1544 he was made Lieutenant-general of the North and instructed to punish the Scots for their repudiation of the treaty of marriage between Prince Edward and the infant Mary Queen of Scots. He landed at Leith in May, captured and pillaged Edinburgh, and returned a month later.

In July he was appointed Lieutenant of the Realm under the queen regent, Katherine Parr, during Henry's absence at Boulogne, but in August he joined the king and was present at the surrender of the town. In the autumn he was one of the commissioners sent to Flanders to keep Charles V to the terms of his treaty with England, and in January 1545 he was placed in command at Boulogne, where on the 26th he brilliantly repelled an attempt of Marshal de Biez to recapture the town. In May he was once more appointed Lieutenant-general in the North to avenge the Scottish victory at Ancrum Moor; this he did by a savage foray into Scotland in September. In March 1546 he was sent back to Boulogne to supersede Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, whose command had not been a success; and in June he was engaged in negotiations for peace with France and for the delimitation of the English conquests.

From October to the end of Henry's reign he was in attendance on the king, engaged in that unrecorded struggle for predominance which was to determine the complexion of the government during the coming minority. Personal, political and religious rivalry separated him and Lisle from the Howards, and Surrey's hasty temper precipitated his own and his father's ruin. They could not acquiesce in the Imperial ambassador's verdict that Hertford and Lisle were the only noblemen of fit age and capacity to carry on the government; and Surrey's attempt to secure the predominance of his family led to his own execution and to his father's (Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk) imprisonment in the Tower.
Their overthrow had barely been accomplished when Henry VIII died on the 28th of January 1547. Preparations had already been made for a further advance in the ecclesiastical reformation and for a renewal of the design upon Scotland; and the new government to some extent proceeded on the lines which Chapuys anticipated that Henry VIII would have followed had he lived. He had no statutory power to appoint a protector, but in the council of regency which he nominated, Hertford and Lisle enjoyed a decisive preponderance; and the council at its first meeting after Henry's death determined to follow precedent and appoint a protector. Hertford was their only possible choice; he represented the predominant party, he was Edward VI's nearest relative, he was senior to Lisle in the peerage and superior to him in experience. Seven weeks later, however, after Lord-Chancellor Wriothesley, the leading Catholic, had been deprived of office Hertford, who had been made Duke of Somerset, succeeded in emancipating himself from the trammels originally imposed on him as Protector; and he became king in everything but name and prestige.
His ideas were in striking contrast with those of most Tudor statesmen, and he used his authority to divest the government of that apparatus of absolutism which Thomas Cromwell had perfected. He had generous popular sympathies and was by nature averse from coercion. "What is the matter, then?" wrote Paget in the midst of the commotions of 1549, "By my faith, sir,... liberty, liberty. And your grace would have too much gentleness." In his first parliament, which met in November 1547, he procured the repeal of all the heresy laws and nearly all the treason laws passed since Edward III. Even with regard to Scotland he had protested against his instructions of 1544, and now ignored the claim to suzerainty which Henry VIII had revived, seeking to win over the Scots by those promises of autonomy, free trade, and equal privileges with England, which many years later eventually reconciled them to union. But the Scots were not thus to be won in 1547: "What would you say," asked one, "if your lad were a lass, and our lass were a lad?" and Scottish sentiment backed by Roman Catholic influence and by French intrigues, money and men, proved too strong for Somerset's amiable invitations. The Scots turned a deaf ear to his persuasions; the protector led another army into Scotland in September 1547, and won the battle of Pinkie (Sept. 10). He trusted to the garrisons he established throughout the Lowlands to wear down Scottish opposition; but their pressure was soon weakened by troubles in England and abroad, and Mary was transported to France to wed Francis II in 1557.
Somerset apparently thought that the religious question could be settled by public discussion, and throughout 1547 and 1548 England went as it pleased so far as church services were concerned; all sorts of experiments were tried, and the country was involved in a grand theological debate, in which Protestant refugees from abroad hastened to join. The result convinced the protector that the government must prescribe one uniform order which all should be persuaded or constrained to obey; but the first Book of Common Prayer, which was imposed by the first Act of Uniformity in 1549, was a studious compromise between the new and the old learning, very different from the aggressive Protestantism of the second book imposed after Somerset had been removed, in 1552. The Catholic risings in the west in 1549 added to Somerset's difficulties, but were not the cause of his fall.
Protector Somerset Accuses his Brother before King Edward VI The factious and treasonable conduct of his brother, Thomas Seymour, the Lord High Admiral, in whose execution (March 20, 1549) the protector weakly acquiesced, also impaired his authority; but the main cause of his ruin was the divergence between him and the majority of the council over the questions of constitutional liberty and enclosures of the commons. The majority scouted Somerset's notions of liberty and deeply resented his championship of the poor against greedy landlords and capitalists. His efforts to check enclosures by means of parliamentary legislation, royal proclamations, and commissions of inquiry were openly resisted or secretly foiled, and the popular revolts which their failure provoked cut the ground from Somerset's feet. He was divided in mind between his sympathy with the rebels and his duty to maintain law and order. France, which was bent on ruining the protector's schemes in Scotland and on recovering Boulogne, seized the opportunity to declare war on August the 8th; and the outlying forts in the Boulonnais fell into their hands, while the Scots captured Haddington.

These misfortunes gave a handle to Somerset's enemies. Warwick combined on the same temporary platform Catholics who resented the Book of Common Prayer, Protestants who thought Somerset's mildness paltering with God's truth, and the wealthy classes as a whole. In September he concerted measures with the ex-lord-chancellor Wriothesley; and in October, after a vain effort to rouse the masses in his favour, Somerset was deprived of the protectorate and sent to the Tower. But the hostile coalition broke up as soon as it had to frame a constructive policy; Warwick (John Dudley) jockeyed the Catholics out of the council and prepared to advance along Protestant lines. He could hardly combine proscription of the Catholics with that of Somerset, and the Duke was released in February 1550.

Execution of Edward Seymour, Lord Protector Somerset, Jan 22, 1522.

For a time the rivals seemed to agree, and Warwick's son married Somerset's daughter. But growing discontent with Warwick made Somerset too dangerous. In October 1551, after Warwick had been created Duke of Northumberland, Somerset was sent to the Tower on an exaggerated charge of treason, which broke down at his trial. He was, however, as a sort of compromise, condemned on a charge of felony for having sought to effect a change of government. Few expected that the sentence would be carried out, and apparently Northumberland found it necessary to forge an instruction from Edward VI to that effect. Somerset was executed on the 22nd of January 1552, dying with exemplary patience and fortitude. His eldest son by his second wife was re-created Earl of Hertford by Elizabeth I, and his great-grandson William was restored as 2nd Duke of Somerset in 1660. His children by his first wife had been disinherited owing to the jealousy of his second; but their descendants came into the titles and property when the younger line died out in 1750.

Books for further study: Elton, G. R. England Under the Tudors.

           London: Routledge, 1991.

MacCulloch, Diarmaid. The Boy King: Edward VI and the Protestant Reformation.

           Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.

Williams, Penry. The Later Tudors: England 1547-1603.

           Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Eldest Brother of Jane Seymour WIfe of King Henry the VII Sent to the Tower of London and beheaded for Treason of scheming to overthrow his successor as leadeer of the privy council John Dudley, Earl of Warwick.

Edward Seymour married twice:

Firstly in about 1527, to Catherine Fillol (or Filliol) (c. 1507–1535), a daughter and co-heiress of Sir William Fillol (1453–1527), of Fillol's Hall, Essex and Woodlands, Horton, Dorset. Catherine bore two sons, whose paternity however was questioned by her husband after it was alleged that she had had an affair (possibly with her father-in-law, Sir John Seymour), which resulted in both being excluded in 1540 from their paternal and maternal inheritances and all their claims to their father's dignities being postponed to his children by his second wife. Ironically these two sons remained faithful to their father during his misfortunes and both were imprisoned with him in the Tower of London: John Seymour (1527 – 19 December 1552), sent to the Tower of London where he died in December 1552,

having survived his father by 11 months. He successfully petitioned Parliament for the restoration of his maternal inheritance, but as her lands had been sold, he was awarded compensation in the form of the estate of Maiden Bradley, an Augustinian Priory in Wiltshire granted to his father at the Dissolution of the Monasteries by King Henry VIII, which had descended to his half-siblings. However, he did not live to enjoy the grant and bequeathed it with all his other lands and goods to his younger brother Lord Edward Seymour. Lord Edward Seymour (1529–1593) of Berry Pomeroy, Devon, Sheriff of Devon. He was sent to the Tower of London in 1551 but was later released, and became heir to his elder brother, from whom he inherited Maiden Bradley, today the seat of his descendant, the present Duke of Somerset.

Anne Stanhope

Secondly, before 9 March 1535, to Anne Stanhope (c. 1510–1587), only child and sole heiress of Sir Edward Stanhope (1462–1511) by his wife Elizabeth Bourchier (c. 1473–1557), daughter of Fulk Bourchier, 10th Baron FitzWarin (1445–1479). Seymour's suspicions about the fathering of Catherine Fillol's sons led him to pass an Act of Parliament in 1540, entailing his estates away from the children of his first wife in favour of the children of Anne Stanhope. By Anne, he had ten children:

Edward Seymour, Viscount Beauchamp of Hache (12 October 1537 – 1539), known by the courtesy title of one of his father's subsidiary titles. He died as a two-year old infant and predeceased his father.

Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford (22 May 1539 – 1621), in 1559 created Earl of Hertford and Baron Beauchamp of Hatch by Queen Elizabeth I, the half-sister of King Edward VI. He married thrice: firstly in November 1560, Lady Catherine Grey, by whom he had two sons; secondly in 1582 to Frances Howard, daughter of Baron Howard of Effingham; thirdly in 1601 to Frances Prannell.

Lady Anne Seymour (1538–1588), who married twice: firstly to John Dudley, 2nd Earl of Warwick; secondly to Sir Edward Unton, MP, by whom she had issue.

Lord Henry Seymour (1540–?) married Lady Joan Percy, daughter of Thomas Percy, 7th Earl of Northumberland

Lady Margaret Seymour (born 1540) a noted Elizabethan author

Lady Jane Seymour (1541–1561) Maid of Honour to Queen Elizabeth I, also a noted Elizabethan author

Lady Catherine Seymour

Lord Edward Seymour (1548–1574), died unmarried and without issue

Lady Mary Seymour (born 1552) married twice:

Firstly (as his second wife) to Andrew Rogers (died c. 1599), MP,[63] of Bryanstone, Dorset; without progeny. Her nephew Edward Seymour, Lord Beauchamp (1561–1612) later married Andrew's "notorious" sister Honora Rogers, despite the strong opposition of his father Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford (1539–1621). Honora was referred to as "a baggage", and Lord Beauchamp had originally intended to have "but a night’s lodging with her". Honora's son was William Seymour, 2nd Duke of Somerset (1588–1660)

Secondly she married Sir Henry Peyton.

Lady Elizabeth Seymour (1552 – 3 June 1602), who married Sir Richard Knightley, of Fawsley, Northamptonshire

The male line of Edward Seymour and Anne Stanhope died out with the seventh Duke of Somerset in 1750, when the descendants of Edward Seymour by his first wife, Catherine Fillol, inherited the Somerset dukedom in accordance with the Private Act of 1541.[62] However, the female line continued, and Queen Elizabeth II is descended from Somerset through his grandchild by Catherine Grey.

Source: Wikipedia (there is more, especially of his ancestry)

Janet Milburn 1/20/19

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Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset's Timeline

Wolf Hall, Wiltshire, England
Wolf Hall, Wiltshire, , England
Gloucestershire, England
May 22, 1539
Raynham Martyne, Norfolk, England
Wolf Hall, Wiltshire, England