SOMERSET, Francis (by 1532-63), of Chepstow, Mon. and London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Constituency

Dates

Family and Education

b. by 1532, 3rd s. of Henry Somerset, 2nd Earl of Worcester by 2nd w. Elizabeth, da. of Sir Anthony Browne; bro. of Charles and Thomas. unm. 1s. 1da. illegit.1

Offices Held

Biography

On 3 Jan. 1553 Francis Somerset obtained a pardon for burglary and other crimes and the restoration of the lands that he had forfeited in punishment. He was to make his name as a soldier and his Membership was an interlude in his career. His return to Mary’s last Parliament was disputed by William Herbert IV who claimed that he and William Morgan had been re-elected. The attorney-general acted upon the information laid by Herbert, but the sheriff Henry Lewis failed to appear before the Exchequer to answer the allegation until Trinity term 1559. Because no jury travelled up with Lewis the case went on nisi prius to the Monmouthshire assizes, where the validity of Somerset’s election was upheld, but since this verdict was not reached until eight months after the dissolution it merely confirmed the right to sit which he had probably exercised. In 1557 Somerset had served in France as a captain under his brother the 3rd Earl of Worcester and during the prorogation a year later he conducted 300 men from Guisnes to the Scottish border where his action in the field earned him Mary’s thanks. His command was renewed by Elizabeth and it was during an attack upon Le Havre that he died on 22 July 1563. He had made his will two months earlier dividing most of his possessions between his brothers Charles and Thomas. He left his black armour to his cousin the 13th Lord Grey of Wilton and his portrait to his mistress. Thomas Somerset proved the will on 5 Jan. 1564.