SEYMOUR (afterwards PORTMAN), Henry II (c.1637-1728), of Orchard Portman, Som.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Mar. 1679
Oct. 1679
21 Nov. 1696
Feb. 1701
Dec. 1701
2 Feb. - 30 Aug. 1715

Family and Education

b. c.1637, 5th s. of Sir Edward Seymour, 3rd Bt.; bro. of Edward Seymour. m. (1) Penelope, da. and coh. of Sir William Haslewood of Maidwell, Northants., s.p.; (2) 31 July 1714, aged 77, Meliora, da. of John Fitch, Grocer, of London and Lower Henbury, Dorset, s.p. suc. cos. Sir William Portman in Som. and Dorset estates 1690.1

Offices Held

Ensign, Guernsey garrison by 1662, lt. of ft. 1669; capt. Duke of Buckingham’s Ft. 1672-3.2

Commr. for assessment, Dorset 1689-90; dep. lt. Som. 1691-6, Som. and Dorset 1702-?14, j.p. Som. 1691-?d., Devon by 1701-?d.; keeper, Hyde Park 1703-d.3


As the youngest son of a large family, Seymour could hardly expect the attractive and lucrative appointments that were showered on his brothers and uncles. No doubt he owed his Guernsey posting to his fellow-Devonian, Sir Hugh Pollard. ‘Ensign Seymour, of a noble and loyal family’ seems to have been a conscientious subaltern, fit to be left in charge of Castle Cornet in the absence of his superior officers. Not that his garrison duty was entirely without opportunities, for later he and the governor of Guernsey (Christopher Hatton) were to marry sisters, the coheirs of a Northamptonshire knight. Seymour’s commission in the Duke of Buckingham’s regiment during the third Dutch war was the last, short-lived fruit of his eldest brother’s clientage; the regiment was disbanded in the next year.4

Seymour was returned to the first Exclusion Parliament for st. St. Mawes on the interest of his brother-in-law (Sir) Joseph Tredenham. He was marked ‘base’ on Shaftesbury’s list, and probably voted against the exclusion bill, like his father, brother and uncle, although Roger Morrice put him down in the other lobby. Apart from his membership of the committee of elections and privileges he leaves no other trace on the records of this Parliament, and none at all on those of its three successors. By 1689 he had been recognized as heir to the Portman estates, worth £8,000 p.a. In the Convention he voted to agree with the Lords that the throne was not vacant, and was appointed to one committee of no political significance. He applied for leave to go into the country for a month on 21 Dec., and probably missed the divisions on the disabling clause in the bill to restore corporations. He assumed the name of Portman in 1690. A Jacobite under William III, he voted Tory under Anne. He died on 23 Feb. 1728, ‘aged 93’ according to the obituarists, and his estates passed under the entail to the descendants of Edward Berkeley.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: John. P. Ferris


  • 1. Hutchins, Dorset, i. 262; Le Neve’s Knights (Harl. Soc. viii), 227; Som. and Dorset N. and Q. xviii. 254; G. T. Gatty, Manor of Ebury, ii. 203.
  • 2. CSP Dom. Add. 1660-70, p. 674; 1668-9, p. 500; 1673-5, p. 20.
  • 3. Som. RO, QJC 103; HMC 15th Rep VII, 94.
  • 4. CSP Dom. Add. 1660-70, p. 674.
  • 5. W. P. Courtney, Parl. Rep. Cornw. 87-88; Luttrell, ii. 23; CSP Dom. 1689-90, p. 561; Ailesbury Mems. 359; Pol. State, xxxv. 212.