12th Duke of Somerset (1855-1885)
Born 1804 Died 1885
Edward Adolphus was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, and from 1830 till he succeeded to the peerage in 1855 he was a Liberal member of the House of Commons as Lord Seymour, first for Okehampton, and afterwards for Totnes. He held various offices in Lord Melbourne's administration from 1835 to 1841; was a member of Lord John Russell's cabinet in 1851; and first lord of the admiralty from 1859 to 1866. In 1863 he was created Earl St Maur of Berry Pomeroy. He refused to join W. E. Gladstone's ministry in 1868, but he gave independent support to the chief measures of the government. He died in November 1885.
In 1830, while still Lord Seymour, he married Jane Georgiana, youngest of the three celebrated daughters of Thomas Sheridan, who was the 'Queen of Beauty' at the famous Eglinton Tournament in 1839. The duke was the author of Christian Theology and Modern Scepticism (1872), and Monarchy and Democracy (1880). As his two sons both died unmarried in his lifetime, the family titles, except the earldom of St Maur, which became extinct, devolved on his two brothers successively; the younger of whom, Algernon Percy Banks, 14th Duke (1813-1894), was succeeded by his son Algernon (b. 1846) as 15th Duke of Somerset.
Extracted from the entry for SOMERSET, EARLS AND DUKES OF in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, the text of which lies within the public domain.