Mary Seton



    As a child, she was said to have displayed the attributes of her father, and like all of the Seton's was very tall and stately and was always called by  others by her surname of Seton. Her mother was Marie Pyeris, of the notable French family descended from the House of Lorraine, who was the second wife of George, 6th Lord Seton.  Marie Pyeris came from France in the retinue of Mary of Guise on her marriage to King James V, as one of her ladies-in-waiting and had met the 6th Lord Seton previously in France.  They were married at the blessing of the Royal Court, and some say at the suggestion of Mary of Guise directly, however, it was said that the marriage caused quite an excitement, as "foreign" marriages were uncommon at that time.  Her mother brought a continental flavour of style and fashion, which she also bestowed upon her daughter and as such we read later that Mary Seton was known for her incredible beauty and astounding hair-styles.  At a very young age, Mary was educated in the etiquette of the Royal House and was "assigned" to be the companion of the young Queen Mary.  Likewise she followed the Queen on her voyage to France and attended on her in the Royal Court, both there, and in Scotland and indeed for the rest of her life.


Mary Seton's grandfather, George, 5th Lord Seton, had inherited diminished property and estate because of the extravagance of his father, the 4th Lord, who was a Renaissance man who dabled in medicine, science, music, theology and astronomy and was an extravagant man, building large buildings, churches and even a great ship.  Mary Seton's grandfather did not have long to enjoy what estates were left to him as he died a Flodden and they therefore passed to his son, her father, George, 6th Lord Seton.  And of the famed "Queen's Four Maries" of Mary Stuart fame: Mary Livingstone's grandfather, and both of Mary Fleming's grandfathers, also died at Flodden.


Mary Seton's brother, George, 7th Lord Seton (and 5th of the name of George), played a large part in the Queen's affairs.  When Mary Stuart retured to Scotland as queen, Seton was appointed grand master of her household.  Seton residences played a significant part in many crucial moments of Mary's reign.  Mary Stuart spent her honeymoon with Darnley at the Seton House.  Darnley was a cousin of Seton by the way.  Ironically, the last night of her marriage to Bothwell was also spent at the Seton House.  The Queen fled to Seton when Rizzio was murdered and again when Darnley was killed.  It was again to Seton she fled after her escape from Lochleven.  Seton was taken prisoner and his estates forfeit. He remained a prisoner until 1569, managing to stay in contact wit the Queen and pursuing and delivering petitions on her behalf to Elizabeth I.  He was forced to flee to France where he was so destitute he was forced to drive a wagon for his livelihood.  When James VI came to power, he was reinstated Seton as ambassador to France.  


In the end, Mary Seton was the only one of the Maries not to marry, she remained in service to the queen and shared her captivity in England for 15 years, and finally, with failing health, she petitioned Queen Mary to be allowed to retire to a convent in France and fulfill her lifelong desire to become a nun.  Her grateful Monarch not only granted the request, but ensured her safety and well-beign and recommended her to the Convent in France. She remained there until she died in her seventies.  The abbess of the convent was a Guise, Mary Stuart's aunt, Renee de Guise.



Mary Seton's Watch