He was the man who effectively was king of England in all but name for three turbulent years.

Yet if he is not forgotten from the history books, the name Edward Seymour is not one that springs to mind to all but scholars of the Tudor dynasty.

Now Hampshire author Margaret Scard has brought the life of the Duke of Somerset, Lord Protector of England, vividly to the fore with her new biography of the man who steered the kingdom through one of its most dangerous periods.

When Henry VIII died in 1547 his son and heir, King Edward VI was only nine years old. The young monarch would need a protector and whoever that was would effectively rule the country.

In the Tudor court, full of intrigue and racked by religious in-fighting between Catholics and Protestants, whoever gained enough support to become Lord Protector would wield enormous power. Edward Seymour proved to be that man.

But if his blunt, military background had made him a favourite among his soldiers and his fair-mindedness towards the common folk made him popular with the people, Seymour was not so adept at finding ways to work with his fellow peers of the realm. Conflict was bound to arise and in the end his fall from grace inevitable. 

For author Margaret Scard it was Seymour’s failure to understand how to work with his fellow courtiers that led her to eventually pity him.

“I think he simply found himself in the wrong job. I have to admit that I didn’t come to like him. I had no affection for him.

"He was excellent as a military man, and in many ways ahead of his time when it came to reform for ordinary people, but he was someone who couldn’t take criticism and was very authoritative,” said Margaret.

“In many ways he reminds me of the Duke of Wellington. Both were military men who were premiers for the same length of time, three years, and who were insensitive to other people’s feelings and couldn’t take advice. 

“However, Seymour did have sympathy for the people and for his soldiers. He was concerned for their welfare and very adept to what he could achieve although he did turn the guns on his own mercenaries when they didn’t do what he wanted.”

Margaret, who lives near to Stockbridge, became fascinated with the life of the Duke of Somerset after writing her first book Tudor Survivor; The Life and Times of William Paulet who had served as a minister to all of the Tudor monarchs despite being a Catholic.

“I was surprised to discover that there was no complete biography of Edward Seymour. There are political biographies of his three years in power and books on his family the Seymours in which he is discussed, but not of the man and what formed his ideas and his background.

“I think his greatest achievement was the creation of the First Book of Common Prayer that kick started the Protestant faith as we know it today and the establishment of the Anglican Church.”

But despite his obvious thirst for power as King Edward’s Protector, Margaret does not believe he ever harboured thoughts of taking the crown for himself.

“I am certain that he did not have the slightest interest in doing away with his nephew and becoming king. The public would have been too aware of what was going on this time after Richard 111 if he had simply locked Edward away in the Tower.”

In the end it was Seymour’s inability to get on with his fellow peers that saw his fall from power. 

The people called him The Good Duke. His fellow courtiers were not so complimentary.

Edward Seymour, Lord protector by Margaret Scard is published by the History Press (£20).