He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth – growing up at Ragley Hall as the eldest son of the Marquess of Hertford.
Now, William Seymour, a distant relative of Henry VIII’s wife Jane Seymour, is attempting to live the high life on the back of hard work and entrepreneurial spirit.
William, 28, and his wife Kelsey Seymour, Earl and Countess of Yarmouth, produced their own liqueur when they got married in 2018.
The aim, William said, was for guests ‘to celebrate with us with a glass of something uniquely special’.
“We wanted a drink that would capture the spirit of that lovely day, something quintessentially English,” he said.
What started as a novel wedding day proposal turned into bona fide business which has gone from strength to strength, in spite of the pandemic.
Described as ‘a little drop of England’s heart,’ St Maur Elderflower Liqueur has already earned its proud producers three prestigious industry awards.
And now they’re moving to bigger premises at Alcester Park Farm with orders pouring in from far and wide, including restaurants and bars in London.
“Moving to the farm is hugely exciting and completely transformative for us as a family and business,” Kelsey, 36, said.
“We now have space to dedicate to drink production after previously taking over my parents’ house!”
William and Kelsey, who met at a mutual friend’s wedding, could so easily have sat back and lived off the estate at Ragley Hall, his family’s seat since the 18th Century.
But William was keen to instil in his two sons, values of diligence and enterprise.
“My family has an interesting history, in years gone by, and more recently, with characters some good and others less so,” he said.
“I want my sons though also to inherit a contemporary story that’s not based on the mores of the past, but which is much more forward looking.
“I want to pass on the values of tenacity, honesty, and hard work, and reinvigorate the spirit of our family motto ‘by faith and love’.”
Eager to ‘inspire accessible easy-to-make drinks and sublime pre-dinner and brunch cocktails’, the couple had originally seen their liqueur as a wedding drink when they took it to market in May last year.
But with no one getting married during lockdown, they had to quickly adapt.
“We changed tack to start building our business position in central England through farm shops, delis and independent merchants, which were thriving, as our route to market,” William said.
Designed as a drink to share in celebration, St Maur’s smell and taste is said to be ‘very evocative’.
“It takes us back to a time that is very special to us,” Kelsey said. “The whole concept of St Maur is it has a story to tell.
“As a final flourish, we gave St Maur the Provençal rosé colour – the colour of love. There is, of course, more than one meaning of the word love and the spirit of St Maur celebrates them all.”
From the recipe, to the ideas on the label, and the name itself, St Maur brings together 1,000 years of heritage and family.
The map co-ordinates on the logo lead to Ladies Wood and an elder grove in the ancient Ragley Woodlands, now cared for by Earl of Yarmouth Estates.
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And in the hedgerows at Alcester Park Farm, in early summer, elderflowers will be feverishly harvested by friends and family members.
A red-legged partridge, successfully introduced to England in the 19th century by William’s ancestor Francis Seymour, the 5th Marquess, sits on the bottle as the brand’s mascot.
Kelsey said: “It was very important that everything associated with the product had to be authentic. You have to do justice to this fabulous heritage.”
For some St Maur cocktail recipes to try, and for further information, visit www.drinkstmaur.com
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