EDWARD Somerset, 6th Earl and 2nd Marquis of Worcester (1601-67) is one of the best known of his resilient family, both for his part in the Civil War and his controversial reputation as the possible inventor of the steam engine. His performance as Charles l's Lieutenant-General in Wales was a tale of defeats. His mission to bring in the Irish Catholics on the King's side miscarried and was disowned by Charles, who had ordered it. Poverty drove him back from exile in France on to the charity of Cromwell. He died during the Restoration, but too soon for the full revival of his family's fortunes. He was born at the wrong time, with the tastes of an amateur natural philosopher when fate required him to be a man of action. Yet his curiosity and mystical dreams of mastering nature by means of machines were characteristic of the age in which the Royal Society was established.
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