Hugh Paulet

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Sir Hugh Paulet or Poulet (his spelling) (bef. 1510 – 6 December 1573) was an English military commander and governor of Jersey.


Born after 1500, he was the eldest son of Sir Amias Paulet (d. 1538) of Hinton St. George, Somerset, by his second wife, Lora Keilway/Laura Kellaway. He was the paternal grandson of Sir William Paulet of Hinton St. George, Somerset, by Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of John Deneland of Hinton St. George. A younger brother, John, born about 1509, became in 1554 the last Roman Catholic dean of Jersey. In 1532 Hugh was in the commission of the peace for Somerset; and he was heir and sole executor to his father in 1538, receiving a grant of the manor of Sampford-Peverel, Devon. He was supervisor of the rents of the surrendered Glastonbury Abbey in 1539, had a grant of Upcroft and Combe near Crewkerne, Somerset, in 1541, and was sheriff of the county (with Dorset) in 1536, 1542, and 1547 and knight of the shire for Somerset in 1539.

On 18 October 1537 he was knighted, and was invited to Prince Edward's baptism two days later. In 1544 he was treasurer of the English army at the siege of Boulogne, and distinguished himself at the capture of the Brey on 1 September in the presence of Henry VIII. On the accession of Edward VI he was one of those charged by Henry VIII's executors, on 11 February 1547, with the good order of the West Country shires. In 1549 he was knight-marshal of the army raised by Lord John Russell to put down the Prayer Book Rebellion. He led the pursuit against the rebels, and defeated them finally at King's Weston, near Bristol.

In 1550 he was a commissioner to inquire into the liturgy in the island of Jersey, and to put down obits, dispose of church bells, and other Protestant reforms; and was shortly afterwards appointed captain of Jersey and governor of Mont Orgueil Castle, in the place of Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset. This office he retained (Philip Falle says for twenty-four years); but from 25 April 1559, in which year he was made vice-president of the Welsh marches under John Williams, 1st Baron Williams de Thame, he performed his functions through a lieutenant, his son Amias Paulet.

In 1562, when French Protestants surrendered Le Havre to Elizabeth I, she commissioned Paulet as adviser to Ambrose Dudley, 3rd Earl of Warwick, who was to take command of the garrison and act as high-marshal. Paulet arrived in the Aide with Count Montgomerie and £5,000 on 17 December. On 1 April 1563 he conferred unsuccessfully with the Rheingrave, was sent to England in June, and returned on 14 July with eight hundred men from Wiltshire and Gloucestershire. On the 23rd he met the constable Montmorency, and on 28 July articles for the surrender of Le Havre were agreed upon. On the 29th the English evacuated Le Havre, bringing the plague with them to London. In November Paulet was one of the commissioners to settle the debts incurred in the expedition.

Sir Hugh was knight of the shire for Somerset in the parliament which met on 8 May 1572, and probably died in the following December. A tomb in the north aisle of the church at Hinton St. George, with the effigies of a lady and man in armour, and an inscription, probably commemorates Sir Hugh and his first wife.

Marriage & progeny[edit]

He married twice, with issue from the first marriage only:

  • Firstly in about 1528 to Philippa Pollard, a daughter of Sir Lewis Pollard (c.1465-1540), Justice of the Common Pleas, of King's Nympton, Devon, by whom he had three sons and two daughters:
    • Sir Amias
    • Nicholas of Minty, Gloucestershire,
    • George, bailiff of Jersey from 1583 to 1611.
    • Anne
    • Jane, married to Christopher Copleston of Copleston, Devonshire
  • Secondly, before December 1560 he married Elizabeth Blount, daughter of Walter Blount of Blount's Hall, Staffordshire, the widow of Sir Thomas Pope, founder of Trinity College, Oxford. She died without issue in 1593, and was buried in Trinity Chapel. With her, Sir Hugh visited the college in 1560, 1565, and 1567, assisted the fellows in a suit against Lord Rich in 1561, and gave to the college.