William Paulet, 1st Marquess of Winchester

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The Most Honourable
The Marquess of Winchester
KG PC
William Paulet, 1st Marquess of Winchester from NPG.jpg
Paulet, holding the white staff as a symbol of the office of Lord High Treasurer
Lord High Steward
for the trial of the Duke of Somerset
In office
October 1551 – November 1551
Monarch Edward VI
Chancellor The Lord Rich
Lord Keeper of the Great Seal
In office
1547–1547
Monarch Edward VI
Preceded by The Lord Wriothesley
Succeeded by The Lord Rich
Lord High Treasurer
In office
3 February 1550 – 10 March 1572
Monarch Edward VI
Mary I
Elizabeth I
Chancellor
Preceded by The Duke of Somerset
Succeeded by The Lord Burghley
Lord President of the Council
In office
January 1546 – 3 February 1550
Monarch Henry VIII
Edward VI
Chancellor The Lord Rich
Preceded by The Duke of Suffolk
Succeeded by The Duke of Northumberland
Lord Steward of the Household
In office
1544–1551
Monarch Henry VIII
Edward VI
Preceded by The Duke of Suffolk
Succeeded by The Duke of Northumberland
Lord Chamberlain of the Household
In office
1543–1555
Monarch Henry VIII
Edward VI
Mary I
Preceded by The Lord Sandys
Succeeded by Unknown
Treasurer of the Household
In office
1537–1539
Monarch Henry VIII
Preceded by The Earl of Southampton
Succeeded by Sir Thomas Cheney
Comptroller of the Household
In office
1532–1537
Monarch Henry VIII
Preceded by Sir Henry Guildford
Succeeded by The Lord Russell
1st Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire
In office
1551–1553
Monarch Henry VIII
Preceded by None (office created)
Succeeded by Office vacant
High Sheriff of Hampshire
In office
1511–1512
Monarch Henry VIII
Preceded by Richard Sands
Succeeded by Sir William Compton
In office
1518–1519
Monarch Henry VIII
Preceded by John Lisley
Succeeded by John Kaleway
In office
1522–1523
Monarch Henry VIII
Preceded by William Giffard
Succeeded by Robert Wallop
Member of Parliament for Hampshire
In office
1529–1536
Serving with Sir Richard Sandys
Monarch Henry VIII
Preceded by Unknown
Succeeded by Thomas Wriothesley
Constituency Hampshire
Personal details
Born William Paulet
c.1483
Fisherton Delamere, Wiltshire
Died 10 March 1572(1572-03-10) (aged 88–89)
Basing House, Basing
Resting place St. Mary's Church, Basing, Hampshire
51°16′17″N 1°02′48″W / 51.271389°N 1.046667°W / 51.271389; -1.046667
Nationality English
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Capel
Children John Paulet, 2nd Marquess of Winchester
Thomas Paulet
Chidiok Paulet
Giles Paulet
Alice Stawell
Lady Margaret Berkeley
Lady Margery Waller
Lady Eleanor Pecksall
Parents Sir John Paulet (father)
Alice Paulet (mother)
Residence Basing House, Basing
Religion Roman Catholic
prev. Anglican
Awards Knight of the Order of the Garter
Several Hereditary peerages
The 1st Marquess of Winchester
Coat of arms of Sir William Paulet, 1st Marquess of Winchester, KG.png
Arms of William Paulet, 1st Marquess of Winchester, KG: Sable, three swords pilewise points in base proper pomels and hilts or
Title 1st Marquess of Winchester
Tenure 11 October 1551 - 10 March 1572
Other titles 1st Earl of Wiltshire
1st Baron St John of Basing
Predecessor None (titles created)
Successor John Paulet, 2nd Marquess of Winchester

William Paulet, 1st Marquess of Winchester KG PC (c. 1483/1485 – 10 March 1572), styled Lord St John between 1539 and 1550 and Earl of Wiltshire between 1550 and 1551, was an English Lord High Treasurer, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, and statesman.

Family origins and early career in Hampshire[edit]

Paulet was the eldest son of Sir John Paulet (1460 – 5 January 1525) of Basing Castle at Old Basing, near Basingstoke, in Hampshire and Nunney Castle in Somerset. His mother was his father's cousin, Alice, the daughter of Sir William and Elizabeth (formerly Denebaud) Paulet. She survived her husband. William had six siblings, including Sir George Paulet of Crondall Manor in Hampshire and Eleanor Paulet (born 1479), wife of William Giffard of Itchell Manor at Ewshot, also in Hampshire.

There is some disagreement over his date of birth, with different authorities quoting 1483 or 1485.[1] A claim that he was ninety-seven at his death would place his birth in 1474 or 1475. There is also uncertainty about where he was born, but it may have been at Fisherton Delamere in Wiltshire, one of his father's manors.[2][3][4]

His father, who had held a command against the Cornish rebels in 1497, was the head of a younger branch of an ancient Somerset family seated in the fourteenth century at Pawlett or Paulet and Road, close to Bridgwater, being the son of John Paulet and Elizabeth Roos. William's great-grandfather John Paulet acquired the Hampshire estates by his marriage with Constance Poynings, granddaughter and coheiress of Thomas Poynings, 5th Baron St John of Basing; his barony became abeyant upon his death in 1428/1429.

William Paulet was High Sheriff of Hampshire in 1512, 1519, 1523, and again in 1527. Knighted before the end of 1525, he was appointed Master of the King's Wards in November 1526 and appeared in the Privy Council in the same year.[5]

Marriage and issue[edit]

He married Elizabeth (d. 25 December 1558), daughter of Sir William Capel, Lord Mayor of London in 1503, and by her had four sons and four daughters:[6][7]

Career as a national statesman[edit]

During his long career Paulet held numerous offices which included:[6][8]

Paulet's political career began in 1529, when he was elected knight of the shire for Hampshire.[8] In 1532, he accompanied King Henry VIII to Calais, France, and the following spring, he accompanied the Duke of Norfolk to join King Francis I of France in a proposed audience with the Pope, to discuss Henry's divorce from Catherine of Aragon. In 1536, he was granted the keepership of Pamber Forest, and on 9 March 1539 was created Baron St John.[8] He became steward of the bishopric of Winchester, and became a close associate of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey and a friend of Thomas Cromwell. He was also Comptroller of the Royal Household, and held many other high positions.[8]

Portrait Miniature, c. 1555

In 1535 and 1536, he served as one of the judges for the trials of John Fisher, Sir Thomas More, and the alleged accomplices of Anne Boleyn; in 1535, he became Lord Chamberlain. He partially led the royal forces against the Pilgrimage of Grace, a rebellion that broke out in the autumn of 1536, and in 1538, he became Treasurer of the Household. In 1540, he became the master of Henry's Court of Wards and Liveries, a Knight of the Garter in 1543, and Governor of Portsmouth and Lord Steward of the Household in 1545. In 1546, he became Lord President of the Council, and in 1547, he was an executor of the will of King Henry VIII.[5]

He continued his political manoeuvres in 1549 by supporting the Earl of Warwick against the Duke of Somerset—in reward, on 19 January 1550 he was given the Earldom of Wiltshire and Somerset's position of Lord Treasurer.[8] When Warwick was created Duke of Northumberland on 11 October 1551, Paulet received the Marquessate of Winchester.[8] Six weeks later, he served as Lord High Steward in the Duke of Somerset's trial.

It was said that Northumberland and Winchester "ruled the court" of the minor King Edward VI. Mary I affirmed him in all of his positions. After her death, he remained Lord Treasurer and retained many of his other positions, and even at an advanced age (in 1559, he was over seventy years old), he showed no signs of declining—he was Speaker of the House of Lords in 1559 and 1566. He remained in good standing with the English monarchs—Queen Elizabeth once joked, "for, by my troth, if my lord treasurer were but a young man, I could find it in my heart to have him for a husband before any man in England." Late in life, he opposed any military support of Continental Protestantism, as he feared it would cause a breach with strongly Catholic Spain.

Paulet enjoyed a remarkably long career during the English Reformation. Starting out as a Catholic, he was quickly persuaded to see things Henry's way once the breach with Rome had been decided on. He was rewarded with former Church properties following the dissolution of the monasteries. Under Edward VI he became an evangelical Protestant and persecuted Roman Catholics and Henrician Conservatives alike. On the accession of the Catholic Mary he announced his reconversion and commenced persecuting his former Protestant co-religionists, even denouncing Bishop Bonner for "laxity in prosecuting the heretics." On Elizabeth's succession, he once again shifted his sails and became an advocate of middle road Anglicanism. All in all, he professed five changes in religious course. Once, when asked how he managed to survive so many storms, not only unhurt, but rising all the while, Paulet answered: "By being a willow, not an oak."

Sir William Paulet, close up.

Death[edit]

Paulet was still in office when he died, a very old man, at Basing House on 10 March 1572, a house that he held to rebuild and fortify. His tomb is on the south side of the chancel of Basing church.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cokayne VIII 1898, pp. 171–173.
  2. ^ Pincombe 2009: Broughton says Paulet was born at Fisherton Delamere
  3. ^ Alsop & Loades 1987, pp. 333–342: "So when, and where, was William Paulet born? The family tradition that the event took place at Fisherton de la Mere in Wiltshire..."
  4. ^ Bryson 2008: "Winchester may have been born at Fisherton-Delamare in Wiltshire..."
  5. ^ a b c d Tait 1895.
  6. ^ a b "Winchester, Marquess of (E, 1551). Cracroft's Peerage". Cracroftspeerage.co.uk. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  7. ^ "William Paulet, Marquess of Winchester, Family Search: Community Trees. British Isles. Peerage, Baronetage, and Landed Gentry Families with Extended Lineage". Histfam.familysearch.org. Retrieved 14 November 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Davidson 1982.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Sir Henry Guilford
Comptroller of the Household
1532–1537
Succeeded by
Sir John Russell
Preceded by
The Lord Sandys
Lord Chamberlain
1535–1550
Succeeded by
The Lord Wentworth
Preceded by
Sir William Fitzwilliam
Treasurer of the Household
1538–1541
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Cheney
Preceded by
The Duke of Suffolk
Lord Steward
1544–1551
Succeeded by
The Duke of Northumberland
Lord President of the Council
1546–1550
Preceded by
The Earl of Southampton
(Lord Chancellor)
Keeper of the Great Seal
1547
Succeeded by
Richard Rich
(Lord Chancellor)
Preceded by
The Duke of Somerset
Lord High Treasurer
1550–1572
Succeeded by
The Lord Burghley
Legal offices
Preceded by
The Duke of Suffolk
Justice in Eyre
south of the Trent

1545–bef. 1550
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Dorset
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Unknown
Custos Rotulorum of Hampshire
bef. 1544 – aft. 1558
Succeeded by
Earl of Wiltshire
Preceded by
Unknown
Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire
1551–?
Succeeded by
Unknown
Peerage of England
New title Marquess of Winchester
1551–1572
Succeeded by
John Paulet
Earl of Wiltshire
1550–1572
Baron St John of Basing
(descended by acceleration)

1539–1554