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1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

Earls And Marquesses of Winchester

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The title of earl of Winchester was first borne by Saier, or Seer, de Quincy, who was endowed by King John on the 13th of March 1207, with the earldom of Winchester, or the county of Southampton. Saier de Quincy was one of the twenty-five barons named to enforce the observance of the Great Charter. He served in the Crusades at the siege of Damietta in 1219, and died soon afterwards, probably on the 3rd of November of that year. His second son Roger de Quincy (c. 1195-1264), who is said to have usurped the earldom during the absence of his elder brother Robert in the Holy Land, took part in the struggle between Henry III. and the barons. He died without male issue in April 1264, and the earldom reverted to the crown. It was revived in 1322 in favour of Hugh le Despenser, favourite of King Edward II., and was forfeited when he was put to death by the barons as a traitor in 1326. In 1472 the title, together with a pension of f200 a year from the customs of Southampton, but not the right of sitting in parliament, was given by King Edward IV. to a Burgundian, Louis de Bruges, lord of Gruthuyse and prince of Steenhuyse, as a reward for services rendered to himself while an exile on the continent. Louis de Bruges surrendered his patent to Henry VII. in 1499.

The marquessate of Winchester was created in 1551 in favour of William Paulet, or Pawlet, K.G., a successful courtier during four reigns, who died on the 10th of March 1572. It has descended in the male line of his family to the sixteenth possessor. John. Paulet, 2nd marquess (c. r517-1576), was summoned to parliament as Baron St John during the life of his father, a distinction which was shared by his three immediate successors - William Paulet ( c. 1535-1598), William Paulet ( c. 1560-1628) and John Paulet ( c. 1598-1674). Charles Paulet, son and heir of John Paulet, the eighth marquess, was created duke of Bolton, on the 9th of April 1689, and the marquessate of Winchester remained in connexion with the duchy of Bolton till the death of Harry Paulet, sixth duke and eleventh marquess, without male issue in December 1794. There being no male representative of the dukes of Bolton this title lapsed, but the marquessate of Winchester was inherited by George Paulet (1722-1800), great-grandson of Lord Henry Paulet (d. 1672), second son of William, the fourth marquess. On George's death on the 22nd of April 1800 he was succeeded by his son Charles Ingoldesby Burroughs-Paulet (1764-1843), who, in 1839, prefixed the name of Burroughs to his own by royal licence. Upon his death on the 29th of November 1843, the title passed. to his son John Paulet (1801-1887), fourteenth marquess, who was succeeded, on the 4th of July 1887, by his son, Augustus John Henry Beaumont (1858-1899), officer in the Guards, who was killed at Magersfontein during the Boer War on the nth of December 1899, and was followed in the peerage by his brother, Henry William Montague Paulet (b. 1862).

Three of the marquesses of Winchester were men of note. It is recorded of the founder of the family, William Paulet, that when asked how he had contrived to live through a long period of troubled times during four reigns, he replied that he came of the willow and not of the oak, ortus sum e salice non ex quercu. This saying, repeated by Sir Robert Naunton in his Fragmenta regalia, may possibly not have been due to the marquess himself, but if not it was well invented of a man who passed through many dangers and always contrived to keep, or to improve, his places. He was the son of Sir John Paulet of Basing, near Basingstoke in Hampshire, and his wife Alice or Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Paulet of Hinton St George, Somerset. The year of his birth has been variously given as 1 474 and 1485. Between 1512 and 1527 he was several times sheriff of Hampshire. He was knighted before 1525, and in that year became privy councillor. He was, henceforth, continually employed in the royal household and on the council, but his only military service was in the easy suppression of the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536. In 1525 he was named master of the wards and keeper of the king's widows and idiots, that is to say he had the lucrative charge of persons of property who were wards in chivalry. He was a member of the House of Commons which co-operated with the king in carrying out the separation of the Church from Rome between 1529 and 1536. He served on the courts which tried Sir Thomas More and Anne Boleyn, and he was employed to tell Catharine of Aragon that she and her daughter were degraded from their rank. It is characteristic of the type of man that he did his work gently, and with a constant recollection of the changes of fortune. His personal kindness to Anne Boleyn, which she acknowledged, no doubt stood him in good stead on the accession of her daughter Queen Elizabeth. In 1538 he was created Lord St John, and he was enriched by a grant of the lands of Netley Abbey, near Southampton. He was appointed lord steward of the household, and lord chamberlain, and became a knight of the garter in 1543. Henry VIII. named him one of the council of regency for his son Edward VI. During the reign of Edward VI., St John kept the favour both of the Protector Somerset, who made him lord keeper of the great seal, and of Somerset's enemy, the duke of Northumberland, who kept him in office. He was created earl of Wiltshire in 1550, and marquess of Winchester in 1551. On the death of Edward VI., he trimmed cleverly between the parties of Lady Jane Grey, and Mary Tudor till he saw which was going to win, and then threw himself on the winning side. He opposed Queen Mary's marriage to Philip, prince of Spain (Philip II.), till he saw she was set on it, and then gave his approval, for it was his wise rule to show just as much independence as enhanced the merit of his obedience. He was lord treasurer under Mary, and kept his place under Elizabeth, to whose ecclesiastical policy he gave his usual discreet opposition and final obedience. Winchester died at his house of Basing on the 10th of March 1572. He had built it on so grand a scale that his descendants are said to have found it necessary to pull down a part. He married, first Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Capel, Lord Mayor of London, by whom he had four sons and four daughters, and then Winifred, daughter of Sir John Bruges, alderman of London, and widow of Sir Richard Sackville, by whom he had no children. It is said that one hundred and three of his descendants were alive at the date of his death.

His grandson, William Paulet, third marquess (c. 1535-1598) was one of the judges of Mary, queen of Scots, and author of a book called The Lord Marquesses Idleness which contains a Latin acrostic of extreme ingenuity on the words Regina nostra Angliae. The fifth marquess, John Paulet (1628-1674), was a Roman Catholic. He lived much in retirement in order to be able to pay off debts left by his father. He is remembered by the ardour and sincerity of his loyalty to King Charles I. It is said that he caused the words "Aimez Loyaute" to be engraved on every pane of glass in his house of Basing. During the first Civil War it was fortified for the king, and stood a succession of sieges by the parliamentary forces between 1643 and 1645. On the 14th of October 1645, it was stormed by Oliver Cromwell. The marquess, who fought valiantly, told Hugh Peters, chaplain of the New Model Army of the parliament, who had the vulgarity to crow over him, "That if the king had no more ground in England but Basing House, he would adventure as he did, and so maintain it to the utmost," for "that Basing House was called Loyalty." The house caught fire during the storm and was burnt down, the very ruins being carried away by order of the parliament. The marquess was imprisoned in the Tower of London, but was finally allowed to compound for his estate; after the restoration of King Charles II. he was promised compensation for his losses, but nothing was given to him. He died in Englefield Park on the 5th of March 1674. He was three times married, first to Jane, daughter of Viscount Savage, by whom he had one son; then to Honora de Burgh, daughter of Richard, earl of St Albans and Clanricarde, by whom he had four sons; and then to Isabella Howard, daughter of Viscount Stafford.

See Doyle, Official Baronage (London, 1886); and J. A. Froude, History of England (London, 1856-1870), for the first marquess; J. P. Collier, Bibliographical Account of Early English Literature (London, /865), fir the second marquess; and Clarendon, History of the Rebellion (Oxford, 1886), for the fifth marquess.

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Earls And Marquesses of Winchester'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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