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1st marquis of Winchester, William Paulet

(c. 1483—1572)


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(c. 1483–1572).

‘More of a willow than an oak’ was reported to have been Paulet's engaging assessment of himself and, indeed, anyone who could negotiate the vicissitudes of Tudor politics and hold high office in four reigns needed to be pliant. For many years he was associated with the profitable control of wardships. In the Parliament of 1529 he sat for Hampshire. From 1537 to 1539 he was treasurer of the household for Henry VIII, created Baron St John in 1539, and given the Garter in 1543. From 1543 to 1545 he was lord chamberlain, lord steward 1545–50, lord president of the council 1545–50, and lord high treasurer 1550–72. Clearly he was a more than useful work‐horse. In Edward VI's reign, he backed Northumberland against Somerset, was created earl of Wiltshire in 1550, and marquis of Winchester 1551. The only time when his footwork faltered was in supporting Lady Jane Grey in 1553, but he abandoned her quickly enough to retain Mary's confidence, and continued in office under Elizabeth.

Subjects: British History.


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