Birth: 1506 - Circa
Place or Registered Place of Birth: London, Middlesex
Baptism: Not Known
Place of Baptism: Not Known
Death: 9 June 1563
Place or Registered Place of Death: West Drayton, Middlesex
Date of Burial: 18 June 1563
Place of Burial: West Drayton, Middlesex
Father: William Paget
Mother: Anne Neville (1482-)
Spouse(s): Anne Preston
Date of Marriage: 1530 - Circa
Place or Registered Place of Marriage: Preston, Lancashire
Edward Paget (1533-)
Ethelreda Paget (1535-)
Dorothy Paget (1535-)
Henry Paget (1537-1568)
Joan Paget (1539-1560)
Anne Paget (1540-1584)
Griselde Paget (1542-1600)
Eleanor Paget (1543-)
Thomas Paget (1544-1590)
Charles Paget (1546-1612)
William Paget, 1st Baron Paget of Beaudesert (1506 - June 9,1563), English statesman, son of William Paget, one of the serjeants-at-mace of the city of London, was born in Staffordshire in 1506, and was educated at St Paul's School, and at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, proceeding afterwards to the university of Paris. Probably through the influence of Stephen Gardiner, who had early befriended Paget, he was employed by Henry VIII in several important diplomatic missions; in 1532 he was appointed Clerk of the Signet and soon afterwards of the privy council. He became secretary to Queen Anne of Cleves in 1539, and in 1543 he was sworn of the privy council and appointed secretary of state, in which position Henry VIII in his later years relied much on his advice, appointing him one of the council to act during the minority of Edward VI.
Paget at first vigorously supported the protector Somerset, while counselling a moderation which Somerset did not always observe. In 1547 he was made comptroller of the king's household, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and a knight of the Garter; and in 1549 he was summoned by writ to the House of Lords as Baron Paget de Beaudesert. About the same time he obtained extensive grants of lands, including Cannock Chase and Burton Abbey in Staffordshire, and in London the residence of the bishops of Exeter, afterwards known successively as Lincoln House and Essex House, on the site now occupied by the Outer Temple in the London. He obtained Beaudesert in Staffordshire, which remained the chief seat of the Paget family.
Paget shared Somerset's disgrace, being committed to the Tower in 1551 and degraded from the Order of the Garter in the following year, besides suffering a heavy fine by the Star Chamber for having profited at the expense of the Crown in his administration of the duchy of Lancaster. He was, however, restored to the king's favour in 1553, and was one of the twenty-six peers who signed Edward's settlement of the crown on Lady Jane Grey in June of that year. He made his peace with Queen Mary, who reinstated him as a knight of the Garter and in the privy council in 1553, and appointed him Lord Privy Seal in 1556. On the accession of Elizabeth I in 1558 Paget retired from public life.
By his wife Anne Preston he had four sons, the two eldest of whom, Henry (d. 1568) and Thomas, succeeded in turn to the peerage. The youngest son, Charles Paget (d. 1612, Weston-on-Trent), was a well-known Catholic conspirator against Queen Elizabeth, in the position of secretary to Archbishop James Beaton, the ambassador of Mary Queen of Scots in Paris; although at times he also played the part of a spy and forwarded information to Walsingham and William Cecil.
Thomas, 3rd Baron Paget of Beaudesert (c. 1540-1589), a zealous Roman Catholic, was-suspected of complicity in Charles's plots and was attainted in 1587. The peerage was restored in 1604 to his son William 4th Lord Paget] (1572-1629), whose son William, the 5th lord (1609-1678), fought for Charles I at the Battle of Edgehill. William, the 6th lord (1637-1713), a supporter of the Glorious Revolution of 1688, was ambassador at Vienna from 1689 to 1693, and later at Constantinople, having much to do with bringing about the important treaty of Carlowitz in 1699.
Henry, the 7th baron (c.1665-1743), was raised to the peerage during his father's lifetime as Baron Burton in 1712, being one of the twelve peers created by the Tory ministry to secure a majority in the House of Lords, and was created Earl of Uxbridge in 1714. His only son, Thomas Catesby Paget, the author of an "Essay on Human Life" (1735) and other writings, died in January 1742 before his father, leaving a son Henry (1719-1769), who became 2nd earl of Uxbridge.
At the latter's death the earldom of Uxbridge and barony of Burton became extinct, the older barony of Paget of Beaudesert passing to his cousin Henry Bayly (1744-1812), heir general of the first baron, who in 1784 was created earl of Uxbridge. His second son, Sir Arthur Paget (1771-1840), was an eminent diplomat during the Napoleonic wars, Sir Edward Paget (1775-1849), the fourth son, served under Sir John Moore in the Peninsula, and was afterwards second in command under Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington; the fifth, Sir Charles Paget (1778-1839), served with distinction in the navy, and rose to the rank of vice-admiral. The eldest son Henry William, 2nd Earl of Uxbridge (1768-1854), was in 1815 created Marquess of Anglesey.
William Paget the eldest son was born in London in the year 1506, three years before Henry VIII came to the throne. He is described as "a person of great and eminent abilities," and for once the exaggerated laudation of the eighteenth century does not seem to have overshot the mark.
By Tudor times, William Paget was one of the most prominent men of the kingdom. Son of William Paget, one of the serjeants-at-mace of the city of London, was born in London in 1506. His father was said to have been of humble origin from Wednesbury, Staffordshire. Educated at St Paul's School, and at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, proceeding afterwards to the university of Paris.
Probably through the influence of Stephen Gardiner, who had early befriended Paget, he was employed by Henry VIII in several important diplomatic missions; in 1532 he was appointed clerk of the signet and soon afterwards of the privy council. He acquired large estates from Henry VIII on the dissolution of the monasteries. He became secretary to Queen Anne of Cleves in 1539, and in 1543 he was sworn of the privy council.
A letter written by William Paget, clerk to the Privy Council, to Sir Thomas Wriothesley, Garter King-at-arms, dated 27 Jun 1541, only two days before Lord Dacre's execution, tells that the Lord Chancellor and the Lords Sussex, Hertford and St. John, with Mr. Baker, consulted in the Star Chamber upon Lord Dacre's case:
Sir, I am sent for to the Council, and must stay my writing until soon.
At my coming to the Star Chamber there I found a11 the lords, to the number of xvij assembled for a conference touching the lord Dacre's case;. . . To Council they went, and had with them present the Chief Justices, with others of the King's learned Counsel; and albeit I was excluded, yet they 'spake so loud, some of them, that I might hear them notwithstanding two doors shut between us. Among the rest that could not agree to wilful murder, the Lord Cobham, as I took him by his voice, was vehement and stiff: Suddenly and softly they agreed, I wot not how, and departed to the Kings Bench together; whereas the lord Chancellor executing the office of High Steward, the lord Dacre pledd not guilty to the indictment, referring himself to the trial of his peers, and declaring, with long circumstances, that he intended no murder, and so purged himself to the audience as much as he might. And yet nevertheless afterward, by an inducement of the confession of the rest already condemned, declared unto him by the judge, he refused his trial, and, upon hope of grace (as I took it), confessed the indictment; which he did not without some insinuation. His judgment was to be hanged. It was pitiful to see so young a man by his own folly brought to such a case, but joyful to hear him speak at the last so wisely and show himself so repentant. . . . To-day after dinner the Council was with the King to declare lord Dacre's humble submission, hoping thereby to move his Majesty to pardon him, which took no effect, for to-morrow shall. . . Mantel, Roydon, and Frowdes suffer, and the lord Dacre upon Wednesday. God have mercy upon them and give them grace to repent their evil doings and to take patiently their deaths.
He was Secretary of State with Thomas Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, 1543 and 1544, and again with Sir William Petre, 1544 to 1547. Henry VIII in his later years relied much on his advice, named him as one of the executors of his will, and appointed him one of the council to act during the minority of Edward VI.
Influential in Edward Seymour's plot to become Protector of Edward VI, Paget at first vigorously supported the Protector Somerset, while counselling a moderation which Somerset did not always observe. In 1547 he was made comptroller of the King's household, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and a Knight of the Garter; and in 1549 he was summoned by writ to the House of Lords as Baron Paget de Beaudesert. About the same time he obtained extensive grants of lands, including Cannock Chase and Burton Abbey in Staffordshire, and in London the residence of the bishops of Exeter, afterwards known successively as Lincoln House and Essex House, on the site now occupied by the Outer Temple in the Strand. He also obtained Beaudesert in Warwickshire, which remained the chief seat of the Paget family. Paget shared Somerset's disgrace, being committed to the Tower in 1551 and degraded from the Order of the Garter in the following year, besides suffering a heavy fine by the Star Chamber for having profited at the expense of the Crown in his administration of the duchy of Lancaster. He was, however, restored to the King's favour in 1553, and was one of the twenty-six peers who signed the device of King Edward; was one of Jane Grey's Privy Councillors, but signed a proclamation in support of Mary shortly after. He made his peace with Queen Mary, who reinstated him as a Knight of the Garter and in the privy council in 1553, and appointed him Lord Privy Seal in 1556. William Paget openly suggested to marry Edward Courtenay to Elizabeth; but Courtenay had rejected it, on the grounds that it would be beneath the dignity of one of his unblemished lineage. On the accession of Elizabeth I in 1558 Paget retired from public life.
By his wife Anne Preston he had six daughters and five sons, the two eldest of whom, Henry and Thomas, succeeded in turn to the peerage. The Pagets' marriage was close, and William's fellow-councillors had on occasion appealed to her influence with him, just as she had appealed to them on his behalf in 1552. Lady Paget was not an especial favourite of Queen Mary, though she was chosen to escort her in the coronation procession.
The Paget family's main residence was Beaudesert House in Cannock Chase. But before this was built, they often occupied the Manor House within the precincts of the former Burton abbey.
When they stayed there, they lived in grand style. An inventory of c. 1580 shows that there were over 60 rooms, many handsomely furnished. On occasion, the household staff numbered 75 persons, and in the first week of Jan of that year, there were 14 guests staying in the house, including the sheriff of Staffordshire.
When Burton Abbey was granted to its new owner in 1546, William Paget began planning to expand the Manor House -- known to have existed since at least 1514 -- into a grand mansion. A plan of 1562 shows that the house was to have three storeys and a long gallery. To provide the materials for this project, the old abbey buildings were to be cannibalised.
It is not known how much of this ambitious plan was actually carried into effect. William's death in 1563 and the death of his eldest son Henry a few years later, delayed further building. Thomas, the 3rd Baron Paget and William's second son, concentrated on building Beaudesert House before the family estates were confiscated and the title lost in 1583, because of his complicity in the Throckmorton plot to overthrow Elizabeth I and place Mary, Queen of Scots on the throne. In 1597, William, 4th Baron Paget, was restored to his estates and to his title in 1603.
"The first mention I find," writes Sir William Dugdale, "of any, hearing this name, who arrived to the dignity of the peerage, is:
William Paget, a person endowed with excellent parts, as may seem from his ascent from so low a condition to those high preferments, whereunto, by sundry degrees, he attained; being son to - Paget, one of the Serjeants at mace in the city of London, who was born near Wednesbury in Staffordshire, of mean parentage, where there were some of that generation, till of late years, remaining." In the 23rd Henry VIII., this William Paget, through his great abilities alone, obtained the appointment of clerk of the signet: in a few years afterwards he was made clerk of the council: he next became clerk of the privy seal, and then clerk of the parliament, having the latter office conferred upon him for life. He subsequently received the honour of knighthood, was employed by King Henry VIII., upon several diplomatic occasions of high importance, and appointed one of his Majesty's executors, and of the council to his son, by that monarch upon his death-bed. In the 2nd year of the new reign (Edward VI.), Sir William Paget had a grant in fee from the crown of Exeter House (formerly belonging to the Bishops of that see), with a parcel of ground lying within the garden of the Middle Temple, adjoining thereto; which mansion be rebuilt for his own residence, and called it Paget House. But it did not retain that designation for any length of time, it being afterwards called Leicester House, and then Essex House. In the 4th Edward VI., Sir Edward was accredited ambassador extraordinary to the Emperor Charles V., and became so great a favourite with that monarch, that his imperial majesty was heard to say, "that Sir Edward Paget deserved to be a king as well as to represent one." Once, too, as the English ambassador came to court, the emperor observed. "Yonder is the man to whom I can deny nothing." At another time, his majesty remarked, that England sent three sorts of ambassadors to him; the first was Wolsey, whose great retinue promised much, but he did nothing; the second, Morisin. promised, and did much; the third, Paget, promised nothing, and did all. In the same year, Sir Edward being then a knight of the Garter, was constituted comptroller of the king's household: made chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and summoned to the House of Lords as Baron Paget, of Beaudesert, co. Stafford, by writ, dated 23 January, 1552; after which he was sent with the Earl of Bedford and Sir John Mason, again to treat of peace with the French. Notwithstanding, however, these eminent services, he was accused by his enemies on the fall of the Protector Somerset, of divers offences, and committed to the Tower, deprived of the insignia of the Garter, and fined £6,000, two of which were remitted, on condition that the other four were paid within a year. At the demise of King Edward, his lordship, espousing the cause of Mary, rode post with the Earl of Arundel, to convey the announcement of the King's death to her Majesty, and of her proclamation by the city of London ; for which loyal proceeding he was ever afterwards highly esteemed by her Majesty, and in the 3rd year of her reign was made lord privy seal. His lordship m. Anne, dau. and heir of Henry Preston, Esq., of the co. Lancaster (son, of Lawrence, 2nd son of Thomas Preston, Esq., of Preston Patrick and Under Levins Hall), and had issue.
English Aristocratic Women, 1450-1550 - By Barbara Jean Harris, pp. 74 & 75
.....The most extravagant expression of marital love by an aristocratic husband during the period occurred in two letters from William Paget to his friend William Petre. Paget, in Brussels on a mission for the crown, had heard, falsely as it turned out, that his wife had died. "If she be dead," he exclaimed, "I am the most unhappy man in the world and desire no longer to live, for it is the plague of God that is fallen unto me. Ah, Mr. Petre, what a loss have I." Three days later, he lamented that the memory of "my most obedient, wise, gentle and chaste wife sittith so deep in my heart that it maketh the same well near to burst for pain and anguish." He concluded that if it were not for the goodness of the king and his desire to serve him and the commonwealth, he "would desire no longer to live, for the world is but a vanity, which, as I have always thought in opinion, so now the experience of my great grief and regret doth confirm it in me."
1st Baron of Beaudesert