PAULET, Hugh (by 1510-73), of Hinton St. George, Som.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



? 1529
? 1536

Family and Education

b. by 1510, 1st s. of Sir Amias Paulet of Hinton St. George by 2nd w. Laura, da. of William Keilway of Rockbourne, Hants. educ. M. Temple. m. (1) c.1530, Philippa, da. of Sir Lewis Pollard of Kings Nympton, Devon, 3s. inc. Amias 2da.; (2) settlement 12 Nov. 1560, Elizabeth, da. of Walter Blount I of Blount’s Hall, nr. Uttoxeter, Staffs., wid. of Anthony Basford of Bentley, Derbys. and of Sir Thomas Pope of London and Tittenhanger, Herts. s.p. Kntd. July 1536; suc. fa. 11 Apr. 1538.4

Offices Held

J.p. Som. 1532-d., western circuit 1540-d., Devon 1547-d., Dorset 1562-d.; steward, bp. Bath and Wells by 1534-72, jt. (with s. Amias) 1572-d.; sheriff, Som. and Dorset 1536-7, 1542-3, 1547-8, Devon 1541-2; member, council in the west 1539; commr. coastal defence, west country 1539, relief, Som. 1550, goods of churches and fraternities, Bath, Som. 1553, fortifications, Jersey 1562, musters, Som. 1569; surveyor, lands of Glastonbury abbey 1540; v.-adm., Som. and Dorset c.1540; treasurer, Boulogne 11 Oct. 1544-Oct. 1546; gov. Jersey 20 Mar. 1550-d.; v.-pres. council in the marches of Wales 8 Apr. 1559; custos rot. Som. c.1562-d.; chief steward, Taunton 1572-d.5


Hugh Paulet’s forbears took their surname from a village near Bridgwater, which remained the family seat until Hinton St. George passed by marriage into its ownership during the 15th century. His father, who practised as a lawyer, figured prominently in county affairs and procured the influential post of steward to the bishop of Bath and Wells first for himself and on his resignation for his son. Paulet’s succession to his father in this office suggests why, not long after achieving his majority, he was included on the Somerset bench, for which neither his descent nor his fortune pre-eminently qualified him. It was perhaps through his brother-in-law Richard Pollard that he came to Cromwell’s notice; they were apparently well known to each other by 1534 when Bishop Clerke hoped to clear himself of a malicious report when Cromwell mentioned it to Paulet, and thereafter his name occurs frequently among the minister’s remembrancers.6

Paulet was knighted in July 1536, probably coincidentally with Cromwell at the dissolution of the short Parliament of that summer. The timing of Paulet’s accolade suggests that he had sat in that Parliament, and if he had he was also probably a Member of the previous one, as the King asked for the re-election of Members of that Parliament to its successor. If we assume that he had been by-elected within his own county, he may have replaced Sir William Stourton as one of the Somerset knights on his summons to the Lords as 7th Baron Stourton. If this surmise is true, Sir Hugh Paulet could look back on two parliamentary sessions when he took the senior knighthood in the Parliament of 1539. Of his role in this Parliament nothing is known, but after the dissolution in 1540 he and his fellow-knight Sir Thomas Speke received a letter about the collection of the subsidy that they had helped to grant.7

At the outbreak of the northern rebellion in 1536 Paulet was ordered to attend the King at Ampthill, Bedfordshire, and later he led a band of 300 men against the insurgents. This was the start of a varied military and administrative career. In 1544 he served at the siege of Boulogne, and on the town’s surrender he became a member of its governing council, with special responsibility for its safety, and he resided there for the next two years. He is not known to have fought in either Edward VI’s Scottish war or Mary’s French one, but in 1549 he helped Sir John Russell, Baron Russell to restore order in the west and when in 1562 the Huguenots handed over Le Havre to Elizabeth, he advised the Earl of Warwick on its control. Notwithstanding his links with the Protector Somerset to whom he lent money and commended men for service, he was named in 1550 the ex-Protector’s replacement as governor of Jersey: Paulet had gone to the Channel Islands in the previous year to review their administration and defence. While governor he ordered the translation of the first Prayer Book into French: Strype’s statement that he did this as governor of Calais must be an error, for Paulet is known to have encouraged and advanced the progress of the Reformation in the Channel Islands.8

The discharge of his obligations elsewhere did not prevent Paulet from taking part in the management of the south-west, but his absences from England doubtless explain the 30-year interval between his return for Somerset in 1539 and that in 1572. His suing out of general pardons in 1547, 1554 and 1559 seem to have been no more than a conventional precaution. Throughout his career he availed himself of the opportunity to expand his inheritance, acquiring lands by grant or purchase from the crown. He died on 6 Dec. 1573 and was buried in the church at Hinton St. George in the tomb which he had built to receive his first wife and himself.9

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: A. D.K. Hawkyard


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. E159/319, brev. ret. Mich. r. [1-2].
  • 3. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 4. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., C142/61/14. Vis. Som. ed. Weaver, 60; G. R. Balleine, Biog. Dict. Jersey, 622 seq.; PCC 18 Dyngeley, 8 Martyn; Collinson, Som. ii. 167.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, v, viii, xi, xiii-xxi; CPR, 1547-8 to 1569-72 passim; Strype, Annals, i(1), 34; VCH Dorset, ii. 198; APC, vii. 81; C66/985 ex inf. J. C. Sainty; SP12/93.
  • 6. DNB; HP, ed. Wedgwood 1439-1509 (Biogs.), 667-8; P. H. Hembry, Bps. Bath and Wells 1540-1640, pp. 46-47; LP Hen. VIII, vii-xiii.
  • 7. Information from Dr. H. H. Leonard; E139/319, brev. ret. Mich. r. [1-2].
  • 8. LP Hen. VIII, xi-xiii, xviii-xxi; Strype, Annals, 548; Cranmer, 416, 1035; Collinson, ii. 81; The description of the citie of Excester (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. xi), 95; Balleine, 662; Bath mss Thynne pprs. 2, ff. 70-71v, 127-8v, 141-2v; HMC Bath. iv. 109; W. K. Jordan, Edw. VI, i. 234-5; ii. 350; A. J. Eagleston, The Channel Islands under Tudor Govt. 12.
  • 9. LP Hen. VIII, xiii-xviii, xx; W. C. Richardson, Ct. Augmentations, 135; CPR, 1547-8 to 1572-5 passim; Trans. Som. Arch. and Nat. Hist. Soc. lxxii. 33; C142/167/78.