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

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



? 1529
? 1536

Family and Education

b. c.1510, 1st s. of Sir Amias Paulet by his 2nd w. Laura, da. of William Kellaway of Rockbourne, Hants. educ. M. Temple. m. (1) 1530, Philippa, da. of Sir Lewis Pollard of King’s Nympton, Devon, 3s. inc. Amias 2da.; (2) 1560, Elizabeth Blount, da. of Walter Blount of Blount’s Hall, Burton-on-Trent, Staffs., wid. of (Sir) Thomas Pope, founder of Trinity Coll. Oxf. Kntd. 1536; suc. fa. 1538.3

Offices Held

J.p. Devon, Dorset, Som. from 1532; sheriff, Dorset, Som. 1536-7, 1542-3, 1547-8, Devon 1541-2; commr. church lands 1535; member, council in the west 1539; v.-adm. Som. 1539; administrator, Glastonbury abbey 1539; treasurer, Boulogne 1544-6; gov. Jersey 1550-d.; vice-president, council in the marches of Wales 1559; custos rot. Som. from c.1562, commr. musters 1569.4


Paulet’s family had been prominent in Somerset since the mid-fifteenth century. A soldier, he accompanied Henry VIII to Flanders, and served Edward VI during the western rebellion, before being appointed first to investigate the affairs of Jersey (November 1549) then governor of the island. Concerned by the proximity of his command to a potentially hostile France, he made the improvement of the fortifications his chief priority, often advancing his own money and using building material from the island’s churches. The initial impact of the Reformation on Jersey had already occurred by the time of Paulet’s appointment, and few repressive acts were necessary, though a priest was fined for ‘obstructing the word of God and upholding the superstitions of Rome’ and the elders of one parish were instructed to report mockeries, disturbances and popish acts. Though his appointment must have been influenced by his protestant predilections, there was no attempt to replace him under Mary. Indeed it was with the accession of Elizabeth that his personal connexion with Jersey came to an end, as his son Amias assumed his responsibilities on the island, while Paulet himself became vice-president of the council in the marches of Wales. Here his job was to prepare the ground for the new lord president, Lord Williams, who took the place of the Marian Bishop Bourne of Bath and Wells. Paulet’s vigorous activities during his short stay paralleled those of his first visit to Jersey in 1549. He investigated all branches of the council’s administration and on his return to London presented a memorandum on Welsh government, which favoured wide powers for the lord president over his officials and recommended severe repression of theft and disorder.5

By this time Paulet had acquired a reputation as a trouble shooter. He was one of the commissioners appointed in June 1562 to deal with law and revenue in Ireland (though in the event he did not go) and in October 1562, when the Le Havre Huguenots surrendered the town to Elizabeth, Paulet, ‘a man of wisdom and long experience’, was sent to advise the captain-general of the expeditionary force. He remained at Le Havre until August 1563, when he returned to Portsmouth to discharge his men. The aftermath of the expedition continued to occupy him for some time; he tried to secure some of the discharged men for service in Jersey, and in November 1563 served on the commission appointed to satisfy the debts of the expedition and pay off the soldiers who had taken part in it.6

In 1571 he and Sir Maurice Berkeley were instructed by the Council to see that suitable MPs were returned for Somerset. Among these was his son Amias, who successfully contested the county, and Richard Blount, a connexion of his second wife, who sat for Taunton. Paulet himself sat as knight of the shire in 1572, and was named to committees on Mary Queen of Scots (12, 28 May 1572), fraudulent conveyances (3 June), hospitals (28 June) and the bill for Sir W. Harper (30 May).7

With this Parliament Paulet’s public career came to an end. He was still active in Somerset in June 1573, made his will at the beginning of that December and died on the 6th of the same month. His widow revealed herself as an open Catholic, was presented as a recusant and accused of harbouring Jesuits in her house in Clerkenwell.8

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Irene Cassidy


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. DNB ; C142/61/14; Vis. Som. ed. Weaver; Balleine, Biog. Dict Jersey , 662ff; Harbin, Som. MPs , 127; Collins, Peerage , iv. 3; Som. Rec. Soc. xxi. 40; PCC 18 Dyngeley.
  • 4. CPR, 1553-4, pp. 18, 23, 28; 1560-3, pp. 435, 436, 443; 1563-6, p. 327; C66/985; CSP Dom. 1547-80, pp. 37, 340, 462; Som. Rec. Soc. xx. 15, 25; LP Hen. VIII, xii(2), p. 320; xiv(1), p. 360, (2), p. 130; Cotton Titus B I, 161.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, xix(1), pp. 155, 161-2, 175, 240, 245, 296, 468; Rose-Troup, Western Rebellion 1549, p. 305; A. J. Eagleston, Channel Islands under Tudor Govt. 38, 90-1; Stowe 571, f.47v; CPR, 1550-3, p. 12; 1553-4, p. 266; 1560-3, pp. 277, 425; 1563-6, p. 181; APC, vii. 81-2, 203, 223-4, 250; HMC Hatfield, i. 76, 271, 278, 282, 293; PCC 8 Martyn; CSP Dom. 1547-80, pp. 85, 123, 132, 140, 340, 372, 462; Add. 1547-65, p. 566; Som. Rec. Soc. xx. 15, 25; SP12/7/3; 12/107/4; 15/9/20; P. H. Williams, Council in the Marches of Wales, 250.
  • 6. HMC Hatfield, i. 266, 273, 277, 282, 284; Cecil State Pprs. ed. Haynes, 387, 388; APC, vii. 139; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 213.
  • 7. APC, viii. 15; D’Ewes, 206, 219, 220, 221, 224-5; CJ, i. 94, 98, 99, 100, 103.
  • 8. CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 462; 1581-90, p. 287; Add. 1556-79, p. 551; PCC 8 Martyn.