PAUL, William (1673-1711), of Bray, Berks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1710 - May 1711

Family and Education

bap. 17 June 1673, 1st s. of James Paul, Fishmonger and Linen Draper, of St. Michael Cornhill, London and Bray by 2nd w. Martha, 4th da. of Sir Thomas Duppa, usher of the black rod.  educ. Trinity, Oxf. 1691; I. Temple 1692.  m. lic. 21 Feb. 1696, Katharine (d. 1737), da. of Vere Fane*, 4th Earl of Westmorland, and sis. of John Fane*, 7th Earl of Westmorland, 2da.  suc. fa. 1693.1

Offices Held

Sub-farmer of prizage and butlerage 1693–d.; havenor, duchy of Cornwall.2


Paul should not be confused with his namesake, an Anglican cleric executed in 1716 for treason following the Jacobite rebellion. Paul’s father presents a problem of political allegiance: the son of the bishop of Oxford 1663–5 and himself one of the original treasurers of the sons of the clergy 1678–9, he was seemingly a staunch Anglican; but while a common councilman for Cornhill ward he was described on a list of 1682 as ‘stark naught’, an appellation usually reserved for Whigs. His election as an alderman in 1687 (in succession to Sir John Moore), and subsequent discharge shortly afterwards, suggests, perhaps, a Tory Anglican fiercely opposed to James II’s religious policies. This view is consistent with his support for the Revolution, his willingness to lend money to the new regime and to serve as sheriff for Berkshire in 1690. The family’s position at Bray was probably strengthened by the will of Sir William Paul (cousin of James). He left the reversion of his estates to James Paul after the death of Lady Paul (who remarried as Lady Penyston and died in 1715). His will also suggests that James Paul was an Anglican, as Sir William instructed him to ensure that the bequests left for the poor should not benefit those that ‘use or frequent any unlawful or seditious meetings or conventicles’. James Paul also enhanced his interest at Windsor by subscribing £50 towards the cost of the new Guildhall begun in 1687.3

William Paul, together with his brother-in-law Christopher Clitheroe, also inherited his father’s interest in the prizage and butlerage of wines (again part of Sir William Paul’s bequest). Protecting this privilege caused Paul considerable expense and trouble. First, in 1695, the prize commissioners disputed Paul’s right to take prizage on wines captured as prizes; more seriously, following the Tonnage Act of 1698, a dispute arose in 1706 over the liability of prizage wine to pay duty. Numerous legal suits followed before the House of Lords gave judgment against Paul in January 1711. Although he was classed as a Whig on the ‘Hanover list’ of 1710 (his wife’s relatives were Whigs), Hon. James Brydges* seems to have been better informed, including Paul’s victory over Viscount Fitzhardinge (John Berkeley*) at Windsor in 1710 on a list of Tory gains. His name appears on a list of the 1710–11 session denoting ‘worthy patriots’ who helped to detect the mismanagements of the previous administration. This list also named him as a member of the October Club. Paul’s political career was cut short by death in May 1711, and his widow was left with extensive debts. Of his two daughters, one married Sir William Stapleton, 4th Bt.†4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Stuart Handley


  • 1. St. Michael Cornhill (Harl. Soc. Reg. vii), 147; J. R. Woodhead, Rulers of London (London and Mdx. Arch. Soc.), 127; Vis. Berks. (Harl. Soc. lxxvii), 191–2; Vis. Eng. and Wales Notes ed. Crisp, x. 95; IGI, Berks.
  • 2. Cal. Treas. Bks. x. 821; xxv. 538; xiii. 118.
  • 3. DNB (Paul, William); E. H. Pearce, Sons of the Clergy, 8; Woodhead, 127; Beaven, Aldermen, 114–15; SP29/418/199; Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 1993; PCC 34 Lloyd; R. R. Tighe and J. E. Davis, Annals of Windsor, ii. 443.
  • 4. PCC 85 Coker; Cal. Treas. Bks. x. 1082; xx. 56; xxi. 69; xxiv. 546; xxv. 538; Cal. Treas. Pprs. 1702–7, p. 471; HMC Lords, n.s. viii. 368–9; Huntington Lib. Stowe mss 57(4), p. 170; Post Boy, 5–8 May 1711.