Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Paulet, Hugh

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PAULET or POULET, Sir HUGH (d. 1572?), military commander and governor of Jersey, born after 1500, was the eldest son of Sir Amias Paulet (d. 1538) [q. v.] of Hinton St. George, Somerset, by his second wife. A younger brother, John, born about 1509, apparently graduated B.A. at Oxford in 1530, became in 1554 the last Roman catholic dean of Jersey, and died in 1565 (Foster, Alumni Oxon.) In 1532 Hugh was in the commission of the peace for Somerset (Cal. State Papers, Henry VIII, vol. v., No. 1694, entry ii.); and he was served heir and sole executor to his father in 1538, receiving a grant of the manor of Sampford-Peverel, Devonshire. He was supervisor of the rents of the surrendered abbey of Glastonbury in 1539, had a grant of Upcroft and Combe near Crewkerne, Somerset, in 1541, and was sheriff of that county (with Dorset) in 1536, 1542, and 1547 (Collinson, ii. 166). On 18 Oct. 1537 he was knighted (Metcalfe, Knights; cf. Lit. Remains of Edward VI, pp. lxxxi, 210). He was invited to Prince Edward's baptism (Strype, Eccl. Mem. ii. 5) two days later. In 1544 he was treasurer of the English army at the siege of Boulogne, and distinguished himself at the capture of the Brey on 1 Sept. in the presence of Henry VIII. He seems to have remained at Boulogne until 1547 (Cal. State Papers, 1545-7). On the accession of Edward VI he was, as a known supporter of the protestant cause, one of those charged by Henry VIII's executors, on 11 Feb. 1547, with the 'good order of the sheres near unto them in the west' (Nichols, op. cit.) In 1549 he was knight-marshal of the army raised by Lord Russell to put down the rising against the Reformation changes in the west of England. He led the pursuit against the rebels, and defeated them finally at King's Weston, near Bristol (Holinshed, Chron. iii. 1096). In 1550 he was a commissioner to inquire into the liturgy in the island of Jersey, and to put down obits, dispose of church bells, &c. (Le Quesne, p. 148) ; and was shortly afterwards appointed captain of Jersey and governor of Mont Orgueil Castle, in the place of Edward Seymour, duke of Somerset. He was acting in October 1550 (Cal. State Papers, 1547-53), but his patent bears date 3 May 1551 (Rymer, Foedera, xv. 261). This office he retained till his death (Falle says for twenty-four years); but from 25 April 1559, in which year he was made vice-president (under Lord Williams) of the Welsh marches (Strype, Reform, i. 23), he performed his functions through a lieutenant, his son Amias (1536?-1588) [q. v.] Le Quesne (pp. 165, 184-6, 195) speaks strongly of the abuse of power by the Paulet family, but appears to refer less to Sir Hugh than to his grandson.

In 1562, when the French protestants surrendered Havre to Elizabeth, she commissioned Paulet, being a man of 'wisdom and long experience,' to act as adviser to Ambrose Dudley, earl of Warwick [q. v.], who was to take command of the garrison and to fill the place of high-marshal (Aide, ii. 170). Paulet arrived in the Aide with Count Montgomerie and 5,000l. on 17 Dec. On 1 April 1563 he conferred unsuccessfully with the rheingrave, was sent to England in June, and returned on 14 July with eight hundred men from Wiltshire and Gloucestershire. On the 23rd he met the constable Montmorency, and on 28 July articles for the surrender of Havre were agreed upon. On the 29th the English evacuated Havre, bringing the pestilence with them to London. In November Paulet was one of the commissioners to settle the debts incurred in the expedition (authorities below).

Sir Hugh was knight of the shire for Somerset in the parliament which met on 8 May 1572 (Willis, Not. Parl. p. 94), and probably died in the following December. A tomb in the north aisle of the church at Hinton St. George, with the effigies of a lady and man in armour, and the inscription 'Hie jacet Hugo Poulet miles qui obiit 6 die Decembris anno Dom. . . .' probably commemorates Sir Hugh and his first wife. He always signs Poulet not Paulet, Poulett, or Pawlett, the spelling affected by various contemporaries and descendants at Hinton St. George.

He married, about 1528, first, Philippa, daughter and heiress of Sir Lewis Pollard [q. v.] of King's Nympton, Devonshire, justice of the common pleas, by whom he had two daughters: Anne (Visit. of Somerset, 1531, ed. Weaver) and Jane (married to Christopher Copleston of Copleston, Devonshire) and three sons: Sir Amias, Nicholas of Minty, Gloucestershire, and George, bailiff of Jersey from 1583 to 1611 (Le Quesne). Before December 1560 he married, secondly, Elizabeth, daughter of Walter Blount of Blount's Hall, Staffordshire, the rich widow of Sir Thomas Pope [q. v.], founder of Trinity College, Oxford. She died without issue in 1593, and was buried in Trinity Chapel. With her, Sir Hugh visited the college in 1560, 1565, and 1567, assisted the fellows in a suit against Lord Rich in 1561, and gave 20l. towards a new garden-wall in 1566.

[Collins's Peerage, ed. Brydges, vi. 3-5; Collinson's Somerset, ii. 166-7; authorities cited above, esp. Stowe, pp. 653-6, and Holinshed, iii. 1026, and 1198-1204; Cal. State Papers, as above, and also Henry VIII, vols. x. and xi. and Foreign Papers, 1562-3; the most important of the Havre letters are printed in Dr. P. Forbes's Full View of Public Transactions in the Reign of Elizabeth, vol. ii. with facsimiles of signatures; Falle's Jersey, ed. 1694; Le Quesne's Constitutional History of Jersey; Barlow's Peerage, i. 416; Letter-book and Copybook of Sir A. Poulet; Hayne's Burghley Papers, p. 407; Accounts of Trinity College, Oxford. The most connected account is that given by T. Warton (Sir T. Pope, pp. 189-98), but it is very inaccurate.]

H. E. D. B.