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

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PAULET, JOHN, fifth Marquis of Winchester (1598–1675), born in 1598, was third but eldest surviving son of William, fourth Marquis of Winchester (d. 1629), by Lucy (d. 1614), second daughter of Sir Thomas Cecil, afterwards second Lord Burghley and Earl of Exeter. From 1598 until 1624 he was styled Lord Paulet. He kept terms at Exeter College, Oxford, but did not matriculate (Foster, Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714, iii. 1188), and on 7 Dec. 1620 was elected M.P. for St. Ives, Cornwall. He was summoned to the House of Lords as Baron St. John on 10 Feb. 1624, became captain of Netley Castle in 1626, and succeeded to the marquisate on 4 Feb. 1629, becoming also keeper of Pamber Forest, Hampshire. In order to pay off the debts incurred by his father's lavish hospitality, he passed many years in comparative seclusion. But on 18 Feb. 1639 he wrote to Secretary Windebank that he would be quite ready to attend the king on his Scottish expedition ‘with alacrity of heart and in the best equipage his fortunes would permit’ (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1638–9, p. 478). Winchester being a Roman catholic, Basing House, Hampshire, his chief seat, on every pane of which he had written with a diamond ‘Aimez Loyauté,’ became at the outbreak of the civil war the great resort of the queen's friends in south-west England. It occurred to the king's military advisers that the house might be fortified and garrisoned to much advantage, as it commanded the main road from the western counties to London. The journal of the siege of Basing House forms one of the most remarkable features of the civil war. It commenced in August 1643, when the whole force with which Winchester had to defend it, in addition to his own inexperienced people, amounted only to one hundred musketeers sent to him from Oxford on 31 July under the command of Lieutenant-colonel Peake. He subsequently received an additional force of 150 men under Colonel Rawdon. In this state of comparative weakness, Basing resisted for more than three months the continued attack of the combined parliamentary troops of Hampshire and Sussex, commanded by five colonels of reputation. The catholics at Oxford successfully conveyed provisions to Basing under Colonel Gage. An attempt by Lord Edward Paulet, Winchester's youngest brother, then serving under him in the house, to betray Basing to the enemy was frustrated, and he was turned out of the garrison. On 11 July 1644 Colonel Morley summoned Winchester to surrender. Upon his refusal the besiegers tried to batter down the water-house. On 13 July a shot passed through Winchester's clothes, and on the 22nd he was struck by a ball. A second summons to surrender was sent by Colonel Norton on 2 Sept., but was at once rejected. About 11 Sept. the garrison was relieved by Colonel Gage, who, being met by Lieutenant-colonel Johnson by the Grange, routed Morley's and Norton's men, and entered the house. He left with Winchester one hundred of Colonel Hawkins's white-coated men, and, after taking Basingstoke, sent provisions to Basing. Meanwhile Winchester, with the white-coats and others under Major Cuffaud and Captain Hull, drove the besiegers out of Basing. On 14 Nov. Gage again arrived at Basing, and on the 17th the siege was raised. Norton was succeeded by a stronger force under the command of Colonel Harvey, which had no better fortune. At length Sir William Waller advanced against it at the head of seven thousand horse and foot. Still Winchester contrived to hold out. But after the battle of Naseby, Cromwell marched from Winchester upon Basing, and, after a most obstinate conflict, took it by storm on 16 Oct. 1645. Winchester was brought in a prisoner, with his house flaming around him. He ‘broke out and said “that if the king had no more ground in England but Basing House, he would adventure it as he did, and so maintain it to the uttermost,” comforting himself in this matter “that Basing House was called Loyalty”’ (Green, Hist. of Engl. People, iii. 243). Thenceforward he was called the ‘great loyalist.’ What remained of Basing, which Hugh Peters after its fall told the House of Commons ‘would have become an emperor to dwell in,’ the parliamentarians levelled to the ground, after pillaging it of money, jewels, plate, and household stuff to the value, it is said, of 200,000l.

Winchester was committed to the Tower on a charge of high treason on 18 Oct. 1645, and his estates were ordered to be sequestered (Commons' Journals, iii. 280, iv. 313). An order was made for allowing him 5l. a week out of his property on 15 Jan. 1646 (ib. iv. 407). Lady Winchester, who had escaped from Basing two days before its fall, was sent to join her husband in the Tower on 31 Jan., and a weekly sum of 10l., afterwards increased to 15l., was ordered to be paid her for the support of herself and her children, with the stipulation that the latter were to be educated as protestants (ib. iv. 425, 725, v. 3, 521). An ordinance for the sale of Winchester's land was passed on 30 Oct. (ib. iv. 710), and by the act of 16 July 1651 a portion was sold by the trustees for the sale of forfeited estates. On 7 Sept. 1647 Winchester was allowed to drink the waters at Epsom, and stayed there by permission of parliament for nearly six months (ib. v. 294, 422). The House of Lords on 30 June 1648 urged the commons to release him on bail in consideration of his bad health (ib. v. 617). In the propositions sent to the king at the Isle of Wight on 13 Oct. it was expressly stipulated that Winchester's name be excepted from pardon (Lords' Journals, x. 548). Ultimately the commons resolved on 14 March 1649 not to proceed against him for high treason; but they ordered him to be detained in prison and excepted from any composition for his estate (Commons' Journals, vi. 165). In January 1656 he was a prisoner in execution in the upper bench for debts amounting to 2,000l., and he petitioned Cromwell for relief (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1656, pp. 105, 351). The sale of his lands was discontinued by order of parliament on 15 March 1660 (Commons' Journals, vii. 879), and after the Restoration Winchester received them back. It was proposed on 3 Aug. 1660 to recompense him for his losses to the amount of 19,000l. and damages, subsequently reduced to 10,000l., and this was agreed to on 2 July 1661, but in the event he was allowed to go unrecompensed. A bill for confirming an award for settling differences between him and his eldest son, Charles, in regard to the estates, was passed in 1663 (ib. vol. viii.; Lords' Journals, xi. 472).

Winchester retired to his estate at Englefield, Berkshire, which he had acquired by his second marriage, and passed the remainder of his life in privacy, dividing his time between agriculture and literature. He greatly enlarged the house, the front of which, says Granger (Biogr. Hist. of Engl. 2nd edit. ii. 122), bore a beautiful resemblance to a church organ, but ‘is now [1775] no more.’

Winchester died at Englefield on 5 March 1675, premier marquis of England, and was buried in the church there. On the monument raised by his wife to his memory are engraved some lines by Dryden (Works, ed. Scott, 1821, xi. 154). He was married three times: first, to Jane (d. 1631), eldest daughter of Thomas, first viscount Savage, by whom he had issue Charles, his successor, created first duke of Bolton in 1689, who is separately noticed. Milton wrote an epitaph in 1631 on Jane, lady Winchester; and James Howell, who taught her Spanish, has commemorated her beauty and goodness. Winchester's second wife was Lady Honora de Burgh (1611–1662), daughter of Richard, first earl of St. Albans and Clanricarde, who brought him four sons—of whom two only, John and Francis, lived to manhood—and three daughters. By his third wife, Isabella Howard, second daughter of William, first viscount Stafford, he had no children.

Clarendon has celebrated Winchester's goodness, piety, and unselfish loyalty in eloquent and just language. Three works, translated from the French by Winchester, are extant: 1. ‘Devout Entertainment of a Christian Soule,’ by Jacques Hugues Quarré, 12mo, Paris, 1648, done during his imprisonment in the Tower. 2. ‘The Gallery of Heroick Women,’ by Pierre Le Moyne, a jesuit, folio, London, 1652, in praise of which James Howell wrote some lines (cf. his Epistolæ Ho-elianæ, bk. iv. letter 49). 3. ‘The Holy History’ of Nicholas Talon, 4to, London, 1653. To these works Winchester prefixed prefaces, written in simple, unaffected English, and remarkable for their tone of gentle piety. In 1663 Sir Balthazar Gerbier [q. v.], in dedicating to him a treatise called ‘Counsel and advice to all Builders,’ takes occasion to commend Englefield (or, as he calls it, ‘Henfelde’) House, of which a description will be found in Neale's ‘Seats,’ 1828, 2nd ser. vol. iv.

Winchester's portrait has been engraved in small oval by Hollar. There is also a miniature of him by Peter Oliver, which has been engraved by Cooper, and an equestrian portrait by Adams (Evans, Cat. of Engraved Portraits, i. 383, ii. 422).

[Doyle's Official Baronage, iii. 706; Collins's Peerage, 1812, ii. 376–80; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iii. 1005; Clarendon's Hist. ed Macray; A Description of the Siege of Basing Castle, 1645; Woodward's Hampshire, iii. 247–255; Will registered in P. C. C. 29, Dycer; Dict. of Architecture, vi. 63; Granger's Biogr. Hist. of Engl. 2nd edit. iii. 114; Nichols's Progresses of James I, i. 252; Cal. of Committee for Advance of Money, pp. 369, 963; Lodge's Portraits, ed. Bohn; Walpole's Royal and Noble Authors, ed. Park, iii. 146–50; Lysons's Magna Britannia, ‘Berkshire,’ i. 275; Addit. MS. 28672, ff. 207, 210.]

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