Thursday, 16 September 2021

1st Duke of Bolton


This family is said to derive its surname from the Lordship of PAULET, Somerset, whereof its progenitor, Hercules, Lord of Tournon, in Picardy, became proprietor, upon settling in England in the reign of HENRY I.

But by John Collinson's history of that county, it appears that Walter of Douai owned this Lordship in the time of WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR, and that from him it descended to the Paganals, Fitzhardings, Gaunts and Gournays.

It is certain, however, that the Paulets enjoyed, from a very early period, a manor in this parish, and hence doubtless took their surname.

SIR JOHN PAULET, Knight, married Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Sir John Creedy, of Creedy, and dying in 1378, left two sons, Sir Thomas, the elder, progenitor of the Earls Poulett; and

WILLIAM PAULET (the younger son), of Melcomb Pawlett, Somerset, Sergeant-at-Law, and

SIR WILLIAM PAULET KG (c1485-1572), great-grandson of John Paulet, by Constance de Poynings, one of the co-heiresses of her brother, Sir Thomas de Poynings, 5th Baron St John, of Basing (at the decease of which nobleman, the barony of St John fell into abeyance).

This Sir William enjoying the confidence of HENRY VIII, was elevated by that monarch to the peerage, 1539, as Baron St John of Basing, and at His Majesty's decease, was appointed one of the executors to his will.

Lord St John continuing as a leading statesman, was created, in the ensuing reign, 1550, Earl of Wiltshire, and, in 1551, Marquess of Winchester.

He was installed a Knight of the Garter, and held the important office of LORD TREASURER OF ENGLAND during the reigns of EDWARD I and Queens MARY and ELIZABETH I.

His lordship being asked how he had contrived to preserve the treasurership through so long a series of changeable years, replied, by being a willow, not an oak.

This nobleman erected the beautiful and magnificent seat called Basing House, Hampshire.

The 1st Marquess married Elizabeth, daughter of Alderman Sir William Capel, Knight, of the city of London; and dying at the advanced age of 97, in 1572, was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN, 2nd Marquess (c1510-76); one of the peers who sat at the trial of Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk.

His lordship wedded firstly, Elizabeth, eldest daughter and co-heiress of Robert, 2nd Baron Willoughby de Broke, by whom he had four sons and two daughters; and secondly, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Seymour.

He espoused thirdly, before 1571, Winifred, daughter of Sir John Brydges, Lord Mayor of London, but had no other issue.

The 2nd Marquess was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM, 3rd Marquess, KB (1532-98). a man of letters who was enrolled among the poets of his day.

His lordship married Anne or Agnes, one of the daughters of William, 1st Baron Howard of Effingham, and was succeeded by his only son,

WILLIAM, 4th Marquess (c1560-1629); who entertained ELIZABETH I most magnificently at Basing House during one of Her Majesty's tours, by which, and other expenses, he involved himself in pecuniary difficulties.

His lordship wedded Lucy, daughter of Thomas, 1st Earl of Exeter, by whom he had six sons; the third surviving of whom,

JOHN, 5th Marquess (c1598-1675); who at the beginning of the civil wars hoisted the royal banner on the battlements of Basing House, and there triumphantly maintained it so long as a single stone of the mansion remained; but that, after a protracted siege, falling by storm into the hands of the usurper CROMWELL, was burnt to the ground, and his lordship's property, in plate, jewels etc destroyed by the rebels to the amount of £200,000.

The 5th Marquess, however, had the satisfaction of living to witness the restoration of the monarchy.

He died in 1675, and was buried at Englefield, Berkshire, where a beautiful inscription by Dryden appears upon his monument.

His lordship espoused firstly, Jane, daughter of Thomas, 1st Viscount Savage, by whom he had one son, CHARLES, his successor.

He married secondly, Honora, daughter of Richard, 4th Earl of Clanricarde, and had four sons and three daughters; and thirdly, Isabel, daughter of William, 1st Viscount Stafford.

His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES, 6th Marquess (c1630-99), who was elevated to a dukedom, 1689, as DUKE OF BOLTON.

His Grace married firstly, in 1652, Christian, eldest daughter and co-heiress of John, 1st Baron Frescheville, of Staveley, Derbyshire, by whom he had no surviving issue; and secondly, in 1655, Mary, eldest illegitimate daughter of Emanuel Scrope, 1st Earl of Sunderland, and had issue,
CHARLES, his successor;
Jane; Mary; Elizabeth.
Of this Duke, the celebrated philosopher and historian Gilbert Burnet said,
"This year (1699) died the Marquess of Winchester, whom the King had created Duke of Bolton. He was a man of a strange mixture. 
He had the spleen to a high degree, and affected an extravagant behaviour; for many weeks he would not open his mouth till such an hour of the day when he thought the air was pure. 
He changed the day into night, and often hunted by torchlight, and took all sorts of liberties to himself, many of which were very disagreeable to those about him. 
He was a man of profuse expense, and of a most ravenous avarice to support that; and though he was much hated, yet he carried matters before him with great authority and success, that he was in all respects the riddle of the age."
His Grace was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES, 2nd Duke (1661-1722), KG, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 1717, who wedded firstly, in 1679, Margaret, daughter of George, 3rd Baron Coventry, but by her had no issue; and secondly, Frances, daughter of William Ramsden, by whom he had issue,
CHARLES, his successor;
HARRY, 4th Duke;
Frances; Mary.
His Grace espoused thirdly, Henrietta Crofts, youngest natural daughter of James, 1st Duke of Monmouth, by which lady he had a son, Nassau.

The 2nd Duke was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES, 3rd Duke (1685-1754), KG, Constable of the Tower of London and Lord-Lieutenant of the Tower Hamlets, who married firstly, in 1713, Anne, daughter and sole heiress of John, Earl of Carberry, by whom he had no issue; and secondly, Lavinia Fenton, well known as an actress in the character of Polly Peachum, by whom he had no legitimate issue, but had three sons prior to the decease of the 1st Duchess.

His Grace died in 1754, when the honours devolved upon his brother,

HARRY, 4th Duke (1691-1759), who wedded Catherine, daughter of Charles Parry, of Oakfield, Berkshire, and had issue,
CHARLES, his successor;
HARRY, 6th Duke;
Henrietta; Catherine.
His Grace was succeeded by his elder son,

CHARLES, 5th Duke, KB (1718-65); at whose decease, unmarried, the honours devolved upon his brother,

HARRY, 6th Duke (1720-94), Admiral of the White, who espoused firstly, in 1752, Mary Nunn, by whom he had one daughter, Mary Henrietta; and secondly, 1765, Katherine, daughter of Robert Lowther, and sister of James, 1st Earl of Lonsdale, by whom he had two daughters,
Amelia, died unmarried;
Catharine Margaret, m William, 1st Duke of Cleveland.
6th duke of Bolton, Photo Credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art

His Grace died in 1794, when the Dukedom expired, but the Marquessate of Winchester and the minor honours devolved upon his kinsman, GEORGE PAULET, 12th Marquess of Winchester.

Former seats ~ Bolton Hall, North Yorkshire; Bolton Castle, Yorkshire; Hackwood Park, Hampshire.

First Published in August, 2017.

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