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first baron ash burton

William Paget, 1st Baron Paget

William Paget, 1st Baron Paget of Beaudesert (1506–June 9,1563), English statesman, son of William Paget, one of the serjeants-at-mace of the city of London, was born in Staffordshire in 1506, and was educated at St Paul's School, and at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, proceeding afterwards to the university of Paris. Probably through the influence of Stephen Gardiner, who had early befriended Paget, he was employed by Henry VIII in several important diplomatic missions; in 1532 he was appointed Clerk of the Signet and soon afterwards of the privy council. He became secretary to Queen Anne of Cleves in 1539, and in 1543 he was sworn of the privy council and appointed secretary of state, in which position Henry VIII in his later years relied much on his advice, appointing him one of the council to act during the minority of Edward VI.

Paget at first vigorously supported the protector Somerset, while counselling a moderation which Somerset did not always observe. In 1547 he was made comptroller of the king's household, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and a knight of the Garter; and in 1549 he was summoned by writ to the House of Lords as Baron Paget de Beaudesert. About the same time he obtained extensive grants of lands, including Cannock Chase and Burton Abbey in Staffordshire, and in London the residence of the bishops of Exeter, afterwards known successively as Lincoln House and Essex House, on the site now occupied by the Outer Temple in the London. He obtained Beaudesert in Staffordshire, which remained the chief seat of the Paget family.

Paget shared Somerset's disgrace, being committed to the Tower in 1551 and degraded from the Order of the Garter in the following year, besides suffering a heavy fine by the Star Chamber for having profited at the expense of the Crown in his administration of the duchy of Lancaster. He was, however, restored to the king's favour in 1553, and was one of the twenty-six peers who signed Edward's settlement of the crown on Lady Jane Grey in June of that year. He made his peace with Queen Mary, who reinstated him as a knight of the Garter and in the privy council in 1553, and appointed him Lord Privy Seal in 1556. On the accession of Elizabeth I in 1558 Paget retired from public life.

Descendants

By his wife Anne Preston he had four sons, the two eldest of whom, Henry (d. 1568) and Thomas, succeeded in turn to the peerage. The youngest son, Charles Paget (d. 1612, Weston-on-Trent), was a well-known Catholic conspirator against Queen Elizabeth, in the position of secretary to Archbishop James Beaton, the ambassador of Mary Queen of Scots in Paris; although at times he also played the part of a spy and forwarded information to Walsingham and William Cecil.

Thomas, 3rd Baron Paget of Beaudesert (c. 1540-1589), a zealous Roman Catholic, was-suspected of complicity in Charles's plots and was attainted in 1587. The peerage was restored in 1604 to his son William 4th Lord Paget]] (1572-1629), whose son William, the 5th lord (1609-1678), fought for Charles I at the Battle of Edgehill. William, the 6th lord (1637-1713), a supporter of the Glorious Revolution of 1688, was ambassador at Vienna from 1689 to 1693, and later at Constantinople, having much to do with bringing about the important treaty of Carlowitz in 1699.

Henry, the 7th baron (c.1665-1743), was raised to the peerage during his father's lifetime as Baron Burton in 1712, being one of the twelve peers created by the Tory ministry to secure a majority in the House of Lords, and was created Earl of Uxbridge in 1714. His only son, Thomas Catesby Paget, the author of an Essay on Human Life (1735) and other writings, died in January 1742 before his father, leaving a son Henry (1719-1769), who became 2nd earl of Uxbridge.

At the latter's death the earldom of Uxbridge and barony of Burton became extinct, the older barony of Paget of Beaudesert passing to his cousin Henry Bayly (1744-1812), heir general of the first baron, who in 1784 was created earl of Uxbridge. His second son, Sir Arthur Paget (1771-1840), was an eminent diplomat during the Napoleonic wars, Sir Edward Paget (1775-1849), the fourth son, served under Sir John Moore in the Peninsula, and was afterwards second in command under Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington; the fifth, Sir Charles Paget (1778-1839), served with distinction in the navy, and rose to the rank of vice-admiral. The eldest son Henry William, 2nd Earl of Uxbridge (1768-1854), was in 1815 created Marquess of Anglesey.

References

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