Paulets and Wrightes
By whichever route, in 1635 the house was certainly in the hands of John Paulet, but the uncertainty of the previous 75 years didn't end. Celebrated for his valiant but futile defence of Basing House against the Parliamentary forces in 1645, Paulet was subsequently imprisoned in the Tower and his lands, including Englefield, were sequestered. Property at Englefield was bought in 1649 by Sir Thomas Jervoise but this may only have been some of the land retained by the Englefields after Sir Francis’s exile. In any event, at some time in the 1650s Paulet regained possession of his part of the manor and after his release, since Basing House was now a ruin, remained there until his death in 1675.
It is interesting to note that the quartered and empaled arms on the memorial in the Engelfield Chapel to Sir Thomas Englefield, as described by Ashmole, include in one quarter the same arms of Paulet (three arrows, points downwards) engraved on the Paulet tombstones in the aisle. There clearly was some sort of family connection between the Englefields and Paulets, therefore, at least 100 years before John Paulet's time - and before Walsingham's too.
Paulet’s first wife was Jane Savage and they had a son, Charles, who became estranged from his father by virtue of the fact that while John Paulet was a Catholic and a Tory, Charles was a Protestant and a Whig. Accordingly, when John Paulet died, while Charles became the 6th Marquess of Winchester under the laws of succession, Francis Paulet, John’s second son by Honora de Burgh, was bequeathed Englefield. The first son from that marriage, John, had died in 1660.
Francis Paulet famously married his kitchen maid, Anne Breamore from Tidmarsh. The secret was revealed one day when a servant whose duty it was to serve the meat at dinner found it poorly carved. On asking whom he should say was responsible he was told, “You can tell them that Lady Francis Paulet carved the meat”. In a list of inhabitants of Englefield in 1695 immediately after Lord and Lady Paulet is Mrs Breamore, presumably Lady Paulet's mother, so by that time it was obviously common knowledge. Francis’s opinion of his wife’s character is shown by the Arms adopted after their marriage: on his side are the Paulet arms and her side is simply pure gold.
Their son, also Francis, succeeded in 1696 but died unmarried in 1712 and Englefield passed to his sister Anne and her husband the Reverend Nathan Wrighte. Their son Paulet (or Powlet) inherited in 1729 and married Mary Tyssen. They had a son, also Paulet, who was only one year old when his father died in 1740. His mother then married Richard Benyon of Gidea Hall in Essex.
Initially, Paulet lived with his mother and step-father mostly at Gidea but after he came of age he made many changes to Englefield House and was responsible for a new turnpike road that enabled the road across the front of Englefield House to be closed. Paulet married in 1777 but died childless only two years later while taking the waters at Bristol and the estate passed to his uncle, Nathan Wrighte (son of the Rev Nathan).
Paulet had accrued debts in making his additions to Englefield House though and Nathan Wrighte was forced to find a tenant in an effort to produce some income. He first offered it to Richard Benyon but for various reasons he did not want it and the two worked together to find a suitable tenant. This they did in 1781 when the house was let to Lady Clive, widow of Clive of India, at a rent of 300 guineas a year.
The Paulet arms
© 2020 Richard J Smith