Englefield History

Powlett Wrighte

 

The memorial to Powlett Wrighte on the east wall of the aisle tells the story of the inheritance of Englefield from just before the Civil War until it came into the hands of the Benyon family. In 1635 Englefield came into the possession of John Powlett (or Paulet), fifth Marquess of Winchester, defender of Basing House against the Parliamentary forces. On his death in 1675 Englefield passed to Francis, his son by his second wife Honora de Burgh. Francis Powlett is said to have married secretly a kitchen maid, Anne Breamore. The secret was revealed one day when a servant charged with serving 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 Powlett carved the meat”. Francis’s opinion of his wife’s character is shown by the Arms adopted after their marriage: on his side is the Powlett crest and hers is simply pure gold.

 

Francis and Anne had a son, also called Francis, and a daughter Anne. Francis succeeded in 1696 and may have created a formal garden at Englefield House and this appears to have been laid out to one side of the House, in the space between it and the church. The younger Francis did not marry and on his death in 1712 the estate passed to his sister Anne and her husband, the Reverend Nathan Wrighte, whose father Sir Nathan Wrighte was the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of England.

 

Nathan and Anne Wrighte had three sons Powlett (Paulet), Francis and Nathan, and a daughter Anne. Powlett inherited Englefield in 1729. He married Mary Tyssen and they had one son, also Powlett, to whom this monument was raised. The younger Powlett was only one when his father died of smallpox in 1740 and before he came of age lived partly at Englefield and partly at Gidea Hall in Essex with his mother and her second husband Richard Benyon.

 

The famous map of the Englefield estate by Ballard shows it as it was in his time and it is probable that he also carried out some changes to Englefield House. In 1771 he was one of those responsible for the building of the Tidmarsh turnpike that enabled him to close the road across the Park in front of Englefield House and it appears that he also began the creation of Cranemoor Lake from what was probably a boggy area around a spring.

 

Powlett married in 1777 but died childless only two years later while taking the waters at Bristol, as the monument tells us. The estate passed to his uncle Nathan and then, on his death in 1789, to Powlett’s half brother Richard, son of Mary and Richard Benyon.

© 2020 Richard J Smith

Englefield History

Englefield History
Englefield History
Englefield History