William Paget

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Sir William Paget, 1st Baron Paget of Beaudesert as played by Gerry O'Brien

born c.1506 – died 9 June 1563
Character's backstory: Son of John, one of the serjeants-at-mace of the city of London, he was born in London in 1506. His father was said to have been of humble origin from Wednesbury, Staffordshire. 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 acquired large estates from Henry VIII on the dissolution of the monasteries. He became secretary to Queen Anne of Cleves in 1539, and in 1543 he was sworn of the privy council.
He was Secretary of State with Thomas Wriothesley (Risley), Earl of Southampton, 1543 and 1544, and again with Sir William Petre, 1544 to 1547. Henry VIII in his later years relied much on his advice, named him as one of the executors of his will, and appointed him one of the council to act during the minority of Edward VI.


Position: Clerk of the signet,Secretary of state, Comptroller of the Royal Household, Lord Privy Seal

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In 1549 Sir William Paget was sent on a diplomatic mission to the Emperor Charles V, with instructions to try and persuade him to join England in a war with France; and, though unsuccessful, he was on his return raised to the peerage. In a very statesmanlike letter, written from Germany, he attempted to inspire the wavering councils of the Protector with prudence and vigour in dealing with the rising in the west of England, but to little purpose. The see of Lichfield also lost the greater part of its lands in order to furnish him with an estate. On the fall of Somerset [[[Edward Seymour]]], to whom he had been consistently faithful, Paget was thrown into the Tower, and deprived of his appointments (1551), but was pardoned in the following year.

On the accession of Mary he became one of her most trusted advisers, and was made Keeper of the Seals. He was throughout in favour of moderation, and had no sympathy with those who wished for the establishment of the Inquisition, and the execution of the Princess Elizabeth. Lord Paget was one of the promoters of the marriage between Mary and Philip of Spain, and was disposed to regard the friendship of Charles V as highly necessary for England.

On the accession of Elizabeth, he resigned the seals; but though he did not enjoy the confidence of the queen, he continued from time to time to give her advice. During the last years of his life, he advocated an alliance with Henry IV of France in preference to the friendship of Spain.
[source: [encyclopedia - Paget entry]]

Gerry O'Brien as William Paget

A letter written by William Paget, clerk to the Privy Council, to Sir Thomas Wriothesley, [[[Risley]]]Garter King-at-arms, dated 27 Jun 1541, only two days before Lord Dacre's execution:

Sir, I am sent for to the Council, and must stay my writing until soon

At my coming to the Star Chamber there I found a11 the lords, to the number of xvij assembled for a conference touching the lord Dacre's case;... To Council they went, and had with them present the Chief Justices, with others of the King's learned Counsel; and albeit I was excluded, yet they 'spake so loud, some of them, that I might hear them notwithstanding two doors shut between us. Among the rest that could not agree to wilful murder, the Lord Cobham, as I took him by his voice, was vehement and stiff: Suddenly and softly they agreed, I wot not how, and departed to the Kings Bench together; whereas the lord Chancellor executing the office of High Steward, the lord Dacre pledd not guilty to the indictment, referring himself to the trial of his peers, and declaring, with long circumstances, that he intended no murder, and so purged himself to the audience as much as he might. And yet nevertheless afterward, by an inducement of the confession of the rest already condemned, declared unto him by the judge, he refused his trial, and, upon hope of grace (as I took it), confessed the indictment; which he did not without some insinuation. His judgment was to be hanged. It was pitiful to see so young a man by his own folly brought to such a case, but joyful to hear him speak at the last so wisely and show himself so repentant... . To-day after dinner the Council was with the King to declare lord Dacre's humble submission, hoping thereby to move his Majesty to pardon him, which took no effect, for to-morrow shall... Mantel, Roydon, and Frowdes suffer, and the lord Dacre upon Wednesday. God have mercy upon them and give them grace to repent their evil doings and to take patiently their deaths.

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Family members:

Marriage: Anne Preston
4 sons

Bishop Stephen Gardiner
Edward Seymour





William Paget as played by Gerry O'Brien
William Paget