The Twickenham Museum
People : Landowners and Gentry

Vere Poulett
Member of an ancient Somerset family
1710 - 1788

The Poulett (also Paulet, Pawlett) family were associated with several properties in Twickenham at different times: Heath House, Orleans House and Poulett Lodge. The name was originally spelled Paulet, the family coming from Somerset where Sir William Paulet appears to have settled at Hinton St George, near Crewkerne shortly after 1500. William was a member of the cadet branch of the family, who had earlier come to live at Basing in Hampshire. He became the 1st Marquess of Winchester, retaining this spelling.

At Heath House
A later member of this branch of the family lived in Twickenham from 1720 until 1729 when he died. This was Lord William Paulet (or Pawlett), a younger son of Charles, the 6th Marquess and 1st Duke of Bolton. His widow, Ann, possibly a member of the Townshend family, stayed on until about 1739. The house they occupied was Heath House on the north side of Heath Lane at the side of what became Lion Road. The house was demolished some time shortly after 1900.Lady Isabella Wentworth mentions William in letters to Peter Bathurst on 13 June 1710 and to her son, Lord Strafford on 22 July:'"I thought it had been a brag, but is sartainly true, Lord (William) Paulett, Secretary Johnson neaphew, who has a vast estate, was offered to be secretary of state, and he refused it; and now he has accepted of the preveseel (Privy Seal), I think it is, or some such great place".'

At Orleans House

James Johnston (1655-1737), previously Secretary of State for Scotland had married Catherine Poulett in 1696. She was the daughter of John, 2nd Baron Poulett by his first marriage. Through a second marriage of John, and a complicated succession, Catherine was also the aunt of Vere Poulett, the 3rd Earl, mentioned below. Johnston came to live in Twickenham in 1697 after his marriage, occupying the property which he rebuilt in 1710 and which was later called Orleans House. This property was actually bought by Lord John Poulett (1675-1743), the 4th Baron and created 1st Earl in 1706. He was Catherine's half-brother and the property was perhaps bought on her behalf at the time of her marriage. There is an indenture dated 16 July 1697 (in Richmond Local Studies Library) recording the transfer of ownership from Jane Berkeley, executrix of Jane Davies, and Martha Ash, daughter of Sir Joseph Ash. Jane Davies had been the previous owner and Martha Ash had some interest as a neighbour. John transferred his ownership to James Johnston on 29 April 1714.

Isabella Wentworth's letter makes Catherine also the aunt of Lord William Paulet.

At Poulett Lodge

Vere Poulett succeeded his unmarried brother John as 3rd Earl Poulett in 1764. In 1755 he had married Mary Butt at the house of her uncle, Nathaniel Lloyd, in Lincolns Inn Fields. In about 1759 they acquired the use of the house that Dr William Battie had built for himself on the bank of the River Thames in Twickenham. This property, the house reconstructed, later came to be called Poulett Lodge. The house had actually been bought by, or perhaps in the name of, Lloyd himself although it was transferred into the ownership of Vere in 1761. Curiously, Vere is recorded with a tenancy of the Vicarage of St Mary's Church in 1760. This property was noted for being leased to other than the incumbent of the parish, from time to time. Also, at about this time he leased Joseph Hickey's house in Cross Deep for a short while.

Vere died in 1788 and the house passed to his heir, John, who retained ownership of the property until his death in 1819. Mary, the Dowager Countess continued to live at the house until her own death, also in 1819. Margaret, widowed second wife of the 4th Earl then continued to occupy the house until her death in 1838 when the property was sold to Andrew Maclew.

The Earl's first wife, Sophia, was the daughter of Admiral Sir George Pocock, the owner of Orleans House between 1763 and his death in 1837. She died at Hinton on 24 January 1811.

The Keeper of Mary Queen of ScotsPerhaps the most famous member of this family, Sir Amias Paulet (1532-1588), was appointed Keeper of Mary Queen of Scots by Queen Elizabeth, from 1580 until her execution in 1587. He died on 26 September the following year having, apparently stayed in Twickenham during April, perhaps with Francis Bacon at Twickenham Park.

Further reading

Colin G Winn, The Pouletts of Hinton St George, The Research Publishing Co, 1976
G E C, Complete Peerage

back to top