William Paget 1572-1629

From Book Owners Online

William PAGET, 5th Baron Paget 1572-1629

Biographical Note

Son of Thomas, 4th Baron Paget of Beaudesert, Warwickshire, a Roman Catholic who was attainted for treason in 1587, after he had fled to the continent. Although the family estates and titles were then forfeited, William was made a ward of Sir William Carey by Elizabeth I and he graduated BA from Christ Church, Oxford in 1590. He was admitted to the Middle Temple in 1611. He was involved in military service (including the Earl of Essex’s Cadiz expedition) in the 1590s, during which he was knighted. Some of the family estates were returned to him in 1597 and in 1604 his titles were restored; he attended the House of Lords during parliaments held from 1605 onwards. He was actively involved in colonial trade, through the East India Company, the Virginia Company, and other similar ventures.


A catalogue of Paget’s library made in 1618 (now BL MS Harl.3267) lists ca.1600 volumes, arranged by subject. Categories include theology (385 titles), history (335), philosophy (210), mathematics (including music, architecture and painting, 178), law (70), military (70), medicine and chemistry (63), poetry (63), and logic (45). The fate of this collection after Paget’s lifetime is not known; his will includes no mention of books, but divided his goods and household stuff between his wife and eldest son.

Characteristic Markings

None of Paget’s books have been identified.


  • Birrell, T. Reading as pastime: the place of light literature in some 17th-century gentlemen’s libraries, in R. Myers (ed), Property of a gentleman, Winchester, 1991, 113-131, 118-9.
  • Graves, Michael A. R. "Paget, William, fifth Baron Paget (1572–1629), politician." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
  • Reid, P. Proto-bibliophiles amongst the English aristocracy, 1500-1700, Library History 18 (2002) 25-38.