Great Winchester Street, EC2N

Place Name

Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539 the priory of the nearby Augustinian Friary was acquired by Sir William Paulet, later Lord Treasurer and, in 1551, first Marquis of Winchester. He pulled down the original buildings and replaced them with a new property, Paulet House, later renamed Winchester House when it was inherited by his son. Sir William was a member of the powerful Basing family who were prominent in the City from the beginning of the 13thCentury. The family were originally from Basingstoke in Hampshire where they owned large tracts of land, hence their name. The area itself is thought to be the land of the people of Basa or Basing. By 1287 the family had produced two Lord Mayors of London, including Solomon Basing, in 1216. Sir William was a skilful and tactful minister retaining high office during the reigns of three of Henry’s children “by being a willow, not an oak”. Although a two week visit to his country home by Elizabeth I almost ruined the family fortunes. By 1720 the gardens of the house were paved over to form the street.




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