William Paston, 2nd Earl of Yarmouth

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William Paston

Birthdate: (79)
Death: July 25, 1732 (79)
Immediate Family:

Son of Robert Paston, 1st Earl of Yarmouth and Rebecca Paston
Husband of Elizabeth North and Charlotte Jemima Henrietta Maria FitzRoy
Father of Charles Paston; Charlotte Herne; Rebecca Holland and William Paston
Brother of Hon. Robert Paston, MP and Col. Thomas Paston

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About William Paston, 2nd Earl of Yarmouth

William Paston, 2nd Earl of Yarmouth (1654 – 25 December 1732) was a British peer and politician.

The 1st Earl’s son, William (1653/4-1732), inherited the title and estates, and married a natural daughter of King Charles II, Lady Charlotte Fitzroy, but continued to run heavily into debt. He was also the last of the male line and with him the titles became extinct. Blomefield comments that ‘after the death of this Earl, who left his estates to pay his debts, this agreeable seat, with the park, gardens, &c. soon run into decay, the greatest part of the house was pulled down, the materials sold, only a part of it left for a farmer to inhabit, and was sold to the Right Honourable Lord Anson.


Born in 1654, he was the son of Robert Paston, 1st Earl of Yarmouth and his wife, Rebecca, née Clayton. In 1671, he married the widowed Charlotte Howard, née FitzRoy (1650–1684), the illegitimate daughter of Charles II and Elizabeth Killigrew. They had four surviving children:

  1. Charles Paston, Lord Paston (1673–1718)
  2. Lady Charlotte Paston (1675–1736), married Thomas Herne.
  3. Lady Rebecca Paston (1681–1726), married Sir John Holland, 2nd Baronet.
  4. Hon. William Paston (1682–1711)

Paston was elected Member of Parliament for Norwich from 1678. In 1679, his father was made an earl, and William adopted the style of Lord Paston. He continued to represent Norwich until he inherited his father's title in 1683. His wife having died in 1684, he married Elizabeth Wiseman (the widow of Sir Robert Wiseman and daughter of Dudley North, 4th Baron North) the following month and converted to Roman Catholicism soon after. In February 1687, James II appointed him Treasurer of the Household. He reconverted to Anglicanism in 1689, but refused to swear allegiance to William and Mary when they came to the throne that year, subsequently losing all his offices.

Suspected of Jacobite activity, he was imprisoned twice, but took the oath in 1696 and was admitted to the House of Lords. Yarmouth died heavily in debt on 25 December 1732 at Epsom, Surrey, aged seventy-eight. As his sons, his brothers and their male heirs had predeceased him, his titles became extinct.

William Paston, 2nd Earl of Yarmouth.

Colonel Norfolk Militia Reft of Horse 1678.

Educated Trin College Cambridge.

2nd Earl of Yarmouth.

Norwich: Freedom /8, Member of Parliament (M.P.) (Tory) 1678–81, Recorder 1683–88 in January 1677.

In 1684 High Steward Gt Yarmouth.

On 10 March 1686 married 2nd /7 Elizabeth, dau of 4th Lord (Baron) North (see GUILFORD, E) and widow of Sir Robert Wiseman.3 In March 1687 Treas Household /8–Dec 1688 (stayed loyal to JAMES II, whom with three other peers he urged to return to London after JAMES had fled to the Channel port of Sheerness preparatory to England).

In 1688 Jt Ld-Lt Wilts March-Dec.3 In 1690 imprisoned Tower London for high treason (i.e., Jacobite sympathies) July-Aug and May 1692.3 In 1719 V-Adml Norfolk Jan-April.

Invested as a Fellow, Royal Society (F.R.S.) in 1722.

Wikipedia: English:


  1. John Miller, Paston, Robert, first earl of Yarmouth (1631–1683), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Jan 2008, accessed 26 May 2008
  2. Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages , accessed 26 May 2008
  3. Norfolk Archaeology, Or, Miscellaneous Tracts Relating to the ..., Volume 4. Page 52.
  4. Paston Letters - Article from the 1911 Encyclopedia. PASTON LETTERS, an invaluable collection of letters and papers, consisting of the correspondence of members of the Paston family, and others connected with them, between the years 1422 and 1509, and also including some state papers and other important documents. The bulk of the letters and papers were sold by William Paston, 2nd earl of Yarmouth, the last representative of the family, to the antiquary Peter Le Neve early in the 18th century.
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William Paston, 2nd Earl of Yarmouth's Timeline

Age 20
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July 25, 1732
Age 79