de Gray

The de Gray Family


In the Domesday book - the record of a survey of England completed in 1086 - Anchetil de Greye is described as owning Redrefield (Rotherfield - in the county of Oxfordshire).  The de Greys also had lands in the county of Norfolk and this line of the Family gave us John de Grey, Bishop of Norwich and justicular of Ireland who died in 1214. He served in King John's (1165-1216) retinue from 1198. John had him elected Archbishop of Canterbury after Hubert Walter's death in 1205, but this was quashed by Pope Innocent III and Stephen Langton was elected. By the end of the 13th century the de Grey family were spread all over England with the Baron Grey's of Wilton and the Baron Grey's of Codnor being the senior members. They all went on to serve their King in Wales, Scotland and later in the Hundred Years War with France.

The de Grey family continued to own the estate of Rotherfield for more than four centuries. In 1239 Walter de Grey, Archbishop of York, brought Rotherfield from his Kinswoman, Eve de Grey, in order to give it to his brother Robert de Grey, ancestor of the Lords Grey of Rotherfield. This Robert's Grandson, Sir Robert de Grey fought for Edward I in Wales in 1282/3.

Sir Robert de Grey's son, John de Grey (1271-1312), was summoned to Parliament as first Baron Grey of Rotherfield on 26th January 1297. He took part in the Scottish wars under Longshanks and fought in the glorious victory at Falkirk in 1298 against William Wallace, when a large part of Edward's troops refused to fight. He was back in Scotland again in 1306 after the rebellion and enthronement of Robert Bruce. He died in 1312 having married Margaret, daughter of William de Odingsells of Maxstoke, Warwickshire and was succeeded by his son, John de Grey, second Baron Grey of Rotherfield (1300-1359). John de Grey was probably the most famous of the de Greys of Rotherfield. He was a professional soldier who:

'Received livery of his lands in the fifteenth year of the reign of Edward the second after the conquest'

In 1336 he was fighting for the King in Scotland; in 1342 he took part in the expedition to Flanders. He was in France in 1343, 1345-6, 1348 and again in 1356. He took part in the Battle of Crecy in 1346 with Edward III and his son Edward Black Prince of Wales, and it was after his return (after the fall of Calais in 1347) that he was given licence to crenellate Rotherfield. In 1353 he was commissioner of array for the counties of Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, and in 1356 was one of the witnesses to the charters by which Edward Baliol granted all his rights in Scotland to Edward III.

John de Grey was summoned to Parliament from 1326-1356 and was one of the Original Knights of the Garter instituted at its foundation in 1344 and confirmed in 1348, where he occupied the eighth stall on the sovereign's side at Windsor Castle. He died on 1 Sept, 1359 leaving Greys to his son, also John de Grey, Third Baron. The house was completely rebuilt during the life of John, 2nd Baron and his work was continued by his son John, 3rd Baron.

The 5th Baron Grey of Rotherfield, another John de Grey, also fought in the Hundred Years War for Edward III, and his splendid brass, dating 1387, can be seen in the lovely Rotherfield Greys Church, hidden beneath a carpet. He had no sons and his daughter, Joan, married into the Deincourt family. Her daughter, Alice, married William, Lord Lovell in 1422 and inherited Greys from her mother. Alice died in 1455 and with her son, Francis, (whose fate was never accounted for after the Battle of Bosworth ) the family's ownership and occupancy of Greys came to an end.


  • Greys Court - Lady and Hugo Brunner.
  • The Domesday Book - Thomas Hinde.
  • The Hundred Years War - Anne Curry.
  • The Crecy War - Lt-Col Alfred H. Burne.
  • England and its Rulers 1066-1272 - M.T.Clanchy.
  • The Three Edwards - Michael Prestwich.
  • King Edward III - Michael Packe.
  • Plantagenet Encyclopaedia - Elizabeth Hallam.
  • Chronicles of the Age of Chivalry - Elizabeth Hallam
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography - George Smith.
  • English Court Culture in the Late Middle Ages - V.J. Scattergood & J.W Sherborne.

Baron Grey de Ruthyn

[Taken from Wikipedia]

The title of Baron Grey de Ruthyn (sometimes spelt Ruthin) was created in the Peerage of England by writ of summons in 1324 for Roger Grey, a son of John Grey, 2nd Baron Grey of Wilton. It has been abeyany since 1963. The Ruthyn branch of the Grey family based itself at Ruthin Castle in Wales.

Baron Grey de Wilton

[Taken from Wikipedia]

Baron Grey de Wilton was a title in the Peerage of England. It was created on 23 June 1295 when Reginald de Grey was summoned to the Model Parliament as Lord Grey de Wilton. This branch of the Grey family of aristocrats was based at Wilton Castle on the Welsh border in Herefordshire.

The fifteenth Baron was attainted in 1603 with his title forfeited. His sister and co-heir, Bridget, married Sir Reginald Egerton, 1st Baronet. In 1784 their descendant Sir Thomas Egerton, 7th Baronet, was created Baron Grey de Wilton, of Wilton Castle in the peerage of Great Britain with remainder to the heirs male of his body. In 1801 he was also made Viscount Grey de Wilton and Earl of Wilton, of Wilton Castle in the County Hereford, in the Peerage of the Unitde Kingdom. The latter titles were created with remainder to the second and the younger sons successively of his daughter Lady Eleanor, wife of Robert Grosvenor, 1st Marquess of Westminster. On Lord Wilton's death in 1804 the Barony of Grey de Wilton became extinct as he had no sons while the Egerton Baronetcy was passed on to a distant relative (see Grey Egerton Baronets). He was succeeded in the Viscountcy and Earldom according to the special remainder by his grandson, the second Earl. These titles are still extant.

The Greys of Wilton as well as the other old noble families bearing the name Grey/Gray are descended from the Norman knight Anchetil de Greye.

Grays Inn (London, England)

[Taken from Wikipedia.]

The Honourable Society of Gray's Inn, commonly known as Gray's Inn, is one of the four Inns of Court (professional associations for barristers and judges) in London. To be called to the bar and practise as a barrister in England and Wales, an individual must belong to one of these Inns. Located at the intersection of High Holburn and Gray’s Inn Road, the Inn is both a professional body and a provider of office accommodation (chambers) for many barristers. It is ruled by a governing council called "Pension", made up of the Masters of the Bench (or "Benchers"), and led by the Treasurer, who is elected to serve a one-year term. The Inn is known for its gardens, or Walks, which have existed since at least 1597.

The early records of all four Inns of Court have been lost, and it is not known precisely when each was founded. The records of Gray's Inn itself are lost up until 1569, and the precise date of founding cannot therefore be verified.[1] Lincoln’s Inn has the earliest surviving records. Gray's Inn dates from at least 1370,[2] and takes its name from Baron Grey of Wilton as the Inn was originally Wilton's family home (or inn), the Manor of Portpoole.[3] A lease was taken for various parts of the inn by practising lawyers as both residential and working accommodation, and their apprentices were housed with them. From this the tradition of dining in "commons", probably by using the inn's main hall, followed as the most convenient arrangement for the members. Outside records from 1437 show that Gray's Inn was occupied by socii, or members of a society at that date.[3]

In 1456 Reginald de Gray, the owner of the Manor itself, sold the land to a group including Thomas Bryan. A few months later, the other members signed deeds of release, granting the property solely to Thomas Bryan.[4] Bryan acted as either a feoffee or an owner representing the governing body of the Inn (there are some records suggesting he may have been a Bencher at this point) but in 1493 he transferred the ownership by charter to a group including Sir Robert Brudenhell and Thomas Wodeward, reverting the ownership of the Inn partially back to the Gray family.[5]

In 1506 the Inn was permanently transferred out of the hands of the Gray family to a group including Roger Lupton [6] This was not a purchase on behalf of the society, and it was again sold in 1516 to the Carthusian House of Jesus of Bethlehem, who remained the Society's landlord until 1539,[7] when the Second Act of Dissolution led to the Dissolution of the Monestries and passed ownership of the Inn to the Crown.[8]


  1. Simpson (1973) p. 132
  2. Watt (1928) p. 139
  3. Douthwaite (1886) p. 3
  4. Fletcher (1901) p. xx
  5. Fletcher (1901) p. xxi
  6. Fletcher (1901) p. xxiv
  7. Pearce (1848) p. 317
  8. Fletcher (1901) p. xxviii

Grays Thurrock (Essex, England)

[Taken from Wikipedia]

The ancient local manor of Grays Thurrock was granted by Richard I in 1195 to Henry de Gray, a descendant of the Norman knight Anchetil de Greye.


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