Grantham, Thomas (fl.1684) (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 22
Grantham, Thomas (fl.1684)

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GRANTHAM, Sir THOMAS (fl. 1684), naval commander, was son of Thomas Grantham of Kessiter, alias Burncester, Oxfordshire, killed fighting for the king at the siege of Oxford in 1645. In 1673 he convoyed twenty-five sail from Virginia to England during the Dutch war. He returned to Virginia in 1676 in command of the Concord, a ship of 32 guns, and took an important part in pacifying the colony during the insurrection of Nathaniel Bacon (1642?–1676) [q. v.] On a third voyage to Virginia he was attacked (25 Oct. 1678) by a corsair of very superior force commanded by a Spanish renegade, and beat her off after a gallant action. Charles II acknowledged his services, and in 1682 recommended him to the East India Company. They accordingly granted him a commission for a ship named the Charles II. The king, with the Duke of York, was present at the launch on 8 Feb. 1683, when the king knighted him. He sailed in the summer, with directions to enforce the company's claims for half the revenues of Gombroon against the shah of Persia, and to replace the English at Bantam, from which they had been expelled by the king's son, acting in concert with the Dutch. Grantham reached Bantam in June 1684, but, an agreement having been made meanwhile in Europe, his visit was peaceful. He next proceeded to Gombroon, where he found the Dutch already in possession and could do nothing. Sailing to Surat, he received orders from Mr. (soon afterwards Sir) John Child [q. v.], president of the council, to suppress a mutiny at Bombay. Captain Keigwin had seized the government and taken possession of the company's ship Return, with a treasure on board. Grantham with much firmness and judgment succeeded in persuading the mutineers to submit, granting Keigwin a free pardon. He ran considerable risk of being murdered, as Keigwin's followers were less reasonable than himself, and ticklish negotiations were needful. After revisiting Surat he reached England in July 1685.

Grantham was afterwards ‘gentleman ordinary’ of the privy chamber to William and Mary, and held the same position under Queen Anne. In 1690 he bought the manor of Kempton, Sunbury, where in 1697 he built a ‘fair house’ (Lysons, Parishes not in ‘Environs,’ pp. 274, 277). In 1711 he was described as of Batavia House, Sunbury, Middlesex. The time of his death is uncertain. He obtained a coat of arms on petition in 1711. The grant, dated 27 July 1711, is in Addit. MS. 26516, ff. 72 et seq. This is the sole authority for his earlier services; and as the statement no doubt came from himself and is very inaccurate in regard to some later events, it is not a very satisfactory record.

[Diary of William Hedges, edited by Colonel (Sir Henry) Yule for the Hakluyt Society, vol. iii. (illustrations), pp. clx–clxxxiv.]