Grey, Henry (1594-1651) (DNB00)

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GREY, HENRY, ninth Earl of Kent (1594–1651), born on 24 Nov. 1594, was the son of the Rev. Anthony Grey, eighth earl of Kent (1557–1643),rector of Aston Flamville, Leicestershire, by Magdalen, daughter of William Purefoy of Caldecote, Warwickshire (Doyle, Official Baronage, ii. 286–7), He became Lord Ruthin on 21 Nov. 1639. From 1640 to 1643 he represented Leicestershire in parliament. On 4 June 1642 he was chosen by the parliament first commissioner of the militia in Leicestershire (Commons' Journals, ii. 604). He succeeded his father as ninth Earl of Kent on 9 Nov. 1643, and on the 28th of the same month was substituted for the Earl of Rutland as first commissioner of the great seal (ib. iii. 323). Clarendon (Hist. ed. 1849, iii. 263, 306) calls him a man of far meaner parts than Lord Rutland, and says that the number of lords who attended the parliament was so small that the choice was very limited. On 16 Aug. 1644 Grey became a commissioner of martial law (Commons' Journals, iii. 592), lord-lieutenant of Rutlandshire on the 24th of the same month (ib. iii. 606), and speaker of the House of Lords on 13 Feb. 1645 (Lords' Journals, viii. 191). He was resworn first commissioner of the great seal on 20 March 1645, and continued in office until 30 Oct. 1646, when the seal was given to the speakers of the two houses (ib. viii. 223). Grey, who was custos rotulorum of Bedfordshire, accepted the lord-lieutenancy of that county on 2 July 1646 (Commons' Journals, iv. 597), and the speakership of the House of Lords on 6 Sept. 1647 (Lords' Journals, ix. 422), becoming one of the committee of the navy and customs on 17 Dec. following (ib. ix. 582). In that month he was one of the lords commissioners to take the four bills to the king at the Isle of Wight, and had to bring them back unsigned. He was renominated on 17 March 1648 chief commissioner of the great seal in conjunction with another lord and two commoners (ib. x. 117), but neither he nor his colleagues took any part in the trial or death of the king. He remained in office until the commons, on 6 Feb. 1649, voted the abolition of the House of Lords, and two days after placed the seal in other hands (Whitelocke, Memorials, pp. 283-378). Grey died on 28 May 1651. A monument to his memory was erected by his widow in Flitton Church, Bedfordshire. The title descended to his son Anthony (1645-1702) and grandson Henry (1664?-1740), the latter of whom was created Duke of Kent in 1710, was one of the lords justices after the death of Queen Anne in 1714, and held various offices at the court during the reign of George I. He was twice married, but, dying without male issue, his titles became extinct, with the exception of the marquisate De Grey, which descended to his granddaughter Jemima (1722-1797), wife of Philip Yorke, second earl of Hardwicke. The present Marquis of Ripon is descended from her.

Grey was twice married: first, to Mary, daughter of Sir William Courten, knight; she died on 9 March 1644 (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1644, p. 52); and secondly, on 1 Aug. 1644, to Amabella, widow of Anthony, younger son of Francis Fane, earl of Westmorland, and daughter of Sir Anthony Benn, knight, recorder of London, by whom he had surviving issue. Lady Kent, who from her charity was called the 'Good Countess,' died on 20 Aug. 1698, aged 92 (Luttrell, Relation of State Affairs, 1857, iv. 417). A drawing of Grey is in the Sutherland collection in the Bodleian Library.

[Burke's Extinct Peerage, p.252; Foss's Lives of the Judges,vi. 440-1; Doyle's Official Baronage, i. 522, ii. 286-8.]

G. G.