Grey, Thomas (1623?-1657) (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
For works with similar titles, see Thomas Grey.

GREY, THOMAS, Baron Grey of Groby (1623?–1657), regicide, was the eldest son of Henry Grey (1599?-1673) [q. v.], second baron Grey of Groby, created first Earl of Stamford in 1628, and his wife Anne Cecil, daughter of William Cecil, earl of Exeter. Thomas, called by his father's first title, was elected to the Long parliament for the borough of Leicester, and is mentioned in 1642 as 'a lord dear to the House of Commons' (State Papers, 1641-1643, p. 359). He supported the Grand Remonstrance (1641) and joined with his father against the king. He was appointed commander-in-chief of the midland counties association on 16 Jan. 1643 (Rushworth, v. 119), and ordered to take special care of Nottingham, where he took up his headquarters with a force of about six thousand men (June 1643). Thence he was able to protect his father's house at Stamford, near Leicester, of which town he was made governor. At Aylesbury on 29 Aug. 1643, he joined Essex on the march to relieve Gloucester and after the siege was raised fought at the first battle of Newbury. Grey and others received the thanks of the house, which were solemnly entered in the journals (Whitelocke, Mem. p. 71). In 1644 he again received the thanks of the parliament for the reduction of some places in Derbyshire. Shortly afterwards, however, he left Leicester on account of some misunderstanding with the county. In 1645 the town petitioned that he might be sent back to meet a royalist attack. It was meantime taken by the king (1 June) and was afterwards retaken by Fairfax. In 1648 Grey raised a body of troops in Leicestershire, and after the defeat of the Scots at Preston pursued the Duke of Hamilton and his horse to Uttoxeter. Grey claimed the credit of Hamilton's capture, and though Hamilton declared himself to have surrendered to Lambert, parliament admitted Grey's claim and voted him their thanks (Burnet, Lives of the Hamiltons, ed. 1852, pp. 461, 491). Grey took an active part in Pride's Purge, pointing out the obnoxious members who were to be ejected from the house (6 Dec. 1648). He was one of the king's judges, and signed the deathwarrant, afterwards (16 Feb.) being nominated one of the council of state, on which he sat every year till his disgrace. In July 1649 the money he had spent in the parliamentary service was refunded, and he received a grant of the queen's manor of Holdenby, where Walker chronicles that 'a great fall in the woods' immediately ensued (Hist. of Independency, p. 171). He held various commands in the militia, and in August 1651 he was sent to raise volunteers, with the commission of commander-in-chief of all the horse he should raise in the counties of Leicester, Nottingham, Northampton, and Rutland, to meet the Scottish invasion. In September, after the battle of Worcester, Massey surrendered to Grey (Cary, Memorials of the Civil War, ii. 376, 381). He represented Leicestershire in the parliament of 1654 (Old Parliamentary History, xx. 300). Finally he joined the Fifth-monarchy men, and was (12 Feb. 1655) arrested on suspicion by Colonel Hacker, acting on the Protector's orders, and although 'much distempered with gout,' was taken as a prisoner to Windsor Castle (Thurloe, iii. 148, vi. 829). He was released in July following on application to the Protector (Merc. Politicus, p. 5514 ; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1665, p. 241). From this time till his death in 1657 he took no active part in politics. He was probably, as Clarendon says, a man of no eminent parts, but useful on account of his wealth and local influence. Mrs. Hutchinson speaks of his 'credulous good nature;' and he seems to have been a favourite of Essex. He married, 4 June 1646 (when he was aged twenty-three; Chester, London Marriage Licenses, p. 588), Dorothy, second daughter and coheiress of Edward Bourchier, fourth earl of Bath, and their only son, Thomas [q. v.] became second earl of Stamford on the death of his grandfather in 1673. There is a fine portrait of Lord Grey belonging to Lord Denbigh at Newnham Paddox, Warwickshire.

[Noble's Lives of the Regicides, p. 260; State Papers, 1641-54; Whitelocke's Memorials, pp. 91, 312, 351, 354, 376-7, 425; Hollis's Memoirs, pp. 137, 198; Nichols's Leicestershire, iii. 677, App. 17; Ludlow's Memorials, ii. 530; Thurloe State Papers, iii. 148, vi. 829; Hutchinson's Memoirs, i. 179, 221, 363, ii. 131; Rushworth's Hist. Coll. iii. pt. ii. 119, 219; Clarendon, Hist. Rebellion, xiii. 453-4; Gardiner's Hist. of the Great Civil War, vol. i.]

E. T. B.