Grimston, Edward (DNB00)

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GRIMSTON, EDWARD (1528?–1599), comptroller of Calais, born about 1528, was the son of Edward Grimston, by his wife Anne, daughter of John Garnish of Kenton, Suffolk. For a while he studied at Gonville Hall, Cambridge, but did not graduate. He was a commissioner in 1552 for the sale of church goods in Ipswich. On 28 Aug. in that year he was appointed comptroller of Calais and the marches, though his patent is dated 16 April 1553. In 1557 he purchased of the crown the manor of Rishangles, Suffolk, subject to the life estate of Robert Chichester. He is said to have frequently warned his superiors of the 'ill condition' of Calais. When it was taken by the Duke of Guise on 7 Jan. 1557-8 he was made a prisoner and sent to the Bastille in Paris. He lost a good estate which he had purchased about Calais, and his ransom was set high. On 2 July 1558 he, Thomas, lord Wentworth, and others were indicted in London for high treason for a private agreement with the king of the French to surrender Calais. In October 1559 he was still a prisoner in the Bastille. He was lodged in the top of the building, but, procuring a file and a rope, changed his clothes with his servant, and escaped. He cut his beard with a pair of scissors supplied by his servant, managed to pass for a Scot, and got to England about the middle of November. He surrendered himself to the indictment against him, and was confined, first in Sir John Mason's house, and afterwards in the Tower of London. On 28 Nov. a special commission was issued for his trial. He was arraigned at the Guildhall, London, on 1 Dec. The jury acquitted him, and he was forthwith discharged (Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. 1559, 1560, pp. 56, 137, 156). In July 1560 Grimston was appointed muster-master of the army of the north, and by 6 Aug. following had taken up his quarters at Berwick. Many interesting letters from him describing the bad state of the garrison are extant. The queen desired to recall him at Michaelmas, but he stayed on until the middle of November (ib. 1560-1, 1561-2, pp. 30, 74). To the parliament which assembled on 11 Jan. 1562-3 he was returned for Ipswich.

On 25 June 1565 he was a second time appointed to some charge at Berwick, and he was at that town on 13 Sept. following. He was again returned for Ipswich to the parliaments which met on 2 April 1571 and on 8 May 1572. As a justice of the peace Grimston showed himself a relentless persecutor of the Roman catholics (ib. Dom. Ser. 1591-1594 p. 178, 1595-7 pp. 239, 241 ; Addenda, 1566-79, p. 527). He was also sent abroad to report evidence of popish plots. In December 1582 he was at Paris and Orleans. In 1587 he appears to have been taken as secretary to Sir Edward Stafford, the English ambassador at the court of France, on the recommendation of Walsingham. In December of that year he sent to Walsingham copies of certain papists' letters directed to a cousin of his at Paris. He was very angry with Sir Edward Stafford for not allowing him to present the originals in person. One letter apparently referred to the intrigues of the priest Gilbert Gifford [q. v.], who was forthwith lodged, at the instance of Stafford, in the prison of the Bishop of Paris. Grimston concludes his letter by stating his intention of shortly visiting Geneva, 'where I shall remain to do you service' (ib. Dom., Addenda, 1580-1625, pp. 81, 198, 223-38). He died on 17 March 1599. He is sometimes, but incorrectly, stated to have been ninety-eight years of age.

On his brass within the altar rails at Rishangles he is described as 'Edward Grimeston, the Father of Risangles, Esquier.' There is a half-length portrait of Grimston, by Holbein, at Gorhambury. He was twice married. His son, Edward Grimston, by his first wife, M.P. for Eye in 1588, married Joan, daughter of Thomas Risby of Lavenham, Suffolk, and grand-daughter of John Harbottle of Crossfield, and died in 1610. He was grand-father of Sir Harbottle Grimston [q. v.]

[Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. ii. 280-1 .]

G. G.