Le Grys, Robert (DNB00)

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LE GRYS, Sir ROBERT (d. 1635), courtier and translator, was probably grandson of the Sir Robert Le Grys, 'an Arragonist or Spaniard.' to whom Henry VIII made a grant of the castle of St. Mawes, Cornwall, in 1535. His father appears to have served in the Irish wars under Elizabeth, and he himself was a groom of the king's chamber to James I, when on New-year's day 1605–6 he received from the royal treasury a gift of ten ounces of gilt plate. In 1628 he was preparing 'John Barclay his Argenis, translated out of Latine into English. The Prose upon his Majesty's command, by Sir Robert Le Grys, and the Verses by Thomas May, Esq. . . . London, for Richard Meighen and Henry Seile, 1629,' 4to. On the completion of his task he was knighted by Charles I on 9 Jan. 1628–9. In 1632 Le Grys issued another translation, 'Velleius Paterculus, his Romaine Historie: In two Bookes, exactly translated out of the Latine edition supervised by James Gruterus . . . and rendred English by Sr Robert Le Grys, Knt. London, for K. Swaine, in Britaines-Burse, at the signe of the Bible, 1632,' dedicated to Sir Thomas Jermyn, vice-chamberlain of his majesty's household, and governor of Jersey. It was probably in the spring of the following year that he drew up and presented to the king some proposals, in which he offered his services as tutor of the Prince of Wales, afterwards Charles II, then three years old. Le Grys undertook that when the prince was seven years old 'the nimblest Latinist should find him his match,' and he promised to thoroughly instruct his pupil in the bible and in profane history; 'finally, he would make him familiar with arithmetic, geography, and the art of war' (State Papers, Dom. 1633, p. 349). On 12 May 1633 Le Grys was granted the office of captain of the castle of St. Mawes for life. The salary attached to the office was little over 50l. per annum, but Le Grys took a liberal view of the perquisites to which he was entitled, and his encroachments gave rise to frequent complaint. Before the end of the year, in answer to the charges which his chief lieutenant and deputy-governor of St. Mawes, Captain Hannibal Bonithon, preferred against him to Edward Nicholas, the secretary of the admiralty, he acknowledged that 'he had brought out of foreign ships several small quantities of wine for his own use, as all captains of forts or ships think it free for them to do, and certain timber for use in the castle, without paying custom;' he had also applied some of his majesty's timber to his own uses, and 'had shot at some few ships which did not come to the castle to give account of themselves.' but in this employment he had only spent 801bs. of powder (ib. p. 474). According to less partial accounts the governor had during his six months' tenure of office burnt not only all the gun-carriages and platforms, but even the flag-post, for firewood; had sold ammunition, had let the castle fall out of repair, and had cashiered most of the old members of the garrison. There was now no porter, nor even any door, to the castle, Le Grys, having burnt the door and lost the castle key, The admiralty in December 1633 summoned him to appear before them at Whitehall, not later than the end of January 1634. He was reprimanded, and his dismissal of Bonithon disallowed. A little later he made his complete submission to the king (ib. 1634). Le Grys does not appear to have been supplanted in nis governorship. He probably died before he was able to return to Cornwall on 2 Feb. 1634-5. Nothing appears to be known of Sir Robert's family, but the Robert Le Grys to whom the books of the Stationers' Company attribute 'Nothing impossible to Love.' a tragi-comedy, 29 June 1660, was probably a son (Baker, Biog. Dram. i. 450).

[Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. iii. 504; S. P. Oliver's Pendennis and St. Mawes, pp. 92-3; Boase's Collect. Cornub. 1416; State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1628-35, passim; Davies Gilbert's Parochial Hist, of Cornwall, ii. 277; Brydges's Censura, pt. x. p. 59; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

T. S.