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The Tudor Society

16 December – A Grey man with Woodville links

On this day in Tudor history, 16th (or possibly the 18th) December 1503, George Grey, 2nd Earl of Kent, died at Ampthill, Bedfordshire.

Grey served as a soldier under Henry VII, was on the king’s council, and served him as Constable of Northampton Castle and as a judge at the trial of Edward, Earl of Warwick in 1499.
He was also married to a sister of Elizabeth Woodville.

Grey also managed to retain royal favour on Henry VII's accession even though he'd been rewarded by Richard III.

Find out more about George Grey in today's talk.

Also on this day in Tudor history, 16th December 1485, Catherine of Aragon, first wife of Henry VIII was born.
Find out about her background, and early life, and how she ended up leaving her homeland of Spain and eventually becoming queen consort to Henry VIII in last year’s video:

Also on this day in history:

  • 1558 – Death of Sir Thomas Cheyne (Cheney), diplomat, administrator and Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, from the “new ague”. He was buried at St John-at-Minster in the Isle of Sheppey.
  • 1570 – Death of Francis Mallett, Dean of Lincoln, at Normanton, Yorkshire. During Edward VI's reign, Mallett was the principal chaplain and almoner of Princess Mary, the future Mary I, and was imprisoned in the Tower of London for celebrating mass at Beaulieu before Mary arrived there. He was made Dean of Lincoln by Mary I, who also made him Lord High Almoner.
  • 1591 – Burial of Sir Christopher Hatton, courtier, politician and favourite of Elizabeth I, at St Paul's Cathedral.

Transcript:

On this day in Tudor history, 16th or possibly the 18th December 1503, George Grey, 2nd Earl of Kent, died at Ampthill, Bedfordshire. Grey served as a soldier under Henry VII, was on the king’s council and served him as Constable of Northampton Castle and as a judge at the trial of Edward, Earl of Warwick in 1499.

Let me give you a few more facts about this member of the Grey family who was also related to the Woodvilles…

• George Grey was the second and eldest surviving son of Edmund Grey, Lord Grey of Ruthin and 1st Earl of Kent, and his wife, Catherine Percy, who was the daughter of Henry Percy, 2nd Earl of Northumberland.
• George was able to use the courtesy title of Lord Ruthin following the death of his older brother, Arthur, in 1480.
• In July 1483, during the coronation celebrations for King Richard III, George was made a Knight of the Bath, and he was granted manors in Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire.
• In around 1483, George married Anne Woodville, widow of Sir William Bourchier, daughter of Richard Woodville, Earl Rivers, and his wife, Jaquetta, and sister of Elizabeth Woodville, who’d been married to King Edward IV. George and Anne had one son together, Richard.
• Although he’d been rewarded in 1483 by Richard III, he managed to retain royal favour when Henry VII came to the throne in 1485, being made Constable of Northampton Castle for life in October 1485.
• In 1486, George accompanied Henry VII on his royal progress and was in the king’s vanguard fighting against the rebels who supported pretender Lambert Simnel at the Battle of Stoke Field in June 1487.
• In 1489, George was present when Arthur Tudor, Henry VII’s eldest son, was created Prince of Wales.
• In May 1490, George’s father died, leaving George to inherit his title, the earldom of Kent. In 1490, George married for a second time. He’d lost his first wife, Anne in 1489, and his second wife was Catherine Herbert, daughter of William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke. The couple had a daughter and three sons together: Anne, Henry, George and Anthony.
• George was a member of the king’s council on several occasions, and in 1491, in Bedfordshire, George helped raise money for the French campaign and led a retinue of men there in 1492. He also fought for the king against the Cornish rebels in 1497.
• In 1494, George was present when the king’s second son, Henry, was made Duke of York. He also attended Arthur’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon in November 1501 and the prince’s funeral in 1502. Another royal funeral he attended was that of Elizabeth of York, Henry VII’s queen consort, in 1503.
• In 1499, George was appointed as a judge for the trial of Edward, Earl of Warwick. He also served as a commissioner for the peace in several counties.
• In July 1503, he was one of those given the honour of escorting the king’s eldest daughter, Margaret, on her trip to Scotland to marry King James IV. He escorted her from the home of her grandmother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, at Collyweston, to York.
• On this day, or 18th December 1503, George Grey died at Ampthill in Bedfordshire. He was buried at Warden Abbey, Bedfordshire, where his first wife, Anne, had been laid to rest. Grey's second wife, Catherine Herbert, daughter of William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke, was also buried there after her death not long after her husband’s.
• George was succeeded as Earl of Kent by his eldest son, Richard. Sadly, Richard sold off the Grey lands. The Abbot of Warden stated that George’s “son and heir would as fast waste and spend his lands as his ancestors purchased them”. This meant that when Richard died in 1524, there really wasn’t anything to pass on to his heir, his half-brother Henry, and Henry never formally took the title of earl..
George’s daughter Anne married John Hussey, 1st Baron Hussey of Sleaford.

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16 December – A Grey man with Woodville links