Arthur Grey, 14th Baron Wilton

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Arthur Grey

Birthplace: Hammes, Calais, France
Death: October 14, 1593 (52-61)
Whaddon, Buckinghamshire, England
Immediate Family:

Son of William Grey, 13th Baron Wilton and Mary Grey
Husband of Jane Sibyl Grey and Dorothy Grey
Father of Bridget Egerton; Sir Thomas Grey; William Grey and Lady Elizabeth Grey
Brother of William Grey and Honora Denny

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About Arthur Grey, 14th Baron Wilton,_14th_Baron_Grey_de_Wilton

Arthur Grey, 14th Baron Grey de Wilton (1536–1593) was a baron in the Peerage of England, remembered mainly for his memoir of his father, and for participating in the last defence of Calais.


He was the son of William Grey, 13th Baron Grey de Wilton and Mary, daughter of Charles Somerset, 1st Earl of Worcester. He was a Knight and he was recorded as being Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire on two separate occasions, in both 1569 and 1587, though it is not recorded if he held that title for all the years in between. He probably went with his father to Guisnes in 1553; certainly he was there when the French declared war in 1557; his eye-witness account of his father's last desperate defence of Guisnes, after Calais itself has fallen, remains the best source for the episode.[1] Like his father he became a hostage but was ransomed a year later. He succeeded his father as 14th Baron in 1562; the family fortune was by then much reduced by the heavy ransom required to free his father. Elizabeth I, however, restored the property forfeited by his father for his part in the Lady Jane Grey affair.

In 1580, he recruited a force of 6000 and was sent as Lord Deputy of Ireland to quell the Second Desmond Rebellion. His first main encounter was when he led an army of about 3,000 in the Battle of Glenmalure, County Wicklow in August, where he was defeated, with casualties of 800. Later in the same year he led a force of 800 to Ard na Caithne (Smerwick) in County Kerry where he massacred 600 Irish/Italian/Spanish troops who surrendered, a notorious incident known as the Siege of Smerwick. According to some versions of this event, Grey promised the garrison their lives in return for their surrender, a promise which he broke – this resulted in the Irish proverb 'Grey's faith'.

By 1582, the rebellion was in its last throes and he was recalled to England. He had been largely successful in restoring order, but the justice of some of his actions was criticised, including the Smerwick massacre, and the hanging of the former Chief Justice, Nicholas Nugent, on what seems to have been no more than a suggestion that he had approved of the rebellion.

Marriage and issue

Lord Grey married after 1572 Jane Sibella Morrison, who died in July 1615 and whose last will was dated of 6 March 1614/1615 and probated on 14 July 1615. She naturalized as an English subject in 1575/1576, and was the widow of Edward Russell, Baron Russell, whom she married c. 1571, and who died before June 1572 without issue and intestate (his estate was administered on 30 June 1572) and was buried at Chenies, Buckinghamshire, son of Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford and Margaret St John. Her parents were Sir Richard Morrison of Cashiobury, Hertfordshire (d. Strasbourg, 17 March 1556), and Bridget Hussey (c. 1526 - 13 January 1600/1601, bur. Watford, Hertfordshire, will dated 2 June 1600) probated 12 January 1600/1601), who married secondly before 1563 Henry Manners, 2nd Earl of Rutland, without issue, and thirdly as his second wife Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford on 25 June 1566, also without issue. Bridget Hussey was a daughter of John Hussey, 1st Baron Hussey of Sleaford by second wife Lady Anne Grey. They were the parents of Thomas Grey, 15th Baron Grey de Wilton, and Hon. Elizabeth Grey de Wilton, who would have become the 16th Baroness Grey de Wilton upon the death of her brother, the 15th Baron. She married Sir William Cooper and then Sir Francis Goodwin.

Grey as author

Not long after his father's death Lord Grey wrote an affectionate memoir of him Commentary on the Services and Charges of William Lord Grey de Wilton, which was not published until the nineteenth century. It deals mainly with his father's military campaigns in Scotland and France, and has been highly praised by historians for the vivid first-hand account of the last days of English rule in Calais and Guisnes.

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Arthur Grey, 14th Baron Wilton's Timeline

Hammes, Calais, France
Wilton, Wiltshire, United Kingdom
October 14, 1593
Age 57
Whaddon, Buckinghamshire, England
Winchendon, Bucks.