GRENVILLE, George I, of Penheale, Cornw.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Family and Education

Yr. s. of Digory Grenville of Penheale by his 2nd w. Mary, da. of Nicholas Cavell, wid. of John Roscarrock (d.1537); half-bro. of Richard Grenville I. educ. New Inn; M. Temple 1572. m. Margery, da. of Richard Trengrove, ?s.p.

Offices Held

Under-treasurer, M. Temple 1576; recorder, Dunheved from c.1577-c.90.


The Grenvilles of Penheale were a junior branch of the Grenvilles of Stowe. Living two miles from Dunheved and being related to the Arundells of Trerice, the Carews of Antony and other leading families, they had the leading local influence over elections for both Dunheved and Newport. Grenville is easily confused with his nephew (George Grenville II) but, as the latter, when returned for Camelford in 1572, was described as ‘junior’ there can be little doubt that it was the uncle who sat for Dunheved in 1571. In 1572 the printed Official Return has a Richard Grenville as the Member for Dunheved, but the correct identity can be in no doubt since the Crown Office lists agree in giving the name and style: George Grenville esquire.

Only two committees, for religious bills on 28 Apr. and 4 May, can possibly be ascribed to Grenville in 1571; in both instances the Member, described as Mr. Greenfelde or Grenefeld, could equally well be Richard Grenville II. In the next Parliament, when the only other Grenville (written Greenfield or Granefeld) was George Grenville II, no confusion surrounds at least his major contribution to the business of the House for then the suffix ‘senior’ distinguishes him from his nephew. As such he was appointed to the conference to discuss Mary Queen of Scots on 12 May 1572. On 17 May he rose to add his contribution to the debate.

Temeris apprehending his son and another woman in adultery cut off both their heads and then caused a coin to be made of two heads issuing out of one, for a perpetual monument of their adultery. [Grenville wanted] the like to be done with the Queen of Scots and the Duke, and some perpetual memory made for remembrance of the villainies of their acts.

It is probable that he (rather than his nephew) was also the Mr. ‘Greenefield’ who moved for the universities to have a clerk of the market of their own (23 May 1572), and who spoke on Liverpool chapel being made a church (10 June 1572). Other committees to which he (probably) was appointed included statutes (25 June 1572), hemp and cordage (26 June 1572), bastardy (15 Feb. 1576), dilapidations (24 Feb. 1576), Eton and Winchester (2 Mar. 1576), vicars and curates (13 Mar. 1576) and bigamy (31 Jan. 1581).

The Dunheved accounts for 1572-3 record that a bottle of wine was ‘given to Mr. George Grenville at his coming home from London’, in all probability a gift from the borough to their MP on his return from Parliament. In later years Grenville held the appointment of recorder in Dunheved, but he had no great standing in the county. Possibly it was he to whom the 3rd Earl of Huntingdon sold the manor of Penheale in 1575 for £2,950. If so, his nephew George either bought it from him or acquired it at his death. Most references to the George Grenville active in local affairs are probably to the nephew who, in 1578 or thereabouts, became head of the Penheale line. It is not known when Grenville died, but he had ceased to be recorder in 1590 and may have been dead by then. He is not mentioned in the will of his nephew, who died in 1595.

Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 191-5, 400; R. and O. B. Peter, Launceston and Dunheved, passim; C219/28/14; OR, i. 408; D’Ewes, 206, 224, 290; CJ, i. 86, 87, 95, 102, 103, 106, 108, 110, 115, 121; Trinity, Dublin, Thos. Cromwell’s jnl. ff. 21, 41, 61; C54/975; PCC 63 Scott.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: W.J.J.