GREY, Sir Thomas I (bef.1512-70), of Horton and Newstead, Northumb. and Bethnal Green, Mdx.

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



Oct. 1553
Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. bef. 1512, 1st surv. s. of Sir Roger Grey of Horton by Isabel, da. of Sir William Darcy. m. aft. 1527, Dorothy, da. of Ralph, 3rd Baron Ogle, wid. of Sir Thomas Foster, marshal of Berwick, 1s. d.v.p. 6da. suc. fa. 6 Jan. 1543. Kntd. 23 Sept. 1545.1

Offices Held

?Yeoman of the guard bef. Dec. 1531; j.p. Northumb. 1547-?58; treasurer, Berwick-upon-Tweed June 1547-Feb. 1550; sheriff, Northumb. 1547-8, 1551-2, Nov. or Dec. 1558; constable and receiver, Dunstanburgh June 1550, steward May 1555-d.; commr. for church goods, Northumb. 1553.2


Of a prominent Northumberland family, Grey was related, through his mother and by marriage, to Lord Darcy, Lord Ogle and other powerful northern magnates. Most of his active life was spent in the eastern and middle marches. He was a strong supporter of the Earl of Hertford (later Protector Somerset), under whom he fought in the Scottish campaigns of 1544-5: Hertford knighted him at Norham. Though never in such favour with Northumberland or with Queen Mary as he had been with Somerset, he continued as a servant of the government during the period 1551-8. Strype describes him as ‘one of the best reputation in the parts adjoining Scotland’. On one occasion the Marian government ordered him to show himself ‘more forward in service’, and he was summoned before the council in the north, and later the Privy Council. He found excuses to avoid appearance, and there is no evidence of any steps being taken against him. All this indicates no strong religious views and on the accession of Elizabeth he was pricked sheriff of Northumberland. This was his last public office and against his name appears ‘did not account’. Sir George Ratcliffe accounted for the whole year from 23 Nov. 1558. Perhaps Grey secured release so that he could sit as knight of the shire in Elizabeth’s first Parliament, but the fact is that, though still in his forties, he then passed into obscurity. His name is not on any Elizabethan commission of the peace, and he even left the north and moved to Bethnal Green. Possibly Grey fell sick, possibly the explanation is that the new government was anxious to make a clean start in the north, discharging from the border service ‘many tried soldiers ... simply because they were born in one or other of the border shires’.3

Grey died at Bethnal Green 5 Aug. 1570, and five days later was buried in St. Botolph’s without Aldgate, in accordance with the wishes he expressed in the will he had just made. The house at Bethnal Green was to be sold, and various annuities to relatives and friends were secured on the Northumberland property. The servants at the time of his death were to receive six months’ wages. Two of Sir Ralph Grey’s sons were appointed executors; William Cordell was one of the overseers. Among small legacies in a codicil, ‘Mr. Secretary’ (Sir William Cecil) was to have Grey’s ‘best gown and coat’, and Lady Anne Browne ‘a unicorn horn’. The will was proved on 15 Nov. 1570.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. Northumb. Peds. ed. Foster, 63; Hist. Northumb. (Northumb. Co. Hist. Comm.), xiv. 240, 242, 243; Surtees Soc. cxxii. 134.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, v. p. 286; CPR, 1547-8, pp. 87, 232; 1549-51, p. 178; 1550-3, p. 395; 1553 and App. Edw. VI, pp. 316, 375, 415; 1553-4, p. 22; Somerville, Duchy, i. 537, 538-9.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, xx(2), p. 291; APC, v. 15, 351; vi. 156-7; Reid, Council of the North, 167, 192, 211; Strype, Eccles. Memorials, iii(1), pp. 153-4; PRO Lists and Indexes, ix. 99.
  • 4. E315/221, f. 194; Hist. Northumb. xiv. 240; PCC 34 Lyon; Vis. Northumb. ed. Marshall, 8; Surtees Soc. cxxi. 59-61; CPR, 1569-72, p. 285; Wards 7/13/46.