GREVILLE, Charles (1762-1832), of Shepperton, Mdx.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



12 Jan. 1795 - 1796

Family and Education

b. 2 Nov. 1762, 5th s. of Fulke Greville of Wilbury, Wilts. by Frances, da. and coh. of James Macartney of Ireland. educ. Westminster 1773-5. m. 31 Mar. 1793, Lady Charlotte Cavendish Bentinck, da. of William Henry Cavendish Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland, 3s. 1da.

Offices Held

Ensign 39 Ft. 1778; lt. 90 Ft. 1779; capt. 45 Ft. 1783; half-pay 1783-9; capt. 58 Ft. 1795; ret. 1796.

Under-sec. of state for Home affairs Mar. 1796-Mar. 1798; comptroller of cash, excise office 1799-d.; receiver-gen. taxes, Notts.-d.; naval officer, Demerara and Essequibo 1798-1827; sec., registrar and clerk of council, Tobago 1801-27.


Greville’s son, the celebrated diarist, recalled that his father’s parents had been of no use to him and had neglected his education, but that he knew how to make himself agreeable. It ran in the family: his sister Frances Anne, wife of John Crewe*, was the Egeria of the Portland Whigs. One of the cropped fashionables, he won the hand of the Duke of Portland’s daughter. Sir Gilbert Elliot reported:

It is certainly a bad match for Lady Charlotte, and I should think it must be very contrary to the duke’s wishes; but he is not famous for firmness in any part just at present. I think Charles Greville a very disagreeable coxcomb, with very little merit to recommend him excepting his face. This might have been a natural title to favour and influence upstairs, but I understand he has long governed despotically the whole family, not excepting the duke or even Lord Titchfield.1

Greville’s father-in-law secured his entry into Parliament on the interest of William Jolliffe* when Welbore Ellis obtained a peerage through Portland and offered him his seat ‘freely’. Jolliffe grudgingly complied, only until the dissolution. Portland wished Lord Grenville to find a diplomatic post for Greville, but failing this, appointed him his under-secretary at the Home Office in March 1796.2 Greville made no mark in Parliament and his office did not require him to be a Member. He retained his post until 1798, having by previous arrangement been intended to keep it warm for William Wickham*. He was subsequently obtained colonial sinecure places for himself and his son by Portland.

Greville made no attempt to return to Westminster, but, as before, was conspicuous elsewhere for his ‘incessant chattering’. He was jealous when George Canning was introduced into Portland’s family in 1799. Lord Glenbervie wrote in 1818 of his love of imparting ‘accurate and confidential information (as he thinks he convinces you by the authorities he hints at or, with direct qualification and caution against being cited, actually names) in all matters of foreign and home politics and ministerial and court news and intrigues’.3 He died 26 Aug. 1832.4

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Authors: Brian Murphy / R. G. Thorne


  • 1. Greville Mems. ed. Strachey and Fulford, ii. 318-19; Paget Brothers, 6; Minto, ii. 123.
  • 2. HMC Fortescue, iii. 187; Wickham mss 1/40, Portland to Wickham, 25 Feb. 1797.
  • 3. Leveson Gower, i. 106, 253; Glenbervie Diaries, ii. 306.
  • 4. Not 26 Sept. as in Gent. Mag. (1832), ii. 474.