GRENVILLE, Henry (1717-84), of Shrub Hill, Dorking, Surr.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



15 Feb. 1759 - 1761
1761 - June 1765
1768 - 1774

Family and Education

b. 15 Sept. 1717, 4th s. of Richard Grenville, M.P., and bro. of Richard, 2nd Earl Temple, and of George and James Grenville. educ. Eton 1728-32. m. 11 Oct. 1757, Margaret Eleanor, da. of Joseph Banks of Revesby Abbey, Lines., 1da.

Offices Held

Gov. Barbados 1746-56; ambassador to Constantinople 1761-5; commr. of customs 1765-6.


In 1746 Grenville obtained the governorship of Barbados through the influence of his brother George. He returned to England in 1755 and resigned the following year. On 18 Nov. 1756 Dodington noted in his diary (p. 391):

Mr. Tucker [M.P. for Weymouth and Melcombe Regis] had agreed with Mr. George Grenville to be paymaster of the marines and for Governor Grenville to be chosen in his place. The King sent to Fox to know if he could prevent it, and if he thought I would interpose. Mr. Fox said he supposed, if his Majesty commanded me, I would. The King ordered Fox to speak to me—he did, and I stopped it. This is the first step towards turning out Lord Temple.

In February 1759 George Grenville arranged that Walter Waring, M.P. for Bishop’s Castle and patron of the borough, should resign in Henry’s favour: ‘Mr. Waring’s interest and Mr. Pitt’s popularity united seemed to me invincible there’,1 Henry wrote on 22 Feb. after an uncontested return. In 1761 he was returned on the Frankland interest at Thirsk, but almost immediately was appointed ambassador to Constantinople and does not appear to have taken his seat in Parliament before leaving for Turkey where he remained for more than three years; and thus was not involved in the family quarrel. When on 3 Jan. 1765 he wrote to George Grenville of the ‘uneasiness of his situation ... [in Constantinople] and his earnest wish to be recalled’,2 his brother immediately offered him a commissionership of customs; ‘which as it would oblige him to vacate his seat in Parliament would exempt him from involving himself in the unhappy differences in his own family’.3 In fact these were resolved before his appointment was confirmed in June, and Henry did not return to England till the autumn. On 7 Aug. 1766 Lord Townshend wrote to Bute: ‘H. Grenville has resigned the customs; Lord Temple has given him a house and land.’4

In 1768 Grenville was returned unopposed at Buckingham on Temple’s interest. In Parliament he now voted consistently with Opposition. There is no record of his having spoken in the House. In April 1774 Temple requested Grenville to resign his seat and proposed to return their nephew George Grenville jnr. in his place as soon as he came of age in June. But on young George’s protesting that he did not wish to supplant his uncle before the general election and that ‘it was never understood that he held it in trust for me’,5 Temple relented, and Henry retained his seat till the end of the Parliament, but did not stand again.

He died 22 Apr. 1784.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Mary M. Drummond


  • 1. An 18th Cent. Corresp. ed. Dickens Stanton.
  • 2. Grenville Pprs. iii. 117.
  • 3. Grenville’s diary, 12 Feb. 1765, ibid.
  • 4. Bute mss.
  • 5. Grenville Pprs. iv. 559.