GRIMSTON, James Bucknall, 3rd Visct. Grimston [I] (1747-1808), of Gorhambury, Herts.

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



29 Dec. 1783 - 1784
1784 - 1790

Family and Education

b. 9 May 1747, 1st s. of Hon. James Grimston, and bro. of Hon. William Grimston. educ. Eton 1761-6; Trinity, Camb. 1766-9. m. 28 July 1774, Henrietta, da. of Edward Walter of Stalbridge, Dorset, 1s. 2da. suc. fa. as 3rd Visct. [I] 15 Dec. 1773;  cr. Baron Verulam [GB] 6 July 1790.

Offices Held


Grimston inherited a strong interest in Hertfordshire and at St. Albans. In 1774 he stood unsuccessfully for Hertfordshire, but failed to secure the indispensable support of Lord Salisbury.1 Later this aid was promised, and Grimston’s cousin, Lady Forrester, urged him to try again at the next vacancy—‘Unite with Lord Salisbury and nothing can shake your interest’2—but Grimston did not stand in 1780, probably because Lord Salisbury was then on his deathbed. In December 1783 he came in for St. Albans on the death of his family’s nominee, John Radcliffe. In the next weeks he voted with Pitt, and presented the address from St. Albans thanking the King for having dismissed the Coalition.3

At the general election of 1784 Grimston canvassed St. Albans, but having already decided to stand for Hertfordshire withdrew at the last moment in favour of his brother, William.4 With Lord Salisbury’s support Grimston stood for Hertfordshire as an opponent of the Coalition and for ‘the rights of the King and the People’, and was returned after a contest. In Parliament he was an independent supporter of Pitt’s Government. In 1785 he was informed about Irish discontent at Pitt’s commercial propositions,5 but did not vote against them. In 1786 he was absent from the division on Richmond’s fortifications plan. He supported Pitt during the Regency crisis, explaining to one of his constituents:6

You are not unacquainted that I am a wellwisher of Mr. Pitt and his Administration, and I hope you are equally convinced that I would not upon any terms give any support to a grand constitutional question which I thought subversive of our common rights in compliance to any party whatever.

And he made sure that his brother also voted.

Grimston did not stand in 1790. His alliance with Lord Salisbury bore further fruit in the British peerage of Verulam; and in return he brought in Lord Salisbury’s friend, John Calvert, for St. Albans in place of his brother.

In 1796 Grimston inherited from his maternal uncle, John Askell Bucknall, a fortune said to be over £150,000.7

He died 30 Dec. 1808.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. HMC Verulam, 124.
  • 2. Ibid. 126.
  • 3. Ld. Spencer to his mother, 19 Feb. 1784, Spencer mss.
  • 4. Lady Spencer to Ld. Spencer, 2 Apr. 1784, ibid.
  • 5. HMC Verulam, 132.
  • 6. Ibid. 135.
  • 7. Gent. Mag. 1796, pp. 792-3.