Leonard GREY

(Lord Deputy of Ireland)

Born: 1479 / 1492

Died: 28 Jul 1541, Tower of London

Father: Thomas GREY (1° M. Dorset)

Mother: Cecily BONVILLE (M. Dorset)

Married: Eleanor SUTTON (C. Worcester) AFT 1526

Grey was the son of Thomas Grey, 1st Marquess of Dorset, at that time England's only marquess, and his wife, Cecily Bonville, the daughter and heiress of William Bonville, 6th Baron Harington of Aldingham. His mother was suo jure 7th Baroness Harington of Aldingham and 2nd Baroness Bonville, and the richest heiress in England.

He went to Ireland as marshal of the English army in 1535, being created an Irish peer as Viscount Grane in the same year, but he never assumed this title. In 1536 Grey was appointed lord deputy of Ireland in succession to Sir William Skeffington; he was active in marching against the rebels and he presided over the important. He received instructions from Henry VIII to oblige the Irish by indenture, to acknowledge his supremacy, and renounce the Pope, departed from Dublin 17 Jun 1537, with an army, for the purpose of enforcing obedience to these orders, and 11 Jul arrived in Galway. The corporation treated him and his soldiers gratis for seven days; and the mayor and aldermen, according to Sir Richard Cox, in his history, following the example of Limerick, took the oath of supremacy, and renounced the authority of the Pope. While his lordship remained in town, O'Flaherty, O'Madden and Mac Yeoris, (or Bermingham), came in, and made their submissions; but when the King received an account of what had taken place, he wrote to the lord deputy, that "their oaths, submissions and indentures were not worth a farthing, since they did not give hostages". About the same time, Finglas, chief baron of the Exchequer, recommended that half the fee-farm of Galway should be paid to the lord deputy for the time being, and that the other half should be applied for repairing the walls, and providing for its security. The town was accordingly put into a state of defence; the south quay, or new-tower gate, was built, and the walls were repaired and provided with guns: which latter circumstances gave rise to one of the articles of impeachment against the unfortunate lord Grey; for, having brought the artillery in a small vessel to Galway, he made the town pay 34l. for the carriage. The hospital of St. Bridget, in the east suburbs, was founded for the poor of the town, and each burgess was obliged, in his turn, to send a maid servant to collect alms every sabbath day for its support; a custom which was long afterwards observed. This charitable institution was fortunately completed in the year 1543, when the sweating sickness broke out, and raged with great violence, destroying multitudes of the natives, and particularly the tradesmen of the town.

Gerald, the last remaining Geraldine of the House of Kildare, was being nursed in illness by his sister, Lady Mary O’Conor. The English people were feeling secure in the knowledge that the House of Kildare had been wiped out and that none had escaped the butchery. For safety the boy was secreted out of the country to France. Savage at being robbed of his precious prey, Henry VIII sent Lord Leonard Grey to the scaffold, for allowing Gerald’s escape.

After examination by the Council, Grey admitted his guilt and was condemned for treason. He was beheaded at the Tower, 28 Jul 1541.

to Bios Page

to Family Page

to Peerage Page to Home Page