Thomas GREY

(1st M. Dorset)

Born: BEF 1455

Acceded: 18 Apr 1475

Died: 30 Aug 1501

Buried: Astley, Warwick, England

Notes: Knight of the Garter.

Father: John GREY (1° B. Ferrers of Groby)

Mother: Elizabeth WOODVILLE (Queen of England)

Married 1: Anne HOLLAND (b. 1455 - d. BET 26 Aug 1467 / 6 Jun 1474) (dau. of Henry Holland, D. Exeter and Anne Plantagenet) ABT Oct 1466

Married 2: Cecily BONVILLE (M. Dorset) (b. BET 1460/1 - d. 12 May 1529) (dau. of William Bonville, B. Harrington and Catherine Neville) (w. of Henry Stafford, 3º E. Wiltshire) 18 Jul 1474


1. Dorothy GREY (B. Willoughby of Broke)

2. Cecily GREY (B. Sutton of Dudley)

3. Mary GREY

4. Eleanor GREY

5. Elizabeth GREY (C. Kildare)

6. Thomas GREY (2° M. Dorset)

7. Leonard GREY (Lord Deputy of Ireland)

8. Edward GREY

9. Margaret GREY

10. John GREY

11. Richard GREY

12. George GREY (d. AFT 1523)

13. Bridget GREY

14. Anthony GREY

Associated with: Jane SHORE

Lord Astley, 1461, inherited on the death of his father; Lord Grey of Groby 1461, inherited on the death of his father. This title had been created 23rd Sep 1449 for his grandfather who had been previously known as lord Ferrers-of-Groby in right of his wife. She had been born Elizabeth Ferrers and inherited the title of baroness Ferrers of Groby from her grandfather. Women were not permitted to attend parliament so he had sat in her place. Lord Harington and Bonville in right of his (second) wife, 1474, his wife being unable to sit in parliament. Earl of Huntingdon, 1471-1475; Marquess of Dorset, 1475, created for Thomas Grey 14th May 1475 (Whitsunday) in place of the re-possessed earldom of Huntingdon. Lord Ferrers of Groby, 1483- , inherited on the death of his grandmother born Elizabeth Ferrers and Lady Bourchier after his grandfather's death. Attainted 1484 following the bid to oust Richard III. After reversal of his attainder by Henry VII, styled himself marquess of Dorset, lord Ferrers of Groby, Bonville, Harington and Astley. The Complete Peerage vol.V,p362, is definite that 20 Sep is not the death date & vol.V,p.654.

The eldest son of John Grey and Elizabeth Woodville, Grey became the step-son of Edward IV when his widowed mother married the king in 1464. A man of mediocre abilities, was pushed into prominence by his mother's remarriage to the king. Although his father had died fighting for the House of Lancaster in 1461, Grey fought for his Yorkist stepfather in 1471, and was raised to the peerage as Earl of Huntingdon three months later. In 1475, only weeks before accompanying Edward to france, Huntingdon was created Marquis of Dorset. After acquiring this title, the earldom of Huntindon was surrendered to the King so Edward IV might be able to give it to William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, whose title the King wanted for his own son. Although he had acquired a reputation as a licentious courtier, Dorset, by the 1480s, was also a royal councilor and an emerging political figure.

His mother sought to make provision for him by marriage to a wealthy heiress. Thomas first married, at Greenwich in Oct 1466, Anne Holland (b.1455 - d. ABT 1474), the only daughter of Henry Holland, 3rd Duke of Exeter and Anne of York. His mother-in-law was the second child and eldest surviving daughter of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, and Cecily Neville. She was an older sister of Edward IV and Richard III.

After Anne died young without issue, Thomas married, perhaps on 18 Jul 1474, Cecily Bonville, 7th Baroness Harington of Aldingham and 2nd Baroness Bonville.

On the death of his stepfather, and his 12 year old half-brother's Edward V's accession on 9 Apr 1483, Dorset became Constable of the Tower of London and sought to secure the royal navy for the Woodville interest. Grey proved unable to maintain his family's position. It was not possible to arrange a Yorkist regency. Internal fighting, particularly the long established battle for ascendancy in Leicestershire between the Grey and Hastings families, now on the national stage, allowed the Duke of Gloucester to seize power and usurp the throne. When Richard, Duke of Gloucester, Edward's paternal uncle, seized custody of the young king and arrested Lord Richard Grey, Dorset's brother, the Marquis fled into sanctuary at Westminster with his mother. The offices and estates of Richard Grey were unlawfully redistributed to others, he was executed at Pontefract Castle though it is unclear by whose order. Dorset escaped from sanctuary in Jun, only weeks before Gloucester took the Crown as Richard III. In Oct 1483, with a price on his head and with rumors claiming that Edward V and his brother were dead, Dorset joined the rebellion of the Duke of Buckingham. When this uprising on behalf of Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, failed, Dorset joined the Earl in exile in brittany. In early 1484, Richard III reconciled with Dorset's mother, who left sanctuary and convinced her son by letter to abandon Richmond and submit to the king. Dorset quit Paris secretly, but Richmond sent two of his men to retrieve the Marquis, who was privy to all Richmond's plans. Overtaken near Compiégne, Dorset was either persuaded or compelled to return to Paris, where a mistrustful Richmond left him when he embarked for England in Aug 1485, as security for the repayment of a loan made to Henry Tudor by the French government.

After his victory at Bosworth Field, Richmond, now Henry VII, recalled Dorset to England and confirmed him in his titles and offices. Henry VII married his half-sister, Elizabeth, and heal the Yorkist Lancastrian division. However, in 1487, the King committed Dorset to the Tower. Henry's reasons for this action are uncertain. Perhaps he still distrusted Dorset for his attempted defection in 1485, but more likely he believed Dorset was somehow involved with Lambert Simnel or with some other Yorkist conspiracy. Dorset was released and restored to favor shortly after Simnel’s uprising collapsed at Stoke in Jun 1487.

Though in 1492, Dorset participated in the French campaign that resulted in the Treaty of Etaples, he was obliged to commit himself in writing to ensure he did not commit treason. In 1497, he aided in the suppression of the cornish rebellion.

The Marquis was also an early patron of Thomas Wolsey, who tutored three of Dorset's sons at Oxford. The Marquis also secured Wolsey a clerical living in Somerset.

Thomas Grey, Marquess of Dorset, died in London on 30 Aug 1501, aged about 45, and was buried in the collegiate church of Astley, Warwickshire. His wife Cecily Bonville survived him and married Henry Stafford, later earl of Wiltshire.

His first wife left no children. He and his second wife had seven sons and eight daughters, including: Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquess of Dorset; Leonard Grey, 1st Viscount Grane; George Grey, in holy orders; Cecily Grey, married John Sutton, 3rd Baron Dudley; Dorothy Grey, married first Robert Willoughby, 2nd Baron Willoughby de Broke and secondly William Blount, 4th Baron Mountjoy; and Elizabeth Grey, married Gerald FitzGerald, 9th Earl of Kildare.

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