Thomas Lord Grey

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Thomas Grey was born in Leicestershire at Bradgate House and park. He was the eldest son of the 1st Earl of Stamford (direct descendants of Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Days Queen).

portrait of Lord Grey
Lord Grey

In 1642 he was appointed Major General of the Midland Association and fought at Edgehill on Essex's right wing. As an MP for Leicester he belonged to one of the most powerful families in the Midlands. The Grey Family were related to the Earl of Essex and Thomas seems to have been a surrogate son to him.

His Regiment of Foote consisted of five companies and in Lord Grey's absence, the Colonel's company was commanded by his cousin Col Henry Grey. As well as being present at Edgehill, he also took a detatchment to the aid of Essex and so helped him to prevent the fall of Gloucester. He was also present at the battle of Newbury. During his military career his Colours were of various designs, most were ‘Red of Blue’ and bore the motto ‘Per Bellum ad Pacem’ meaning ‘Through War to Peace’.

As Parliament's commander in Leicestershire Lord Grey was continually at odds with the forces of his Royalist equivalent, Sir Henry Hastings, and not least with the villainous rob-carriers of Sir Gervas Lucas’ Belvoir Cormorants. One such encounter was Lucas’ infamous dawn raid on the Parliamentry Committee at Melton Mowbray setting Grey’ plans aback and forcing him to recoup his losses in men and material from an angry Parliament in London.

At times most of his regiments, which included Horse, Dragoone and Foote, were garrisoned in and around the midlands and amassed to around 4000 men, Having taken the ‘Self Denying Ordinance’ late in 1644 Grey continued to command some of his own forces but a large body of his men were amalgamated into the New Model Army. From 1645 to the end of the war he continued to command his garrisons but also concentrated on building his political connections both in the army and in Parliament. When Charles I was brought to trial, Lord Grey sat as a member of the High Court of Justice. Lord Grey was second to sign the death warrant after John Bradshaw (the president of the court).

After the trial, he was appointed a member of the Council of State ans was described at the time as having sympathy with the Levellers. He took up his military career again by rasing forces for parliament against the Scots and Charles II and was present at the Battle of Worcester. For his services to Parliamentarian causes he was awarded many houses and land in London and for a time was the owner of Holdenby House and Coombe Abbey. He died in 1657, most probably from gout at the young age of 34, thus never becoming the second Earl of Stamford. This was left to his son, also named Thomas.

The ancient rivalry between Lord Grey and Sir Gervase Lucas simmers on today in the friendly engagements of our recreated regiments within the Sealed Knot.