|Earlier spellings||De Greye, Graye|
|Place of origin||Normandy|
|Founder||Anchetil de Greye|
|Current head||Baron Grey of Codnor|
|Final head||(patrilineal) Roger Grey, |
10th Earl of Stamford
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The House of Grey is an ancient English noble family hailing from Creully in Normandy. The founder of the House of Grey was Anchetil de Greye, a Norman chevalier and vassal of William FitzOsbern, 1st Earl of Hereford, one of the very few proven companions of William the Conqueror known to have fought at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The name, initially having been difficult to comprehend in the English language, was variously transliterated as Grey, Grai, Greye and Gray. The Grey family were first ennobled in the 13th century as Barons Grey of Codnor, of Ruthyn and of Wilton.
In the 2nd millennium, the Greys were elevated as viscounts, earls, marquesses, dukes and monarchs. Their titles include Earl of Tankerville (1419, 1695), Earl of Huntingdon (1471), Marquess of Dorset (1475), Baron Grey of Powis (1482), Duke of Suffolk (1551), Queen of England and Ireland (1553), Baronet Grey of Chillingham (1619), Baron Grey of Werke (1623/4), Earl of Stamford (1628), Viscount Glendale (1695), Baronet Grey of Howick (1746), Baron Walsingham (1780), Baron Grey of Howick (1801), Viscount Howick (1806), Earl Grey (1806) and Baronet Grey of Fallodon (1814).
Anchetil de Greye (c. 1052 – after 1086) is listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 as the lord of six Oxfordshire manors. His descendant Sir Henry de Grey was the first of the Anglo-Norman Grey family who were variously called to parliament, raised to the peerage, married into royalty, appointed army generals, and consecrated bishops, as well as later distinguishing themselves in other professions.
Reginald de Grey, 1st Baron Grey de Wilton (c. 1240-1308) was the son of Sir John de Grey and the namesake of one of the four Inns of Court. The property upon which Gray's Inn sits was once Portpoole Manor held by Reginald de Grey. He was one of three commanders appointed by Edward I of England in his 1282 campaign against Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, the rebellious Prince of Wales.
John de Grey, 2nd Baron Grey de Rotherfield (c. 1300-1359) is listed in the Bruges Garter Book as a founding knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter and a companion of Edward the Black Prince. He was Lord Steward of the Royal Household of King Edward III and had his children by Avice, daughter of the Baron of Winteringham, a descendant of King John of England.
Lady Jane Grey (c. 1537-1554) "the Nine Days' Queen" was the daughter of Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Suffolk and Queen of England and Ireland. Lady Jane was the great-granddaughter of King Henry VII through his daughter Mary Tudor, Queen of France. Due to this and her avowed Protestantism, King Edward VI nominated Lady Jane as his successor to the Crown. She thus became de facto Queen of England and Ireland on 10 July 1553, serving until her deposition by Roman Catholic rivals on 19 July 1553.
Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey (c. 1764–1845) was the son of Charles Grey, 1st Earl Grey and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Lord Grey's government enacted the abolition of slavery in the British Empire by initiating the mass purchase of slaves from their owners in 1833. He had previously resigned as foreign secretary in 1807 to protest the King's uncompromising rejection of Catholic Emancipation. He is the namesake of Earl Grey tea.
Edward Grey, 1st Viscount Grey of Fallodon (c. 1862-1933) is Britain’s longest serving Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1905-1916). He was the main force behind British foreign policy in the era of World War I, the centrepiece of his foreign policy being the defence of France against German aggression, while avoiding a binding alliance with Paris. Another major achievement was the Anglo-Russian entente of 1907. He is remembered for his "the lamps are going out" remark on the eve of World War I.