Thomas de Grey (1680–1765)

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Thomas de Grey (1680 – 1765) of Merton, Norfolk, was an English landowner and Whig politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1708 and 1727.

House of Commons of Great Britain historic British lower house of Parliament

The House of Commons of Great Britain was the lower house of the Parliament of Great Britain between 1707 and 1801. In 1707, as a result of the Acts of Union of that year, it replaced the House of Commons of England and the third estate of the Parliament of Scotland, as one of the most significant changes brought about by the Union of the kingdoms of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain.

Life

Merton Hall, Norfolk Merton Hall (geograph 2418018).jpg
Merton Hall, Norfolk

His date of birth is unknown, although he is recorded as being baptised on 13th August 1680, meaning he was probably born earlier that year. He was the eldest of only two sons of William de Grey to survive their father - William and Thomas both became MPs. The de Grey family seat is first recorded at Merton, Norfolk in the 14th century. Thomas' mother was Elizabeth Bedingfield, daughter of Thomas Bedingfield of Darsham. He attended St John's College, Cambridge from 1697 onwards. By 1707 he had married Elizabeth Windham, daughter of William Windham of Felbrigg,

William de Grey of Merton Hall, Norfolk was an East Anglian landowner and Tory Member of Parliament. He was the grandfather of his namesake William de Grey, 1st Baron Walsingham.

Merton, Norfolk village in the United Kingdom

Merton is a civil parish in the English county of Norfolk. It covers an area of 5.94 km2 (2.29 sq mi) and had a population of 113 in 50 households at the 2001 census, increasing to a population 0f 133 in 56 households at the 2011 census. For the purposes of local government, it falls within the district of Breckland.

Sir Thomas Bedingfield was an English judge and politician who sat in the House of Commons twice between 1621 and 1626.

de Grey was returned as Whig Member of Parliament for Thetford at the 1708 British general election. He supported the naturalization of the Palatines in 1709, and voted for the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell in 1710. He did not stand at the 1710 British general election, possibly on grounds of cost, and at the 1713 British general election, declined an invitation by Robert Walpole to stand for Norfolk. [1]

The Whigs were a political faction and then a political party in the parliaments of England, Scotland, Great Britain, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Between the 1680s and 1850s, they contested power with their rivals, the Tories. The Whigs' origin lay in constitutional monarchism and opposition to absolute monarchy. The Whigs played a central role in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and were the standing enemies of the Stuart kings and pretenders, who were Roman Catholic. The Whigs took full control of the government in 1715 and remained totally dominant until King George III, coming to the throne in 1760, allowed Tories back in. The Whig Supremacy (1715–1760) was enabled by the Hanoverian succession of George I in 1714 and the failed Jacobite rising of 1715 by Tory rebels. The Whigs thoroughly purged the Tories from all major positions in government, the army, the Church of England, the legal profession and local offices. The Party's hold on power was so strong and durable, historians call the period from roughly 1714 to 1783 the age of the Whig Oligarchy. The first great leader of the Whigs was Robert Walpole, who maintained control of the government through the period 1721–1742 and whose protégé Henry Pelham led from 1743 to 1754.

Thetford was a constituency of the British House of Commons. It elected two Members of Parliament (MPs) by the bloc vote system of election. It was disenfranchised under the Representation of the People (Scotland) Act 1868, which had resulted in a net increase of seven seats in Scotland, offset by the disenfranchisement of seven English Boroughs.

1708 British general election

The 1708 British general election was the first general election to be held after the Acts of Union had united the Parliaments of England and Scotland.

de Grey was backed by Lord Townshend as a Whig candidate for Norfolk at the 1715 British general election and he won the contest. He voted against the septennial bill of 1716 and with the opposition (led by Townshend and Robert Walpole) on Lord Cadogan in June 1717. He abstained from the votes on the Peerage Bill and on repealing the Occasional Conformity Act and Schism Act, all in 1719, and wrote to Townshend asking:

Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend British Whig statesman

Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend, was an English Whig statesman. He served for a decade as Secretary of State for the Northern Department, 1714–1717, 1721–1730. He directed British foreign policy in close collaboration with his brother-in-law, prime minister Robert Walpole. He was often known as Turnip Townshend because of his strong interest in farming turnips and his role in the British Agricultural Revolution.

Norfolk was a County constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of England then of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1707 to 1800 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1832. It was represented by two Members of Parliament. In 1832 the county was divided for parliamentary purposes into two new two member divisions – East Norfolk and West Norfolk.

1715 British general election

The 1715 British general election returned members to serve in the House of Commons of the 5th Parliament of Great Britain to be held, after the merger of the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland in 1707. In October 1714, soon after George I had arrived in London after ascending to the throne, he dismissed the Tory cabinet and replaced it with one almost entirely composed of Whigs, as they were responsible for securing his succession. The election of 1715 saw the Whigs win an overwhelming majority in the House of Commons, and afterwards virtually all Tories in central or local government were purged, leading to a period of Whig ascendancy lasting almost fifty years during which Tories were almost entirely excluded from office.

Townshend did not let him stand down and he won the seat unopposed, but never stood again [2]

de Grey died in 1765 and was buried at Merton on 18 December 1765. By his wife, he had two daughters and two surviving sons, Thomas and William.

William de Grey, 1st Baron Walsingham British lawyer, judge and politician

William de Grey, 1st Baron Walsingham PC KC, was a British lawyer, judge and politician. He served as Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas between 1771 and 1780.

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References

  1. "DE GREY, Thomas (1680-1765), of Merton, Norf". History of Parliament Online (1690-1715). Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  2. "DE GREY, Thomas (1680-1765), of Merton, Norf". History of Parliament Online (1715-1754). Retrieved 14 August 2019.
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Hanmer
Sir John Wodehouse
Member of Parliament for Thetford
17081710
With: Robert Baylis
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Hanmer
Dudley North
Preceded by
Sir Edmund Bacon
Sir Jacob Astley
Member of Parliament for Norfolk
1715-1727
With: Sir Jacob Astley, Bt. (to 1722)
Sir Thomas Coke (from 1722)
Succeeded by
Sir John Hobart, Bt.
Sir Thomas Coke