Richard de Gray

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Richard de Gray (Grey), Warden of the Isles 1226-1227, 1229-1230 and 1252-1254

Family history

Three times Gardien of the Channel Islands, on the second in partnership with his brother Jean, Richard de Gray was the second Baron Grey of Codnor, born about 1199 in Codnor, Berkshire, the son of the first Baron, Henry de Grey (1172-1224) by Isolda ( - 1246), niece and coheiress of Robert Bardolf of Grimston, Nottinghamshire.

Career

Richard Grey appears as one of King John's supporters in 1216 (he may actually have been born earlier than the date shown) and received a grant of the lands of John de Humez in Leicestershire, and of Simon de Canci in Lincolnshire. In 1224 he was present at the defence of Rochelle and in 1226 was appointed Gardien of the Channel Islands, of which in 1252 he received a grant in fee farm for a payment of four hundred marks.

He was custos of the castle and honour of Devizes in 1228 , sheriff of Northumberland in 1236, and of Essex and Hertford in 1239. In 1252 he took the cross, together with his brother John ( -1266). Grey sided with the barons against the king in 1258. He was also appointed custos of Dover Castle and warden of the Cinque ports, in which capacity he was able to intercept some of the treasure which the king's Poitevin favourites were endeavouring to send out of the country.

The following year he failed to stop the landing of a papal messenger bringing letters of institution for Aymer or Æthelmær of Winchester, and was in consequence superseded by Hugh Bigot. In July 1263 he was again appointed custos of Dover for the barons, and in the following December his representative refused to admit the king without his leave. Grey repeated the refusal when Henry returned from France on 15 February 1264.

He took part in the siege of Rochester in the following April, and when it was raised returned to Dover. He does not seem to have been present at Lewes, but when Montfort captured Rochester on 27 May, Grey was made custos of that castle. Next year he was with Simon de Montfort the younger at Kenilworth, and was captured by Edward on 1 August.

Family

Grey married Lucia, daughter and heiress of John de Humez, by whom he had a son John, third baron Grey of Codnor, who died in 1271.

  • In 1543 Judith de Sausmarez of Guernsey married John Andrews, of Charwelton, Northumberland, whose ancestry can be traced back through 11 generations to Henry de Grey, through Richard's brother Jean, and many generations beyond that to the first Dukes of Normandy and other members of English and French nobility priot to 1000 AD.

Channel Islands

By an Act of 17 May 1226 Richard de Gray was appointed Gardien des iles. "Rex E Thesaurario et Camerariis suis salutem. Liberate de thesauro nostro Ricardo de Gray, cc libras ad insulas de Geres et Gerner et alias insulas nostras ibidem custodiendas".

He is seen recognised as Gardien again on 19 May 1226, 26 December 1226 and 1 May 1227. Between then and 12 July he relinquished his post because the King ordered an inquiry into his expenses. His seal is in the French national archives.

When he was appointed in 1226 his brother Jean was sent to the islands with him "Johannem de Gray... quem dominus Rex misit ad insulas de Geres et de Gerner cum Ric de Gray fratre suo".

In 1229 they return together to the islands by letters patent of 4 December. Their name is now spelt de Grey. On 31 July 1230 the King wrote to Richard to notify him that he had appointed a different Warden, Henri de Trubleville. Richard was reappointed by letters patent of 24 April 1252, required to pay an annual farm of 200 livres (400 marks) half at Easter and the balance on the feast of St Michael. This was an increase of 50 marks a year over his predecessor.

On 14 February 1254 instructed de Gray that he has given the islands to his son, Edward, and ordered him to deliver them to the prince or to his agent. It appears that this instruction took more than a month to reach the islands. On 16 March 1254 an act passed in Guernsey still mentions Richard de Gray as Warden and his son Jean as his lieutenant.

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