GROSVENOR, Thomas (1764-1851), of Stocking Hall, Leics. and Grosvenor Street, Hanover Square, Mdx.
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Family and Educationb. 30 May 1764, 3rd but 2nd surv. s. of Thomas Grosvenor† of Swell Court, Som. and Deborah, da. and coh. of Stephen Skynner of Walthamstow, Essex. educ. Westminster 1773. m. (1) 6 Apr. 1797, Elizabeth (d. 26 July 1830), da. of Sir Gilbert Heathcote†, 3rd bt., of Normanton, Rutland, s.p.; (2) 15 Oct. 1831, Anne, da. of George Wilbraham† of Delamere Lodge, Cheshire, s.p. suc. fa. to property in Walthamstow 1795. d. 20 Jan. 1851.
Ensign 3 Ft. Gds. 1779, lt. and capt. 1784, capt. and lt.-col. 1793, brevet col. 1796; brigadier (local rank) 1800; maj.-gen. 1802; lt.-col. 7 W.I. Regt. (half-pay) 1802-7; col. 97 Ft. 1807; lt.-gen. 1808; col. 65 Ft. 1814-d.; gen. 1819; f.m. 1846.
Mayor, Chester 1810-11.
At the general election of 1820 Grosvenor, a devotee of the Turf and professional soldier, who drew £1,241 a year from the army, secured his eighth successive return for Chester on the interest of his cousin the 2nd Earl Grosvenor. The close contest was marked by his pronouncements against the ‘diabolical’ Cato Street conspirators and his fortuitous escape when the mob overturned his carriage into the River Dee.1 A petition against his return was dismissed.
He remained a very poor attender who voted infrequently and confined his few remarks to military matters. Like his colleague, Grosvenor’s heir Lord Belgrave, he cast a critical vote with the Whig opposition against the appointment of an additional Scottish baron of exchequer, 15 May 1820. On 26 June he was granted a week’s leave on urgent private business. He kept aloof from the controversies surrounding the duke of Wellington’s visit to Chester in December 1820 and the Queen Caroline case and is not known to have voted in 1821. That October a Chester common hall refused to elect him an alderman.2 He voted to reduce the Swiss embassy’s costs, 16 May, for criminal law reform, 4 June, and against the aliens bill, 5 June 1822. His other known votes this Parliament were for postponing the award to the Irish Protestant charter schools, 15 Mar. 1824, against outlawing the Catholic Association, 18 Feb., and for Catholic relief, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May 1825. Drawing on his close connections with the banker Andrew Drummond of Cadland and Joseph Foster Barham*, Grosvenor had been party to Lord Grosvenor’s negotiations for the purchase of Shaftesbury (1820) and Stockbridge (1822-5) and, after consulting his brother Robert and nephew Richard Edward Erle Drax Grosvenor*, he cautioned against offering his young nephew Lord Robert Grosvenor* as a candidate at the 1823 Dorset by-election.3 He made way for him in 1826 and successfully contested Stockbridge with George Wilbraham before joining in the campaign at Chester.4
Grosvenor spoke in defence of the conduct of Lord Charles Somerset† as governor of Cape Colony, 7 Dec. 1826. During the ministerial uncertainty following Lord Liverpool’s stroke, he voted with his relations to postpone the vote on supply, 30 Mar., and refer the Irish miscellaneous estimates to a select committee, 5 Apr. 1827. He welcomed the Canning ministry’s decision to adopt a vote of thanks to the army in India and spoke highly of its commanders and of Wellington as commander-in-chief, 8 May 1827. He divided for Catholic relief, 12 May 1828, and for emancipation, 6, 30 Mar. 1829. Differing from Belgrave, he voted, 5 Apr., 17 May, and spoke, 16 June 1830, in favour of Jewish emancipation. In April Wellington passed him over for the vacant governorship of Blackness Castle.5 He criticized the Whig Sir James Graham’s inquiry motion on privy councillors’ emoluments, 14 May, as ‘nothing more than a vexatious and agitating question’, but welcomed Trant’s attempt to revive the case of the Irish admiralty judge Sir Harcourt Lees, 24 June. His speech defending General Darling, whose conduct as governor of New South Wales was criticized by Hume, 9 July 1830, was his last before he retired at the dissolution.
His wife died, 26 July 1830, and, despite the initial disapprobation of his relations, in October 1831, at the age of 67, he married his former colleague Wilbraham’s sister, then ‘aged 40 and said to be an old maid, disagreeable, cross, and peevish’, upon whom £15,000 was settled.6 He informed the duke of Rutland:
I cannot live alone; and have been so fortunate to find a gentle lady that takes pity on my singleness ... The fact is (I speak for my humble self) I have done with all politics and public men and business. I shall shut my eyes to all newspapers and I must open them on something.7
He became a field marshal in 1846 and died at his residence, Mount Arrarat, Richmond, Surrey, in January 1851, having bequeathed his land in Gloucestershire, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Surrey and almost all his personal estate to his widow.8
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Author: Margaret Escott
- 1. HP Commons, 1790-1820, iv. 116-17; Sheffield Archives, Wharncliffe mss WhM/T.E4; Add. 52444, f. 92; Chester Chron. 3, 17, 24 Mar.; The Times, 14, 15 Mar.; Dorset RO, Bankes mss D/BKL, diary of Mrs. Henry Bankes, 22 Mar. 1820.
- 2. Chester Courant, 2, 9, 16 Oct. 1821.
- 3. Mss penes (in 1998) Major Maldwin Drummond, OBE, JP, DL, Hon. DSc, of Cadland House, Fawley, Southampton SO45 1AA; Bodl. Clarendon dep. c. 430, bdle. 2; Grosvenor mss 9/9/24; 9/10/94; 9/11/39-42.
- 4. Narrative of Procs. at Chester Election (1826), 3-6.
- 5. Wellington mss WP1/1111/48.
- 6. G. Huxley, Lady Elizabeth and the Grosvenors, 19; Cheshire and Chester Archives, Wilbraham of Delamere mss DDX/82/1.
- 7. Draft in Grosvenor mss 10/4.
- 8. Oxford DNB; The Times, 22 Jan. 1851; PROB 8/244; 11/2127/121.