DE GREY, William (1652-87), of Merton, Norf.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1685 - 27 Feb. 1687

Family and Education

b. 21 Oct. 1652, o.s. of James de Grey of Merton by Elizabeth, da. of Sir Martin Stutevile of Dalham, Suff., and coh. to her bro. John. educ.Thetford g.s.; Caius, Camb. 1668; M. Temple 1671. m. settlement 5 Jan. 1675 (with £3,600), Elizabeth, da. of Thomas Bedingfield of Darsham, Suff., and coh. to her bro. Thomas, 7s. (5 d.v.p.) 1da. suc. fa. 1665.1

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, Norf. 1673-80, Suff. 1679-80; j.p. and dep. lt. Norf. 1676-d., maj. of militia ft. 1677-d., freeman, Thetford 1681, Dunwich 1683.2


De Grey’s ancestors were Suffolk landowners by the middle of the 13th century, acquiring Merton (ten miles from Thetford) by marriage about a hundred years later. A member of the family sat for King’s Lynn in 1545. De Grey’s grandfather was a Royalist, but his father, served on the committee of the eastern association, and on local commissions during the Commonwealth and Protectorate. He signed the Norfolk address for a free Parliament presented to General George Monck in 1600. De Grey was himself a Tory, signing as a grand juryman the loyal address from Norfolk in March 1682 to express abhorrence at the ‘treacherous artifices’ of Shaftesbury and his associates. He was elected for Thetford in 1685; the election was contested, but his own return was unopposed. A moderately active Member of James II’s Parliament, he was appointed to the committees to propose remedies for the low prices of wool and corn, and to consider the bills for the repair of Yarmouth pier, the improvement of tillage, and the relief of imprisoned debtors. He attended the second session, but his attitude to the King’s religious policy is not known. He died on 27 Feb. 1687 and was buried at Merton. His son Thomas sat for Thetford under Queen Anne and for Norfolk under George I as a Whig.3

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Norf. Antiq. Misc. i. 74-76, 80-85, 93, 98; Norf. RO, Walsingham mss 42/1.
  • 2. Add. 28082, f. 79; Norf. Antiq. Misc. i. 93; HMC Lothian, 127; East Suff. RO, EE6/1144/13.
  • 3. Address from Gentry of Norf. ed. Rye, 29; Add. 36988, f. 180; Norf. Antiq. Misc. i. 92.