GRINFIELD, William (1673-1714), of Rockley House, Ogbourne St. Andrew, Wilts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1698 - 1700

Family and Education

bap. 28 Oct. 1673, 1st s. of William Grinfield of St. Peter’s, Marlborough, Wilts. and Rockley House by his w. Eleanor.  m. by 1697, Mary (d. 1751), da. of Edward Goddard† of Ogbourne St. Andrew, 4s. (3 d.v.p.) 4da. (2 d.v.p.).  suc. fa. 1692.1

Offices Held


Grinfield’s father, twice mayor and a long-serving alderman of Marlborough, had purchased the manor of Rockley in Ogbourne St. Andrew in 1674. Grinfield himself was the only member of his family to sit in Parliament, capitalizing on his family’s connexions with the borough and the propinquity of his residence, for no sooner had one of the sitting Members died in April 1698 than he began canvassing and ‘spending money’ in the town. However, he had to wait until the general election in July to be returned, largely on the Whig – or at least the anti-Bruce – interest. With the Bruce interest in disarray, and Grinfield having recently inherited estates in Lincolnshire and Gloucestershire, to which by marriage the previous year were added all his father-in-law’s estates, he was able to spend generously to secure votes. Probably because he was a new and untried Member, he was forecast as likely to support the disbanding bill in January 1699 but in fact voted against it on the 18th: the influence of his wife’s uncle, John Smith I*, cannot be discounted here. Without having made any recorded speech, Grinfield was given leave of absence on 1 Mar. 1699, ‘his family being ill’, and again on 18 Mar. 1700. Having stood down at the next election he appears as working hard in support of the Duke of Somerset’s interest in Marlborough at a by-election in November 1705. The agent for the Bruce family wrote in disgust: ‘that rascal Grinfield randys all over the town for the Duke, and forced the mayor out to one of his treats . . . and there persuaded him to be for the Duke’. A year later, however, he was threatening to put up a candidate of his own against Somerset’s, having been ‘tricked’ by one of the Duke’s men. The Bruces were informed that Grinfield ‘swears never to go within the D[uke]’s doors again, just as he did foolishly once before’. But it was thought that ‘the Speaker [Smith] can easily work him out of that humour as then’. His last involvement in Marlborough elections came in 1710, when, probably putting up as an independent Whig, he received a mere six votes.2

Grinfield died intestate on 29 Sept. 1714, his address at this time being given as Wraxall, Wiltshire, and was buried at the church of St. Mary the Virgin, Marlborough.3

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: D. W. Hayton


  • 1. Coll. Top. et Gen. v. 260, 263, 271–2, 355, 358; J. Waylen, Hist. Marlborough, 507; F. F. Barham, Foster Barham Gen. 21; Misc. Gen. et Her. ser. 4, iii. 214.
  • 2. VCH Wilts. xii. 145; xiv. 198; Wilts. Arch. Mag. xlvi. 70; A. R. Stedman, Marlborough and the Upper Kennet Country, 160, 164; HMC 15th Rep. VII, 196; Wilts. RO, Marlborough ct. bks. G22/1/23, p. 48; Wilts. RO, Ailesbury mss 1300/1336, Charles Beecher to Ld. Bruce (Charles*), 12 Dec. 1706.
  • 3. Barham, 21; Coll. Top. et Gen. 271; PROB 6/90, f. 127.