GRIMSTON, Hon. James Walter (1775-1845), of Gorhambury, Herts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1802 - 3 Dec. 1808

Family and Education

b. 26 Sept. 1775, o.s. of James Bucknall Grimston, 1st Baron Verulam, by Henrietta, da. and h. of Edward Walter of Stalbridge, Dorset by Hon. Harriot Forrester, da. of George, 5th Baron Forrester [S]. educ. Harrow 1788-92; Christ Church, Oxf. 1793-6. m. 11 Aug. 1807, Lady Charlotte Jenkinson, da. of Charles Jenkinson, 1st Earl of Liverpool, by 2nd w., 5s. 4da. suc. mother’s cos. as 10th Baron Forrester [S] 3 Dec. 1808; fa. as 2nd Baron Verulam 30 Dec. 1808; cr. Earl of Verulam 24 Nov. 1815.

Offices Held

Ld. of bedchamber Jan.-Apr. 1835.

High steward, St. Albans 1809-d.; ld. Lt. Herts. 1823-d.; capt. Herts. militia 1797, maj. 1803, lt.-col. 1808-9.


Grimston acquitted himself well at Oxford. He informed his father, 15 June 1795, that the dean of Christ Church had assured him that

if having a degree in the House would make my stay more agreeable, he should be very happy to give it to me. He questioned me much about my intentions with regard to my education after I leave this place, to which I could give no other answer than that I had none, but hoped you had some for me. I must now beg to know whether or not you wish me to take a real degree.

Lord Verulam replied, 22 June, that to take a degree ‘in the usual manner’ would be to his credit and further advised him to study the common law of England, ‘not only at present, but as a future employment’. Grimston, however, did not take a ‘real’ degree or attend the Inns. He was expected to come into Parliament on the family interest as soon as he came of age and was duly introduced at St. Albans in 1796, but the general election came sooner than anticipated, while he was still a minor. So he was not returned until 1802.

He gave a silent support to Addington’s administration. In September 1804, after Pitt’s return to power, he was listed a supporter. Despite this, he had apparently voted against the additional force bill on 15 June. On 8 Apr. 1805 he voted for the censure motion on Melville and on 12 June for the criminal prosecution: consequently he was listed as a ‘doubtful’ Pittite in July. He voted against the Grenville ministry’s repeal of the Additional Force Act, 30 Apr. 1806, and had to fight for his seat at the general election in October against two ministerial supporters: they did not join against him, so he survived the contest. He was expected to fare badly in another contest in 1807, but was again returned and supported the Portland administration (no speech is known) until December 1808, when he was called to the Lords on succeeding his mother’s cousin Anna Maria Baroness Forrester to a Scottish peerage. Soon afterwards he succeeded his father. In 1815 his brother-in-law Lord Liverpool secured an earldom for him. A Tory in the Lords, he was a prominent patron of the Turf. He died 17 Nov. 1845.

HMC Verulam, 150, 156, 163, 168; Herts. RO, Verulam mss F35, ff. 130, 136; Gent. Mag. (1846), i. 89.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne