GRIMSTON, Hon. William (1750-1814), of Oxhey, Herts.

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



1784 - 1790
21 Jan. 1791 - 1796

Family and Education

b. 23 June 1750, 2nd s. of James Grimston, 2nd Visct. Grimston [I], by Mary, da. of William Bucknall of Oxhey Place, Watford. educ. Eton 1763-8; Christ’s, Camb. 1768-70; L. Inn 1767. m. 6 Feb. 1783, Sophia, da. and coh. of Richard Hoare of Boreham, Essex, 1da. suc. mat. uncle John Askell Bucknall 1796 and took name of Bucknall only 21 Jan. 1797.

Offices Held

Lt. Herts. yeomanry 1794-9.


Grimston retired from the seat controlled by his family at St. Albans in 1790 in favour of John Calvert, a friend of Lord Salisbury, who had recently helped Grimston’s elder brother James to the British peerage of Verulam.1 In the following year, however, he was returned on a vacancy for Appleby on the interest of Lord Lonsdale. For this he was publicly ridiculed by an exasperated Whig2 and drafted (but did not date or send) the following letter to his patron:

In compliance with your lordship’s solicitation, conveyed to me by Col. Lowther, and pressed as an act of friendship to be shown to you that I would suffer myself to be chose for Appleby, I acquiesced in your lordship’s wishes; notwithstanding I felt in what an extreme awkward situation such an arrangement would place me in, after the assertions that ‘I did not mean to serve in this Parliament’ had been so frequently made by myself, and my friends in the county of Herts.

These circumstances I mentioned to Col. Lowther, and now very strongly experience, and therefore do most earnestly request that you would think of some friend to supply my place equally eligible to your lordship, and to whom this seat in Parliament would be as desirable as it is irksome to me, circumstanced as I am at present.3

Grimston swallowed his pride and retained the seat. He made no mark in his second Parliament, in which he might have been expected to continue in his brother’s line of supporting Pitt’s administration. He was listed hostile to the repeal of the Test Act in Scotland in 1791. In 1796, Lonsdale having ceded Appleby to Lord Thanet, he did not seek re-election to Parliament. He died 25 Apr. 1814.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: J. M. Collinge


  • 1. Spencer mss, Spencer to his mother, 11 June 1790.
  • 2. Morning Chron. 11 Feb. 1791.
  • 3. Herts. RO, Verulam mss F26.