GREVILLE, Sir Charles John (1780-1836), of 15 Chesterfield Street, Mdx.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



17 May 1816 - 1831
1832 - 15 May 1833
1835 - Aug. 1836

Family and Education

b. 5 Apr. 1780, 3rd but 2nd. surv. s. of George Greville†, 2nd earl of Warwick (d. 1816), and 2nd w. Henrietta, da. of Richard Vernon† of Hilton, Staffs. educ. Winchester 1790-3. unm. KCB 2 Jan. 1815. d. 2 Dec. 1836.

Offices Held

Cornet Warws. fencibles 1795, lt. 1795; ensign 10 Ft. 1796, lt. 1796, capt. 1799; capt. 81 Ft. 1803; maj. 38 Ft. 1803, lt.-col. 1805; brevet col. 1813; col. 12 British Brigade at Paris 1815; maj.-gen. 1819; col. 98 Ft. 1832; col. 38 Ft. 1836-d.


A career soldier, whose bravery during the Napoleonic Wars was always praised on the hustings, Greville had been substituted for his elder brother Henry as the Castle or ‘church and state’ Member for Warwick following the latter’s succession as 3rd earl of Warwick in 1816, and his return in 1820 was assured.1 As hitherto, in the Parliament of 1820 he adopted Lord Warwick’s anti-Catholic Tory line, giving silent support to Lord Liverpool’s administration.2 He divided against Catholic relief, 28 Feb. 1821, 30 Apr. 1822, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May 1825, the attendant franchise bill, 26 Apr., and to outlaw the Catholic Association, 25 Feb. 1825. He voted against parliamentary reform, 9 May 1821. He refused to present Warwick’s radical address to Queen Caroline in January 1821 and refrained from voting on the issue.3 He divided with government on the revenue and taxation, 3 Apr., 28 May, 27 June 1821, 11, 21 Feb. 1822, and for repeal of the Foreign Enlistment Act, 16 Apr. 1823. He voted in their minority against inquiring into the prosecution of the Dublin Orange rioters, 22 Apr. 1823, and paired against inquiry into chancery arrears, 5 June 1824, and the president of the board of trade’s salary, 10 Apr. 1826.4 He voted to retain capital punishment for forgery, 23 May 1821, and against condemning the indictment in Demerara of the Methodist missionary John Smith, 11 June 1824, and the Jamaican slave trials, 2 Mar. 1826. A bid to make him mayor of Warwick (after he became an alderman in 1822) and so to disqualify him from standing there in 1826 failed, and he was returned unopposed with the independent John Tomes, the victor at the recent by-election. On the hustings he paid tribute to his late colleague Charles Mills and explained that his recent reluctance to present anti-slavery petitions derived from his conviction that although slavery was ‘barbaric and the disgrace of Christians and civilized Europe, West Indian interests should be protected’.5

Greville’s recorded activity in the 1826 Parliament is minimal. He voted against Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827, 12 May 1828. Following his brother’s appointment (on the recommendation of the duke of Wellington’s ministry) as a lord of the bedchamber in March 1828, he also voted with them on chancery delays, 24 Apr., and ordnance reductions, 4 July 1828. The patronage secretary Planta predicted that he would go ‘with government’ for Catholic emancipation in 1829, but he merely refrained from voting. He presented a petition for the Warwick-Napton canal bill, 27 Mar. 1829. In 1830, when Warwick’s absence from the Upper House early in the session gave rise to concern,6 Greville presented his constituents’ petitions for measures to alleviate distress, 8 Mar., and against the administration of justice bill, 13 May, and abolition of the death penalty for forgery, 7 June, and divided against Jewish emancipation, 5 Apr., 17 May. His brother touted him in vain for a colonelcy that month, and although nothing came of it, at the dissolution in July Wellington suggested him as a suitable replacement for O’Neill as constable of Dublin Castle.7 Greville had resigned as a Warwick alderman in 1827 and his return at the general election of 1830 was not at risk. However, reflecting the growing tension between the corporation and the independents, who had forwarded their own addresses of condolence and congratulation to William IV, his speech on the hustings eulogized the late king, and he refused to be drawn on retrenchment, reform or slavery.8

The ministry counted him among their ‘friends’, but he did not divide on the civil list when they were brought down, 15 Nov. 1830. He received ten days’ leave after serving on the Calne election committee, 30 Nov. He presented a Warwick petition for reform and the ballot as requested, 28 Feb., but declined to endorse it, and his vote against the Grey ministry’s reform bill at its second reading, 22 Mar. 1831, provoked a vigorous campaign to oust him.9 Appealing to the self-interest of the lower orders, who, he claimed, would be disfranchised by the measure, he made it known that ‘his vote against the reform bill was actuated by the more immediate effect it will have upon the representation of ... Warwick’. He canvassed personally there in April, during the Easter recess, and returned to Westminster to vote for Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831, by which the bill was lost.10 His claim to be a ‘moderate reformer’ was unconvincing, and reformers nationwide delighted in his subsequent defeat ‘at his brother’s castle gate’ after a riotous five-day poll.11

Greville was promoted colonel of the 98th Foot in 1832 and topped the poll at Warwick at the general election that year, but was unseated on petition, 15 May 1833, after malpractices by his brother and agents were exposed.12 Standing as a Conservative, he regained his seat in 1835, but resigned the following year on account of failing health. He died, colonel of his old regiment, the 38th Foot, in December 1836, recalled in prose and verse as a strict but popular disciplinarian and ‘no drawing room soldier’.13 His will, dated 1 Feb. 1836, took the form of a personal letter to his brother and sisters, the main beneficiaries, and was proved under £25,000, 27 Dec. 1836.14

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Margaret Escott


  • 1. HP Commons, 1790-1820, iv. 97; Warwick Advertiser, 19 Feb., 4, 11 Mar. 1820.
  • 2. Black Bk. (1823), 159; Session of Parl. 1825, p. 466.
  • 3. Warwick Advertiser, 30 Dec. 1820, 13 Jan. 1821.
  • 4. The Times, 12 Apr. 1826.
  • 5. Warwick Advertiser, 2 Nov. 1822, 10, 17 June 1826; PP (1835), xxv. 661; P. Styles, ‘Corporation of Warwick’, Trans. Birmingham Arch. Soc. lix (1935), 115.
  • 6. Wellington mss WP1/1105/10.
  • 7. Ibid. 1113/5; 1117/36; 1131/20.
  • 8. Warwick Advertiser, 19 May 1827, 24, 31 July, 7 Aug. 1830; Styles, 116.
  • 9. Warwick Advertiser, 5 Feb., 5 Mar. 1831.
  • 10. Ibid. 26 Mar.; The Times, 14 Apr. 1831.
  • 11. Warwick Advertiser, 30 Apr., 7 May; Creevey mss, Creevey to Miss Ord, 4 May; Brougham mss, G. Phillips to Brougham, 5 May 1831; VCH Warws. viii. 503.
  • 12. The Times, 6 Oct., 15 Dec. 1832, 20 May 1833.
  • 13. Warwick Advertiser, 10 Dec. 1836; Warws. RO, Lucy [of Charlecote] mss L6/1719; Gent. Mag. (1837), i. 203.
  • 14. PROB 11/1870/715; IR26/1418/759.