Henry Gray, 1st Duke of Suffolk

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Henry Gray, 1st Duke of Suffolk
Coat of arms of Henry Gray, 1st Duke of Suffolk

Henry Gray, 1st Duke of Suffolk KG (born January 17, 1517 , † February 23, 1554 in London ), between 1530 and 1551 known as the 3rd Marquess of Dorset , was an English nobleman at the time of the Tudors and the father of Lady Jane Gray , the so-called Nine Day Queen.


Childhood and youth

Henry Gray was the son of Thomas Gray, 2nd Marquess of Dorset and Margaret Wotton. When his father died on October 10, 1530, he was almost 14 years old. As the eldest son, he inherited his father and became 3rd Marquess of Dorset. Since he was still a minor, however, his guardianship fell to the Crown, as was customary at the time, although his mother was still alive. His father had arranged a marriage for him to Katherine FitzAlan, daughter of the Earl of Arundel, and his sister Catherine had already married Arundel's son and heir, Henry, so the Earl tried to buy guardianship of the young Marquess of Dorset from the Crown. However, the boy refused Arundel's daughter (whether voluntarily or under pressure from some adults is unclear) and his guardianship was then bought by Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk , who married him to his daughter Frances . Lady Frances was the eldest daughter of Mary , the younger sister of Henry VIII, and was thus in the line of succession to the English throne.

After the wedding, Henry and his wife spent their time partly at court, partly in the country, and quickly made a name for themselves as generous hosts, which, however, had an impact on their finances. Soon Henry Grey's mother, Thomas Cromwell , a minister to the King and ex-henchman of the Greys, began bombarding him with letters pleading with him to convert her son to a more measured life. Contrary to what she agreed with Charles Brandon, she seemed to have to settle a large part of Henry's debt, because she writes:

“Lord Suffolk wrote to me the other day that I should pay part of the cost of my son's stay at court and his wife in the country, or that she and her followers should stay with me. When Lord Suffolk proposed the marriage of my son to the King, he spoke of my "condescension" in this regard. I wrote to Lord Suffolk at the time that if he pleased my son to marry into a noble family, I would agree so long as he relieved me of the obligation to maintain my son when he was a minor. Although Lord Suffolk will pay the costs for three or four years, as promised, once the minority expires, my son, his wife and all of their entourage will become a burden to me and then the costs will be much higher. "

Cromwell did not seem to have accomplished the task of encouraging Henry Gray to be more moderate, for the old lady's letters became more and more urgent and pleading. In order to pay off his debts, her son did not hesitate to move his mother's possessions, which he considered his inheritance, out of her home. He and Frances had three children who survived childhood: Lady Jane Gray (1537–1554), Lady Catherine Gray (1540–1568), and Lady Mary Gray (1545–1578).

Under Edward VI.

During the final years of Henry VIII's reign, Henry Gray managed to gain a foothold at his court. At the coronation of Anne Boleyn in 1533, at the arrival of Anna von Kleve , and at the conquest of Boulogne in 1545, he officiated as the king's sword-bearer. In parliament he was allowed to wear the so-called Cap of Maintenance, a velvet hood that was one of the royal insignia. During the French campaign of 1545 he served as a general. In 1547 he became a Knight of the Order of the Garter .

After the death of Henry VIII in 1547, the Grays failed to win the benevolence of Edward Seymour , the protector of England during the underage of the young King Edward VI. In this situation, Henry Gray tried to secure a share of power for his family by, with the help of Thomas Seymour , the brother of the Protector, a marriage of his daughter Lady Jane Gray to Edward VI. wanted to arrange. The plan failed and Thomas Seymour was executed, but Henry Gray was left unmolested.

In 1549, John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland , succeeded in overthrowing Edward Seymour and made himself regent in his place. He secured his power by appointing his friends to the Privy Council , including Henry Gray. Dudley rewarded his support by naming him Duke of Suffolk in 1551 .

Gray was a staunch Protestant who pushed for the Reformation to continue in England. For this he received the recognition of Protestant theologians like Heinrich Bullinger , who dedicated one of his books to the English nobleman.

Rebellion and execution

When Edward VI. died on July 6, 1553 at the age of just 15, Henry Gray saw its hour and did everything possible to make his daughter Jane Gray queen, the closest Protestant relative of the Tudors. The attempt to overthrow the Catholic heir to the throne Maria I failed on July 19. First of all, the Grays escaped a possible revenge from Mary, because Henry's wife was on friendly terms with her. But when they supported the unsuccessful overthrow attempt by Thomas Wyatt in early 1554, Maria let them carry out the high treason trial. Lady Jane was beheaded on February 12, 1554, her father was beheaded a little later, on February 23.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Henry Gray, 1st Duke of Suffolk on thepeerage.com , accessed October 6, 2015.
  2. "The said Marquis died October 10, 22 Henry VIII (1530): Henry Gray, now Marquis of Dorset, is his son and next heir, and was then aged 13¾ years, 12 weeks, 4 days and more." In: Inquisitions: Henry VIII (part 2 of 3) , Abstracts of Inquisitiones Post Mortem for the City of London: Part 1 (1896), pp. 43-60.
  3. ^ Gunn, Steven J .: Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, C. 1484-1545 Blackwell Publishing, Williston 1988, pp. 131f
  4. "... My lord of Suffolk hath lately sent to me to bear with him part of the charges, as well of my son Marquis being in the court, as of my lady his wife being in the country; or else she and her train to be with us. [...] When my lord of Suffolk made suit to the King for the marriage of my son, it pleased him to refer therein to my “condyscente” on that behalf. I wrote to my lord of Suffolk that since it was his pleasure to match my son into honorable blood, if he would see me discharged of my bond for support of my son during his minority, I would consent. [...] Though my lord of Suffolk bears these charges, according to his promise, for three or four years, yet when he comes of age the charge of him, his wife and all their train will fall upon me, and then they will be much greater. " on British History
  5. ^ Robert C. Braddock, Gray, Henry, duke of Suffolk (1517–1554) , Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 viewed 7th March 2012
  6. ^ Powicke & Fryde: Handbook of British Chronology. Second Edition, London, 1961, p. 451
predecessor Office successor
Charles Brandon Duke of Suffolk
Title forfeited
Thomas Gray Marquess of Dorset
Title forfeited