GRAY, SIR THOMAS (d. c. 1369), English chronicler, was a son of Sir Thomas Gray, who was taken prisoner by the Scots at Bannockburn and who died about 1344. The younger Thomas was present at the battle of Neville’s Cross in 1346; in 1355, whilst acting as warden of Norham Castle, he was made a prisoner, and during his captivity in Edinburgh Castle he devoted his time to studying the English chroniclers, Gildas, Bede, Ranulf Higdon and others. Released in 1357 he was appointed warden of the east marches towards Scotland in 1367, and he died about 1369. Gray’s work, the Scalacronica (so called, perhaps, from the scaling-ladder in the crest of the Grays), is a chronicle of English history from the earliest times to about the year 1362. It is, however, only valuable for the reigns of Edward I. and Edward II. and part of that of Edward III., being especially so for the account of the wars between England and Scotland, in which the author’s father and the author himself took part. Writing in Norman-French, Gray tells of Wallace and Bruce, of the fights at Bannockburn, Byland and Dupplin, and makes some mention of the troubles in England during the reign of Edward II. He also narrates the course of the war in France between 1355 and 1361; possibly he was present during some of these campaigns.
The Scalacronica was summarized by John Leland in the 16th century; the part dealing with the period from 1066 to the end, together with the prologue, was edited for the Maitland Club by J. Stevenson (1836); and the part from 1274 to 1362 was translated into English by Sir Herbert Maxwell (Glasgow, 1907). In the extant manuscript, which is in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, there is a gap extending from about 1340 to 1355, and Gray’s account of this period is only known from Leland’s summary.