Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Grey, Thomas Philip de

GREY, THOMAS PHILIP de, Earl de Grey (1781–1859), elder son of Thomas Robinson, second baron Grantham, who died in 1786, by Mary Jemima, second daughter of Philip York, second earl of Hardwicke, and was therefore a descendant of Henry Grey, ninth earl of Kent (1594-1651) [q. v.] He was born at the official residence of the first lord of the board of trade, Whitehall, London, on 8 Dec. 1781, and educated at St. John's College, Cambridge, where he graduated M.A. in 1801. On 20 July 1786 he succeeded his father as third baron Grantham of Grantham, and on the decease of his second cousin, Sir Norton Robinson, bart., in 1792 he became the sixth baronet. By royal license he assumed the surname and arms of Weddell in lieu of his patronymic on 7 May 1803. On 6 Dec. 1803 he was gazetted major of the North Yorkshire regiment of yeomanry, on 22 Jan. 1819 became colonel of the Yorkshire hussar regiment of yeomanry, on 24 March 1831 was appointed yeomanry aide-de-camp to William IV, and held a similar post in 1837 under Queen Victoria. He was nominated lord-lieutenant of Bedfordshire on 13 Feb. 1818. On the death of his maternal aunt, Amabel Hume Campbell, countess de Grey of Wrest, Bedfordshire, on 4 May 1833, he became second Earl de Grey and Baron Lucas of Crudwell, Wiltshire, and on 24 June 1833 assumed the surname of De Grey in lieu of Weddell. In Sir Robert Peel's first administration he held office as first lord of the admiralty from 22 Dec. 1834 to 25 April 1835, and on 29 Dec. of the former year was sworn of the privy council. As lord-lieutenant of Ireland he served from 3 Sept. 1841 to 26 July 1844, and during that period was grand master of the order of St. Patrick. On his return from Ireland he was on 12 Dec. created a knight of the Garter. He discharged the functions of his viceregal position impartially and with credit, and his retirement was much regretted by the people of Dublin. His hospitality was very generously exercised, and the countess gave much encouragement to native manufactures.

De Grey was the first president of the Institution of British Architects from its foundation in 1834, frequently presided at the meetings of that society, and remained president till his death (Papers of Royal Institution of British Architects, 1860, pp. v-viii). He was also a fellow of the Royal Society, 29 April 1841, a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and served as one of the New Palace commissioners from 1848. His death took place at 4 St. James's Square, London, on 14 Nov. 1859. He married, on 20 July 1805, Henrietta Frances Cole, fifth daughter of William Willoughby, first earl of Enniskillen, by whom he left two daughters. The Countess De Grey was born on 22 June 1784, and died at 4 St. James's Square, on 2 July 1848 (Burke, Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Females, 1833, ii. 133-5, with portrait).

Earl de Grey was the author of two works: 'Memoir of the Life of Sir C. Lucas,' London, 1845, and 'Characteristics of the Duke of Wellington apart from his Military Talents,' London, 1853.

[Gent. Mag. 1859, pt. ii. p. 644; Times, 15 Nov. 1859, p. 7; Illustrated London News, 25 Feb. 1842, p. 146, and 13 Jan. 1844, pp. 22, 24, both with portrait; Doyle's Baronage (1886), i. 523, with portrait, after W. Robinson.]

G. C. B.