Lordship Title of Silsoe Wrest and Brobury or Silsoe or Wrest ID1270

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Mr. Round considers that the Greys were connected with Bedfordshire, and probably with Flitton, a good deal earlier than 1284–6, when Reginald de Grey is found holding one fee in Flitton and Silsoe of John de Wahull. He points out that c. 1240 John de Grey was already holding fees of the Wahull barony in Podington, Lee (in Podington), Sharnbrook, Turvey and Henlow, and that an important plea of 1234 shows Andrew de la Legha as mesne tenant at Lee between Hugh Fitz Richard and John de Grey with Agnes his wife, from whom Andrew held. In his opinion this plea gives a clue to the means by which the Greys obtained their Bedfordshire estates, that is, by a marriage with an heiress which gave them a local position sufficient for John to be sheriff of the county in the reign of Henry III. Tracing back their fees to 1086, we find that in Domesday, a certain Hugh held of the Wahull fief at Podington, Lee (in Podington), Turvey and Henlow. Mr. Round therefore suggests that these lands descended as a whole, and that their Domesday tenant was one and the same man. But we also find a Hugh holding of the Wahull fief of Canons Ashby (Northamptonshire) in 1086, and as a plea of 1227 proves that the church of Lee, with some land in Podington, was given to Canons Ashby Priory by Hugh de 'Legha' two generations earlier, we must infer that the Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire 'Hugh' of 1086 were identical also. Mr. Round considers that the Hugh de 'Lega' who held no less than ten fees of the Wahull barony in 1166 was his representative, and that this conclusion gives us the descent of an important group of manors through Hugh and Bartholomew his son. He further suggests that the above Hugh was identical with the Hugh who held the Silsoe manor of Walter, Saher's brother, in 1086, and that this would account for that manor also descending through an heiress or co-heiress to the Greys. The Reginald de Grey who was holding in 1284 was summoned to Parliament in 1295 as Lord Grey [de Wilton], and died in 1307–8 seised of the manor, which was then worth £4. His son John, who succeeded him, took an active part in the disturbances which marked the reign of Edward II, at first on the side of Lancaster. He was appointed in 1310 one of the Lords Ordainers, but in 1322 he espoused the royal cause and sat in the Parliament at York. Henry his son by his first wife inherited the title of Lord Grey de Wilton, but the estate in Bedfordshire passed to Roger his son by his second wife. A settlement of Wrest Manor was made on the latter in 1311, and at his father's death in 1323, the remaining property in Bedfordshire descended to him. In 1324 Roger was summoned to Parliament as Lord Grey de Ruthyn, in 1327 he accompanied Edmund, earl of Kent, on the Scottish campaign, and between 1340 and 1345 served in Scotland and France. He died in 1352–3, when his son Reginald inherited the manor; and at the latter's death in 1388 it was worth £13 a year. Reginald's son Reginald was summoned to Parliament in 1389, and in 1398 he acted for a short time as governor in Ireland, after the death of Roger, earl of March. He was engaged in suppressing the disturbances in the Welsh Marches during 1400 and 1401, but early in 1402 was taken prisoner, remaining a captive throughout the whole year. He died in 1440–1 and was succeeded by his grandson Edmund, his son John having predeceased him in 1439. Edmund took part in the Wars of the Roses, first siding with the king, but in 1460 at the battle of Northampton he went over to Warwick, and was rewarded by Edward IV with the manor of Ampthill. In 1463 he was made Lord High Treasurer of England and was created earl of Kent in 1465. At his death in 1489 he was succeeded by his second son George, the elder Anthony having died in 1483 George was sent to France in 1491 to assist the Emperor Maximilian, and died in 1503, leaving as his heir his eldest son Richard by his first wife. Richard died without issue in 1524, when the title and manor passed to his half-brother Henry, the son of George, earl of Kent, by his second wife. Henry, however, declined to assume the titles on account of his poverty, and died in 1562, leaving as his heir his grandson Reginald, eldest son of his son Henry, who had died in 1545. Reginald died in 1573 without issue and the estates passed to his brother Henry, who built the mausoleum at Flitton and died without issue in 1614–15. The third brother Charles, who succeeded, died in 1623, and left a son Henry who died without issue in 1631. The manor and title of earl of Kent then passed to the last earl's cousin Anthony, son of George, son of Anthony, brother of Sir Henry Grey, de jure fourth earl. Anthony died in 1643 leaving a son Henry, ninth earl of Kent, as his successor. He led an active political life, and held the office of chief commissioner after the death of Charles I until the abolition of the House of Lords 6 February, 1649. He died in 1651, and was succeeded by his son Anthony, who married the daughter and heiress of Lord Lucas. His widow, known as the 'Good Countess,' did much for the estate, which she found in an impoverished condition. Anthony died in 1702, leaving a son Henry, eleventh earl of Kent, and Baron Lucas in the right of his mother. In 1706 he was created Viscount Goderich of Halford, earl of Harold, and marquess of Kent, and in 1710 was created duke of Kent. He was successively Lord Chamberlain, Lord Steward, and Lord Privy Seal, and in 1740 was created Marquess de Grey, with special remainder to his granddaughter Jemima Campbell and her heirs male. He was married twice and had several sons, all of whom died before him, so that on his death in 1740 the manor of Wrest, together with the marquessate de Grey and the barony of Lucas of Crudwell devolved on his granddaughter Jemima, daughter of his daughter Amabel. Jemima married Philip Yorke, earl of Hardwicke, and died in 1797, when the eldest of her two daughters Amabella, who had married Viscount Polwarth, inherited the manor of Wrest and the barony of Lucas, the marquessate de Grey becoming extinct. In 1816 she was created Countess de Grey of Wrest, and on her death in 1833 without issue her titles and the manor passed to her nephew Thomas Philip Weddel, the son of her sister and Lord Grantham. This earl was Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, and died in 1859 without male issue. His elder daughter Anne, Lady Lucas, to whom the manor descended, married Earl Cowper, and was succeeded in 1880 by her son Francis Thomas de Grey, who succeeded in obtaining the reversal of the attainder of the barony of Dingwall. He died in 1905 without issue, and the manor passed to his nephew, the son of his sister Florence wife of Mr. Auberon Herbert, the present Lord Lucas and Dingwall, who is now lord of the manor.
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