I am not aware of any documentary evidence providing the name of
Walter de Grey's father. There is evidence that - whoever the
Archbishop's father was - he was not the lord of Rotherfield. Also,
it is almost certain his name was not (de) Grey, unless adopted
following his marriage.
There is record of a grant by King Henry III in which the
Archbishop's mother is named, and which also indicates that
Rotherfield came from Eva de Grey (relationship not stated) to the
Archbishop, who then granted it to his brother Robert. From the
Calendar of Charter Rolls, dated at Windsor, 9 Mar 1239/40:
' Grant to Hawise, mother of W. archbishop of York, that she and her
heirs and her men, and the men of her heirs, shall be quit of shires
and hundreds and suit of shires and hundreds, aids of sheriffs,
reeves, and bailiffs, of view of frank-pledge and of murder, all which
the king has also granted to Robert de Gray and his heirs for the land
of Rutherefeld, which the said archbishop had of the gift of Eve de
Gray, and gave to the said Robert.' [Cal. Charter Rolls, 11 Hen III,
p. 18, mem. 20]
As to the relationship of Walter de Grey to John de Grey, Bishop
of Norwich, it is certain that John de Grey was the Archbishop's
uncle. However, he was the _maternal_ uncle of the Archbishop, and
brother of Hawise de Grey. There was a charter of Hawise de Grey in
favour of Oseney abbey in which she explicitly identified her son
Robert and her brother the Bishop, and to which Archbishop Walter was
' Hawisia de Grey vidua, pro animabus omnium antecessorum et
consanguineorum, et precipue pro anima Johannis de Grey fratris mei
quondam Norwicensis Episcopi, assensu Dni. Roberti de Grey filij et
heredis mei, concessi et quantum ad patronam pertinet dedi Deo et Sce.
Marie de Oseney et canonicis ibidem Deo servientibus ecclesiam de
Cornewell ad donationem meam pertinentem in puram et perpetuam
eleemosinam. Testibus Dno. Waltero de Grey, Wygorniensi Episcopus
filio meo, &c.' [Blomefield, Norfok I:478, cites 'Mss. penes P. L.
Norroy, p. 15, excerpt. e Cartis per Ric. St. George.']
NN de Grey
Hawise de John de
Grey = NN Grey
I Bp of
I I I
Robert Walter I
ld of Archbp I
= William = NN
Should anyone have additional or corrective documentation that
bears on these Grey matters, please advise.
For what it's worth, here's what ODNB has to say about Walter's family
"Gray, Walter de (d. 1255), archbishop of York, was the younger son of
John de Gray of Rotherfield Greys, Oxfordshire, and his wife, Hawisia.
His uncle, another John de Gray, was bishop of Norwich (1200–14), and
a favourite of King John. In the event Walter became the most
important member of an influential clerical family. His nephews, the
brothers Henry and Walter de Gray, were to be promoted by him to
canonries of York, and a third nephew, William de Langton of
Rotherfield Greys became first dean of York from about 1260 to 1279,
and then archbishop-elect, though papal opposition deprived him of the
see. Walter was also connected to the Giffards of Boyton, Wiltshire,
one of whom, Walter Giffard, brother of Godfrey, bishop of Worcester,
became bishop of Bath and Wells (1265–6) and subsequently archbishop
of York (1266–79)."
Roy Martin Haines, ‘Gray, Walter de (d. 1255)’, Oxford Dictionary of
National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
Thanks for that.
Given what the charter of Hawise de Grey to Oseney indicates, I
think the assignment of a John de Grey as father of Archbp Walter is
More likely - yet still short of documentation - I think that
John de Grey, bp of Norwich and his sister Hawise may have been
children of John de Grey and his wife Hawise (usually called Basset,
as yet undocumented). This would make Eve de Grey, wife of Ralph
Murdac, their sister; she would be an interesting candidate as the
grantor of Rotherfield, although the chronology needs a close look.
Best always, Douglas Richardson, Salt Lake City, Utah
Looking through my notes I found this:
In 1086 Rotherfield Greys was held by Anketil de Grey under William
FitzOsbern (d. 1071). The mesne tenancy of Rotherfield Greys descended
presumably through Anketil's son Richard to his grandson Robert, who
held the manor in 1166 and who apparently died childless. Thereafter
the manor passed to Robert's nephew John (d. by 1192), his brother
Anketil's son. John's daughter and heir Eve married the royal judge
Ralph Murdac, who was lord in 1192 but whose lands were forfeited in
1194 for rebellion. Rotherfield Greys was restored to Eve and her
second husband, Andrew de Beauchamp, probably before 1200. Although
not without heirs, before 1240 and possibly as early as 1215 Eve gave
the manor to her kinsman Walter de Grey, archbishop of York, who
settled it on his brother Robert de Grey.
VCH Oxfordshire Texts in Progress (Rotherfield Greys) - Nov 06 - ©
University of London
From memory (which gets worse over the years). Robert de Grey, holder
of Rotherfield in 1166, had two or possibly three younger brothers,
Anketil (II), William and probably Thomas. I would think that the more
likely candidates for the father of John de Grey bishop of Norwich and
his sister Hawise are either William or Thomas. Hawise married a Mr.
somebody-or-other and had at least three children, Robert, Walter
(Abp. York) and Eve (married Wm. Brito). Her children took their
mother's name of de Grey - probably to stop the family name dying out
- her two sons, Robert and Walter being the only male heirs of Anketil
(I) de Grey who held Rotherfield at Domesday. Anketil (II)'s heir was
his granddaughter Eve, daughter of his son John, who married Ralph
Murdac. In this scenario - Robert and Walter de Grey would be the
first cousins of Eve Murdac.
Now if we could only work out who Mr. somebody-or-other was, the
picture would be complete.