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The House of Grey

The Grey family was one of mediaeval England’s most important dynasties, serving the kings of England as sheriffs, barons and military leaders from the reign of William the Conqueror.


In Henry IV’s reign the rivalry between Owain Glyndwr and Lord Grey of Ruthyn was the backdrop to the Welsh bid to throw off English dominance. His successor Edmund Grey played a decisive role at the Battle of Northampton when he changed allegiance from Lancaster to York. Edmund’s Lancastrian cousin, Sir John Grey, died at the second battle of St Albans, leaving a widow, Elizabeth née Woodville, and two young sons, Thomas and Richard.

Astonishingly, the widowed Elizabeth caught the eye of Edward IV and became the first Yorkist queen, giving her sons a place at the heart of the royal family and Thomas married the king's relative, Cecily Bonville, one of the greatest heiresses in England, and was granted the title of marquis of Dorset.

The competition for control of the young Edward V between the Greys and Richard, Duke of Gloucester, led to Richard Grey’s summary execution and the disappearance of their
royal half-brothers when Gloucester became king. Dorset vowed revenge and joined Henry Tudor in exile. When his niece, Elizabeth of York, became queen, the family returned to court, and Dorset and Cecily's numerous children gained positions in the court of Henry VIII. The 2nd Marquis was a vigorous supporter of Henry VIII’s divorce from Katharine of Aragon, but his son, Henry’s, reckless attempt to have his daughter, Lady Jane Grey, crowned led to disaster and the execution of Henry, his brother and Jane, the ‘Nine Days Queen’. Weaving the lives of these men and women from one family into a single narrative provides a vivid picture of the mediaeval and Tudor court, reflecting how the personal was always political, as individual relationships and rivalries for land, power and money drove national events.

You can buy the family trees I created for Elizabeth Woodville and Cecily Bonville. 


In this insightful and deeply researched book, Thomas tackles the complexities of exploring those who had much to lose but everything to gain during the turbulent years of the Wars of the Roses and the Tudors. I often felt as though I had a prime panoramic view over the events, watching everything unfold at a thrilling pace. Thomas has an engaging style in which she writes along with a welcome level of humour and I found it very difficult to put down the book. The House of Grey is genealogy history written at its best and I urge those of you with an interest in the Wars of the Roses and the Tudors to read this book for a fascinating insight from a fresh perspective.

—Kirsty - Amazon review

I read about Lady Jane Grey when I was very young and she has been an interest of mine for a long time. This interest would later expand to the Grey family as a whole, especially after I found I had a descent from Grey of Codnor and Grey of Wilton. This book is very well researched and written in an easy-to-read manner. As we travel through the turbulent years of English history with the Grey family, the focus is kept on details of that family. I'm more pro-Richard III than the author, though she does present a fairly even-handed view of that period and her arguments are very sound. I thoroughly enjoyed this fascinating book.

—Pam Shelton-Anderson - Amazon review

All Melita’s Books

1000 Tudor People

Monarchs and magicians, politicians and philosophers, kings, criminals, musicians, and gardeners: learn about one thousand men and women from all walks of life who flourished during the Tudor period. 

The King’s Pearl

Henry VIII and his Daughter Mary

Mary Tudor has always been known as ‘Bloody Mary’, the name given to her by later Protestant chroniclers who vilified her for attempting to re-impose Roman Catholicism in England. Recently, more nuanced accounts of Mary's life have been written, but many now portray her as 'tragic' Mary, which is not necessarily a complete picture either. 

The House of Grey

Friends & Foes of Kings

The Grey family was one of mediaeval England’s most important dynasties, serving the kings of England as sheriffs, barons and military leaders from the reign of William the Conqueror.