Grey, Thomas, Marquis of Dorset

(1451–1501)
   A half brother of EDWARD V, Thomas Grey, marquis of Dorset, participated in the final phase of the civil wars by supporting efforts to overthrow RICHARD III.
   The eldest son of John Grey and Elizabeth WOODVILLE, Grey became the stepson of EDWARD IV when his widowed mother married the king in 1464. Although his father had died fighting for HENRY VI in 1461, Grey fought for his Yorkist stepfather at the Battle of TEWKESBURY in May 1471, and was raised to the PEERAGE as earl of Huntingdon three months later. In 1475, only weeks before GREY, THOMAS, MARQUIS OF DORSET 101 accompanying the king to FRANCE, he was created marquis of Dorset. Although acquiring a reputation as a licentious courtier, Dorset, by the 1480s, was also a royal councilor and an emerging political figure. His feud with William HASTINGS, Lord Hastings, disturbed the peace of the COURT during the last months of Edward IV.
   On Edward V’s accession in April 1483, Dorset became constable of the TOWER OF LONDON and sought to secure the royal NAVY for the Woodville interest. When Richard, duke of Gloucester, Edward V’s paternal uncle, seized custody of the young king, and arrested Lord Richard Grey, Dorset’s brother and one of the king’s governors, the marquis fled into SANCTUARY at Westminster with his mother. He escaped from sanctuary in June, only weeks before Gloucester took the Crown as Richard III. In October 1483, with a price on his head, and with rumors claiming that Edward V and his brother were dead, Dorset joined BUCKINGHAM’S REBELLION. When that uprising on behalf of Henry Tudor, earl of Richmond, failed, Dorset joined Richmond in exile in BRITTANY. In early 1484, Richard III reconciled with Queen Elizabeth Woodville, who left sanctuary and convinced her son by letter to abandon Richmond and submit to the king. Dorset quit Paris secretly, but Richmond sent two of his men to retrieve the marquis, who was privy to all Richmond’s plans. Overtaken near Compiègne, Dorset was either persuaded or compelled to return to Paris, where a mistrustful Richmond left him when he embarked for England in August.
   After his victory at the Battle of BOSWORTH FIELD, Richmond, now HENRY VII, recalled Dorset to England and confirmed him in his titles and offices. However, in 1487, the king committed Dorset to the Tower. Henry’s reasons for this action are uncertain. Perhaps he still distrusted Dorset for his attempted defection in 1485, but more likely he believed Dorset was somehow involved with Lambert SIMNEL or with some other conspiracy that claimed the sons of Edward IV were still alive. In any event, Dorset was released and restored to favor shortly after Simnel’s uprising collapsed at the Battle of STOKE in June 1487. The marquis died in September 1501.
   Further Reading: Chrimes, S. B., Henry VII (New Haven, CT:Yale University Press, 1999); Ross, Charles, Richard III (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981).

Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. . 2001.

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