The Grimstons of Gorhambury

Norah King

Phillimore, 1983

Hardback, 25 * 19.5 cm, 190 pages, plus plates, family tree, etc.


ABOUT THIS BOOK . . . (from the dust jacket)

THE GRIMSTONS have lived at Gorhambury for more than 300 years, successors there to the famous Bacons. An ancient and well documented family of Yorkshire origin, the Grimstons have preserved their archives love letters, diaries, account-books and paintings on which, with other sources the author has drawn with great skill to produce a vivid and compelling narrative account, both of the family and of their Gorhambury estate and house.

From their pre-Conquest roots in York shire the author follows the family through Suffolk and Essex to their present Hertford shire home to which they came in 1652, a century after Sir Nicholas Bacon had built the Tudor mansion. Her researches have thrown light on the building and of the Bacon's family's time there but her main concern is the Grimstons, who achieved national importance in the 15th century with Edward 'the Ambassador'. Another Edward was Comptroller of Calais when it fell to the French in Queen Mary's time and his escape from the Bastille makes fascinating reading. Lawyer Sir Harbottle Grimston played a leading part in the Restoration and became Speaker of Charles II's first Parliament, while the 1st Earl of Verulam, whose amusing life-style is recorded, was active in the Reform Bill days of William IV.

The building of Palladian 18th-century Gorhambury by the 3rd Viscount Grimston is recounted together with the lives of the Grimstons who have lived in it, to make a rich tapestry of human achievements and failings sketching back to the Conquest; a part of English history and of Hertfordshire local history as well as a splendidly written family history. Based on more than 40 years work with the family's enormous collection of documents, the book offers much that is new to historians as well as an essential narrative for all connected with the family and a very interesting story for the general reader.

Varennes, the 1st Earl's most successful racehorse, with William Corringham, the head groom. [circa 1820s]


List of Plates
List of Text Illustrations

  1. The Early Grimstons

  2. The Family in the Seventeenth Century

  3. Tudor Gorhambury and the Bacons

  4. Sir Harbottle Grimston at Gorhambury

  5. Sir Harbottle Grimston's Contributions to Gorhambury

  6. The Luckyn Inheritance

  7. James, 2nd Viscount Grimston

  8. James Bucknall, 3rd Viscount Grimston

  9.  The Building of the Eighteenth-Century Gorhambury

  10. The Third Viscount's Daughters: Harriot and Charlotte

  11. The Public and Private Life of the 1st Earl of Verulam

  12. Two Portraits

  13. The Pleasures of the Turf

  14. Daily Life at Gorhambury in the early Nineteenth Century

  15. The End of an Era

Appendix One
Appendix Two
Appendix Three
Appendix Four
Appendix Five
Appendix Six
Appendix Seven
Concise Bibliography

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