The Parish of Astley

The Grey Family

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Joanna Astley, whose second husband was Lord Grey, had two sons by him and the elder son also had two sons, John and Edward.  The younger son, Edward, built a lady chapel at Astley, which has long since disappeared, and he and his wife were buried there.    The elder son, Sir John Grey, married Elizabeth Woodville. Sir John of Astley, fought on the side of the Lancastrians in the Wars of the Roses and was killed at the battle of St Albans in 1461. The Astley estate was forfeited to the crown as the Yorkist Edward IV was by then on the throne. Elizabeth Woodville went to live at Grafton with her parents and in 1464 petitioned the King for the estate to be restored to her children.  Not only was she successful in this petition, she married Edward IV in May 1464 and on May 25 1465 she was crowned as his Queen. 

The eldest son of Elizabeth and her first husband, Sir Thomas Grey (b.1454), came into possession of the estate. Later he was created Earl of Huntingdon and Marquis of Dorset and died in 1501. He was succeeded by his son who became the second Marquis, who in turn died in 1530 and was buried at Astley.  The third Marquis, Henry Grey married Frances Brandon, heiress to the Duke of Suffolk, and succeeded to the Dukedom in 1551.   They had three daughters Jane, Catherine and Mary.   The eldest of these was Lady Jane Grey who reigned as Queen for 9 days in July 1553. Her father became involved in the rebellion of Sir Thomas Wyatt  and was captured in the park at Astley and subsequently beheaded on Tower Hill in February 1554.

The widow of Henry Grey retained possession of the estate for some years but she married the steward of the property, Adrian Stokes. On the death of the Duchess, about 1558, the estate was given, by Queen Mary, to Sir Edward Chamberlayne.