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John Granville, 1st Earl of Bath
John Granville, 1st Earl of Bath
Lord Lieutenant of Devon
In office
December 1685 – April 1696
Lord Warden of the Stannaries
In office
October 1660 – August 1701
Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall
In office
October 1660 – May 1696
Governor of the Scilly Isles
In office
Personal details
John Grenville

29 August 1628
Kilkhampton, Cornwall
Died22 August 1701(1701-08-22) (aged 72)
St James's, London
Resting placeSt James' church, Kilkhampton
SpouseJane Wyche (1652–1692)
ChildrenJane (c. 1653 – 1696); Charles (1661–1701); John (1665–1707); Catherine (1666–?); Grace (1667–1744)
Parent(s)Sir Bevil Grenville (father); Grace Smythe (mother)
OccupationSoldier, landowner and courtier
Military service
Battles/warsWars of the Three Kingdoms
Lostwithiel; Second Newbury; Torrington;

John Granville, 1st Earl of Bath PC (29 August 1628 – 22 August 1701)[1] was an English landowner who served in the Royalist army during the First English Civil War and was rewarded for his services after the 1660 Stuart Restoration with a title and various appointments.

Personal details

John was born on 29 August 1628 at Kilkhampton in Cornwall, the third son of Sir Bevil Grenville (1596–1643) and Grace Smythe (died 1647). His aunt Elizabeth Smythe was the mother of George Monck who played a leading role in the 1660 Stuart Restoration and it was this connection that later resulted in Grenville being raised to the peerage as Earl of Bath.[2]

One of thirteen children, John's two elder brothers died prematurely, making him heir to his father's considerable estates when Sir Bevil was killed at the Battle of Lansdowne in 1643.[3]


John Granville, 1st Earl of Bath (1628–1701), detail from one of two large stained glass windows depicting the genealogy of the Granville family, in the Granville Chapel, Church of St James the Great, Kilkhampton, Cornwall, erected jointly by his descendants in 1860
The Earl of Bath's Regiment of Foot, as it appeared circa 1685. Note it's characteristically blue uniform

During the 1638 to 1651 Wars of the Three Kingdoms, Granville fought in the regiment raised by his father for Charles I (1625–1649).[4] Created a knight after the Storming of Bristol in 1643, he was appointed Gentleman of the Bedchamber to the future Charles II and accompanied him into exile. When the Second English Civil War began in 1648, Charles appointed him Governor of the Scilly Isles, which had rebelled against its Parliamentary garrison. As a base for Royalist privateers attacking English and Dutch vessels in the Western Approaches, this was a vital source of funding for the exiled Court; in May 1651, Parliamentary forces under Robert Blake retook the islands and Granville was captured.[5]

On his release, Granville remained in England and continued to be active in Royalist conspiracies. In 1660, he served as an intermediary in the negotiations between Charles and his distant relative George Monck that led to the Restoration. To his disappointment, the Dukedom of Albemarle went to Monck, whom Charles also rewarded with the then-enormous pension of £7,000 per year. Instead, he was created Baron Granville, Viscount Granville and Earl of Bath in 1661, and a Privy Councillor in 1663.[6]

In 1665, he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, although he never went there and spent large sums of time and money on rebuilding the family home of Stowe House in Cornwall. Widely admired, it was dismantled in 1739, although many of its ornamental features, including entire rooms, can be seen at the Guildhall in South Molton, Devon.[7] Albemarle also expanded his own ancestral seat of Potheridge, about 18 miles to the east; unfinished on his death, it was badly damaged by fire and demolished in 1734.[8]

Granville was a signatory to The Several Declarations of The Company of Royal Adventurers of England Trading into Africa, a document published in 1667 which led to the creation of the Royal Africa Company.[9][10] This is speculated to have been influenced by the fact that Granville was close friends with the Royal African Company's leader, the Duke of York (and future King James II), who was brother to Charles II.[11]

Under James II, Granville served as colonel of the Earl of Bath's Regiment, later 10th Foot, first during the June 1685 Monmouth Rebellion and again in 1688. During the November 1688 Glorious Revolution, he commanded the key ports of Exeter and Plymouth but defected to William III on 18 November.[12][13]

He was rewarded by being made Lord Lieutenant of Devon but again failed to gain the title of Albemarle and the legal dispute over the Albemarle estate almost bankrupted him. Two weeks after his death in August 1701, his son Charles shot himself, apparently overwhelmed by the debts he had inherited.[14]

Marriage and progeny

Arms of Wyche: Azure, a pile ermine, as seen in Kilkhampton Church

In October 1652 at Kilkhampton John Granville married Jane Wyche, a daughter of Sir Peter Wyche, English ambassador to the Ottoman Empire.[4] By his wife, he had five children:



Haynes Park, Bedfordshire, the home of Barons Carteret, descendants of Lady Grace Grenville. In 1908 it still contained a collection of portraits of the Grenville family.


He died in London in 1701, one week before his 73rd birthday.


Heraldic achievement of John Granville, 1st Earl of Bath (1628–1701), south wall of Granville Chapel, Church of St James the Great, Kilkhampton, Cornwall. The arms are Gules, three clarions or (Grenville) impaling Azure, a pile ermine (Wyche). The Latin motto on a scroll beneath is Futurum invisibile ("The future is unseen").

The armorials of the family of Granville / Grenville of Glamorgan, Devon and Cornwall are of certain form but uncertain blazon. The charges appear in the form of musical pipes of a wind instrument, similar to pan-pipes. Authoritative sources on heraldry suggest the charges to be variously "clarions" (used by Guillim (d. 1621)), the most usual blazon, which are, however, generally defined as a form of trumpet; "rests" is another common blazon, denoting lance-rests supposedly used by a mounted knight; "organ-rests" is also met with, a seemingly meaningless term (Gibbon (1682)). Other terms are "clavicymbal", "clarichord" and "sufflue" (used by Leigh in his Armory of 1562 and by Boswell, 1572),[16] the latter being a device for blowing (French: souffler) air into an organ.[17] Guillim suggested the charge may be a rudder,[17] but in which case it is shown upside down, when compared to that charge used for example on the tomb at Callington of Robert Willoughby, 1st Baron Willoughby de Broke. Certainly in the brasses on the chest tomb of Sir John Bassett (d. 1529) in Atherington Church, Devon, the charges are engraved in tubular forms with vents or reeds as used in true organ pipes.


  1. ^ Surname sometimes spelled Grenville
  2. ^ Round 1930, p. 163.
  3. ^ Stater 2004.
  4. ^ a b "Grenville, John" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  5. ^ "The Scilly Isles, 1651". BCW Project. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  6. ^ Round, p.130
  7. ^ "Stowe House". Lost Heritage. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  8. ^ "Great Potheridge". Lost Heritage. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  9. ^ Davies, K. G. (Kenneth Gordon) (1999). The Royal African Company. London: Routledge/Thoemmes Press. ISBN 0-415-19072-X. OCLC 42746420.
  10. ^ Pettigrew, William A. (William Andrew), 1978-. Freedom's debt : the Royal African Company and the politics of the Atlantic slave trade, 1672-1752. Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture. Chapel Hill [North Carolina]. ISBN 978-1-4696-1183-9. OCLC 879306121.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ Stater, Victor (3 January 2008). "Grenville, John, first earl of Bath". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/11492. ISBN 978-0-19-861412-8. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  12. ^ Webb, Stephen Saunder (1995). Garrett, Jane (ed.). Lord Churchill's Coup: The Anglo-American Empire and the Glorious Revolution Reconsidered. Alfred a Knopf Inc. p. 343. ISBN 978-0394549804.
  13. ^ Stater, Victor (3 January 2008). "Grenville, John, first earl of Bath". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/11492. ISBN 978-0-19-861412-8. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  14. ^ "Sir John Grenville, 1st Earl of Bath, 1628-1701". BCW Project. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  15. ^ Risdon, Tristram (d.1640), Survey of Devon, 1811 edition, London, 1811, with 1810 Additions, p.419
  16. ^ Boswell, Armorie of 1572, vol. 2, p. 124
  17. ^ a b "Clarion".


1893 text

Created Earl of Bath, 1661; son of Sir Bevil Grenville, killed at the battle of Lansdowne; he was, when a boy, left for dead on the field at the second battle of Newbury, and said to have been the only person entrusted by Charles II. and Monk in bringing about the Restoration.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

3 Annotations

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

John Granville, "Jack" as he was familiarly called, the eldest surviving son was not yet fifteen when Sir Bevill was killed. He had been a gentleman commoner at Gloucester Hall, Oxford, but if we are to accept Antony Payne's letter as authentic, he was with Sir Bevill when he fell, and there and then took command of the troops in his place. "Master John, when I mounted him upon his father's horse rode him into the war, like a young prince as he is, and our men followed him with their swords drawn and with tears in their eyes." Certainly a year previously the University and several Colleges had sent money and plate to the King, and on the 13th of August an order had been given for view of arms. Graduates and undergraduates had eagerly responded to the appeal. Books were flung away, and day after day some three or four hundred members of the University had diligently practised their drill (cf. Gardiner's "History of the Civil War," I., 33.) Very probably therefore Jack had joined his father, and was with him at the battle of Lansdowne. At any rate he was in command of his father's troop afterwards, and took part in several of the engagements, and particularly in Cornwall at the defeat of the Earl of Essex. At the second battle of Newbury he narrowly escaped meeting his father's fate. Being in the thickest of the fight, and having received several wounds in various parts of his body, he was at last felled to the ground with a most dangerous blow on the head from a halberd, and he lay there for some time in an unconscious state until a body of the King's Horse, charging the enemy afresh, beat them off the ground, where he was discovered afterwards amongst the dead, covered with blood and dust Upon being recognized, he was carried into that part of the field where the King and the Prince of Wales were, who sent him to Donnington Castle hard by, to be treated for his wounds. But it must have been long before tidings of hope could reach the anxious mother, for no sooner were the armies drawn off from the Field of Newbury than Donnington Castle itself was besieged by the Roundheads, and their bullets, it is said, constantly whistled through the room where he lay during the twelve days which elapsed before the defenders were relieved by the King at the third battle of Newbury.

---The History of the Granville Family. Roger Granville, 1895

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Sir John Grenville, 1st Earl of Bath, 1628-1701, served the King's cause as a soldier, privateer and conspirator, then secured the allegiance of Gen. Monck to bring about the Restoration.

Born at Kilkhampton, Cornwall in August 1628, John Grenville was the third son of Sir Bevil Grenville and Grace, daughter of Sir George Smith.
By 1641, both of John's elder brothers had died and he was heir to his family's extensive estates in Cornwall and Devon.
He was educated at home but in 1642, this was interrupted by the outbreak of the 1st civil war.

At 14, John Grenville held a commission in his father's regiment, which fought for King Charles under Sir Ralph Hopton in south-western England.

When Sir Bevil was killed at the battle of Lansdown in July 1643, his Cornish soldiers mounted John upon his father's horse and declared their allegiance to him as head of the Grenville family.

John Grenville was knighted by King Charles after the capture of Bristol in August 1643 and served with the King's Oxford army in the Lostwithiel campaign in 1644.

Sir John Grenville was wounded at the 2nd battle of Newbury, where he was found lying unconscious among the dead.

In 1645, he was appointed a gentleman of the bedchamber to Prince Charles, and remained one of Charles' closest friends and advisers.

After the defeat of the Royalists in the 1st Civil War, Grenville accompanied Prince Charles to Scilly, Jersey and Paris. In February 1649, Charles II appointed Sir John as the governor of the Isles of Scilly.
During 1649-51, Gov. Grenville directed Royalist privateers from Tresco and St, Mary's in a lucrative campaign against English and Dutch merchantmen to raise prize money for Charles II's court-in-exile.
A Dutch fleet under Lt-Adm. Tromp was forestalled from attacking Gov. Grenville's base when the Commonwealth sent an invasion force under the generals-at-sea Blake and Ayscue in April 1651.
Combined land and sea operations against the Royalists quickly secured Tresco. Sir John withdrew into Star Castle on St Mary's, which was besieged and bombarded into submission.
On 23 May, Gov. Sir John Grenville surrendered to Blake under generous terms.

After a brief imprisonment at Plymouth, Sir John was given leave to join Charles II in exile, but chose to remain in England.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


Sir John Greville married Jane Wyche, daughter of a wealthy London merchant, in Oct. 1652 and became a leading representative of the King's party in Cornwall and the West.

During 1654, Grenville was a conspirator with the Action Party and plotted to seize Plymouth and Pendennis Castle.

He was arrested in Feb. 1655 in the aftermath of an uprising by western Royalists in the build-up to Penruddock's Uprising.

In 1659, Grenville was a member of the Great Trust and Commission.
Although summoned to answer charges before the Council of State when the government infiltrated the Trust's conspiracies, Sir John Grenville was released on parole.

Grenville's greatest service to the Royalist cause was as an intermediary between Charles II and Gen. Monck (who was his second cousin).
He approached Monck in 1658 through Monck's brother, Nicholas, whom Grenville had appointed to the church living at the Grenville estate of Kilkhampton.

Grenville's clandestine negotiations with Monck continued through 1659 and culminated in a secret meeting at St. James's Palace in March 1660, during which Monck pledged his allegiance to Charles II.
Sir John Grenville carried Monck's message of loyalty to Charles II at Brussels and returned to deliver Charles' manifesto the Declaration of Breda to Parliament on 1 May, 1660.

Sir John Grenville was richly rewarded for his services in securing the Restoration and became the most powerful magnate in the West Country.
Among other honours, he was created the 1st Earl of Bath, warden of the Stanneries, lord-lieutenant of Cornwall and governor of Plymouth.

He continued his service to Charles II and was present at his deathbed conversion to Catholicism in 1685.

Despite losing influence at the succession of James II, Bath commanded an infantry regiment against Monmouth during Monmouth's Rebellion of 1685.
When William of Orange invaded England in 1688, Bath made no attempt to defend Exeter, and surrendered Plymouth to William's forces.

Under William III, Bath added the lieutenancy of Devon and the governorship of the Isles of Scilly to his offices.
However, he was angered when William III granted the earldom of Albemarle to a favourite in 1697, a title claimed by Bath through his connection to the Monck family.

sir John's final years were spent fighting over the Albemarle estate, which almost bankrupted him.
Two weeks after his death in August 1701, his heir Charles Grenville shot himself, overwhelmed by the debts he had inherited.
They were buried on 22 Sept., 1701, in the family vault at Kilkhampton.

Peter Gaunt, The Cromwellian Gazetteer, (Stroud 1987)
G. Ridsdill Smith & M. Toynbee, Leaders of the Civil Wars 1642-48 (Kineton 1977)
Victor Stater, John Grenville, 1st earl of Bath, Oxford DNB, 2004
David Underdown, Royalist Conspiracy in England 1649-60 (New Haven 1960)


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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.