The Grey family, Earls of Stamford, were related to the White family of Hampshire through the marriage of Rev William Grey (1819-1872) to Harriet, daughter of Rev Francis Henry White. Their only child was William Grey (1850-1910), who became the 9th Earl of Stamford.
The White family originated at Cogges, near Witney in Oxfordshire. Sir Sampson White (1607-1684) became mayor of Oxford. In 1680/1 his youngest son Gilbert (1651-1728) took the living of Selborne in Hampshire, a county in which other branches of the White family had resided since the fifteenth century. Gilbert White and his wife Rebecca had six children, John (1688-1758), Mary (1689-1768), Sampson (1691-1702), Rebecca (1694-1780), Dorothea (1696-1731) and Elizabeth (1698-1753).
The most famous member of the White family was the Reverend Gilbert White (1720-1793), son of John White and author of The natural history and antiquities of Selborne. Gilbert White's biography is unremarkable. Educated at Oxford, he entered the Church and settled down to a conventional clerical career. Apparently unambitious, he declined the chance of wealthy livings, preferring to remain in his native village where he held curacies at Selborne itself and in neighbouring Farringdon. Contrary to popular belief, Gilbert White was never vicar of Selborne (White was an Oriel man, and the living belonged to Magdalen College Oxford). White was the archetypal eighteenth-century amateur scientist, whose undemanding clerical duties allowed him to indulge his passionate interest in all aspects of the natural world.
The natural history of Selborne is essentially no more than a collection of letters written by a country parson describing the natural history of his native parish. Yet it is the most popular book ever written on natural history, and is reputedly the fourth most frequently published book in the English language, with over 200 editions to date. The book's enduring popularity may be attributed to White's unaffected style of writing, his quiet humour, the accuracy of his observations, but above all, the respect and affection with which he viewed the natural world.
Gilbert White never married, but he had seven brothers and sisters who survived to adulthood - Thomas (1724-1797), Benjamin (1725-1794), Rebecca (1726-1771) who married Henry Woods, John (1727-1780), Francis (1728/9-1750), Anne (1731-1807) who married Thomas Barker, and Henry (1733-1788) - and over thirty nephews and nieces. Gilbert White corresponded with his family frequently.
Harriet, wife of Rev William Grey, was the daughter of Rev Francis Henry White, the youngest son of Henry White and nephew of Gilbert White. He served as a naval chaplain in the 1800s (EGR5/2/2-3), before becoming master of Blakesley school, Northamptonshire. Other members of the White family who deserve mention are: Rev Edmund White (1758-1838) and his son-in-law James Field, both of whom had an interest in Gilbert White and the history of the family and made copies of White MSS; Samuel Barker (1757-1835) and Mary Barker (b 1760), children of Gilbert White's sister Anne and her husband Thomas Barker; Mary ('Molly') White (1759-1833), daughter of Gilbert White's brother Thomas; and John ('Gibraltar Jack') White (1759-1821), son of Gilbert White's brother John.