Earl Grey Family Papers

Administrative / Biographical History

The family papers of the Earls Grey of Howick constitute one of England's great political archives, and also include extensive estate papers. Charles 1st Earl Grey (1719-1807) was a soldier who fought in the American War of Independence, and wasraised to the peerage as Baron Grey of Howick (1801) and Viscount Howick and Earl Grey (1806). Charles 2nd Earl Grey (1764-1845) was Prime Minister from 1830-1834. Henry George 3rd Earl Grey (1802- 1894) was Secretary at War 1835-1839 and Secretaryfor the Colonies 1846-1852. General Charles Grey (1804-1870) was Private Secretary to Prince Albert and later to Queen Victoria. Albert 4th Earl Grey was Governor-General of Canada 1904-1911. The archive also includes the papers of several relativesby marriage, notably the diplomat John Viscount Ponsonby (ca. 1770-1855, brother-in-law of 2nd Earl Grey), and Evelyn Baring, 1st Baron Howick of Glendale (1903-1973), colonial governor, who married Lady Mary Grey, daughter and heiress of 5th EarlGrey. There are also papers of Evelyn Baring, 1st Earl of Cromer (1841-1917) and his second wife, parents-in-law of Lady Mary Grey, and papers of various female members of the family. The archive does not, however, include the papers of the Fallodonbranch of the Grey family.

The estate papers mainly relate to the Greys' estates in Northumberland.

Access Information

Open for consultation

Acquisition Information

Deposited with the University of Durham Department of Palaeography and Diplomatic (from 1990 part of the Archives and Special Collections department of Durham University Library) by the 5th Earl Grey, 1956, with further deposits by Mary, BaronessHowick and the 2nd Baron Howick, 1962-1994. Some additional papers of General Charles Grey were purchased by the University Library in 1991.

Other Finding Aids

See the separate descriptions for each section of the Earl Grey Papers (linked in contents section above).

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Sub-Librarian, Special Collections (e-mail PG.Library@durham.ac.uk) and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. The Library will assistwhere possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.


R.P. Doig, Earl Grey's papers: an introductory survey (Private Libraries Association, 1961).