Sir Richard Grenville (Royalist) - Encyclopedia

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GRENVILLE (or GRANVILLE), SIR Richard (1600-1658), English royalist, was the third son of Sir Bernard Grenville (1559-1636), and a grandson of the famous seaman, Sir Richard Grenville. Having served in France, Germany and the Netherlands, Grenville gained the favour of the duke of Buckingham, took part in the expeditions to Cadiz, to the island of Rhe and to La Rochelle, was knighted, and in 1628 was chosen member of parliament for Fowey. Having married Mary Fitz (1596-1671), widow of Sir Charles Howard (d. 16 22)22) and a lady of fortune, Grenville was made a baronet in 1630; his violent temper, however, made the marriage an unhappy one, and he was ruined and imprisoned as the result of two lawsuits, one with his wife, and the other with her kinsman, the earl of Suffolk. In 1633 he escaped from prison and went to Germany, returning to England six years later to join the army which Charles I. was collecting to march against the Scots. Early in 1641, just after the outbreak of the Irish rebellion, Sir Richard led some troops to Ireland, where he won some fame and became governor of Trim; then returning to England in 1643 he was arrested at Liverpool by an officer of the parliament, but was soon released and sent to join the parliamentary army. Having, however, secured men and money, he hurried to Charles I. at Oxford and was despatched to take part in the siege of Plymouth, quickly becoming the leader of the forces engaged in this enterprise. Compelled to raise the siege he retired into Cornwall, where he helped to resist the advancing Parliamentarians; but he quickly showed signs of insubordination, and, whilst sharing in the siege of Taunton, he was wounded and obliged to resign his command. About this time loud complaints were brought against Grenville. He had behaved, it was said, in a very arbitrary fashion; he had hanged some men and imprisoned others; he had extorted money and had used the contributions towards the cost of the war for his own ends. Many of these charges were undoubtedly true, but upon his recovery the councillors of the prince of Wales gave him a position under Lord Goring, whom, however, he refused to obey. Equally recalcitrant was his attitude towards Goring's successor, Sir Ralph Hopton, and in January 1646 he was arrested. But he was soon released; he went to France and Italy, and after visiting England in disguise passed some time in Holland. He was excepted by parliament from pardon in 1648, and after the king's execution he was with Charles II. in France and elsewhere until some unfounded accusation which he brought against Edward Hyde, afterwards earl of Clarendon, led to his removal from court. He died in 1658, and was buried at Ghent. In 1644, when Grenville deserted the parliamentary party, a proclamation was put out against him; in this there were attached to his name several offensive epithets, among them being skellum, a word probably derived from the German Schelm, a scoundrel. Hence he is often called "skellum Grenville." Grenville wrote an account of affairs in the west of England, which was printed in T. Carte's Original Letters (1739). To this partisan account Clarendon drew up an answer, the bulk of which he afterwards incorporated in his History. In 1654 Grenville wrote his Single defence against all aspersions of all malignant persons. This is printed in the Works of George Granville, Lord Lansdowne (London, 1736), where Lansdowne's Vindication of his kinsman, Sir Richard, against Clarendon's charges is also found. See also Clarendon, History of the Rebellion, edited by W. D. IVIacray (Oxford, 1888); and R. Granville, The King's General in the West (1908).

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