Gresley baronets

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Drakelowe Hall, circa 1890

The Baronetcy of Gresley of Drakelow was created in the Baronetage of England on 29 June 1611 for George Gresley of Drakelow Hall, Derbyshire who was later High Sheriff of Derbyshire and Member of Parliament for Newcastle-under-Lyme.[1] The Gresley Baronetcy was the sixth oldest baronetcy in Britain until it became extinct on the death of the 13th and last Baronet in 1976.

The Gresleys were an ancient Norman family, descended from Nigel de Stafford, the son of Robert de Stafford, scion of one of the most powerful families in England.[2] Nigel's son, also named Nigel, took the name Gresley after he acquired Castle Gresley in Derbyshire.[3][4] The Domesday Book recorded Nigel de Stafford holding the Manor of Drakelowe near the conclusion of the 11th century, and his descendants, the Gresleys, continued to hold it for nine hundred years – as long as any family in England is said to have owned the same manor.[5][6] The family established the Priory of Gresley near their castle in Gresley before the year 1200.[7] Drakelowe Hall, latterly the family seat, was a large Elizabethan mansion. A subsidiary branch of the family had a seat at Netherseal Hall, Netherseal.

The two branches of the family were reunited by the marriage of the sister of the 8th Baronet to Rev. William Gresley, Rector of Netherseal, and the succession of their son William Nigel Gresley as 9th Baronet.[8]

The last of the Gresley family vacated Drakelowe Hall in 1931 after 28 generations had lived there.[9][10] The Hall was demolished three years later, in 1934, when the site was redeveloped as Drakelow Power Station, which itself was later demolished. Netherseal Hall was demolished in 1933.

The Gresleys of Drakelowe, written by Falconer Madan, librarian of Oxford University's Bodleian Library, was published in 1899 and is the accepted history of the family.

Gresley of Drakelow (1611)[edit]

Following recent research, it may be possible that there are a number of direct male descendants of the 2nd Baronet still alive and living in England. Mention is made in Madan's book of Charles Francis Gresley who married Clara Phillips. Madan states that the couple had no issue, but family historian Richard Boultbee recently discovered that in fact they appear to have had three boys, the eldest of which has living male Gresley descendants. Proving that they are the heirs would be difficult, but may not be impossible.

Other members of the family[edit]

  • Sir Robert Gresley (1866–1936) married Lady Frances Spencer Churchill (1870-1954), eldest daughter of George, Duke of Marlborough, and had four children, but only one grandchild Janet Gresley, (1934–1996) daughter of Antony Gresley (1903-1954). Following the death of Sir Robert's son Nigel the direct lineal descendants of the family are Paul Antony Davey (born 1961), son of Janet Gresley, and his children. Antony Gresley never married.
  • Sir Nigel Gresley (1876-1941), was a famous railway engineer.
  • Wilmot Maria Gresley, daughter of Sir Nigel Bowyer Gresley, 7th Baronet, married Rev. Thomas Levett of Packington Hall in Staffordshire.[12][13][14]


  1. ^ George Edward Cokayne Complete Baronetage 1900
  2. ^ Magna Britannia, Volume 5, Daniel and Samuel Lysons, 1817, Institute of Historical Research, British History Online
  3. ^ John Charles Cox (1877). Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire: The hundreds of Appletree and Repton and Gresley. 1877. Palmer and Edmunds. p. 367.
  4. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States of America calls the Gresley Baronets "a well-known branch of the house of De Toesni, Barons of Toesni and Conches, Normandy.[1]
  5. ^ Gresley, Magna Britannia, Daniel and Samuel Lysons, 1817, British History Online
  6. ^ The Gresley Charters Preserved at Drakelowe, Descriptive Catalogue of the Charters & Muniments of the Gresley Family, Isaac Herbert Jeayes, 1895
  7. ^ Houses of Austin canons, The priory of Gresley, A History of the County of Derby, Victoria County History, William Page, 1907, British History Online
  8. ^ Debrett's baronetage of England, revised, corrected and continued by G.W. Collen, John Debrett, London, 1840
  9. ^ Drakelowe Hall, British Towns and Villages Network
  10. ^ Collections for a History of Staffordshire, Vol. XIX, The William Salt Archaeological Society, Published by Harrison and Sons, London, 1898
  11. ^ Sir Nigel Bowyer Gresley, 7th Baronet, died at Bath, where there is a mural monument to him in Bath Abbey.[2]
  12. ^ The Baronetage of England, John Debrett, 1840
  13. ^ The Admission Register of the Manchester School, Vol. I, Jeremiah Finch Smith, The Chetham Society, Manchester, 1866
  14. ^ Thomas Levett and Wilmot Maria Gresley Levett are buried at St. Giles Church, Whittington, Staffordshire, where there are memorials to them in the chancel.


External links[edit]

Baronetage of England
Preceded by
Monson baronets
Gresley baronets
29 June 1611
Succeeded by
Tracy baronets