Jemima Marchioness Grey
The de Grey coat of arms
Born on 9th October 1722 at the royal court in Copenhagen where her father served as ambassador from 1720 to 1730, she was the heir of Henry, Duke of Kent, being the daughter of his eldest daughter Amabel, who had married John Campbell, 3rd Earl of Breadalbane. Her mother died of cancer in 1727 and her grandfather the Duke, who was also Marquess Grey, ensured that that title could pass to her.
She married Philip Yorke, son of the Lord Chancellor, on 22nd May 1740 and he succeeded as 2nd Earl of Hardwicke on 6th March 1764. His family seat was at Wimpole Hall in south Cambridgeshire.
He divided his time between Wimpole and Wrest and added a number of pictures to the family collection at the latter house. He also made considerable additions to the garden, aided by the famous landscape gardener Lancelot "Capability" Brown. He also added a large dining room to the old house. He died on 16th May 1790 aged 69 at Saint James' Square and, as he only had two daughters, was succeeded as Earl by his brother. He was buried at Wimpole but has a memorial in the de Grey Mausoleum at Flitton.
Memorial to Philip Earl of Hardwicke August 2011
A letter of 28th November 1791 written by Silsoe schoolmistress Sarah Harrison tells of an accident befalling the old marchioness [L30/11/133/2]: "I trouble you with this for fear Lady Bell Polwarth or Lady Grantham should hear (before anyone here is permitted to inform them) of the sad disaster that befell Dear, Dear Lady Grey last night. If they do not hear of it I would beg you not to inform them, but if from the Papers or through any other Avenue it should reach their Ears you will then be able to give them the Underwritten Authentic Account which I transmit to you for no other reason than for fear they should be more alarmed than there is occasion for before they come at the truth. Betwixt 7 and Eight last night Lady Grey rung her Bell from the Drawing Room twice, Mr. Turner went to it & found her Ladyship standing by the Chimney with her Head & neck on fire & the Blaze, he says, went up a foot above her head. He ran to her & tore the Wire (which was all that remained of her Cap) of [sic] her Head, tore of her Handkerchief & Tucker which was all on fire & part part of her Gown. He wrapp'd his Coat round her & very soon extinguished the whole. He then rung & Mrs. Read & Mrs. Brazier were soon with them. Lady Grey did then as she has always done on all occasions show most amazing fortitude. By her order Mr. Phipps was immediately sent for who was instantly with her. Her Fingers & insde of both Hands, but particularly the Left, are much burnt. the side of her Neck, face & both Ears and Hair are burnt. One side of the face and (thank God) the Eyes escaped. The Upper part of one breast a Little burnt the other not at all. The back of the Hands & Arms are not burnt. And on the whole it is look'd on as a most providential Escape that she is not burnt to Death.She had an uneasy night but got some sleep this morning, is perfectly composed & in Good Spirits & got up about 10 to Day when Mr. Bolding (who she desired might be sent for) with Mr. Phipps attended & dressed all the Burnt places. One Eye is clos'd up with the Swelling of the face & one of the Nails of the middle finger was burnt of [sic] & Mr. Phipps brought it home with him last night. Mr. Bolding approv'd of what Mr. Phipps had done & says that (unless anything unforseen happens which he does not think will) that she should do very well, as she is not burnt in any dangerous place. Lady Grey assured Mrs. Bolding when she Left her that she was free from pain. Mrs. read sat up with her last night & had never left her. The outside of the Body of the Gown (but not the lining) is burnt. Lady Grey has absolutely forbid her People to write to her Daughters to Day. And I am afraid it may appear very busy in me. But I have such a dread of what they would feel if they hear it from other hands that i could not resist writing & indeed Mrs. Branes desired I would to you & we both intreat you not to mention this unless they hear it".
She wrote again the next day [L30/11/133/3]: "As I told you in mine of last night that I should write again this Evening if nobody else did & as I do not find that anybody else does, I think it necessary to inform you that Lady Grey had a Good night, the swelling in her Face is much subsided, all the Burnt places are in a perfect good way & she is likely to be well as soon as the nature of the accident will admit. Mr. Bolding waited of & with Mr. Phipps Dress'd all the Burnt Fingers &c. this morning and Mr. Phipps does what is necessary by himself in the Evening, on the whole she could not have had better or quicker assistance in London than she has had here. Her Ladyship is in exceeding good spirits, will not seem to feel any pain. For my part I think she is as far superior to us in Resolution & fortitude of Mind as she is in Birth & Fortune".
Jemima died at the family's London House, 4 Saint James' Square on 11th January 1797, aged 74 and the title of Marquess Grey died with her. She was also 4th Baroness Lucas of Crudwell and this title passed to her eldest daughter Amabel. Jemima was buried in the de Grey Mausoleum at Flitton church on 21st January, sharing her husband's monument. Her will [CRT190/45] stated that she was to be buried in the vault "in as private a manner as may be consistent with proper decency. A Hearse with six horses, without any Ornament or Escutcheons and two Coaches with six horses each will be sufficient, without any Family Coach or Livery Servant. I would not have the Church hung with black or any Escutcheons to be used there nor any mourning rings given".
Her will went on to give £50 to the poor of Flitton with Silsoe and of Clophill. She also gave her servant Jane Band an annuity of £40 per annum. She also stated: "It is my intention to erect a Monument in the Church at Flitton to the memory of my late Lord. If it shall happen that I do not carry this my intention into execution I then direct that one shall be placed there to his memory and mine plain and neat in the design but not magnificent or expensive and that the same be placed in the Division now empty on the right hand side of the Duke of Kent's Monument". In fact she did raise Hardwicke's monument in his lifetime as it states that she did so and "waits to follow him". The eulogy on the monument reads: "Her excellent & cultivated understanding, her serene & benevolent temper, her polished manners, her domestic virtues and exemplary piety will ever be revered and regretted by her children, relations and friends".
In a codicil to her will she wrote: "I desire my Body to be kept as long as is proper and then buried with Lime in the Coffin to promote a speedier dissolution". She also willed "If any letters or papers are found in my handwriting which have been returned to me from Friends I correspond with not burnt (which it is my intention to do) I desire my Executrix will burn them". The originals may well have been burned but fortunately her executrix, her daughter Amabel, first copied them out and these copies are now held by Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service [L30/9a].
Campbell arms in Silsoe church September 2011