Nielsen Hayden genealogy

Thomas II Gray

Thomas II Gray

Male Abt 1315 - Bef 1369  (~ 54 years)

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  • Name Thomas II Gray 
    Birth Abt 1315  Heaton Castle, Wark-on-Tweed, Northumberland, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2, 3
    Gender Male 
    Alternate death Bef 22 Oct 1369  Chillingham, Glendale, Northumberland, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Death Bef 22 Oct 1369  Chillingham, Glendale, Northumberland, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [4, 5, 6, 7
    Siblings 2 siblings 
    Person ID I3047  Ancestry of PNH, TNH, and others | Ancestor of AP, Ancestor of DK, Ancestor of JTS, Ancestor of LMW, Ancestor of TNH, Ancestor of UKL
    Last Modified 6 Sep 2023 

    Father Thomas I Gray,   b. Abt 1277, of Heaton, Wark-on-Tweed, Northumberland, England Find all individuals with events at this locationd. Bef 12 Mar 1344 (Age ~ 67 years) 
    Mother Agnes   d. Aft 13 Sep 1322 
    • 7743118
    Family ID F1977  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Margaret de Presfen,   b. of Middleton, Northumberland, England Find all individuals with events at this locationd. Bef 15 Aug 1403 
    Marriage Abt 1352  [2
    +1. Elizabeth Gray   d. 11 Aug 1412
    +2. Thomas III Gray,   b. Abt 1359, of Heaton, Wark-on-Tweed, Northumberland, England Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 26 Nov 1400 (Age ~ 41 years)
    Family ID F3205  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart
    Last Modified 10 Apr 2016 

  • Photos
    Thomas II Gray
    Thomas II Gray

  • Notes 
    • Author of the Scalacronica.

      His grandson Sir Thomas Gray was one of the three conspirators in the 1415 "Southampton Plot" against Henry V.

      In 2016, John Watson proposed that Thomas Gray's first wife was a sister of Sir Thomas Ughtred, both siblings children of Sirt Thomas Ughtred (d. 1365) and Margaret Burdon. However, both of the children of Thomas Gray shown here were definitely children of his second wife Margaret de Presfen.

      Post to soc. genealogy.medieval, 11 Aug 2014:

      From: John Watson
      Subject: Origin of the Grays of Heton, Northumberland

      Dear all,

      One of the best examples of upward social mobility in fourteenth century England was that of the family of Gray of Heton (modern day Heaton, about two miles south of the River Tweed in Northumberland). Their origins are however, obscure. Almost all of the published materials concerning the early Gray family rely on one source; the pedigree shown in Joseph Stevenson's translation of the Scalacronica printed in 1836 [1]. Although Stevenson provides the documents upon which he based the pedigree, he apparently errs in the parentage of the first Sir Thomas Gray, who started the family's rise to fortune. Stevenson shows Thomas' father as another Sir Thomas Gray of Heton, son of a Sir John Gray of Berwick who died about 1246.

      There is however, another medieval document, now in the National Archives, which shows the actual parentage of the first Sir Thomas Gray and which was apparently not noticed by Stevenson. This is a plea to the king in 1334, by Sir Robert Gray, the brother of Sir Thomas Gray.

      "Robert Gray seeks the restoration of property in Berwickshire. 1) His father held a mill at Lauder and other tenements in Hydegate in Berwick in the time of King Alexander [1249-1286], but was ousted during the wars. This property is now in the king's hands. 2) He also held a third part of Simprim, as the heir of William de Fenton, which he lost at the same time. Regarding the mill at Lauder and the tenements in Berwick, they say that Robert de Gray senior had three sons, namely John, Robert and Thomas, and that he granted this property to his son Robert, who held it until he was ousted in the war by Andrew Gray, whose heirs were dispossessed by his forfeiture. The property is in the King's hands and has not been re-granted. 2) Regarding the land at Simprim they say that William de Fenton was seised in the time of King Alexander, and granted it to Geoffrey de Caldecotes and his heirs, who held it until they were dispossessed by the war of Edward I. William de Fenton re-entered it and enfeoffed Robert Gray, who was seised until he was removed by the war of Robert Bruce. William de Fenton re-entered it for the third time, and Robert de Caldecotes, son and heir of Geoffrey, recovered it against the said William by assize of morte d'ancestor, and was seised until he went into Scotland" [2].

      Robert, the father of Sir Robert Gray the petitioner, lived in the second half of the thirteenth century, and was holding land on both sides of the border in Berwickshire and Northumberland. In 1296-7, at the outbreak of Edward I's wars with Scotland, such cross-border families had to make a choice between allegiance to the crown of England or Scotland. It appears from the above document that John, his eldest son, chose Scotland whilst his two younger sons, Thomas and Robert, chose to serve Edward I and II.

      In late 1311, an entry in French in the register of Richard Kellawe, Bishop of Durham, records that Sir (sire) Robert Gray had held the manor of Heton [Heaton] in Norhamshire of the bishop of Durham, by the law of England [after the death of his wife] of the inheritance of his son John. John had died in Scotland not in the fealty of the king of England and the manor had been seized as a forfeit of war by Anthony Bek, Bishop of Durham [died 3 March 1311]. The king, during the vacancy of the see of Durham, had granted the manor of Heton to Walter de Wodeham, who had also died. Bishop Kellawe petitioned the king for the return of the manor [3].

      The king's grant of Heton to Walter de Wodeham is recorded in the Patent Rolls: "1 April 1311, Grant, in fee, to Walter de Wodeham, king's yeoman, of the manor of Heton, with a toft and 3 acres of land in Norham, co. Northumberland, late of Juliana Gray, which, on account of the rebellion of John Gray her son and heir, was escheated" [4]. This gives us the name of Sir Robert Gray's wife, Julian. She was most probably the daughter and heiress of Sir William de Heton who was holding Heton at the time of the Testa de Nevill in 1284-5 [5]. This would explain why Sir Robert Gray was holding the land only by the courtesy of England after her death, of the inheritance of his son John.

      Bishop Richard Kellawe was evidently successful in regaining the manor of Heton from the king, because on 28 October 1312, he granted and quitclaimed the manor of Heton in Norhamshire to Sir Thomas Gray, knight and Agnes his wife, and their heirs to hold of the bishop and his heirs in perpetuity [6]. This suggests that Thomas was the second son of Robert and was the next heir of his mother and brother John. Robert the third brother, had been granted property in Berwickshire by their father.

      Sir Thomas, son of Sir Robert Gray of Heton married, before 1312, Agnes, whose parentage is unknown. He was probably born between 1275 and 1280. His son Sir Thomas Gray II, records in the Scalacronica that he was a soldier serving in Scotland in May 1297 when he survived an ambush on English forces by William Wallace [7]. He was knighted before 1302, when Sir Thomas Gray is recorded as serving in the garrison of Berwick. Gray spent most of his life in military service, either in Scotland or on the borders. He was constable of the strategically important border castle of Norham until 1328. He died shortly before 10 April 1344 when bishop Bury granted a pardon to Thomas son of Sir Thomas Gray, knight, deceased, for his father's transgressions [8].

      Thomas Gray seems to have had only one son, Thomas who was born about 1315, the author of the Scalacronica, which he started writing when a prisoner of war in Scotland in 1355. Thomas and Agnes also had several daughters who were married into the northern English gentry. Some of these daughters have previously been discussed in this group. They are (in no particular order):

      Margaret wife of Sir John Eure of Stokesley, Yorkshire (d. 21 March 1366). She died before 3 August 1378.

      Isabel wife of Sir William Heron of Ford, Northumberland (d. 21 December 1379). She died after 1362.

      Agnes wife of Sir Gerard Salvain of Harswell, Yorkshire (d. 1 August 1369). She died before 1362.

      An unnamed daughter who married Sir William Felton of Northumberland (d. before 24 February 1360) as his first wife. She died before January 1332.

      Possibly Alice wife of John Burradon of Eworth, Northumberland. She died s.p. before 1362.

      Sir Robert son of Sir Robert Gray, the petitioner in 1334 for his father's property in Berwickshire, was also a soldier. Before January 1319 when he petitioned the king for payment of his wages, he had been sheriff of Lanark and constable of Rotherglen castle and in the garrison of Berwick-on-Tweed [9]. Raine says that he died in 1338 and was the ancestor of the Grays of Cornhill, but there is no clear evidence for this [10].

      So the revised pedigree of Gray of Heton looks like this:

      Best regards,


      [1] Joseph Stevenson, ed., Scalacronica: By Sir Thomas Gray of Heton, Knight. A Chronicle of England and Scotland from A.D. MLXVI to A.D. MCCLXII. Now First Printed from the Unique Manuscript. With an Introduction and Notes, Maitland Club (Edinburgh, 1836), xxxiv.

      [2] TNA: SC 8/115/5714A.

      [3] Thomas Duffus Hardy, ed., Registrum Palatinum Dunelmense. The Register of Richard de Kellawe, Lord Palatinate and Bishop of Durham, 1311-1316, vol. 1, Rolls Series (London, 1873), 77-8.

      [4] Calendar of Patent Rolls, Edward II, vol. 1, 1307-1313 (London, 1894), 337.

      [5] James Raine, The History and Antiquities of North Durham (London, 1852), 326.

      [6] Thomas Duffus Hardy, ed., Registrum Palatinum Dunelmense. The Register of Richard de Kellawe, Lord Palatinate and Bishop of Durham, 1311-1316, vol. 2, Rolls Series (London, 1874), 1170.

      [7] Herbert Maxwell, ed., Scalacronica. The Reigns of Edward I, Edward II and Edward III as Recorded by Sir Thomas Gray (Glasgow, 1907), 18.

      [8] G. W. Kitchin, ed., Richard D'Aungerville of Bury: Fragments of His Register, and Other Documents, Surtees Society 119, 1910, 58.

      [9] Calendar of Close Rolls, Edward II: vol. 3: 1318-1323 (1895), 53

      [10] Raine, The History and Antiquities of North Durham, 184.

  • Sources 
    1. [S214] John Watson, 11 Aug 2014, post to soc.genealogy.medieval.

    2. [S1240] John Watson, 10 Apr 2016, post to soc.genealogy.medieval.

    3. [S142] Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families by Douglas Richardson. Salt Lake City, 2013., place only.

    4. [S160] Wikipedia.

    5. [S789] The Wallop Family and Their Ancestry by Vernon James Watney. Oxford, 1928., year only.

    6. [S808] Rosie Bevan, 29 Apr 2002, post to soc.genealogy.medieval.

    7. [S47] The History of Parliament. Some citations point to entries from the printed volumes not yet added to the online site., month and year only.