Edward Grey Surgeon. Born about 1745

Married Jane Campbell 4 Feb 1777

Died at Heton. Buried at Ford 5 March 1822

Edward Grey’s father was John of Longhorsley. He was born about 1745, possibly at Longhorsley but he is not recorded there with his other siblings. Edward was mentioned in the wills of his father John in 1779 and of his brother William.

One of the rare Greys not to have become a farmer he must have been well educated and also trained in order to become a surgeon. Possibly he trained at Edinburgh, which would have been the nearest place. He is the first to be mentioned in his father’s will which may mean that he was the eldest and possibly the reason why he was given an education, which would have been expensive.

He married Jane Campbell in Alnwick on 4 February 1777. Their son Henry was born in Alnwick on 11 February 1778. Edward is recorded as working as a medical practitioner in Alnwick in the biography of his son.

According to the Dictionary of National Biography, his wife left him very early on taking their son Henry with her to bring him up in Edinburgh.

Edward's father’s will written on 24 November 1778 says: “ I leave and bequeath to my well beloved son Edward Grey all my Freehold piece of land containing Eight acres lying on Tyne Side in Corbridge known by the name of Stanners With all Deeds and appurtenances thereunto belonging to him and his Heirs forever”

Edward is said to be of Morpeth, and is described as a surgeon in 1792 by his brother William. He died at Heton, possibly having returned to live with his nephew John, son of his brother John, because the other members of his family had predeceased him. Possibly if his wife had left him he was estranged from his son as well. He lived the longest of all his siblings. He was buried on 5 March 1822 aged 77 according to the registers at Ford, which are given as a source on the Milfield family tree. His only son Henry went on to become a clergyman.

GREY, HENRY, D.D. (1778-1859), free church minister, was born on the 11 Feb. 1778, at Alnwick, Northumberland, where his father was a medical practitioner. His education was chiefly left to his mother, who had an early breach with his father, and removed with her son to Edinburgh, where he passed through the usual course of study, preparatory to entering the office of the ministry of the established church. Grey’s sympathies were wholly with the evangelical portion of the church, then gradually acquiring position and power, and his earnest piety, fine talents, and attractive appearance and manner soon won for him attention and preferment. His first charge was the parish of Stenton in East Lothian, a retired and quiet place, where he found little either of social or spiritual life, but where for twelve years he laboured with great diligence, and not without encouragement. In 1818 he was called to fill the pulpit of St. Cuthbert’s Chapel of ease, a charge recently formed through the labours of Sir Henry Moncrieff Wellwood, and his colleague- minister of St Cuthbert’s parish, well situated at that time for the upper classes of Edinburgh, although now utterly apart form their abodes. Hitherto it had been a general complaint that the evangelical clergy were far behind their ‘moderate’ brethren in scholarship and in general culture; but Grey’s discourses were presented in a scholarly style, with charming purity of elocution and intense fervency. This way of presenting evangelical truth to the more cultivated classes of Edinburgh was Grey’s great service, and in this respect he was the pioneer of others whose gifts eclipsed his own, notably Dr. Andrew Thomson and Dr. Thomas Chalmers (q.v.) In 1821 he was appointed to the New North Church, one of the parish churches of Edinburgh, and four years after to St Mary’s, a new church erected by the town council in a part of the new town. Four years after this last translation Grey found himself in a painful personal conflict with Dr Andrew Thomson, in connection with what was known as the Apocrypha controversy, in which they took opposite sides. This collision excited a great amount of notice, and was the more painful because the two men were on the same side in theology, and had been warm personal friends. In the great ecclesiastical struggle of the next few years Grey warmly espoused the side of the church against the civil courts, and in 1843 he left the established church, and had a new church built for him in the parish of St Mary’s. In the year after the disruption, 1844, he was chosen to fill the chair of the general assembly, which he did with marked ability and spirit, and with great acceptance. In the jubilee year of his ministry a public testimonial was presented to him, which was turned into the foundation for the ‘Grey scholarships’ in the New College, Edinburgh. While very decided in the part he took in the great church controversy, Grey was essential a man of catholic nature. He had taken an active part in the agitation against West Indian slavery, and in the movement for political reform, not without exposing himself, in the latter case, to much adverse criticism on the part of many who agreed with his religious views, but were opposed to the party of political progress. He cultivated a wider circle of acquaintances than most of his brethren, and was highly esteemed in other communions than his own. He died suddenly in his eight-first year on 13 Jan. 1859 (Scott’s Fasti; Kays’s Portraits, vol.ii.; Anderson’s Sketches of Edinburgh Clergy; Memoir of the Rev. Henry Grey, D.D., prefixed to Thoughts in the Evening of Life, by (his son-in-law) Rev. C.M. Birrell, Liverpool, 1871; Edinburgh newspapers, 14 Jan 1859; Home and Foreign Record of the Free Church, March 1859; personal knowledge.) W.G.B. Dictionary of National Biography.

View Greys in Northumberland in a larger map

Above: From The Times, 5 Dec , 1933, page 19. Times Online Archive
MR BIRRELL “A correspondent writes:-Mr. Birrell's mother was a daughter of the Rev. Henry Grey, a member of the Established Church of Scotland. He married his cousin Margaretta Grey, who was a sister of John Grey, of Dilston and Milfield, in Northumberland. Consequently, Mr. Birrell's mother was a cousin of Charles Grey, also of Dilston, and later of the Irish Land Commission, and of his sister, Josephine Grey, who married a brother of Dr. Montagu Butler the great Master of Trinity, and became well known as Josephine Butler, the social reformer. Mr. Birrell was known as " Cousin Austin " throughout the Grey and Butler families. His curious type of humour, which produced sayings which used to be known in the House and in the Press as "Birrellisms," was in fact inherited from his mother's family, because they were exactly the same type of joke that is characteristic of Josephine Butler's correspondence and that of all her assorted brothers and sisters.”
Augustine Birrell ," Cousin Austin " (1850-1933)

Henry and Margaretta's daughter Harriet Jane was born on 24 July 1811. She married Charles Mitchell Birrell in Edinburgh on 8 March 1838. Charles, born in Scotland was a Baptist Minister and they can be found on the 1851 census living at 135, Olive Lane in Wavertree, Liverpool, where he was minister at Pembroke Chapel. They had five children: Henry Grey 13, Charles Howe, 11, Harriet Eliza, 6, Mary Olive, 3 and Augustine 1 and three servants, a cook, a nurse and an under nurse.

By 1861 they had moved to 18 Duke Street North, Liverpool, four of the children were living with Harriet, she was still married to Charles who continued to be the Minister at Pembroke Chapel. Henry Grey Birrell, 23, was a commercial clerk, while the others were all at school. Emily Grey Birrell, 15 Mary Olive, 13 and Augustine aged 11. They had two house servants. Henry Grey Birrell became a banker retiring to Hove in 1901.

Harriet Jane died in October 1863 at the age of 52 and Charles died in 1880 at the age of 69.

His caricature can be compared to an original early photograph and an engraving of him at the Woodhorn Museum.
Henry and Margaretta's daughter Mary (baptised at Stenton on 25 March 1810) is recorded as marrying in Edinburgh the Rev J. H. Gurney of Trinity College , Camb., and curate of Lutterworth, eldest son of Hon Mr. Baron Gurney in the "The British Magazine and Monthly Register of Religious and Ecclesiastical Information Vol XVI" MDCCCXXXIX. online here. (1)

An online family tree has the following:

4. Rev. John Hampden GURNEY. Born on 15/8/1802 in 12 Sargeants Inn, Fleet Street, London, England. John Hampden died in 63 Gloucester Place, Portman Square, London, England on 8/3/1862, he was 59. Occupation: Minister of the Church of England. Education: Chobham School; Trinity College, Cambridge.
On 24/10/1839 when John Hampden was 37, he married Maria GREY, daughter of Rev Henry GREY & Margaretta GREY, in Edinburgh, Midlothan, Scotland. Maria died in 1857.
They had the following children:
i. Frederick. Born in 1842 in Lutterworth, Leics, England.
ii. Emily. Emily died in 12/1875 in Egypt.
7 iii. Alfred (1844-1898)
iv. Ellen Mary. Born abt 1846 in London, England. Ellen Mary died in The Close, Salisbury, Wilts, England on 25/3/1908, she was 62. Christened on 24/6/1846 in St Martin in the Fields, Westminster, London, England.
8 v. Edmund (1847-1888)
vi. John Henry. Born on 19/6/1849 in London, England. John Henry died in Repton, Derbys, England on 26/1/1919, he was 69. Occupation: Science Teacher; Assistant Master Repton School (1881). Education: Repton; Trinity College, Cambridge.After 3/4/1881 John Henry married Fanny Harriet [--?--]. Fanny Harriet died aft 24/1/1919. No known children
vii. Rosamund. Born on 28/2/1851. Rosamund died in Egypt in 12/1875, she was 24.
viii. Henry Grey. Born on 19/12/1852 in London, England. Henry Grey died in The Priory, Roehampton, Surrey, England on 7/1/1896, he was 43. Occupation: West Indian Merchant (1881).
ix. Mary. Born on 21/6/1854. Mary died in Egypt in 12/1875, she was 21.
x. Hampden. Born on 16/6/1857.

The family can also be found on the Peerage website here, and a book about Edmund Gurney here.

Three of the daughters were drowned in the Nile (2) and the tenth child died at only a few weeks old. Mary may have died at his birth.

Another of Henry and Margaretta's children could have been the Rev. Henry Campbell Grey born about 1814 in Scotland and died 17 August 1854 in Sussex. He was educated at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and can be found in residence at the Vicarage in Wooler on the 1841 census. He married Maria Gurney in 1848, in Brixton, and was a curate in Stoke on Trent by 1851. He died on 17 August 1854, in Sussex, and his will refers to his children. An on line blog here records that he and Maria had Alice in 1851, and Henry in 1852, who died young. Alice Maria Grey, their first daughter, lived until 1938. She never married, and was nearly ninety when she died. According to the same blog, in 1896 she was one of the Guardians of the Lambeth workhouse, which at the time housed a young Charlie Chaplin.
Rev. Henry Grey, D.D., St. Mary's, Edinburgh, dated between 1843–1847, by the famous scottish photographers Hill and Adamson. From the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
Rev Henry Grey A.M. 1815. (Sketch No. CCCXXIV.) after page 456 Vol 2 of " A Series of Original Portraits and Caricature Etchings by the late John Kay, miniature painter, Edinburgh. Published by Hugh Paton, Edinburgh 1838; Carver and Gilder To her Majesty Queen Victoria.
Eight acres is unlikely to be used for farming as it is too small. It is not known if there was a house on the land or possibly, since it was next to the river, a mill. No building is mentioned.

"DEATH OF THE REV. OF C.M. BIRRELL We regret to announce the death of the Rev. Charles Mitchell Birrell, which took place at his residence, Elliott Place, Blackheath last evening. This information will be received with deep regret in Nonconformist circles in this city, where the deceased laboured as a minister of the Baptist denomination for a period of thirty-four years, during which time he gained the goodwill and esteem of all with whom he came in contact. Mr. Birrell began his ministry in a quaint old chapel in Byrom Street, now known as Byrom Hall, in the year of 1836; but the accommodation there proved insufficient and by the liberality and enterprise of the congregation Pembroke Chapel was built and opened in 1839. The ministrations of the rev. gentlemen were marked by great success, and he entered with great spirit into the work of establishing sister churches in Birkenhead, Bootle and Everton, in addition to the immediate duties of his pastorate, which were invariably attended to most zealously. He continued as the minister of Pembroke Chapel until nearly the end of the year 1872, when, in consequence of failing health he tended his resignation to the congregation of the church. The feeling of the congregation was shown by their earnest entreaties that he would continue to be the pastor in conjunction with another, but to this request he declined to accede from convictions of duty. The members of the church then set about making some recognition of their appreciation of the services of the pastor, a scheme in which they were readily assisted by outside friends; and the result was that £2, 620 were subscribed, which sum was presented to Mr. Birrell, together with an illuminated address, in December, 1872, when he took a partial farewell of his congregation. He continued to reside in the town for some time after the appointment of his successor, the Rev. P.G. Scorey (who has since resigned), but subsequently took up his residence in London, where he remained until his death." Friday 17 December 1880 , Liverpool Echo

His death certificate records that he was living at 12 Elliot Place, Blackheath at the time of his death. He is buried at Norwood cemetery in Lambeth.

Henry's marriage is not mentioned in the Dictionary of National Biography, but he did marry his first cousin Margaretta Grey daughter of George Grey of West Ord and later Milfield on 12 October 1808 according to the registers of Kirknewton.

Margaretta was an exceptional woman who dressed up as a boy in order to listen to the debates in the House of Commons. Margaretta died at the age of 69 but Henry lived till he was 80. He died at 5 East Claremont Street Edinburgh 13 Jan 1859.

Henry and Margaretta had five children, all born in Scotland: three daughters and two sons according to a biographical sketch of Henry.

Henry and Margaretta's son the Reverend Edward John Grey lived at Etherly, Durham in 1859 and was a curate at Long Eaton Derbyshire in 1861. He died at Harworth, Nottingham in 1869 , unmarried at the early age of 49.

Charles Birrell photographed in the studio of Elliot and Fry, 55 Baker Sreet, Portman Square, London. Photo from Josephine Butler archive, the LSE Library collections. Ref 3AMS/G/04/025

Charles Birrell photographed in the studio of J. Lee, at 57 Church Street, Liverpool.

Photo from the Josephine Butler archive, LSE Library collections. Ref 3AMS/G/04/026

It was Charles and Harriet's youngest son Augustine (1850-1933) who became famous. He was a politician, barrister, academic and author. He was Chief Secretary for Ireland from 1907 to 1916, resigning in the immediate aftermath of the Easter Rising. He was noted for his sense of humour which was called Birrelling. In dictionaries of quotations some of his witty epigrams achieved fame as ‘Birrellisms’—such as ‘That great dust-heap called history’ Read about his life here


(1) The two Grey/Gurney Marriages. Henry Grey and Margaretta Grey were first cousins their daughter Mary married John Hampden Gurney while their son Henry Campbell Grey married Maria Gurney d/o William Brodie Gurney a brother to John Hampden Gurney's father Sir John Gurney.

(2) A TERRIBLE ACCIDENT Three Nieces of the Recorder of London Drowned in the Nile [Egyptian Corres of the London Times] Mr Russell Gurney himself had started on the Nile voyage first, leaving the rest of his party, consisting of his nephew and nieces, to follow him as rapidly as possible in a second boat, the Flora, with a dragoman, reis, or captain, and the ordinary crew. It is usual, on account of the sandbanks, shallows and many curves of the river, for dababeeahs on the Nile to moor at nightfall; but, in order to lose no time, the Flora pursued on after sunset, against, it is said, the opinion of the reis. At nine or ten in the evening they were some sixteen miles off Minioh, a strong northerly breeze blowing, with squalls. They were passing Gebel el Tayr, the Mountain of the Bird, whose lofty, precipitous cliffs rise abruptly from the river several hundred feet. The Nile, having no tributary for the last 3,500 miles of its course, only decreases in size as it nears its mouth, and is much wider here than it is at Cairo. It is as broad as the Thames at London bridge, and the winds rush down the ravines with great force. The Flora was under full sail – that big lateen sail, twice as big as the boat itself, which makes a dababeeah look like a great swan upon the water. As she rounded the point, a sudden squall took her, and before the sheet could be let go, she capsized in the darkness. The ladies in their cabins, most of the crew, the reis himself, were all lost in the deep, rapid stream, and only one passenger and the dragoman were able to reach the shore. A bright-eyed donkey-boy, well known to frequenters of Shepheard’s Hotel at Cairo, who had begged to be taken on the trip to avoid impressments as a soldier for the Abyssinian war, was among those lost. As yet the bodies have not been recovered, but divers have gone up to the scene of the disaster, and it is hoped that their efforts will be attended with success. The sympathy for Mr Russell Gurney and his nephew is universal in Cairo, and the catastrophe has cast a great gloom over all English travellers in Egypt. It cannot be too strongly impressed on Nile tourists that the dababeeah is only a fair-weather boat. With its comfortable house on deck, its sixty feet or seventy feet of length, its enormous sail requiring a yard to hold it nearly double the length of the boat and, with all this, having a draft of barely three feet, a Nile boat is very easily capsized, and accidents would be frequent if travellers did not, as a rule, prefer safety to speed, and always seek the shelter of the banks when there is anything like bad weather. The New York Sunday Courier from the London Times) 30th January 1875