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Gregory Gregory

Gregory Gregory.jpg

One of the mysteries about Gregory Gregory is the lack of confirmed images of the man. This panel, hidden high up in the apse above the grand cedar staircase in his beloved Harlaxton manor is thought to be the only know picture of Gregory Gregory.

Lords of the Manor of Harlaxton


1124 Maud, daughter of Henry 1 given Lordship of Soke of Grantham (inc Harlaxton) She in turn gave it to William of Tancarville in return for the service of 10 knights. Each knight was given a “fief” of land, some of which included Harlaxton.

1174 William de Mortimer held the Manor and  built the church

1340 Constantine Mortimer passed all interests in the Manor of Harlaxton to his son in law, Edmund de Swyneford who built the old manor

1363 the principle land owners, the Swynefords, were probably living elsewhere. Edmund Duke of York given Lordship of Grantham and John Of Gaunt may have used Harlaxton Manor as a hunting lodge.

Late 1300s and early 1400s The Swyneford family married into various other noble families including the Luttrell (of Luttrell Psalter), Belesby, Hilton, Pygot, Vaux, Martin and Thisnblebys (Thimbleby) and Ricard families.

John Blewitt married the daughter of Thomas Rycard (Ricard)

1434 John Blewitt of Harlaxton

1464 John Blewitt

?- ? john Blewitt

?-? John Blewitt

1539- ? John Bluet

?-? Bluet Family 80 years

? – 1619 John Bluet

1619 – 1666 Daniel de Ligne bought the title and estate for £8000 from the Bluet family. Knighted by James 1

1666 – 1730 Daniel de Ligne

1730 Cadwallader Glynne (died before he could formally inherit)

1738 – 1758 George Gregory (The solicitor who “found out” Anne Orton was related and married her as she inherited.)

1758 -1822 George de Ligne Gregory

1822 -1854 Gregory Gregory (prev Gregory Williams inherits from his Uncle George de Ligne Gregory)

1854 – 1860 George Gregory

1860 – 1869 John Sherwin Gregory

1869-1892 Estate passed to Wife of JSG, Catherine Gregory

1892 – 1935 Thomas Sherwin Pearson Gregory

1935 Passed to son Philip Pearson Gregory – estate sold to Violet Van de Elst 1937 after which time the title ceased to exist.

Whilst his name is known widely in the village through what he shaped or had built, few know Gregory Gregory's background story.

Gregory Williams (his birth name) was born in 1786, the only son of Olivia Preston of Flasby Hall in Yorkshire and soldier William Gregory Williams. He didn’t adopt the name Gregory Gregory until he inherited the estate from his Uncle, George de Ligne Gregory, in 1822.

Aged 11 in 1797 he gained entrance to Rugby School in Warwickshire and in 1805 at the age of 19 he attended Christ Church College, Oxford as a commoner or ordinary fee-paying student. Gregory studied the Classics, Greek philosophy and Mathematics, but left in 1807 without taking a degree. This was customary at the time for those destined to run family estates or family businesses.

How the young Gregory Williams employed himself before inheriting his estates is not known with any degree of certainty. What is known is that he received a commission as a Major in the second or Southwell Regiment of Local Militia in 1809 and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 1813.

By 1822 he had inherited estates from both his father and his uncle’s legacies and took the Gregory name as his surname. His uncle, George de Ligne Gregory (1740-1822), estate included property in Nottingham, Lenton, Radford and Denton as well as holdings in various canal and railway companies and some profitable coal mines. Whilst his father’s estate included a smaller property at Denton and land at Rempstone.

In 1823 Gregory Gregory of Rempstone is listed as a Fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society - something that must have influenced his approach to the gardens at Harlaxton Manor. In 1825, still based at Rempstone, he acted as Sheriff of Nottinghamshire, as many of his ancestors had done before him. Shortly after Gregory let out Rempstone Hall to Mr Smith Wright of the Nottingham banking family, and he moved to Hungerton Hall. An 1829 Directory lists him as living at Hungerton Hall and in 1831 he can be found as a Fellow of the Zoological Society of London.

In the 1820s, Gregory Gregory is said to have been attached to various British embassies overseas during which time he amassed a collection of statuary, furniture, tapestries, books, silver plate, and artwork which later became known as the ‘Gregory Heirlooms.’ He also sold some of his land with a view to building a mansion in Lincolnshire to resemble a palace.

In 1831 he commissioned the architect Anthony Salvin to build his new manor house, a mansion reflecting his personal tastes and a myriad of styles and designs picked up during his European travels.

Gregory Gregory died in 1854 of gout complications and according to a funeral notice in The Times, was buried in the family vault in Harlaxton Church. He left a substantial gift in his will to his “confidential servant” Samuel Baguley. Samuel was named prior to anyone else, indicating an unusual level of importance for a butler. 

The house was inherited by his cousin, George Gregory, a man Gregory apparently despised.

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