Twelve George III Dinner Plates

Twelve George III Dinner Plates

A Set of Twelve George III Dinner Plates

London, 1781
By Andrew Fogelberg & Stephen Gilbert

Bearing the coat-of-arms of Thomas De Grey, 2nd Baron Walsingham

Diameter: 24 cm, 9 1/2in
Weight: 7,215.2 g, 232 oz

Together with the matching soup plates from the same service.

Thomas de Grey, 2nd Baron Walsingham PC (14 July 1748 – 16 January 1818), was a British politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1774 to 1781 when he succeeded to the peerage as Baron Walsingham. He served as Joint Postmaster General and was for many years Chairman of Committees in the House of Lords.

Walsingham was the son of William de Grey, 1st Baron Walsingham, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, and educated at Eton College from 1760 to 1765 and was admitted at Trinity Hall, Cambridge in 1766. He succeeded his father as 2nd Baron Walsingham on 9 May 1781 and inherited his Merton Hall, Norfolk estate from his uncle Thomas de Grey the same year.

Merton Hall, Norfolk

He served as Groom of the Bedchamber to King George III from 1771 to 1777. His other public posts included Lord of Trade (1777–1781), Under-Secretary of State for the American department (February 1778 – September 1780), Vice-Treasurer of Ireland (1784–1787) and joint Postmaster General (1787–1794).

He sat as Member of Parliament for Wareham in 1774, for Tamworth from 1774 to 1780, and for Lostwithiel from 1780 to 1781, when he succeeded his father and took his seat in the House of Lords. In 1783 Lord Walsingham was admitted to the Privy Council, and from 1794 to 1814 was Chairman of Committees in the House of Lords.

Lord Walsingham married the Hon. Augusta Georgina Elizabeth Irby, daughter of William Irby, 1st Baron Boston. He died in January 1818, aged 69, and was succeeded in the barony by his eldest son, George.

Lieutenant General George de Grey, 3rd Baron Walsingham (11 June 1776 – 26 April 1831) was a British peer and Army officer.

Early life
George de Grey was born on 11 June 1776, the eldest son of Thomas de Grey, 2nd Baron Walsingham, and his wife Augusta Georgina Elizabeth Irby, who was the daughter of William Irby, 1st Baron Boston. He was educated at Eton College before joining the British Army in the early months of 1794 as a cornet in the 1st Dragoons.
De Grey purchased a lieutenancy in the 1st Dragoons almost immediately after becoming a cornet, and then on 13 March of the same year he transferred to the newly formed 25th Light Dragoons as a captain. He continued his swift rise up the ranks by purchasing the rank of major in the 25th on 25 May 1795, still only eighteen years of age. In early 1796 de Grey's regiment was sent to serve in India, as part of which journey they witnessed the Capitulation of Saldanha Bay in August 1796 off Cape Colony. After arriving in India, the regiment joined the Madras garrison in time to participate in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War. As part of such de Grey fought at the Battle of Mallavelly and Siege of Seringapatam in 1799.

Towards the end of 1799 de Grey learned from England that he had been promoted to lieutenant colonel to command the 26th Light Dragoons on 3 May. He returned to England to join the regiment, but by the time he arrived his orders had been changed and he was instead given command of his old regiment, the 1st Dragoons, dated from 6 June. The regiment was garrisoned in Kent and de Grey stayed there with them for the following two years, until in 1803 he was appointed an assistant adjutant general for the Home District. He served in this position until 1805, at which point he re-joined the 1st Dragoons. The regiment began a tour of the British Isles, marching north to Scotland and then travelling across the Irish Sea to Ireland, arriving there in 1807. On 25 April 1808 de Grey was promoted to the rank of brevet colonel and made an aide de camp to King George III, while still holding command of the 1st Dragoons.

De Grey's regiment had been meant to travel to Portugal to fight in the army of Lieutenant General Sir John Moore towards the end of 1808, but Moore's death and the subsequent evacuation of his army at the Battle of Corunna meant the move was cancelled. He stayed in England until August of the following year when the regiment was again sent orders to join an army in Portugal, and they arrived there in September. The regiment spent the remainder of the year at Lisbon before moving to the Spanish border near Ciudad Rodrigo at the start of 1810. Having arrived there, de Grey left the regiment to instead command a brigade of heavy cavalry on 13 May. He fought in command of his brigade at the subsequent Battle of Bussaco on 27 September and then formed part of the rearguard of the army as it retreated to the Lines of Torres Vedras for the winter. The Lines stopped the advance of the French towards Lisbon and when they began their retreat in November of the same year de Grey's brigade was part of the force that pursued the French, doing so until the enemy forces entered Spain in early 1811.

With the threat of an attack by the French now lessening, de Grey's brigade was sent to join Marshal William Beresford's force marching to fight at the Siege of Badajoz. After this open battle with the French began again, and de Grey's brigade was often involved. They were in reserve at the Battle of Campo Maior on 25 March but saw heavy combat at the subsequent battles of Los Santos and Albuera, on 16 April and 16 May respectively. Then at the Battle of Usagre on 25 May de Grey's force saw its greatest success, destroying a brigade of French dragoons in a fight that saw 250 Frenchmen killed to only 20 British soldiers. This was de Grey's last action as a colonel because on 4 June he was promoted to major general as part of a large group of promotions to that rank. With there being more major generals than there were commands for them in the Peninsular War, some were not able to continue in their commands, but Lieutenant Colonel Henry Torrens organised for de Grey to stay in his role, and this was announced on 26 June. At this time the army was reorganised, and de Grey and his brigade were sent to join the 2nd Cavalry Division. In August they travelled back to Ciudad Rodrigo where they spent the remainder of 1811, while moving to the 1st Cavalry Division in October.[3]

In the middle of 1811, de Grey injured his shoulder and requested to Lord Wellington, the commander of the army, that he be allowed to return home to recuperate. At some point after his brigade had moved to Ciudad Rodrigo de Grey was given permission to leave his command, and by the end of the year he had done so, although the exact date of his departure is unknown.[3] It has been suggested that this harmed his relationship with Wellington because at this time a large number of officers were attempting to be sent home from Spain and Portugal for reasons Wellington thought to be unprofessional.[5] De Grey never received another active military command during or after the Napoleonic Wars, instead serving on the Home Staff of the Kent District until 1814, which was his last military appointment.

De Grey inherited the title of Baron Walsingham from his father when the latter died on 16 January 1818, also becoming Comptroller of the First Fruits at the same time. By seniority he was promoted to lieutenant general on 19 July 1821 but did not receive any further rewards for his service apart from the Army Gold Medal with Albuera clasp de Grey has been described as one of the forgotten generals of the Peninsular War, doing nothing bad but equally not having any great successes, resulting in him often being left out of the narrative of the cavalry's role in the war.


Thomas de Grey, 2nd Baron Walsingham PC (14 July 1748 – 16 January 1818), Merton Hall, Norfolk.
Lieutenant General George de Grey, 3rd Baron Walsingham (11 June 1776 – 26 April 1831), London and Merton Hall, Norfolk.

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