John Granville, 1st Earl of Bath

John Granville, 1st Earl of Bath PC (29 August 1628 – 22 August 1701), of Stowe in the parish of Kilkhampton in Cornwall, was an English Royalist soldier and statesman during the Civil War who played a major role in the 1660 Restoration of the Monarchy and was later appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.[1][2][3] He was the first in his family to adopt the modernised spelling as Granville of their ancient surname Grenville,[4] which emphasised their supposed ancient 11th-century origin from the Normandy manor of Granville, Manche.


He was the eldest son and heir of Sir Bevil Grenville (1596–1643) lord of the manors of Bideford in Devon and Stowe, Kilkhampton in Cornwall, a Royalist soldier killed in action in heroic circumstances at the Battle of Lansdowne in 1643 during the Civil War. Sir Bevil served as MP for Cornwall 1621–1625 and 1640–42, and for Launceston in 1625–1629 and 1640. John's mother was Grace Smythe,[1] a daughter by his second marriage of Sir George Smith (d. 1619) of Madworthy, near Exeter,[5] Devon, a merchant who served as MP for Exeter in 1604, was three times Mayor of Exeter and was Exeter's richest citizen, possessing 25 manors or part manors.[5][6][7] John had thirteen siblings, all by Royal Warrant of Precedence granted the rank and title of Earl's children by King Charles II on 20 August 1675, in recognition of their father's services.[8] Grace's half-sister Elizabeth Smythe was the wife of Sir Thomas Monk (1570–1627) of Potheridge, Devon, MP for Camelford in 1626, and mother of the great General George Monck, Duke of Albemarle, KG (1608–1670), the main figure behind the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660. It was largely due to his close kinship to his first cousin the Duke that Sir John Grenville was raised to the peerage in 1660 as Earl of Bath[9] and was also granted the reversion of the Duchy of Albemarle in the event of the failure of George Monck's male issue.[10]


During the 1638 to 1651 Wars of the Three Kingdoms, Granville fought in the regiment raised by his father for Charles I (1625–1649).[1] Created a knight after the capture of Bristol in 1643, he was appointed Gentleman of the Bedchamber to the future Charles II and accompanied him into exile. When the Second English Civil War began in 1648, Charles appointed him Governor of the Scilly Isles, which had rebelled against its Parliamentary garrison. As a base for Royalist privateers attacking English and Dutch vessels in the Western Approaches, this was a vital source of funding for the exiled Court; in May 1651, Parliamentary forces under Robert Blake retook the islands and Granville was captured.[11]

On his release, Granville remained in England and continued to be active in Royalist conspiracies. In 1660, he served as an intermediary in the negotiations between Charles and his distant relative George Monck that led to the Restoration. To his disappointment, the Duchy of Albemarle went to Monck, whom Charles also rewarded with the then enormous pension of £7,000 per year. Instead, he was created Baron Granville, Viscount Granville and Earl of Bath in 1661, and a Privy Councillor in 1663.[12]

In 1665, he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, although he never went there and spent large sums of time and money on rebuilding the family home of Stowe House in Cornwall. Widely admired, it was dismantled in 1739, although many of its ornamental features, including entire rooms, can be seen at the Guildhall in South Molton, Devon.[13] Albemarle also expanded his own ancestral seat of Potheridge, about 18 miles to the east; unfinished on his death, it was badly damaged by fire and demolished in 1734.[14]

Under James II, Granville served as colonel of the Earl of Bath's Regiment, later 10th Foot, first during the June 1685 Monmouth Rebellion and again in 1688. During the November 1688 Glorious Revolution, he commanded the key ports of Exeter and Plymouth but defected to William III on 18 November.[15]

He was rewarded by being made Lord Lieutenant of Devon but again failed to gain the title of Albemarle and the legal dispute over the Albemarle estate almost bankrupted him. Two weeks after his death in August 1701, his son Charles shot himself, apparently overwhelmed by the debts he had inherited.[16]

Marriage and progeny

In October 1652 at Kilkhampton John Granville married Jane Wyche, a daughter of Sir Peter Wyche, English ambassador to the Ottoman Empire.[1] By his wife, he had five children:




He died in London in 1701.


The armorials of the family of Granville / Grenville of Glamorgan, Devon and Cornwall is of certain form but uncertain blazon. The charges appear in the form of musical pipes of a wind-instrument, similar to pan-pipes. Authoritative sources on heraldry suggest the charges to be variously "clarions" (used by Guillim (d.1621)), the most usual blazon, which are however generally defined as a form of trumpet; "rests" is another common blazon, denoting lance-rests supposedly used by a mounted knight; "organ-rests" is also met with, a seemingly meaningless term (Gibbon (1682)). Other terms are "clavicymbal", "clarichord" and "sufflue" (used by Leigh in his Armory of 1562 and by Boswell, 1572),[18] the latter being a device for blowing (French: souffler) air into an organ.,[19] Guillim suggested the charge may be a rudder,[19] but in which case it is shown upside down, when compared to that charge used for example on the tomb at Callington of Robert Willoughby, 1st Baron Willoughby de Broke. Certainly in the brasses on the chest tomb of Sir John Bassett (d.1529) in Atherington Church, Devon, the charges are engraved in tubular forms with vents or reeds as used in true organ pipes.

See also


  • Burke, John, Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol.3, 1836, pp. 3–7, Granville of Calwich Abbey (complete pedigree of Granville family)


  1. "Grenville, John" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  2. "- Person Page 1265".
  3. G. E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors. The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume II, page 20-22.
  4. Round, p. 130; Rev. Roger Granville, the family's historian, in his 1895 work changed the spelling retrospectively for all members of the family, which Round termed "barbarous" and "in the teeth of every letter and document" from pre-1660. (Round, p. 131)
  5. Vivian, Lt.Col. J.L., (Ed.) The Visitations of the County of Devon: Comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1564 & 1620, Exeter, 1895, p. 569, pedigree of Monk of Potheridge
  6. "SMITH, George (-d.1619), of Madford House, Exeter, Devon".
  7. J. Horace Round, Family Origins and Other Studies, ed. Page, William, 1930, p. 164, The Granvilles and the Monks
  8. "No. 1020". The London Gazette. 30 August 1675. p. 2.
  9. J. Horace Round, Family Origins and Other Studies, ed. Page, William, 1930, p. 163, The Granvilles and the Monks: "Great as was the favour bestowed on Sir John Granville" (i.e. later cr. 1st Earl of Bath) "and his brothers under Charles II, the actual part taken by Sir John in the restoration of the King was less potent to obtain it than his lucky relationship to George Monk, the prime agent in that event"
  10. Round, p. 165
  11. "The Scilly Isles, 1651". BCW Project. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  12. Round, p.130
  13. "Stowe House". Lost Heritage. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  14. "Great Potheridge". Lost Heritage. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  15. Webb, Stephen Saunder (author), Garrett, Jane (ed) (1995). Lord Churchill's Coup: The Anglo-American Empire and the Glorious Revolution Reconsidered. Alfred a Knopf Inc. p. 343. ISBN 978-0394549804.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  16. "Sir John Grenville, 1st Earl of Bath, 1628-1701". BCW Project. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  17. Risdon, Tristram (d.1640), Survey of Devon, 1811 edition, London, 1811, with 1810 Additions, p.419
  18. Boswell, Armorie of 1572, vol. 2, p. 124
  19. "Clarion".
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir William Morice
Governor of Plymouth
Succeeded by
Charles Trelawny
Preceded by
The Lord Arundell of Trerice
Governor of Pendennis Castle
Succeeded by
Sir Bevil Granville
New regiment Colonel of The Earl of Bath's Regiment
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Carney
Preceded by
Sir Charles Carney
Colonel of The Earl of Bath's Regiment
Succeeded by
Sir Bevil Granville
Court offices
English Interregnum Lord Warden of the Stannaries
Succeeded by
The 2nd Earl of Radnor
Honorary titles
English Interregnum Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall
With: Viscount Granville 1691–1693
Succeeded by
The 2nd Earl of Radnor
Preceded by
The 1st Earl of Radnor
Custos Rotulorum of Cornwall
Preceded by
The 1st Duke of Albemarle
Lord Lieutenant and Custos Rotulorum of Devon
Succeeded by
The 2nd Duke of Albemarle
Preceded by
The 2nd Duke of Albemarle
Lord Lieutenant of Devon
With: Viscount Granville 1691–1693
Succeeded by
The Earl of Stamford
Custos Rotulorum of Devon
Peerage of England
New creation Earl of Bath
Succeeded by
Charles Granville
Baron Granville
(descended by acceleration)


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