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Wisteria at Greys Court

How much do you know about Greys Court? Find out some facts, possibilities and myths about the site and the families here.

The gardens at Greys Court

There have been gardens at Greys Court for hundreds of years - since at least the 13th century.

Lady Brunner was mainly responsible for the current garden, but she was not the first female gardener at Greys Court. In the 19th century, the Stapleton ladies were keen gardeners - Catherine Stapleton even had a pelagonium named after her Pelargonium Echinatum "Miss Stapleton" which is still available today.

Women owners of Greys Court

Thirteen women have owned or co-owned Greys Court. These include Eve de Grey who owned it for 50 years in the 12th/13th century, Alice Lovell, the de Grey heiress, for about 50 years in the 15th century, and Robert Knollys’ wife Lettice, who continued to own it for 37 years after her husband died in 1521. Later owners include Mary Fane who bought it from her impoverished son, Sir Thomas Stapleton c1815 and Evelyn Fleming briefly in the 1930s.

Relationship with other de Grey families

The Rotherfield de Greys are often said to be the ancestors of other de Grey families including Earls of Kent, Marquises of Dorset and Lady Jane Grey, although this cannot be proved.

Francis Lovell's death

Francis Lovell, friend of Richard III, never accepted Henry VII as king. He supported the pretender Lambert Simnel and disappeared after the battle of Stoke. One story is that he was trapped in an underground room at Minster Lovell, where his skeleton was found sitting at a table 200 years later. 

The parentage of Catherine Carey

Catherine Carey, who married Francis Knollys, was the daughter of Mary Boleyn. Mary had an affair with Henry VIII (before her sister, Anne Boleyn married him). Modern historians think it is highly likely that Catherine was the daughter of Henry VIII, though this is not provable.  

Evelyn Fleming's sons

Evelyn Fleming owned Greys Court from 1934-7, and was the mother of Ian Fleming, the author of James Bond, as well as Peter Fleming, the famous travel writer and adventurer.