Greys Court is a partial survivor of one of the great houses of the Middle Ages and the Elizabethan era. It is named after Lord de Grey who was given permission to crenellate in 1347, whence the Great Tower still survives. In 1514, Henry VIII granted it to a court official, Robert Knollys (d.1521). The property exchanged ownership regularly and therefore few paintings have survived. It passed down through the Knollys family until 1642, when it was sold. It was sold again in 1686 to William Paul of Braynick, Berkshire. In 1724 his daughter, Catherine, married the West Indian nabob, Sir William Stapleton (1698–1739), 4th Bt, which bought Greys Court into that family, where it remained for the next two centuries. In 1935 Sir Miles Stapleton (1893–1995), 9th Bt, sold it to Evelyn Fleming. By 1937 she had sold it to Sir Felix Brunner (1897–1982) and his wife Dorothea Elizabeth Irving (1904–2003). Dorothea’s grandfather was the great Victorian actor-manager Sir Henry Irving (1838–1905), and there are many mementoes of him in the house. They gave Greys Court to the National Trust in 1969 and the family continues to live there.
National Trust, Greys Court
Rotherfield Greys, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire RG9 4PG England
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