Greys Monument in Newcastle upon Tyne

Earl Grey

History of the 2nd Earl

Howick was the home of the Grey family from 1319 and Charles 2nd Earl Grey is the most distinguished member. 

As leader of the Whig party he was Prime Minister from 1830 to 1834, during which time the Great Reform Bill of 1832 was passed in the teeth of opposition from the Duke of Wellington; this started the process of parliamentary reform which eventually led to our modern democracy.  He married Mary Elizabeth Ponsonby in 1794; the marriage was happy and fruitfut and the couple had 15 children.

Howick is also the home of Earl Grey tea!  The tea was specially blended by a Chinese mandarin for Charles, 2nd Earl Grey, to suit the water from the well at Howick, using bergamot in particular to offset the taste of the lime in it.  Lady Grey used it in London when entertaining as a political hostess, and it proved so popular that she was asked if it could be sold to others, which is how Twinings came to market it and it is now sold worldwide.  Sadly the Greys, being unbusinesslike, failed to register the trade mark and as a result they have never received a penny in royalties.

Earl Grey's statue stands at the top of Grey Street in Newcastle, and Grey College in Durham University is named after him.  All the historical Grey family papers are deposited with Durham University.