Grigg Family Tree

John Edward Poynder Grigg

John Edward Poynder Grigg

Male 1924 - 2001  (77 years)

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  • Name John Edward Poynder Grigg 
    Born 15 Apr 1924 
    Gender Male 
    Occupation journalist 
    Died 31 Dec 2001  London U.K. Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I100  griggfamilytree
    Last Modified 11 Feb 2002 

    Father Sir-Edward William Macleay Grigg,   b. 8 Sep 1879, Madras, India Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1st December,1955, Sodbury Gloustershire,England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 75 years) 
    Mother Hon.Joan Alice Katherine Dickson Poynder 
    Family ID F55  Group Sheet

    Family Marian Patricia Campbell 
    Married 3 Dec 1958  England Find all individuals with events at this location 
     1. Alexander Henry Campbell Grigg
     2. Edward William Jonathan Grigg
    Last Modified 6 Jan 2018 
    Family ID F57  Group Sheet

  • Photos
    John & Patricia Grigg
    John & Patricia Grigg

  • Notes 
    • John was a Visiting Fellow,Adelaide, Sth Australia, April 1985.
      Article of John Grigg as Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Adelaide
      Discusses his research and writing about Lloyd George. Also discusses
      his title and disclaiming it in 1963.
      He wrote books. Published three books on Lloyd George with two in the
      pipeline. Published biography on Nancy Astor , Published on World War
      11, " The Victory That Never Was"
      John was honored in England, 1955. Became the 2nd Lord Altricham at
      the death of his father. (Disclaimed the title in 1963)
      He resided in London.England Aug 1957, "John Grigg (Lord Altringham)
      writes an article in The National and English Reveiw about the Queen,
      accusing her of being eletist. He says the Queen is too closely
      associated with the upper class and that particularly dislikes her
      presentation parties when debutantes are received in court. He says
      Monarchy is " complacent" and "out of touch"
      Grigg's planned appearance on the BBC program "Any Questions" is
      cancelled. Robin Day of Independent Telivision News interviews, an
      angry man approaches Grigg and punches him.
      John was elected in London, England, 1985. Chairman of the London
      Library, John Edward Poydner Grigg 2nd Baron Altricham; born April 15
      1924; succeeded to title in 1955; educated at Eton and New College,
      Oxford. Is editor of National and English reviews and Chairman of
      Periodical Publications Ltd.
      European War 1939-1945 as Lt Grenadier Guard; unsuccessfully contested
      W Div of Oldham (C) in October 1951 and May 1955.
      John Grigg was born in 1924, he read history at New College, Oxford
      winning the Gladstone Memorial Prize.
      As a journalist he wrote a column in the Guardian for ten years, and
      had also been a political correspondent for the Spectator and a staff
      writer for the Times.
      He won the Whitbread Award for Lloyd George; 'The Peoples Champion
      1902-1911' and the Wolfson Prize for Lloyd George; 'From Peace to War
      1912-1916 '. His other books include -' Nancy Astor ; Portrait of a
      Pioneer , 1943 '; 'The Victory that Never Was 'and volume six of 'The
      History of the Times', covering the period of the Thompson ownership.
      He was Chairman of the London Library from 1985-1991, and is now it's
      President. He is married with two sons and lives in London.
      [BO:Politics obituaries
      John Grigg
      [IT:Political biographer who renounced his peerage and attacked the
      Queen's 'complacent entourage:IT]
      [BO:Geoffrey Wheatcroft
      Wednesday January 2, 2002
      The Guardian:BO]
      A lifetime later, it seems almost unimaginable that the writer and
      historian John Grigg, who has died at the age of 77, was once regarded
      as a dangerous radical. Denounced more than 40 years ago as a
      crypto-republican and subverter of established order, he seemed by the
      21 st century - as an Englishman, an Anglican and a Tory - to be a
      survival from some remote period, with his courtesy, decency and high
      Maybe he himself recognised that he was an anachronistic figure, and
      turned, in his later decades, from public controversy
      to history, above all his life of David Lloyd George, which is one of
      the finest political biographies of our time.
      John was the son of Edward Grigg, a Times journalist associated with
      the imperialist circle of Joseph Chamberlain and Lord Milner, a
      soldier, Conservative MP, governor of Kenya, and member of Churchill's
      wartime government, who was created first Baron Altrincham in 1945.
      After Eton, the young man followed his father into the Grenadier
      Guards (1944-47), and to New College, Oxford, where he won the
      Gladstone Memorial Prize. In paternal footsteps once more, he aspired
      to journalism and politics, editing the English And National Review
      (1954-60) as his father had done, and standing, unsuccessfully, as
      Conservative candidate for Oldham West at the 1951 and 1955 general
      He was a conspicuously liberal Tory at a time when that phrase did not
      seem a contradiction in terms, though, even then, his distaste for his
      party's hanging and flogging brigade - and for late-imperial
      adventures like Suez - made him distrusted by many Conservatives.
      In 1955, Grigg's father died, and he succeeded as Lord Altrincham, the
      name by which he was known for the next eight years. A resolute critic
      of the hereditary House of Lords, who still hoped to become an MP, in
      1963 he reverted to John Grigg by following Lord Stansgate, who had
      disclaimed his peerage to
      become Anthony Wedgwood (subsequently Tony) Benn once more.
      He had already acquired national notoriety in 1957 by writing an
      article criticising the Queen - he called the court "complacent" and
      "out of touch", and deplored the way a monarchy that should have been
      truly national and above class divisions was, in practice, intimately
      associated with the upper classes. There was an uproar: Altrincham was
      dropped by the BBC from Any Questions, the Duke of Argyll said that he
      should be hanged, drawn and quartered, and, after he had gently
      reiterated his strictures in a television interview with Robin Day, he
      was assaulted in the street by an angry royalist.
      What seems astonishing now is how much rage Grigg's reflections
      provoked, and how mild they were. As he said in the programme The Real
      Queen, shown last night on Channel 4, by the 1950s the idea had
      somehow crept in "that you couldn't say a word against the royal
      family, let alone the Queen". And yet, he had quite obviously spoken
      not as a revolutionist but as an enlightened Tory, and as a strong
      believer in constitutional monarchy. He had no wish to be disloyal,
      still less unchivalrous; and much of what he suggested later came to
      Even so, Grigg contined to lament 20 years ago, at the 30th
      anniversary of the Queen's accession, the way that her entourage
      "should still be unrepresentative not only of the Comonwealth, but
      even of the United Kingdom. To put it bluntly, there are no black or
      brown faces in prominent places at court, and this contradicts what
      the monarchy ostensibly stands for".
      The Commonwealth was another of the causes to which Grigg gave his
      heart. He hated any form of racism, and advocated a strenuous
      multiracial policy for the Commonwealth, even if it meant (as it did)
      the departure of apartheid South Africa. He knew and loved India, and
      suggested that Gandhi was a more appropriate patron saint for the
      Commonwealth than St George.
      From 1960-70, Grigg wrote a column in the Guardian, as he did in
      1986-93 for the Times, and he was, for a time, political columnist of
      the Spectator. But he was, in truth, not a particularly exciting
      newspaper writer, and his fastidiousness and modesty meant that
      workaday journalism was never quite his metier.
      In any case, he was increasingly disillusioned by politics, or at
      least by the Conservatives. Throughout the 1970s, he continued to
      oppose attempts to reintroduce the death penalty, but, in the end,
      gave up hopes of entering parliament, and, in 1982, left the Tories
      for the SDP. Apart from a little volume, Two Anglican Essays (1958),
      he was in his 40s before he published a book. When he did so, he soon
      emerged as one of the best historians of his time.
      There was a 1980 biography of the formidable, and not very lovable,
      Nancy Astor, the first woman to sit in parliament, and 1943: The
      Victory That Never Was (also 1980), a fascinating exercise in
      counter-factual history, which argued - convincingly that Churchill
      had held back too long from the invasion of northern Europe, which
      should have taken place a year earlier than 1944, and ended the war
      Grigg also held that the first of the two world wars had been "the
      nobler war". In defiance of the prevailing liberal view of the
      interwar years - that Germany had been more sinned against than
      sinning - he argued that Wilhelmine Germany had been aggressive,
      militaristic, anti-democratic and bent on the domination of Europe,
      and had indeed been responsible for the war that began in 1914. This
      is now something like the accepted view among historians of the
      As for the senseless slaughter of the trenches, those who died were,
      at any rate, soldiers. Whereas in the "people's war"' of 1939/45, it
      was the people who suffered; what made that war so distinctive was not
      the millions of combatants who died, but the tens of millions of
      civilians. Grigg abhorred the waging of war on women and childen,
      notably in the British terror-bombing campaign of Germany.
      The masterpiece for which he will be remembered, however, is his life
      of the man whom AJP Taylor called the greatest prime minister of the
      20th century. Three volumes have been published: The Young Lloyd
      George (1973), Lloyd George: The People's Champion (1978, when it won
      the Whitbread Award for biography), and Lloyd George, From Peace To
      War 1912-1916 (1983, winning the Wolfson prize).
      Biographer and subject might have seemed an unlikely pairing. Grigg
      was the antithesis of the fiery, word-intoxicated radical who stormed
      across the political stage and then became a great war leader. But he
      showed a remarkable sympathy, and even affinity, for the Welsh wizard,
      despite the fact that their domestic personalities were very
      Grigg, who had once skittishly said that "autobigraphy is now as
      common as adultery and scarcely less reprehensible", was, in public
      and private life, a truly virtuous man, whose virtue was occasionally
      just this side of priggishness. While recognising Lloyd George's
      political stature, he might easily have been shocked by his ceaseless
      lechery; in fact, he was relaxed and uncensorious on the subject, only
      - and justly - deploring the unconscious cruelty of the male
      philanderer who doesn't recognise that sexual attachments may mean
      more to the women he seduces than to himself.
      He was more sharply critical - and with reason - of Lloyd George's
      financial adventures, reckless, unscrupulous and, on occasion, plain
      dishonest. Even then, he could not help warming to the man's humour,
      and leonine vitality.
      In later years, Grigg was stricken by cancer, and went through the
      usual cycle of treatment, remission, and recurrence. Sadly, this
      affected his work, but, before his death, he had nevertheless returned
      to Lloyd George and the years of his premiership in 1916/22. It is to
      be hoped that some further volume of this grand work may yet appear.
      In 1958, Grigg married Patricia Campbell, who survives him with their
      two sons.
      John Edward Poynder Grigg, writer and historian, born April 15 1924;
      died December 31 2001.
      John Grigg
      [BO:(Filed: 02/01/2002) (That's January 2nd to us colonials):BO]
      JOHN GRIGG, who has died aged 77, was a journalist, author and
      his three-volume life of David Lloyd George was widely acclaimed as
      one of
      the most brilliant biographies of recent times.
      Grigg's father, Sir Edward Grigg (created Lord Altrincham in 1945),
      had been
      Lloyd George's Private Secretary in 1921-22, and John Grigg was given
      to some 2,000 letters from Lloyd George, mostly to his wife.
      Grigg cast a critical eye at the stock assumptions about Lloyd George,
      losing sight of the man behind the politician, nor forgetting that
      was the dominating passion of his life. Despite the financial and
      scandals that dogged his career, Lloyd George emerged with his
      Of the three volumes in the series - The Young Lloyd George (1973),
      George: the People's Champion (1978) and Lloyd George: From Peace to
      (1985) - the second won the Whitbread award and the third the Wolfson
      literary prize. The historian Norman Stone described Grigg's biography
      "worth reading from cover to cover".
      Among the general public, however, Grigg was less well known as a
      than as a polemicist. A Tory for most of his life, he combined a
      belief in
      the enduring value of historic institutions with a radical temperament
      led him to argue that such institutions needed to adapt themselves to
      changing realities in order to retain their vitality.
      Claiming to be a reformer rather than a rebel, during the 1950s Grigg
      made a
      series of proposals for institutional and constitutional change.
      During the 1950s, as editor of the National and English Review, Grigg
      a series of minor sensations with articles critical of the English
      Establishment. Then in August 1957 he excited outrage with an issue
      to "constructive" criticism of the monarchy, suggesting in his own
      that the Queen was cut off from the majority of her subjects by her
      The Queen, Grigg went on, was obliged to read from texts carefully
      by others, giving her a speaking style that was "a pain in the neck",
      the personality of "a priggish school girl".
      Grigg claimed that his article was offered with "no intention other
      than to
      serve the monarchy, to strengthen it and to enable it to survive"
      "It is too precious an institution to be neglected. And I regard
      acceptance of its faults as a form of neglect."
      His critics, however, saw his article as a personal attack on the
      Queen, and
      Grigg soon found himself being pilloried as a heretic in the press,
      challenged to a boxing match with Henry Cooper, struck in the face by
      member of the League of Empire Loyalists, subjected to all sorts of
      bloodcurdling threats from fellow members of the aristocracy and
      as "very silly" by Dr Geoffrey Fisher, the Archbishop of Canterbury.
      In the face of this onslaught, Grigg repeated what he had actually
      said and
      refused to withdraw his remarks; the letters he received began to
      until they were three to one in his favour. Much later, Lord Charteris
      Amisfield, Private Secretary to the Queen in the 1970s, declared that
      had done the monarchy a great service with his article.
      By the 1990s Grigg's views on the monarchy were widely respected.
      During the
      public orgy of grief and recrimination that followed the death of
      Princess of Wales, Grigg leapt to the Queen's defence, describing her
      subsequent broadcast to the nation as "the best I have ever heard from
      He condemned the vengeful tone of the press in its coverage of the
      Family on the grounds that it was unfair and would cause further
      while hazarding the suggestion that the experience might encourage the
      monarchy in future to try to anticipate rather than follow changes in
      John Edward Poynder Grigg was born in London on April 15 1924, the
      son of Sir Edward Grigg, who had been Military Secretary to the Prince
      Wales during his tours of Canada, Australia and New Zealand in 1919-21
      before becoming Private Secretary to the Prime Minister David Lloyd
      Sir Edward was National Liberal MP for Oldham at the time of his son's
      and the next year was appointed Governor of Kenya Colony. From 1933 to
      he was Conservative MP for Altrincham and would be created a peer as
      Altrincham in 1945. Lady Grigg (nee Dickson-Poynder) was the only
      child of
      the first and last Lord Islington.
      >From Eton, where he was Captain of Oppidans, John Grigg went straight
      the Army. Commissioned in the Grenadier Guards in 1943, he found
      himself an
      officer of the Guard at St James's Palace and Windsor Castle.
      In 1944 his dislike of corporate worship saved his life when a flying
      hit the chapel at Wellington Barracks, where most of his fellow
      officers and
      their families had gone for morning service. Later that year, as a
      commander, he was involved in holding the German offensive in the
      He became an intelligence officer and ended the war in Hamburg.
      After his release from the Army in 1945, Grigg went up as a scholar to
      College, Oxford, to read Modern History. He gained a reputation as
      both a
      brilliant academic and an iconoclast. In 1948, he won the University
      Gladstone Memorial Prize with an essay on The Social and Political
      and Influence of Frederick Denison Maurice (the founder of Christian
      Socialism); a few months later he was fined £5 for knocking off a
      policeman's helmet on Guy Fawkes Night.
      After Oxford, Grigg became associate editor of the National Review,
      journal of Conservative thought and opinion which his father had
      bought. Lord Altrincham was nominally editor, but as he grew frail,
      took on most of the administrative and editorial duties.
      The journal's name was changed in 1950 to the National and English
      and when his father retired in 1954, Grigg became editor. By then, he
      already stood unsuccessfully as the Conservative candidate for Oldham
      Lancashire, in 1951; he did so again, without success, in 1955.
      His succession to the Altrincham peerage on his father's death in
      1955 seemed to end his hopes of entering the Commons, as at the time
      was no mechanism for renouncing a peerage. Nevertheless, by refusing
      apply for a writ of summons, he abjured his right to take his seat in
      Meanwhile, his father's death gave him a freer hand as editor of the
      and he began to turn the magazine into an organ of a more radical
      brand of
      Conservatism. In 1956, he launched a scathing attack on the
      government over its handling of the Suez crisis, accusing it of doing
      immense damage to the country and calling for an immediate withdrawal
      British troops from Port Said.
      Later the same year, he predicted that if the House of Lords was not
      reformed, it would have to be abolished. He suggested that hereditary
      should have no automatic right to sit in the Lords but that a few
      should be
      chosen to sit either by election among their fellow peers or through
      The following year, in an article in Crossbow, a new Tory ginger group
      magazine which he helped to found, he urged other hereditary peers to
      his lead and boycott the House of Lords: "a little more voluntary
      absenteeism, and attendance would sink to a point at which the House
      be unable to function".
      In 1957, he launched into the Church of England with a call for the
      introduction of women priests, arguing that "those who say that women
      unfit to be priests belong in spirit to the vanishing world of tribal
      superstition and taboo".
      In 1958 he published Two Anglican Essays, a book in which he called
      for a
      radical change in the form and spirit of Anglicanism, including the
      of doctrinal tests, the substitution of dialogues for sermons, the
      appointment of bishops on a septennial basis as well as the ordination
      women. Among other things he likened Confirmation to a "kind of
      sheep dip - a brief interlude of priggishness and religiosity in a
      of indifference".
      During the furore that followed, Grigg protested that he would "die
      for the
      Christian faith" and said that it was only because he cared about it
      passionately that he had written the book.
      By 1960, the National and English Review was in financial difficulties
      it ceased publication in June that year. An unsigned account of his
      editorship, probably written by Grigg himself in the magazine's final
      edition, spoke of a man who had "suffered even more than his
      from the tension between a radical temperament and the conventional
      of Toryism".
      Grigg went on to become a regular columnist for the Guardian, and
      wrote for the Times and The Spectator.
      He continued to ruffle Tory feathers: in 1960, he accepted an
      invitation to
      become chairman of the London Boycott Committee, campaigning for a
      on goods imported from South Africa. In 1962, in an article apparently
      designed to be helpful to the Conservatives, he described Harold
      as "a consummate actor" who had "exploited the blind loyalty and petty
      ambition of men whom he must secretly despise".
      When in 1963, following a campaign by Viscount Stansgate (then, and
      subsequently, Anthony Wedgwood Benn), Parliament passed the Peerage
      enabling peers to disclaim titles, Grigg became the second peer to
      advantage of the new law.
      But he never achieved his ambition of entering the House of Commons.
      slaughtered whole herds of Tory sacred cows over the previous decade,
      found constituency associations less than enthusiastic to endorse his
      candidature. In 1975, his name was removed from the Party's central
      candidates' list and it caused no surprise when, in 1982, he announced
      was joining the new SDP.
      He followed his first two volumes of his biography of Lloyd George
      1943, the Victory that Never Was (1980), a polemical work in which he
      that the Mediterranean strategy adopted by the Allies in 1943 had been
      tactical mistake and that they should have concentrated instead on
      north-west Europe.
      In Nancy Astor: Portrait of a Pioneer (1980), Grigg painted a vivid,
      sympathetic picture of the brilliant but unpredictable, and frequently
      impossible, woman who became Britain's first female MP.
      During the 1980s, Grigg became a regular columnist on the Times and
      on the paper's obituaries page. He was acting obituaries editor in
      during the public outcry over the obituary of the ballet dancer and
      choreographer Sir Robert Helpmann, in which Helpmann was described as
      been a "proselytising homosexual".
      The Times commissioned Grigg to write the sixth volume of the paper's
      official history, The Thomson Years, 1966-1981 (1993). The book was a
      record of the period, documenting both lapses in editorial judgment
      and the
      strategic errors that had led the paper to close for a year in 1979.
      John Grigg was chairman of the London Library from 1985 to 1991, then
      president from 1996. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of
      He married, in 1958, Patricia ("Patsy") Campbell; they had two adopted