Grey, John de (c.1170–1214), bishop of Norwich, justiciar, was son of Antishel de Grey, one of the minor nobility of Norfolk; he served as clerk and secretary to John (qv), lord of Ireland, for several years, and is first mentioned as being in John's service at September 1198. Grey was appointed bishop of Norwich in September 1200 but continued to serve his royal master, regularly appearing as a witness to royal charters. He was one of the messengers sent by John to treat with Philip Augustus of France in 1203, and in the same year held the royal regalia in pawn for money lent to the king. Grey was the king's choice to succeed Hubert Walter as archbishop of Canterbury (1205), but his election was opposed and the pope eventually appointed Stephen Langton. He was made justiciar of Ireland in 1208 in the wake of the king's settlements with his Irish magnates. Grey's appointment gave the king a strong, vigorous, and capable representative in Ireland; he was acting as justiciar in Ireland by the end of January 1209. His second period as justiciar, after the king's departure from Ireland in August 1210, followed John's forcing several key magnates, including William de Braose (qv) and Hugh de Lacy (qv), into exile and seizing Walter de Lacy's (qv) lands. Grey's task was to secure the boundaries of the lordship and work to expand it by bringing the independent Gaelic kingdoms into a firmer feudal relationship with the king. To do this, he built a castle and a bridge over the Shannon at Athlone and then secured peace with Cathal Mór Crobderg Ua Conchobair (qv) (O'Connor), king of Connacht, which led to the charter of Connacht in 1215. He also attempted to make inroads into the independent kingdoms of the north and was largely responsible for the erection of castles at Céaluisce (Co. Fermanagh) and Clones (Co. Monaghan) to protect the lordship of Meath. But these successes were short-lived, as Grey was defeated and pushed out of Tír Eógain in 1212 by Áed O'Neill (qv), and the castles destroyed in 1213. Despite this failure, Grey had considerable success in the administration of the lordship before he was replaced as justiciar by Henry of London (qv) in July 1213. He was responsible for implementing the king's decree that the common law should be enforced in Ireland, instituted a reformation of the coinage of the lordship, and also oversaw most of the construction of Dublin castle and began its history as the administrative centre of the lordship. His efficiency as an administrator can be seen in the fact that he regularly sent money to the king throughout his tenure as justiciar. Grey was in England at Easter 1213 with a force of 500 men, recruited from Ireland to help repel a feared French invasion. He was a witness to the charter by which the king surrendered England to the pope on 15 May 1213, but was not included in the general pardon issued by Innocent III. Grey acted as one of the sureties for the return of Archbishop Langton and served as one of the king's ambassadors to the empire before travelling to Rome to receive absolution from the pope for his support of John in October 1213. He was the papal appointee to fill the vacant see of Durham (although his appointment was opposed by the Durham chapter), but he died near Poitiers on 18 October 1214 while returning to England.
Orpen, Normans; Otway-Ruthven, Med. Ire.; W. L. Warren, King John (1970); NHI, ii