ABSTRACT

In September 1643 William Villiers, second Viscount Grandison, died of the wounds he received when the royalist army stormed Bristol. Clarendon in his History of the Rebellion recalled Grandison as young man ‘of rare piety and devotion that the court or camp could not shew a more faultless person’, whose premature death ‘can never be enough lamented’. 1 The eldest son of Sir Edward Villiers and Barbara St John, Grandison was survived by a number of siblings, including sisters Eleanor and Anne, and three brothers: John, who succeeded as third viscount, George the fourth viscount and a younger brother Edward. He was the father of Barbara, later Countess of Castlemaine and mistress of King Charles II. In 1643 the head of the extensive Villiers clan was George, second Duke of Buckingham, for Grandison’s father, Sir Edward Villiers, had been the first duke’s half-brother. 2