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Hugh d’Avranches, one of the Conqueror’s henchmen,

with him at Hastings, got the Saxon earldom

of Chester and the palatine of Cheshire,

with its forests of deer and boar, as reward.

His nicknames were ‘Lupus’ and ‘Gros Veneur’

because he ravened the Welsh like a wolf

and he was a hunter and a glutton.


His descendant, Gerald Grosvenor, His Grace,

the late, sad 6th Duke of Westminster – holder

of twenty eight appointments, decorations,

medals, orders and titles, many bestowed

by the Queen; landlord of much of London’s

Belgravia and Mayfair, where dwell

Arab despots, Russian oligarchs

and celebrities from showbiz and fashion;

his motto being ‘Virtus Non Stemma’,

‘Virtue Not Pedigree’ – had riches

greater than the combined wealth of six

million of his poorest, fellow subjects.

And we are all, everyone of us, subjects

of Her Majesty. What a great leveller

our constitutional monarchy is!




© Copyright David Selzer
4 Responses
  • Ian Craine
    August 24, 2016

    Aka plain Hugh the Fat I believe.

    Only six million? I would have thought it might be even more.

  • David Selzer
    August 24, 2016

    Curious that the new duke is called ‘Hugh’…

    Here’s the piece that gave me the stat –

  • Ian Craine
    August 25, 2016

    The Grosvenors have always been mindful of their heritage and background. Gerald is of course a Norman name just as much as Hugh. It’s fascinating wandering around Belgravia and Pimlico observing the names of the squares and the streets. Eaton Square and Eccleston Square, Waverton Street and Claverton Street, Lupus Street and Hugh Street. And Belgravia itself of course.

    Many casual students of such matters might assume that the names went from London to Chester but we, of course, know better. Belgrave, Claverton, Eaton, Eccleston and Waverton are villages and/or parishes near Chester and the seat of the Grosvenors. The only one I know of that did go in that direction is Ebury.

  • Steve Crewe
    August 28, 2016

    By name I can claim older area heritage than the Grosvenors, the name coming from the Old Welsh ‘criu’ (New Welsh ‘cryw’) meaning weir or ford and relating to the wickerwork fence stretched across the River Dee in the Farndon area where the family was recorded in the Domesday Book (recorded as Crev) as traditionally holding substantial land and fishing rights.

    On the site of the current Grosvenor Hotel stood the ancient pub The Golden Talbot, which was pulled down in 1784 to make room for The Royal Hotel, built by Sir John Crewe. It became the headquarters of the Independent Party that opposed the Grosvenors. In 1815, it changed hands, one story by purchase, but more likely given the antipathy between the families, as the result of a wager. Quickly renamed, it was not until 1863 that the building was demolished to make way for the current Grosvenor Hotel.

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