Birth: 23 October 1725

Place or Registered Place of Birth: Antony, Cornwall

Baptism: 2 December 1725

Place of Baptism:Antony, Cornwall

Death: 9 February 1802 - Aged 76

Place or Registered Place of Death: Not Known

Father: Rear Admiral Thomas Graves (1680-1755)

Mother: Elizabeth Budgell (1710-1755)

Spouse(s): Elizabeth Williams

Date of Marriage: 22 June 1771

Place or Registered Place of Marriage: Ottery St. Mary, Devon


Elizabeth Anne Graves (1773-1803)
Anne Elizabeth Graves (1773-1823)
Thomas North Graves (1775-1830)
Margaret Anne Graves (1777-1808)
Peere Williams Graves (1778-1804)


Thomas Graves, 1st lord Graves, entered very early into the R.N., and from the year 1740, rendered himself eminently conspicuous, particularly by his gallant conduct as commander-in- chief of the British van, at the glorious and decisive victory of admiral earl Howe, K.G., over the French fleet, on the ever-memorable 1st of June 1794, when he was dangerously wounded in the right arm. For these, and a series of other highly distinguished services, he was, in July the same year, advanced to the dignity of the peerage, by the style and title of lord Graves, baron of Gravesend, co. Londonderry, in Ireland. His lordship m., in 1771, Elizabeth, one of the das. and co-h. of William-Peere Williams, esq., of Cadleigh, co. Devon, and 1st cousin to the countess of Guilford, by whom he had issue.

In the first year of the Seven Years' War, Graves failed to confront a French ship which gave challenge. He was tried by court-martial for not engaging his ship, and reprimanded. Graves became Commodore-Governor of Newfoundland in 1761 and given the duty of convoying the seasonal fishing fleet from England to the island. In 1762 he learned that French ships had captured St. John's, Newfoundland. Graves, Admiral Alexander Colville and Colonel William Amherst retook the port city.

With the end of the Seven Years' War, Labrador came under his responsibility as French fishing fleets returned to the French Shore and St. Pierre and Miquelon. Graves strictly enforced the treaties to the extent that the French government protested. Graves' governorship ended in 1764. He returned to active service during the American War of Independence and became commander-in-chief of the North American squadron in 1781 when Mariot Arbuthnot returned home.

During the American War of Independence, his fleet was defeated by the Comte de Grasse in the Battle of the Chesapeake at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay on September 5, 1781 leading to the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown. In September 1782, a fleet under his command was caught in a violent storm off the banks of Newfoundland. The captured French ships, Ville de Paris (110) and Glorieux (74) and the British ships HMS Ramillies (74) and HMS Centaur (74) foundered, along with other merchant ships, with the loss of 3,500 lives.
With the French Revolutionary Wars, Graves was second in command to Admiral Richard Howe at the British victory over the French at the Battle of the Glorious First of June 1794. Graves became a full admiral and was awarded an Irish peerage as Baron Graves, of Gravesend in the County of Londonderry.

Lord Graves married Elizabeth, daughter of William Peere Williams, in 1771. He died in February 1802, aged 76, and was succeeded in the barony by his son Thomas.

London Magazine, or Gentlemen's Monthly Intelligencer, Volume 39 - 1771
Thomas Graves Esq., to Miss Williams.

Rear Admiral Thomas Graves (Sen.), the son of James Graves and Marie Herdman, daughter of Sir John Herdman, of Stannington, Northumberland, was born at Thanckes in Cornwall about 1680 and died there on 23 December 1755.

Elizabeth Budgell, daughter of the Rev. Gilbert Budgell (-1711), of St. Thomas's near Exeter, D.D., and Anne Gulston (-1684), daughter of the Bishop of Bristol, was born about 1710 at St. Thomas, near Exeter in Devon. Elizabeth died about 1755 in Cornwall.

Thomas Graves (Sen.) and Elizabeth Budgell were married at St. Petrock, Exeter in Devon on 30 July 1723.

Thancks or Thankes, formerly called Pengelly, took its present name from the family of Thonke, to whom it was enfranchised in the reign of Henry V. It was anciently the inheritance and dwelling of a family called German. Joan, daughter of John German, carried it in marriage to Wimound Searle or Serral. She died in 1503. About 1688 Thankes became the property and residence of Phineas Jordan, Esq., to whom it descended from the Serrals. He died about 1690, and the estate was afterwards sold to Mr. Warne, of the South Down Brewery, whose only child Mary, married in 1713, Rear Admiral Thomas Graves, whose descendents through his second wife, Elizabeth Budgell, still hold it. Mary Warne, his first wife, died childless in 1718. Thomas, son of the preceding Admiral Graves, was bred a naval officer, and distinguished himself upon several occasions. He led the van in the decisive and glorious conflict between Admiral Earl Howe and the French fleet in the West Indies, June 1, 1794; for which service he was made a peer of Ireland by the title of Lord Graves, Baron of Gravesend, in the county of Londonderry. His lordship married in 1771, Elizabeth, daughter and coheir of William Peere Williams, Esq., of Cadleigh, in Devon, by whom he had five children. His lordship died February 9, 1802. Thankes is now the property of his grandson, William Thomas Graves, Baron Graves, who married, first, Sophie-Therese, daughter of General Berthier, and relict of General Count Bruyere, who died August 2nd, 1833; and secondly, Louise-Adelo Malene, by whom he has sons and daughters. Thankes is now occupied by the Hon. George Edgcumbe.

A Biographical History of England, Volume 3
Eustace Budgell, mez. D.. Firmin p.. J. Faber sc. 1720.

Eustace Budgell, Esq. is one of the many instances, of men of the best abilities and prospects losing their reputation and station in life, by neglecting common prudence. His father, Gilbert Budgell, D.D. of St. Thomas's, near Exeter, author of a "Discourse on Prayer," and some Sermons, was of high descent, and honourably allied, whose first wife was Mary, daughter of Dr. Gulston, bishop of Bristol; and his second, a widow, the mother of William Fortescue, Esq. master of the rolls. By the former he had Eustace; the Rev. Gilbert Budgell; William, Fellow of New College, Oxford, and two daughters (One of these was Elizabeth). The father kept his coach, drawn by six horses, with every thing suitable; and he educated all his sons for professions. Eustace was designed for the bar; but the study of law being too dry for his lively turn of mind, he neglected it to commence a wit. Fortunately for him, he was related to the accomplished Addison; for Jane, Addison's mother, was Bishop Gulston's sister. His abilities were unquestionable, both as a writer and as a man of business; and his papers marked X. in the ''Spectator," with others in the "Tatler," gained him great applause; as did his translation of the Characters of Theophrastus dedicated to Lord Halifax: and his conduct in the office he held in Ireland, as under-secretary to the lords justices, and deputy-clerk to the council, gained him a publicly acknowledged character for punctuality, skill, and unremitting assiduity. Those posts produced him an income of 1750 l (£). per annum, which, with his paternal inheritance of 950 1. (£) a year, made his situation very desirable: his estates were, indeed, rather incumbered, but common prudence would soon have redeemed the mortgages. After pasquinading the viceroy of Ireland, the Duke of Bolton, he went from imprudence to imprudence, with such rapidity, that he lost all his friends, as he had done his fortune. The Duke of Portland, a fellow sufferer in the South Sea scheme, was appointed governor of Jamaica, and named Budgell his secretary; but government would not permit a man who had attacked all persons high in office, to go in that capacity; and the Duchess of Marlborough gave him 1000 l. (£) in vain, to-get into parliament. The little discretion he had ever possessed now left him. Mr. Addison, and his brother, Mr. William Budgell, were both dead; so that he plunged still deeper in miseries of every description, without any restraining hands: and, when driven to frenzy- by his misfortunes, the consequence of unrestrained passions, he filled his pockets with stones, hired a boat at Somerset-stairs, in 1736, and whilst the boat was shooting London Bridge, he threw himself into the river, and was drowned. A piece of paper, found in his bureau, contained the following lines, alluding to the well-known soliloquy in the tragedy of Cato:

What Cato did, and Addison approv'd,
Cannot be wrong

Fortunately, he left only an illegitimate daughter. Thus perished this rash and unguarded man, whom the world, his relations and friends, wished to patronize; and who, had he acted but with common attention and discretion, might have raised, instead of ruining a highly respectable family. An unconquerable, and a detestable pride was the cause of his ruin. One of the worst actions of Mr. Budgell's life was, his obtaining a will in his favour from the Deist Tindal, to defraud his heir, the Rev. Nicholas Tindal, his nephew, which occasioned Pope's lines:

Let Budgell charge low Grub-street on my quill,
And write whate'er he please, except my will.

The children of Thomas Graves (Sen.) and Elizabeth Budgell were:

William Graves (1724-1801)
Thomas Graves (1725-1802)
Anne Graves (1727-1794)
James Graves (1729-)

Rear-Admiral Thomas Graves
1st Lord Graves, R.N.