Sir Henry rides again

TWO statues depicting the historic figure who Grays is named after – which were painted by local children during the recent Thurrock International celebration of Culture event in the town – are now touring the borough.

Local artist Alison Edwards created two sculptures of Sir Henry De Grey (1155-1219), a favourite courtier of King John.

She says: “We know he was a knight and was granted permission of the manor of Thurrock, used for hunting. I have tried to represent this with traditional noble style sculptures.

“The sculptures were commissioned by TICC, for the local community to come together and paint. The sculptures took many hours of planning and creating, but it was worth every minute, once I saw the local community enjoying themselves painting away.

“The sculptures were challenging to create. Henry the knight, was the first human form I had made with legs. Henry upon the horse, was the biggest sculpture I have made to date.

“The structures were made using broom handles, bamboo canes and tape. The forms were shaped using paper and masking tape. For the outer layers I used fabric soaked in PVA glue.

“Many challenging hours have gone into the sculptures, researching, planning, creating, but I have learned so much from this experience. Overall I am really pleased Henry has been remembered and the local people can now learn who he was.”

Henry is now on his journey to visit the libraries of Thurrock. After preparing for his trip in the lobby of Thurrock’s Civic Offices, he is now at the library in the Thameside complex on orsett Road, Grays.

A representative from the ‘Love Grays’ group which commissioned the work said: “Our thinking behind the ‘Henry De Grey Tour’ was to showcase a snippet of the kind of things people can expect to see at future TICC events, while also informing those that may not know about Sir Henry De Grey – a historical figure who was granted the Manor of Thurrock by King John of England in 1195, and who’s name later came to directly influence the name of our town.”