Greatheed was the son of Samuel Greatheed (1710-1765) of Guy's Cliffe, near Warwick, by his wife Lady Mary Bertie, daughter of Peregrine, second duke of Ancaster.
When residing in Florence he became a member of the society called 'Gli Oziosi' and a contributor to their privately printed collection of fugitive pieces entitled The Arno Miscellany, 8vo, Florence, 1784. The following year he contributed to The Florence Miscellany, 8vo, Florence, 1785, a collection of poems by the 'Della Cruscans,' for which he was termed by Gifford the Reuben of that school in the Baviad and Mæviad.
A blank verse tragedy by him called The Regent was brought out at Drury Lane Theatre on 1 April 1788, but, though supported by John Kemble and Mrs. Siddons, was withdrawn after 9 nights. The epilogue was furnished by Mrs. Piozzi. The author afterwards published it with a dedication to Mrs. Siddons, who had once been an attendant upon his mother, and was his frequent guest at Guy's Cliffe. The play is less foolish than might be supposed; though Manuel, the hero, requests Gomez to 'go to the puddled market-place, and there dissect his heart upon the public shambles.'
Greatheed died at Guy's Cliffe aged 66.
His only son, also named Bertie Greatheed, who died at Vicenza in Italy on 8 Oct. 1804, aged 23, was an amateur artist of some talent. The younger Greatheed had married in France, and his only daughter became, on 20 March 1823, the wife of Lord Charles Percy, son of the Earl of Beverley.
- The Regent: A tragedy. London: J. Robson / W. Clarke, 1788.
- An Englishman in Paris, 1803: The journal of Bertie Greatheed (edited by J.P.T. Bury & J.C. Barry). London: Geoffrey Bles, 1953.
- The Arno Miscellany. Florence, Italy: privately published, printed in Stamperia Bonducciana, 1784.
- The Florence Miscellany. Florence, Italy: Gaetano Cambiagi, 1785.
- Goodwin, Gordon (1890) "Greatheed, Bertie" in Stephen, Leslie; Lee, Sidney Dictionary of National Biography 23 London: Smith, Elder, p. 32 . Wikisource, Web, June 30, 2016.
- Bertie Greatheed at the Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive ("To Anna Matilda")
- "A Dream"
- "Ode to Apathy"
- "Ode to Duel"
- Bertie Greatheed at Amazon.com
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain, the Dictionary of National Biography (edited by Leslie Stephen). London: Smith, Elder, 1885-1900. Original article is at: Greatheed, Bertie