CAREY, Sir Henry (1576-1633), of Aldenham, Herts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. 1576, 1st s. of (Sir) Edward Carey of Aldenham by Catherine, da. of Henry Knyvet of Charlton, Wilts., wid. of Sir Henry Paget, 2nd Baron Paget; bro. of Adolphus and Phillip. educ. G. Inn 1590; Exeter, Oxf. 1593. m. 1602, Elizabeth, da. and h. of Lawrence Tanfield of Burford, Oxon., 5s. inc. Lucius 6da. Kntd. 1599, KB 1616; suc. fa. 1618; cr. Visct. Falkland [S] 1620.

Offices Held

J.p. Herts. 1601, jt. (with fa.) master of the jewels 21 June 1603; PC 1618; comptroller of the Household 1618-22; 1d. dep. [I] 1622-9.


Establishing the identity of the 1601 Hertfordshire MP has proved troublesome. Earlier authorities identified him as the son of John Carey, 3rd Baron Hunsdon, on the grounds that Henry Carey of Aldenham would have been unlikely to sit as knight of the shire so soon after his (as it was assumed) indictment for complicity in the Essex conspiracy. However, it now appears that there were two Henry Careys knighted by Essex in 1599 and that the rebel was the other one, about whom very little is known beyond the fact that he was a brother-in-law of Israel Amyce who in 1601 wrote to Robert Cecil on his behalf. There is no evidence to suggest that Sir Henry Carey of Aldenham was involved in the Essex rebellion, and both he and his mother were on good terms with the other 1601 MP for Hertfordshire, Robert Cecil, to whom he wrote on 9 Jan. 1601, desiring to know his pleasure concerning the appointment of collectors of fifteenths and tenths. Another circumstance which supports his identification as the 1601 MP is that as the eldest son it is unlikely (though of course not impossible) that he would have been preceded to the Commons by two younger brothers.

Carey made no known contributions to the proceedings of the 1601 Parliament, though all county members could have attended the main business committee (3 Nov.) and that on monopolies (23 Nov.). His later official career was blighted by his ineptitude as lord deputy of Ireland, and his private life was clouded by his wife’s recusancy which caused a temporary rift between them. She was a scholar and linguist of some distinction, who was converted to Catholicism as a result of her study of the early fathers. She made no secret of her convictions: besides translating the works of Cardinal Perron, a prominent Catholic apologist, she wrote the lives of several saints and composed numerous hymns in honour of the Virgin. However, her faith did not affect Carey’s standing with the King, who recognized his loyalty and continued him in favour. Carey died after breaking his leg, which then had to be amputated, at Theobalds Park, and was buried at Aldenham, 25 Sept. 1633.

CP; HMC Hatfield, x. 5; xi. 68; xii. 10; xiv. 147; D’Ewes 624, 649; DNB.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Virginia C.D. Moseley