CAREW, Francis I (c.1598-1628), of Westminster

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



Family and Education

b. c.1598,1 1st s. of Sir George Carew II* and Thomasine, da. of Sir Francis Godolphin† of Godolphin, Cornw.2 educ. travelled abroad (Germany, Italy) 1613-at least 1617.3 unm. suc. fa. 1612;4 KB 1 Feb. 1626.5 d. by 22 June 1628.6

Offices Held

Servant to Prince Charles by 1613,7 gent. of privy chamber, Prince Charles’s Household by 1623,8 gent. of privy chamber, quarter waiter 1625-d.;9 prothonotary, Chancery 1619-d.10

J.p. Westminster 1621-d., Mdx. 1622-d.,11 commr. sewers, Westminster and Mdx. 1627,12 martial law, Plymouth, Devon Mar. 1628-d.13

Capt. of gds. Cadiz expedition 1625,14 capt. RN Mar. 1627-Jan. 1628.15


Carew was rumoured to have inherited a £10,000 fortune when he succeeded his father at the age of 14. However, his only significant source of income was the prothonotaryship of Chancery, to which he was granted the reversion in 1611. From 1614 until he came of age this office was exercised on his behalf by his uncle (Sir) Francis Godolphin* and John Packer*.16 It was doubtless Carew’s mother, one of Anne of Denmark’s favourite attendants, who sought his advancement at Court, and he had already entered Prince Charles’s Household by May 1613, at which time he was granted a three-year licence to travel abroad. Initially he accompanied the newly married Princess Elizabeth to Germany, but his movements thereafter are unclear. In 1617 he was reportedly captured by corsairs en route from Leghorn to Spain. If this was correct, then any ransom paid to secure his release is likely to have seriously weakened his finances.17 He had presumably returned to England by October 1618, when further reversions of his Chancery office were granted to Sir Robert Killigrew* and John Glanville*. He achieved his majority in the following year and, in his capacity as prothonotary, became a Westminster magistrate in 1621. Having also re-entered the prince’s service, in 1623 he was one of the privileged courtiers selected to join Charles and Buckingham in Madrid.18

From 1624 to 1626 Carew sat for Helston in three consecutive parliaments on the interest of Sir Francis Godolphin, but he apparently contributed little to their proceedings. Indeed, the last Jacobean Parliament was still sitting when Prince Charles sent him to The Hague in late March 1624 to notify the Electress Palatine of the breach with Spain. During the Cadiz expedition of 1625, Carew not only contributed a barque, which was lost in a storm, but served aboard the flagship, the Anne Royal, as captain of the guard to Sir Edward Cecil*.19 Both Carew and his namesake, Francis Carew II*, sat in Parliament in 1626. As both men received the order of the Bath shortly before the Parliament opened they cannot be distinguished from one another in the Commons’ records. One or other of them was nominated on 4 Mar. to the committee for the bill against adultery and fornication. That same day ‘Sir Thomas Carey’ was appointed to attend a conference with the Lords to discuss the Commons’ demand that the duke of Buckingham explain his conduct during the St. Peter incident. As no such man was sitting, it is possible that ‘Carey’ was a clerical error for ‘Carew’, and that this Member or his namesake was intended.20

Carew captained a prize ship, the Esperance, during the 1627 expedition to the Île de Ré, retaining his command until the following January.21 War with both France and Spain left the Scilly Isles vulnerable to attack, and in March 1628 Carew presented the Council of War with proposals for improving their defences, presumably at the request of Sir Francis Godolphin, the islands’ governor.22 By now a fresh naval campaign was being prepared, in which Carew aspired to the rank of rear admiral. However, given his relative inexperience, he was merely offered the command of the Nonsuch, which in the event he did not take up. In the meantime he assisted (Sir) James Bagg II* in victualling the fleet, and was appointed to help maintain military discipline among the forces gathering at Plymouth.23 ‘One of the hopefullest gentlemen ... in England’, according to Joseph Mead, Carew died suddenly during the summer, and was buried on 23 June at St. Margaret’s, Westminster. In his undated will, he consigned his ‘ragged fortune’ to the disposal of his mother, for the benefit of his sisters, and bequeathed his books and papers to his cousin, Richard Carew*. The will was proved by his mother on 18 Oct. 1628.24

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: John. P. Ferris / Paul Hunneyball


  • 1. C66/1988/2.
  • 2. Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 68.
  • 3. SO3/5; Carew Letters ed. J. Maclean (Cam. Soc. lxxvi), 131.
  • 4. HMC Downshire, iii. 420.
  • 5. Shaw, Knights of Eng. i. 162.
  • 6. LC5/132, p. 21.
  • 7. SO3/5, unfol., May 1613.
  • 8. Autobiog. of Sir Simonds D’Ewes ed. J.O. Halliwell, ii. 415.
  • 9. SP16/2/118; LC5/132, p. 21.
  • 10. C66/1988/2; CSP Dom. 1635-6, p. 57.
  • 11. C231/4, ff. 132, 134; E163/18/12.
  • 12. C181/3, f. 213v.
  • 13. APC, 1627-8, p. 358.
  • 14. J. Glanville, Voyage to Cadiz (Cam. Soc. n.s. xxxii), 25.
  • 15. E351/2266.
  • 16. Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, i. 392; C66/1867/8; 66/1988/2; Vivian, 184.
  • 17. LC2/5, f. 34; Chamberlain Letters, i. 357; Carew Letters, 131.
  • 18. C66/2183/17; C231/4, f. 132; SP14/139/111.I.
  • 19. CSP Dom. 1623-5, p. 201; Glanville, 25, 27.
  • 20. Procs. 1626, ii. 195-6.
  • 21. T. Birch, Ct. and Times of Chas. I, i. 370-1; CSP Dom. 1628-9, p. 22; E351/2266.
  • 22. CSP Dom. 1627-8, p. 539; 1628-9, p. 10.
  • 23. CSP Dom. 1628-9, pp. 17, 21-2, 34, 39, 46.
  • 24. Birch, i. 370; Memorials of St. Margaret’s, Westminster ed. A.M. Burke, 550; PROB 11/154, f. 215v.