GARRARD (GARRETT), George (1579-at least 1650), of The Strand, Westminster; later of the Charterhouse, Clerkenwell, Mdx.

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



28 Feb. 1621
1640 (Apr.)

Family and Education

bap. 9 Nov. 1579,1 3rd s. of Sir William Garrard (d.1607)2 of Dorney Court, Bucks. and Elizabeth, da. of Sir Thomas Rowe, Merchant Taylor, of Hackney, Mdx., ld. mayor of London 1568-9.3 educ. Merton, Oxf. 1594, BA 1597, MA 1603, incorp. Camb. 1607.4 m. lic. 3 May 1625,5 Elizabeth (d. by 1635),6 da. of Thomas Swallow, yeoman, of Saffron Walden, Essex, 1s.7 Ordained 1635.8 d. aft. 1650.9

Offices Held

Fell. of Merton 1598-1610;10 master of the London Charterhouse 1638-50;11 j.p. Mdx. 1638;12 commr. piracy, London 1639,13 oyer and terminer, Mdx. 1639-44.14

Gent. of the Privy Chamber extraordinary to Prince Henry 1610-12;15 servant to William Cecil*, 2nd earl of Salisbury 1614-?28,16 to Algernon Percy*, Lord Percy ?1628-35, chaplain 1635-8.17

Member, Virg. Co. 1612.18


Garrard’s great-grandfather, from Sittingbourne in north Kent, became a London Grocer and founded a distinguished family which maintained City and landed connections for the best part of two centuries. Garrard, a younger son, was well provided for, and thrived at Merton College, where he landed a fellowship only four years after beginning his studies. In late middle age he recalled that before he had smallpox his face had been ‘equal with the fairest youths at Oxford’.19 His father left him a lease of the Crown manor of Clewer Brocas in Berkshire and a portion of £100, ‘hoping that he will employ the same in good husbandry’.20 On leaving Merton in 1610 Garrard entered Prince Henry’s Household. In June 1611 he applied to lord treasurer Salisbury (Robert Cecil†) for an office which he believed could be obtained gratis because the holder, Mr. Harman, was incarcerated in the Fleet for an insult offered to his ‘uncle’ Sir Thomas Gerrard, 1st bt.*21 However, this appeal does not seem to have been successful. He was inspired to put his name down for three shares in the Virginia Company, but was among the subscribers sued for non-payment in 1612.22 A member of the famous literary circle that met at the Mermaid tavern, he shared lodgings in the Strand with John Donne*, and counted Sir Henry Goodyer* and Ben Jonson among his friends.23 After Prince Henry’s death Garrard entered the service of the 2nd earl of Salisbury (William Cecil*).24 He was thus close enough to the Court to develop his talent as a purveyor of news for the benefit of his cousin’s husband (Sir) Dudley Carleton* at The Hague.25

Although a blood relationship with the Lancashire Gerrards seems unlikely, Garrard succeeded his late ‘uncle’ Gerrard as Member for Wigan at a by-election in 1621. He used his parliamentary experience chiefly to enlarge his store of acquaintance and anecdote,26 for during the course of the third Jacobean Parliament he was named only to a committee to consider three naturalization bills, two on behalf of Scottish courtiers and the third for the daughter of a Baltic merchant (22 March 1621).27 On the death of Lady Carleton’s stepfather (Sir) Henry Savile†, Garrard was short-listed for the wardenship of Merton but was defeated by Nathaniel Brent, who had married a niece of Archbishop Abbot.28

Garrard’s interest in Virginia was rekindled by the 3rd earl of Southampton, who sold him two shares in the Company, and had him returned for Newtown at the general election of 1624, together with (Sir) Gilbert Gerard, to whom he may have been distantly related.29 His four committees in the last Jacobean Parliament were concerned with the drainage of marshland in North Kent (10 Apr. 1624), the murder of bastard infants (29 Apr.), the Feltmakers of London (30 Apr.) and the London Brewers (19 May).30 Despite Donne’s encouragement Garrard had long disparaged and eschewed the state of matrimony; nevertheless he was married in May 1625 to a servant of Salisbury’s some 20 years his junior.31 He does not appear to have stood for Charles’s first Parliament.

In 1626 he was returned for Preston, either as a result of Lancashire connections he may have forged while representing Wigan five years earlier, or through the influence of the chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, Sir Humphrey May*, with whom he may have been acquainted at Court. His only committee appointment was for a bill to cancel a 5,000 year lease of property in Surrey, ‘unduly procured’ from his old college by the earl of Leicester fifty years previously (16 Feb. 1626).32 Re-elected for Preston in 1628, he was again among those appointed to consider a bill to naturalize a Scottish courtier (7 May).33 His membership in the second session of the committee for the bill to confirm the endowment of the Charterhouse (20 Feb. 1629) may have drawn his attention to the desirability of the mastership, with ‘good lodgings, a collegiate diet, [and] £100 per annum’, though he still lacked at least two of the necessary qualifications, being neither unmarried nor ‘a learned and grave divine’.34

Garrard probably changed service when his master’s daughter married the 9th earl of Northumberland’s heir. He was able to advance a loan of £500 at eight per cent to his new employers, and to indulge in his passion for bowls at Petworth.35 He maintained a vigorous correspondence with Sir Thomas Wentworth* and Sir Edward Conway II* in Ireland, though by his own confession during his long country visits he depended on his old acquaintance John Pory* for London gossip, stood ‘far off from the secrets of affairs’ and was ‘no classical author for foreign news’. In 1634 he was hoping for a happy Parliament in England, as in Ireland, and on receiving a demand for £2 Ship Money as a lodger in Westminster, even dared to complain (in writing) about non-parliamentary taxation to the irascible lord deputy.36 It was at about this time that Garrard, now a widower, began to canvass seriously for the Charterhouse, although the then master still had three years to live. He enlisted the support of Sir Francis Cottington*, and obtained deacon’s orders from the Arminian Bishop Montagu at Petworth on 30 Sept. 1635. Percy, who had succeeded to the earldom of Northumberland, appointed him chaplain, and Archbishop Laud, recalling him as a ‘good scholar’ in his Oxford days, recommended him to the king when the vacancy occurred, though his installation at the Charterhouse was reported to Sir John Scudamore* as that of ‘a favourite of my lord of Salisbury’.37

Garrard sat in the Short Parliament as Cottington’s nominee at Hindon.38 He remained in London during the Civil War, with 48 chests of Conway’s books in his care, and apparently not without danger.39 In his will, drawn up on 14 Apr. 1645, he expressed the hope that ‘the truly reformed Protestant religion ... will be established by the king and Parliament in the Church of England’.40 He was allowed to retire in 1650 on a pension of £80.41 His will was proved on 13 Jan. 1655 by his only son, George, who died a bachelor and without parliamentary experience in Northumberland’s household at Petworth a few years later.42

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Sabrina Alcorn Baron / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. Cent. Bucks. Stud. Dorney par. reg.
  • 2. VCH Bucks. iii. 223.
  • 3. Vis. Bucks. (Harl. Soc. lviii), 61; Vis. London (Harl. Soc. i), 5.
  • 4. Al. Ox.
  • 5. London Mar. Lics. ed. J. Foster, 528.
  • 6. CSP Dom. 1635, p. 384.
  • 7. PROB 11/107, f. 31; PROB 11/243, ff. 326v-7.
  • 8. CSP Dom. 1635, p. 384.
  • 9. PROB 11/243, f. 327.
  • 10. Reg. Annal. Coll. Merton ed. J.M. Fletcher (Oxf. Hist. Soc. n.s. xxiv), 327;
  • 11. C115/108/8623; Strafforde Letters ed. W. Knowler (1739), i. 361; ii. 152; R. Smythe, Hist. Charterhouse (1808), p. 236.
  • 12. C231/5, p. 318.
  • 13. C181/5, f. 131.
  • 14. C181/5, ff. 131, 213v, 231v.
  • 15. Harl. 642, f. 241; (Anon.) Govt. of Royal Household (1790), p. 324.
  • 16. SP14/64/68.
  • 17. A.J. Taylor, ‘Royal Visit to Oxf. 1636’, Oxoniensia, i. 151.
  • 18. A. Brown, Genesis of US, ii. 546.
  • 19. SP16/329/45.
  • 20. PROB 11/110, f. 95; VCH Berks. iii. 72-7.
  • 21. SP14/64/68.
  • 22. C2/Jas.I/V2/27; Recs. Virg. Co. ed. S.M. Kingsbury, iv. 157.
  • 23. R.C. Bald, John Donne, 159, 194, 227, 276, 501, 518; HMC 2nd Rep. 79.
  • 24. HMC Hatfield, xxii. 2, 287.
  • 25. SP14/87/57; 14/90/135; 14/92/15, 101; 14/105/8, 40.
  • 26. Strafforde Letters, i. 174, 335; Oxoniensia, i. 155.
  • 27. CJ, i. 570a, b.
  • 28. Merton Coll. Oxf. Reg. 1/3, p. 271; G.C. Brodrick, Memorials of Merton (Oxf. Hist. Soc. iv), 276-7; Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, ii. 430.
  • 29. Recs. Virg. Co. ii. 243-4.
  • 30. CJ, i. 695a, 705b, 762a, 779a.
  • 31. J. Donne, Letters (1651), pp. 283-4; SP14/415/65; HMC Hatfield xxii. 195.
  • 32. Procs. 1626, ii. 53.
  • 33. CD 1628, iii. 300.
  • 34. CJ, i. 931b; Smythe, 235.
  • 35. BL, microfilm of Northumberland ms M390; Northumberland Household Pprs. ed. G.R. Batho (Cam. Soc. ser. 3. xciii), 132, 166.
  • 36. Strafforde Letters, i. 174, 265, 358, 361, 468; ii. 153, 180.