CAREW, Thomas I (1624-81), of the Inner Temple and Barley, nr. Exeter, Devon.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



6 May 1660

Family and Education

bap. 19 July 1624, 4th but 3rd surv. s. of Sir Richard Carew, 1st Bt., of Antony, Cornw., being 2nd surv. s. by 2nd w. Grace, da. of Robert Rolle of Heanton Satchville, Devon; bro. of John Carew and half-bro. of Sir Alexander Carew, 2nd Bt. educ. I. Temple 1641, called 1651. m. lic. 26 Aug. 1661, Elizabeth (d. 23 Nov. 1677), da. of John Cupper, merchant, of Barley, 5s. (1 d.v.p.) 3da. Kntd. 21 July 1671.1

Offices Held

J.p. Cornw. Mar. 1660-1, Devon 1662-d., Tiverton 1680-d. ; commr. for militia, Cornw. Mar. 1660, assessment, Devon Aug. 1660-80, Cornw. 1664-80, Exeter 1673-80; bencher, I. Temple 1667; commr. for recusants, Devon 1675, dep. lt. 1676-d.; recorder, Exeter 1676-d.2


Carew, a professional lawyer, was too young to take an active part in the Civil War like his elder brothers, though he admitted to ‘being once misled in the times of confusion’, presumably referring to his membership of Richard Cromwell’s Parliament. ‘A worthy, loyal gentleman’, he was presented to George Monck, his kinsman, on his arrival in London in 1660, and signed the declaration of the King’s party in Devon. He stood for Mitchell at the general election and was involved in a double return. Seated in the Convention as a court supporter on the merits of the return, he was named only to the committee of elections and privileges. He made no attempt to safeguard his interests when his brother was attainted as a regicide, ‘choosing rather to cast himself upon your Majesty’s royal favour’. He was rewarded with the grant of the forfeited properties of Bowhill and Higher Barley, and he acquired further property in the Exeter neighbourhood by marriage. Bishop Sparrow wrote in 1671:

The chief man in this country for skill and courage and diligence, and who is the oracle of the county, by whom this city is kept in good order, is Mr Thomas Carew, barrister, a man neither covetous nor ambitious, one who professes himself bound to endeavour what he can to make satisfaction for being once misled in the times of confusion. He is our true friend in all our concerns, and deserves encouragement.

On behalf of the corporation he negotiated with the chapter over the bill to unite Exeter parishes in 1673, and a timely loan of £500 for the extension to the ship canal in March 1676 cannot be dissociated from his election as recorder two months later. He was ordered to examine at Plymouth, the imprisoned General John Lambert who was suspected of complicity in the Popish Plot. As recorder of Exeter, he was ‘prevailed upon by the loyal party to stand’ at short notice at the first general election of 1679, but he was defeated by the candidates of ‘the fanatic party’. He was returned as an opponent of exclusion in 1681, but was appointed to no committees and made no speeches in the Oxford Parliament. He died on 25 July 1681 and was buried at St. Thomas near Exeter. His son Thomas sat for Saltash as a Tory from 1701 to 1705.3

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / J. S. Crossette


  • 1. The Gen. n.s. xxv. 155; Vivian, Vis. Devon, 142; Soc. of Genealogists, Exeter mar. lic.; PCC 300 Wootton.
  • 2. Trans. Devon Assoc. lxi. 213.
  • 3. SP29/36/68; HMC Popham, 213; Exeter corp. act bk. II, ff. 128, 159, 162; CSP Dom. 1678, pp. 511-12; HMC Montagu, 174, 175; C. Worthy, Suburbs of Exeter, 163; W. P. Courtney, Parl. Rep. Cornw. 272; Devon and Cornw. N. and Q. xxii. 48.