CAREW, Nicholas (c.1356-1432), of Beddington, Surr.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Jan. 1397
Sept. 1397

Family and Education

b.c.1356, s. and h. of Nicholas Carew† (d.1390) of Beddington, keeper of the privy seal, by his w. Lucy, da. and h. of Sir Richard Willoughby of Beddington, wid. of Sir Thomas Huscarle† (d. by 1352) of Purley Magna, Berks. m. (1) prob. by May 1374, Isabel, da. of Alice de la Mare of Delamers, Herts., at least 1s. Nicholas†; (2) prob. by July 1398, Mercy (d.1453), da. of Stephen Hayme† of Winchester by his w. Christine, at least 8s. 8da.1

Offices Held

Sheriff, Surr. and Suss. 21 Oct. 1391-18 Oct. 1392, 24 Nov. 1400-8 Nov. 1401.

Commr. of array, Surr. Mar. 1392, Dec. 1399, Jan. 1400, July 1402, Aug., Sept. 1403, July 1419; inquiry, Surr., Suss. Mar. 1392 (concealments), Surr. Mar. 1395, Apr. 1400 (escaped prisoner), June 1406 (concealments), Dec. 1406 (wastes), Suss. Aug. 1408 (ownership of the manor of Heyshott) Surr. Feb. 1415 (concealments),2 Surr., Suss. Feb. 1419 (escapes and concealments); oyer and terminer Apr. 1392 (treasure trove), Surr. Oct. 1398 (thefts from Battle abbey estates), Suss. Feb. 1420 (treasons and felonies); to survey highways, Surr. Dec. 1392, Mar. 1394 (Egham area); of gaol delivery, Guildford Apr. 1394; to seize the estates of the Lords Appellant of 1387-8, Surr., Suss. Oct. 1397; of kiddles, Mdx., Surr. June 1398, Surr. bef. July 1401, Surr., Kent Nov. 1403 London Bridge to Greenwich Nov. 1405; to prevent the spread of treasonous rumours May 1402; seize the lands of Sir Thomas West, Suss. July 1405; raise a royal loan, Surr., Hants Sept. 1405, June 1406, Surr. Nov. 1419, Jan. 1420; restore the goods of Thomas, earl of Arundel Feb. 1411; assess a tax, Surr. Jan. 1412.

J.p. Surr. 18 June 1394-Mar. 1413, 28 Oct. 1417-Dec. 1431, Suss. 27 July-Nov. 1397, 3 Feb. 1400-3.

Escheator, Surr. and Suss. 12 Nov. 1403-24 Nov. 1404, 9 Nov. 1406-2 Nov. 1407.

Tax collector, Surr. Sept. 1405.

Keeper of the estates of Bermondsey abbey 11 May 1400-aft. 12 July 1410.


Carew belonged to an old and distinguished family of Norman descent with strong Irish as well as English connexions. He was a kinsman of the influential Devonshire Carews, although his immediate ancestors lived in Berkshire and it was only during his father’s lifetime that the extensive Surrey estates which made up over half his inheritance were acquired. Nicholas Carew the elder played a prominent part in county society, representing Surrey twice in Parliament and serving on many local commissions. His main interests lay, however, at Court. He rose to become keeper of the privy seal in 1371; and his last years were largely given over to his duties as a feoffee and executor of Edward III.3 The subject of this biography was born in about 1356, and may well have married some 18 years later, when the Berkshire landowner, Sir Thomas de la Mare†, settled his manor of Aldermaston upon various members of the Carew family for life. Nicholas’s wife, Isabel, the daughter of Alice de la Mare of Delamers in Hertfordshire, was quite probably related to Sir Thomas; and it was certainly through her that Carew established a connexion with John Ludwick* who became her stepfather during the 1380s. Meanwhile, from 1377 onwards, the young Nicholas Carew was a party to the numerous enfeoffments of property made by and for his father, so that on the latter’s death, in 1390, he gained undisputed possession of a substantial inheritance, most of which came to him through his mother, Lucy Willoughby, whose first husband, Sir Thomas Huscarle, left her his Berkshire and Surrey estates. Thus, by the date of his first return to Parliament, our Member enjoyed a landed income of at least £91 a year (and probably far more), derived from the manors of Beddington, Huscarle, Norbury, Carshalton, Woodmansterne, Carews in Warlingham and Nutfield, together with land in Hoe, Chesham, Sanderstead, Horne, Burstow, Mitcham, Coulsdon and Bensham, Surrey; from property in Gravesend and the manors of Stoke in Hoo and Maytham, Kent (although revenues from Stoke had been set aside for the upkeep of a chantry); and from Great Purley, Fulscot and Charlton in Wantage, as well as tenements in Tullwick and other parts of Berkshire.4 Carew appears to have consolidated his holdings in Surrey over the next few years, so that by 1412 this part of his estates alone was said to be worth £80 a year. His marriage to Mercy, the daughter of Stephen Hayme, which took place in, or before, July 1398, brought him the manors of Hyde and Sulham in Berkshire. On her death, over 50 years later, Mercy Carew held the manor of ‘Pery’ in Harmondsworth, Middlesex, together with property in the London parish of Holy Trinity Aldgate, although these estates do not appear to have come into Carew’s hands until the end of his life, if then. It was, however, through his second wife that he acquired land and rents in the Hampshire villages of Forton and Otterbourne, since the Haymes had strong connexions with this part of the country, and Mercy’s father had represented Winchester in Parliament. The tax returns of 1412 show our MP to have been in receipt of £158 6s.8d. a year from his various properties, over and above the estimated £80 p.a. which was made over to him as a trustee of the Tregoz estates in Sussex.5 Carew became a feoffee-to-uses of John Tregoz in 1400, and administered his inheritance from 1404 until about 1428, fighting at least two protracted lawsuits to retain control of the three manors involved.6 He showed great concern, meanwhile, for the future of his own estates, and made a series of settlements upon feoffees, the first of which, begun on his second marriage, was to safeguard the title of his son and heir Nicholas. Over the years 1420 and 1421, and again in 1430, he conveyed most of his possessions to trustees, including John Gaynesford†, thus creating an impressive jointure for his widow. Her interests were indeed considerable, for by 1428 the Carews had obtained seisin of the manor of Studham in Berkshire as well as further holdings near their home at Beddington. They are also known to have become landowners in Hertfordshire at some point before 1420, possibly acquiring the property in and around King’s Langley and King’s Walden which Nicholas Carew the younger held some 15 years later.7

Unlike his father, Carew never played a prominent part in national affairs, although he was active as a crown servant in the south east for almost 30 years of his life. He was occasionally called upon to perform the duties of a mainpernor and feoffee-to-uses while his father was alive, but it was not until the latter’s death that he became really involved in the local community. His administrative career began with his appointment as sheriff of Surrey and Sussex, and from then onwards he served regularly on royal commissions as well as sitting on the bench. In January 1393 he was rewarded with a grant of the farm of the manor of Croham in Croydon, for which he paid 40s. a year. We do not know why Carew and John Bonet* bound themselves to pay 200 marks to Thomas Ickham* and others in the following November, but the transaction may well have concerned Carew’s extensive dealings in the property market.8 During the next two decades he was constantly preoccupied with litigation, for in addition to the cases fought by him as a trustee, he both brought and defended a number of personal actions at the local assizes. These concerned the ownership of property in Surrey, and one, over land in Mersham, resulted in his being awarded damages totalling 92 marks. He also appeared fairly regularly at Westminster as the plaintiff in suits for debt and trespass, although none of these seem to have reached a verdict. When, in November 1413, he quarrelled with the London mercer, John Lane, he agreed to accept the arbitration of four distinguished aldermen, offering securities of 1,000 marks as a guarantee of his readiness to abide by their decision.9

Notwithstanding the fact that he sat in the two Parliaments of 1397 and was a commissioner for the confiscation of the lands of the Lords Appellant of 1388, Carew’s sympathies were sufficiently Lancastrian for him to find favour with the recently crowned Henry IV. He began a second term as sheriff in November 1400 - having already been re-appointed to the Sussex bench - and went on to become escheator of Surrey and Sussex. In October 1402 he was approached for a ‘benevolence’; and soon afterwards the Crown requested a personal contribution of 200 marks towards the cost of coastal defence. His support for the new regime also found practical expression in a loan of £100 which he advanced in July 1406, and recovered in the following year. No more money was borrowed from him by the government until June 1417, when he lent £40 towards Henry V’s second invasion of France. Carew was, meanwhile, chosen to represent Surrey at the great councils of 1401 and 1403, and it is clear that he was then regarded as one of the leading gentry of the shire. No doubt because of his social position, he was able to establish many influential connexions. He often acted as a mainpernor in Chancery and at the Exchequer, most notably for his fellow MPs, John Gravesend, the above-mentioned John Ludwick and the latter’s friend, John Durham* (in 1399), and Henry Beaufort, bishop of Winchester (in 1420).10 As we have already seen, many people wished to make Carew their feoffee-to-uses. He performed this service for Thomas, earl of Arundel (d. 1415) and thus became involved in a dispute with John Wintershall* over the title to certain property in Surrey. Another quarrel with the widowed countess of Arundel dragged on for a while, but in February 1419 she surrendered bonds worth £1,000 to Carew and his co-feoffees in pledge of her acceptance of the dower settlement made upon her. One of the earl’s other associates was Ralph Cuddington*, who gave evidence on Carew’s behalf at this time and made him his executor shortly before he died in 1421.11 It was evidently through their mutual attachment to Arundel that Carew struck up a friendship with Sir Thomas Sackville II* and Richard Wayville*. He and Sackville acted as each other’s trustees; and both men were named, along with Robert, Lord Poynings, as supervisors of Wayville’s last will, in which Carew received a bequest of a rosary. The latter was also on very close terms with Sir Thomas Lewknor†, his reputed son-in-law, whom he chose as a feoffee and as the supervisor of his own executors.12

Although he remained on the Surrey bench until a few months before his death, Carew may otherwise be said to have retired from public life in about 1420. He and John Clipsham* helped settle a local property dispute at the beginning of the year, but apart from his attendance at the elections held in Guildford for the Parliament of May 1421, he had little else to do with government at any level. In April 1423 he was given custody of part of the manor of Burton Stacey in Hampshire, perhaps as a final reward for years of loyal service to the Crown.13 Carew died on 4 Sept. 1432, ‘senex et plenus dierum’, and was buried at Beddington, next to his first wife, Isabel. In his will he made provision for bequests in excess of £183, several of which were to the churches and other religious bodies on his land. Only three of the 17 or more children of his two marriages appear to have survived him, the bulk of his estates having been settled previously upon Nicholas, his eldest son. The latter faced immediate problems over the administration of his father’s will, and also seems to have quarrelled with his stepmother, the widowed Mercy Carew, over the allocation of her dower.14 She died in the spring of 1453, having taken Arthur Ormesby of London as her second husband. Carew’s descendants became involved in a bitter and protracted dispute with his feoffees over the custody of his property, which was eventually divided between his grand daughters.15

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: C.R.


Variants: Carreu(e), Carrew(e), Carrou, Carru, Carue.

  • 1. C136/66/10; PCC 16 Luffenham; VCH Berks. iii. 418-19, 429; Herts. ii. 298; Surr. iv. 170; Surr. Arch. Colls. xxv. 55-57, 59-63; xliii. 53-55; CCR, 1369-74, pp. 341-2; CPR, 1370-4, p. 436; Lambeth Pal. Lib. Reg. Courtenay, f. 147.
  • 2. CIMisc. vii. 369.
  • 3. VCH Surr. iv. 73, 170; Bucks. iii. 505-6; T.F. Tout, Chapters, iii. 267, 330; v. 44-45; R. Wills ed. Nichols, 63; CPR, 1381-5, p. 306.
  • 4. C136/66/10; VCH Bucks. iii. 418-19, 502; iv. 324; Herts. ii. 298; Surr. iii. 223; iv. 239, 335; CCR, 1369-74, pp. 341-2; 1377-81, pp. 102, 344, 466, 471; 1389-92, p. 293; 1392-6, p. 251; CPR, 1370-4, p. 436; 1388-92, p. 5; CAD, v. A10681; CChR, v. 229; CIMisc. iv. 49; CFR, x. 329, 359; Add. Chs. 22707, 23141, 23148, 23155, 23157, 23332, 23398, 23401, 23627-9, 23631, 23784, 23446.
  • 5. CP25(1)/231/64/56, 58; VCH Berks. iii. 429; Add. Chs. 23157, 23785; CCR, 1402-5, p. 285; Feudal Aids, vi. 404, 453, 470, 516, 523; Lambeth Pal. Lib. Reg. Kempe, f. 298v.
  • 6. Suss. Arch. Colls. xciii. 53-56; Suss. Rec. Soc. xxiii. 211-12; CCR, 1399-1402, pp. 298, 303-5.
  • 7. C1/18/36, 19/258; CP25(1)/292/67; Feudal Aids, i. 43; CCR, 1419-22, pp. 139, 219, 221-6; 1429-35, p. 189; 1435-41, pp. 44-45; Add. Chs. 23176, 23178, 23632-3; CPR, 1422-9, p. 251.
  • 8. CCR, 1377-81, pp. 246, 340; 1385-9, p. 620; 1392-6, p. 233; CFR, xi. 68; xii. 20.
  • 9. JUST 1/1503 rot. 77, 78, 83v, 1521 rot. 47v, 1523 rot. 7-7v, 1528 rot. 26-26v; CCR, 1396-9, p. 234; 1399-1402, p. 483; CPR, 1405-8, p. 405; 1422-9, pp. 251, 313; Cal. P. and M. London, 1413-37, pp. 11-12.
  • 10. E401/619, 677; E403/571, 645; PPC, i. 161, 202; ii.73, 75, 87; CFR, xii. 10, 21; CCR, 1399-1402, p. 107; CPR, 1408-13, pp. 203-4; 1416-22, p. 310.
  • 11. Reg. Chichele, ii. 71, 229; Sel. Cases in Chancery (Selden Soc. x), 122; CCR, 1413-19, p. 520; 1419-22, p. 34; 1422-9, p. 105; CPR, 1416-22, pp. 62-63; 238-9; 1422-9, pp. 115-16, 282.
  • 12. CCR, 1413-19, p. 360; Surr. N. and Q. xii. 77-79; W. Berry, Surr. Gen. 3; PCC 16 Luffenham.
  • 13. C219/12/5; CFR, xv. 33; Add. Ch. 27759.
  • 14. PCC 16 Luffenham; C1/9/469; C139/57/1; Surr. Arch. Colls. xxv. 55-57, 59-65; Add. Chs. 23408, 23730.
  • 15. C1/12/126, 18/36, 19/258-9; CCR, 1435-41, pp. 126, 128-9, 260, 262-5, 269-70; CAD, iv. A9778; Surr. Arch. Colls. xliii. 53-55.