CAREW, Richard (c.1580-1643), of Antony, Cornw.

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.1580, 1st s. of Richard Carew† of Antony and Julian, da. of John Arundell† of Trerice and coh. to her uncle John Cosworth of London.1 educ. Merton, Oxf. 1594, aged 14; M. Temple 1597;2 embassy, Poland and Sweden 1598, France 1599-1600.3 m. (1) settlement 20 Jan. 1601 (with £1,500),4 Bridget (d.1611), da. of John Chudleigh† of Ashton, Devon, 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 4da.; (2) 18 Aug. 1621 (with £2,000), Grace, da. of Robert Rolle of Heanton Satchville, 4s. suc. fa. 1620; cr. bt. 9 Aug. 1641. bur. 14 Mar. 1643.5

Offices Held

Commr. billeting, Plymouth, Devon 1625,6 martial law 1627,7 exacted fees, Devon 1638,8 assessment, Cornw. 1642-d.9


The Cornish branch of the Carew family was established at Antony towards the end of the fifteenth century. Carew’s father Richard, the author of the Survey of Cornwall, sat for Cornish boroughs in two Elizabethan parliaments, but was never knight of the shire, despite an active career in local government. Carew interrupted his legal studies to accompany his uncle Sir George Carew II* on his mission to the Baltic, where his skill at Latin led to him being ‘often employed by mine uncle’s direction, to deliver messages and receive answers both to and from many great persons of the Dutch, Swedish and Polish nations’. Soon after his return, his father sent him with Sir Henry Neville I* to France, where he mastered the native tongue in just nine months. Richard Carew suffered from chronic ill health, and fearing that he might die prematurely and leave his son a ward of the Crown, he arranged for him to marry in 1601 while still a minor.10

By 1613 Richard had gone blind, and Carew took over the management of the family estates. This new-found prominence in Cornish society doubtless encouraged his decision to stand in 1614 as a knight of the shire, though he probably relied on the backing of his influential uncle, John Arundell* of Trerice, to secure his place in the Commons.11 Carew made little impact on this Parliament, and was named to just three legislative committees, which considered the continuance or repeal of statutes, the foundation of a school and almshouse by the London Haberdashers, and limitations on lawsuits (8 Apr., 16 and 24 May). He was also appointed to attend the king on 28 May when the House explained its decision to suspend business during the dispute over the bishop of Lincoln’s offensive remarks.12 At the next general election Arundell wished to represent the county himself, and arranged a seat for Carew at Mitchell. Despite this drop in parliamentary status, Carew was added to the committee for privileges on 8 Feb. 1621, and four days later he intervened in the debate on parliamentary freedom of speech, recommending a precedent contained in a statute of 1512. He opened the debate on the second reading of the bill to repress drunkenness on 1 Mar., proposing that the word ‘drunkard’ should be defined by the committee. Hostile to Spanish imports, on 18 Apr. he called on the House ‘to banish tobacco generally, and help Virginia by some other means’. He was also appointed to six bill committees, whose subjects included extravagant apparel, the Devon estates of the Hele family, and Trinity House’s control of seamarks, an issue with implications for West Country shipping (27-8 Feb., 21 April).13

Carew never sat again, and indeed barely participated in local government, other than serving on the commissions arising from the billeting of soldiers near his home during the 1620s. Given his wealth, pedigree and obvious intelligence, his omission from the county bench is particularly surprising, and perhaps indicates that he inherited his father’s poor health. In about 1633 he declined to compound for knighthood in Cornwall, claiming that he had already paid in London. His subsidy assessment of £18 in 1641 compared unfavourably with his father’s 1604 rating of £25, but he nevertheless purchased a baronetcy in the same year. He died intestate in March 1643. According to the inventory of his personal estate, he left nearly £400 in cash, plate and jewellery, though his books were valued at a mere £6.14 A keen author like his father, he published in his lifetime a medical work and a pamphlet describing a portentous thunderstorm at Antony, but his unconventional views on education only entered the public domain posthumously. Carew’s eldest son served in the Long Parliament as a Cornish knight of the shire, but was executed for treason in 1644. Another son, John, sat for Tregony as a recruiter, and suffered the same fate after the Restoration for regicide. A third son, Thomas, represented Exeter in 1681 as an opponent of exclusion.15

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Anne Duffin / Paul Hunneyball


  • 1. Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 69.
  • 2. Al. Ox.; M. Temple Admiss.
  • 3. F.E. Halliday, Cornish Chronicle, 41-2, 44.
  • 4. Cornw. RO, R/3044A; Halliday, 45.
  • 5. Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 69; Vivian, Vis. Devon, 190, 654; Halliday, 100, 165; CB.
  • 6. APC, 1625-6, pp. 55, 267.
  • 7. APC, 1627-8, p. 79.
  • 8. C181/5, f. 109v.
  • 9. SR, v. 149; A. and O. i. 90.
  • 10. Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 67-9; J. Polsue, Complete Paroch. Hist. of Cornw. i. 22; HP Commons, 1558-1603, i. 542-3; R. Carew, True and Ready Way to Learn the Latin Tongue (1654), pp. 45-6; Halliday, 41, 44.
  • 11. Halliday, 82; A. Duffin, Faction and Faith, 73.
  • 12. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 35, 377; CJ, i. 486a, 496a. Procs. 1614 confuses Carew and Thomas Crewe.
  • 13. CD 1621, ii. 58; iii. 10; CJ, i. 514b, 517b, 529b, 531a, 532b, 581b, 584b.
  • 14. E178/7161; E179/89/329; Cornw. RO, CY/7290; CW/GG/35.
  • 15. R. Carew, Excellent Helps ... had by a Warming Stone (1640); Voice of the Lord in the Temple (1640); Halliday, 151, 157, 162.