CAREY (CARY), Adolphus (c.1578-1609), of Berkhamsted, Herts. and Whitehall

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



1604 - 8 Apr. 1609

Family and Education

b. c.1578, 2nd s. of Sir Edward Carey† (d.1618) of Aldenham, Herts. and Catherine, da. of Sir Henry Knyvet of East Horsley, Surr.; bro. of Sir Henry I* and Sir Philip*.1 educ. G. Inn, entered 1590; Queen’s, Oxf. 1594, aged 16.2 m. 9 Aug. 1596, Anne (bur. 14 Mar. 1602), da. and coh. of Robert Corbet† of Moreton Corbet, Salop, s.p.3 kntd. 12 May 1604.4 d. 8 Apr. 1609.5

Offices Held

Member, embassy of 1st earl of Nottingham (Charles Howard†) to Spain 1605.6


On his marriage in 1596, Carey took up residence at Berkhamsted, which his father held on a long lease from the Crown. In 1602 he added to this property by purchasing nearby Great Gaddesden from Sir Robert Cecil† for £3,000.7 After the death of his wife in May 1602, Carey obtained licence to travel to France and Italy, from whence he returned ‘with a good opinion of the Catholic religion’ and a penchant for reading ‘the fathers, especially St. Augustine’.8

Returned in 1604 to the first Jacobean Parliament for St. Albans, which borough he had previously represented in 1601, Carey left no trace on the records of the opening session. During the interval between the first and second sessions he was selected to accompany the embassy led by his distant kinsman lord admiral Nottingham to Madrid. Before his departure, it was reported (on 10 Mar. 1605) that he had been robbed of ‘£50 and three suits of apparel which were intended for the Spanish journey’, and therefore was compelled to pawn his jewel ‘in the fashion of a phoenix’ to William Pitt*.9

Carey returned from Spain in time for the second session of the Parliament, in which he was named to one committee, for the repeal of a statute concerning unlawful games (26 Apr. 1606).10 At about the same time he was involved in litigation in Chancery against his Gaddesden tenants, but the case was decided against him by lord chancellor Ellesmere (Thomas Egerton†).11 In the next session Carey was appointed to one further committee, for the bill to settle the possessions and hereditaments of the late 5th earl of Derby, whose widow Ellesmere had married (3 June 1607).12

Carey died in London of smallpox on 8 Apr. 1609 and was buried at Berkhampstead, where he was remembered as ‘a most loving benefactor to the poor of this town’.13 The College of Physicians called a council after his death, and ‘had Dr. Antoine before them, whom they charged directly by his unknown medicines to have killed him’, though Sir William Paddy*, who had also tended to Carey, was acquitted.14 In his will, drawn up on 16 Mar. 1605, Carey left Berkhamsted to his elder brother, Sir Henry.15 In 1611 his younger brother, Sir Philip, as executor and residuary legatee, sold Great Gaddesden to Ellesmere, who could doubtless count on a friendly reception from the tenants.16

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: John. P. Ferris / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. Her. and Gen. iii. 39; R. Clutterbuck, Herts. i. 129.
  • 2. GI Admiss.; Al. Ox.
  • 3. Vis. Salop (Harl. Soc. xxviii), 136; Her. and Gen. iii. 39.
  • 4. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 132.
  • 5. C142/308/107.
  • 6. NLW, Carreglwyd ms I/699.
  • 7. VCH Herts. ii. 167, 203.
  • 8. Winwood’s Memorials ed. E. Sawyer, i. 453; Lady Falkland ed. R. Simpson, 9-10.
  • 9. Winwood’s Memorials, ii. 52.
  • 10. CJ, i. 301a.
  • 11. HMC 4th Rep. 46.
  • 12. CJ, i. 378a.
  • 13. Her. and Gen. iii. 45, 54.
  • 14. Carleton to Chamberlain ed. M. Lee, 110.
  • 15. PROB 11/113, f. 253v.
  • 16. VCH Herts. ii. 203.