CAREY, Henry (c.1580-1666), of Hunsdon, Herts.

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



2 Nov. 1609

Family and Education

b. c.1580, 2nd but o. surv. s. of John Carey†, 3rd Bar. Hunsdon, and Mary, da. of Leonard Hyde of Throcking, Herts., wid. of Richard Peyton of Little Chesterford, Essex.1 educ. travelled abroad 1612.2 m. (1) 4 Feb. 1607,3 Judith (bur. 1 Nov. 1629),4 da. of Sir Thomas Pelham†, 1st bt., of Laughton, Suss., 4s. (2 d.v.p.) 4da. (2 d.v.p.); (2) 6 July 1630, Mary (d. 24 Dec. 1648), da. of Richard Morris, Ironmonger, of Eastcheap, London, wid. of Sir William Cockayne, Skinner, of Broad Street, London, ld. mayor 1619-20, s.p.5 cr. KB 2 June 1610;6 suc. fa. 1617;7 cr. Visct. Rochford 6 July 1621, earl of Dover 8 Mar. 1628.8 bur. 13 Apr. 1666.9

Offices Held

J.p. Suss. 1617-42, Herts. and Kent 1618-42, Essex 1622-42, Mdx. 1624-42, Surr. 1642;10 commr. oyer and terminer, Home circ. 1618-42, London and Mdx. 1624-41,11 highways, Herts. 1622,12 sewers, Lea valley 1623-5, 1635, Suss. 1624-5, 1630-1, 1637-41, river Stort, Herts. and Essex 1628, 1638, Essex 1633, 1638, Mdx. 1639,13 gaol delivery, London and Newgate, 1624-8, 1635-41,14 annoyances, Mdx. 1625,15 Forced Loan, Herts. 1627,16 swans, Herts. and elsewhere c.1629, Herts. 1634, Suff. and Essex 1635,17 maltsters, Herts. 1636,18 perambulation, Waltham Forest, Essex 1641,19 array, Herts. 1642,20 defence, Oxford 1645.21

Member, Guiana Co. 1627.22

Vol. Life Gds. 1642; col. of ft. (roy.) 1644-6.23


Carey’s grandfather was raised to the peerage and granted the manor of Hunsdon on the accession of his first cousin, Queen Elizabeth.24 Carey himself married the only daughter of a Sussex landowner, and was returned for that county at a by-election in 1609, presumably on the recommendation of his distant kinsman lord admiral Nottingham (Charles Howard†). He was named to the conference with the Lords on 15 Feb. 1610, at which the Great Contract to reform the king’s revenue was proposed, and his committee appointments included a bill to confirm the estates of contractors for Crown lands (19 April).25 He was among those chosen to attend the king on 28 May with proposals for stronger measures against recusancy, and five days later he was made knight of the Bath at the creation of the prince of Wales.26

Henceforth, until Carey succeeded to the peerage, it is difficult to distinguish him from Sir Henry Carey I*, as both men were prominent courtiers. He obtained licence to go abroad in 1612, but had returned by April 1613 when he danced in a masque held at Caversham in the queen’s honour.27 In the following year he was elected for Hertfordshire as ‘Sir Henry Carey, son of Lord Hunsdon’.28 On 9 May 1614, at the second reading of the Charterhouse hospital bill, he proposed that the committee should be empowered to inquire into title of all lands forming the endowment.29 He was among those ordered to consider three private measures of Sussex interest, namely to confirm the foundation of Sackville College at East Grinstead (16 May) and estate bills concerning his wife’s cousin Herbert Pelham* (17 May) and Sir Edward Apsley (19 May).30 On 17 May, at the second reading of the Pelham estate bill, he assured the House that it was not intended to prejudice the heir, and he was the first named to the committee.31 He was among those instructed on 25 May to consider the aspersions cast on the Commons by Bishop Neile and to recommend ‘the fittest course to take by search of precedents or otherwise’.32

After succeeding as 4th Baron Hunsdon, Carey was granted in 1620 a Norfolk manor forfeited for recusancy.33 He sold the last of his ancestral Essex estates to the 2nd earl of Warwick (Sir Robert Rich*) in 1621.34 He was ‘much favoured’ by the marquess of Buckingham, and received a viscountcy a couple of months later ‘for services done or to be done’. After the disastrous end of the 1621 Parliament, he judiciously advised Buckingham, as a student of history, to be magnanimous, but not credulous towards his ‘enemies whose envy will ever attend them as a shadow’.35 He accompanied Prince Charles’s doomed quest for the hand of the Spanish Infanta in 1623, protesting to Buckingham that ‘I would willingly wade in blood at any time to manifest myself yours’, and was sent to bring news of the negotiations back to James.36 He invested in ironworks in Yorkshire, lead-mines in Derbyshire, and the Guiana Company, and obtained a further step in the peerage as earl of Dover in 1628.37 In around 1630, being ‘very much indebted’ and hard pressed to raise suitable portions for his daughters, he appears to have made over much of his remaining estate to his eldest son, John Carey*, Viscount Rochford.38 His financial troubles were presumably eased by his second marriage, to the widow of Alderman Cockayne; Rochford, also a recent widower, married her daughter a few months later.

Dover was awarded a DCL at Oxford in 1642, where he joined the royalist army as a volunteer in the Life Guards, but after the Civil War had been lost he ‘suffered want, and long and sharp imprisonment’ for his loyalty to Charles.39 Indicted at Hertford assizes in 1653 for counterfeiting coin of the Commonwealth, shortly afterwards he sold Hunsdon to William Willoughby, the future 6th Lord Willoughby of Parham.40 At the Restoration he declared himself ‘so worn out by the late troubles as to be incapable of any favour except through his grandchild’, and petitioned the Crown on behalf of her husband, the regicide William Heveningham†.41 He died intestate, and was buried at Hunsdon on 13 Apr. 1666.42

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: John. P. Ferris / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. Her. and Gen. iv. 41.
  • 2. SO3/5, unfol.
  • 3. Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, i. 241.
  • 4. Her. and Gen. iv. 47.
  • 5. Ibid. 41.
  • 6. Shaw, Knights of Eng. i. 158.
  • 7. C142/374/95.
  • 8. CP, iv. 445-6; xi. 52.
  • 9. Her. and Gen. iv. 47.
  • 10. C231/4, ff. 54, 63, 173, 314; 231/5, p. 532.
  • 11. C181/2, f. 314; 181/3, ff. 56v, 131, 132, 243v, 242v, 261; 181/4, ff. 13, 15v, 24v, 188, 198; 181/5, ff. 213, 214, 221v.
  • 12. C181/3, f. 69v.
  • 13. C181/3, ff. 91v, 128, 133, 166v, 184v, 251, 272; 181/4, ff. 46v, 73v, 137v; 181/5, ff. 20v, 69, 112v, 116v, 142v, 205v.
  • 14. C181/3, ff. 132, 242v; 181/5, ff. 2, 221v.
  • 15. C181/3, f. 157.
  • 16. T. Rymer, Foedera, viii. pt. 2, p. 144.
  • 17. C181/3, f. 267; 181/4, f. 178v; 181/5, f. 28.
  • 18. PC2/46, p. 373.
  • 19. C181/5, f. 208.
  • 20. Northants. RO, FH133.
  • 21. CSP Dom. 1644-5, p. 464; Docquets of Letters Patent 1642-6 ed. W.H. Black, 267.
  • 22. Eng. and Irish Settlement on the Amazon ed. J. Lorimer (Hakluyt Soc. ser. 2. clxxi), 291.
  • 23. P.R. Newman, Roy. Officers in Eng. and Wales, 59.
  • 24. VCH Herts. iii. 328.
  • 25. CJ, i. 394a. 419a.
  • 26. Ibid. 434a.
  • 27. Chamberlain Letters, i. 446; J. Nichols, Progs. of Jas. I, ii. 629.
  • 28. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 451.
  • 29. Ibid. 176.
  • 30. Ibid. 258, 267, 289.
  • 31. Ibid. 267, 274.
  • 32. Ibid. 346.
  • 33. C66/2217.
  • 34. Morant, Essex, i. 275.
  • 35. CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 325; Chamberlain Letters, ii. 387; T. Birch, Ct. and Times of Jas. I, ii. 275.
  • 36. Chamberlain Letters, ii. 482; HMC Hatfield, xxii. 168; Harl. 1581, f. 379.
  • 37. T.K. Rabb, Enterprise and Empire, 260; CSP Dom. 1635, p. 87; 1635-6, p. 63; 1637, p. 89.
  • 38. C78/477/4; Cal. of Docquets of Ld. Kpr. Coventry, 1625-40 ed. J. Broadway, R. Cust and S.K. Roberts (L. and I. Soc. spec. ser. xxxiv), 260.
  • 39. CSP Dom. 1660-1, p. 340.
  • 40. HMC De L’Isle and Dudley, vi. 616; CSP Dom. 1649-50, p. 569; VCH Herts. iii. 328.
  • 41. CSP Dom. 1660-1, pp. 312, 340.
  • 42. Her. and Gen. iv. 47.