CAREY, John, Visct. Rochford (c.1608-1677), of Hunsdon, Herts. and Coningsborough, Yorks.

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



28 Jan. 1629

Family and Education

b. c.1608, 1st s. of Henry Carey* of Hunsdon, and Judith, da. of Sir Thomas Pelham†, 1st bt., of Laughton, Suss.1 educ. St. John’s, Camb. 1624.2 m. (1) 9 May 1628, Dorothy (d. 28 June 1628), da. of Oliver St. John I* of Bletsoe, Beds., 1st earl of Bolingbroke, s.p.; (2) 2 Dec. 1630, Abigail (d. 10 Feb. 1688), da. of Sir William Cockayne, Skinner, of Broad Street, London, ld. mayor 1619-20, 2da. (1 d.v.p.).3 cr. KB 1 Feb. 1626;4 styled Visct. Rochford 8 Mar. 1628; summ. to Lords in his fa.’s barony as Lord Hunsdon 3 Nov. 1640;5 suc. fa. as 2nd earl of Dover, Apr. 1666.6 d. 26 May 1677.7

Offices Held

Commr. sewers, river Stort in Herts. and Essex 1628, 1638,8 j.p. Herts. 1629-42;9 commr. swans, Herts. 1634,10 oyer and terminer and gaol delivery, Herts. 1644,11 appeals, Oxf. Univ. 1647, militia, Yorks. 1648.12

Col. horse (parl.) 1642; maj.-gen. 1642.13

Commr. exclusion from sacrament 1646, sale of bps.’ lands 1646, indemnity complaints 1647;14 Speaker, House of Lords 1-5 Aug. 1647;15 commr. scandalous offences 1648.16


Carey was dubbed a knight of the Bath at the coronation of Charles I, and accorded the courtesy title Viscount Rochford at his father’s creation as earl of Dover in March 1628. Rochford, who was probably still technically under-age, did not stand at the general election to Charles’s third Parliament. However, following the tragic death of his first wife just a few weeks after their wedding, he was returned for Hertford, six miles from his home at Hunsdon, at a by-election in January 1629. His only recorded appointments were to attend the king with an address on Tunnage and Poundage on 2 Feb., and to a bill committee for confirming the Somers Island [Bermuda] Company charter (10 February).17 After the dissolution Rochford and his brother-in-law Oliver St. John II* indicated their sympathy with the king’s opponents by applying to the lieutenant of the Tower for permission to visit Sir John Eliot* in prison.18 Rochford had certainly attained his majority by January 1630, when his father settled on him an annuity of £500, under the trusteeship of (Sir) Thomas Pelham*, Sir Thomas Walsingham II*, and John Hampden*.19 His income was augmented soon afterwards by marriage to his own step-sister, and, in 1639, by his assertion of title to the manor and adjoining lands of Coningsborough in Yorkshire, which had been granted to his grandfather.20

Rochford was summoned, as Lord Hunsdon, to the House of Lords when the Long Parliament met, and under the guidance of Viscount Saye and Sele he took the parliamentary side in the Civil War.21 As one of the handful of peers who remained at Westminster he served as Speaker of the upper House for a few days in August 1647.22 Although threatened with impeachment, he continued to sit occasionally in the Lords until shortly before the king’s trial.23 The Hunsdon estate was made over to him during his father’s lifetime, but he sold it to William Willoughby† in 1653.24 Having finally succeeded to the earldom of Dover in 1666, he died intestate on 26 May 1677, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. He had no male offspring, and the barony of Hunsdon passed to a Catholic cousin, the great-grandson of Sir Edmund Carey*.25 No later member of the family entered the Lower House.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: John. P. Ferris / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. Her. and Gen. iv. 41.
  • 2. Al. Cant.
  • 3. Her. and Gen. iv. 41.
  • 4. Shaw, Knights of Eng. i. 161.
  • 5. CP, vi. 630-1; xi. 52.
  • 6. Ibid. iv. 446.
  • 7. Her. and Gen. iv. 41.
  • 8. C181/3, ff. 251, 272; 181/5, f. 112v.
  • 9. C231/4, f. 267; 231/5, p. 530.
  • 10. C181/4, f. 178v.
  • 11. C181/5, f. 240.
  • 12. A. and O. i. 927, 1245.
  • 13. E. Peacock, Army Lists, 30; CSP Dom. 1641-2, p. 366.
  • 14. A. and O. i. 853, 905, 937.
  • 15. Ibid. 995; LJ, ix. 365b-374a.
  • 16. A. and O. i. 1208.
  • 17. CJ, i. 935b, 928a.
  • 18. CSP Dom. 1628-9, p. 499.
  • 19. C78/477/4.
  • 20. CSP Dom. 1638-9, p. 302; Yorks. Arch. Jnl. ix. 216-17.
  • 21. HMC Hatfield, xxiv. 277.
  • 22. HMC Egmont, i. 441.
  • 23. CJ, iii. 559; HMC De L’Isle and Dudley, vi. 577.
  • 24. VCH Herts. iii. 328.
  • 25. Her. and Gen. iv. 41, 143.