CAREY, Sir Henry II (1596-1661), of Long Acre, Westminster and Kenilworth Castle, Warws.

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



3 Mar. 1624

Family and Education

bap. 27 Jan. 1596,1 1st s. of Sir Robert Carey* of Whitehall and Leppington, Yorks. and Elizabeth, da. of Sir Hugh Trevanion of Caerhayes, Cornw.; bro. of Thomas*.2 educ. privately (Henry Burton); Exeter Coll. Oxf. 1611, BA 1614;3 travelled abroad (Low Countries) 1614-16.4 m. settlement 16 Feb. 1620,5 Martha (d. 10 Apr. 1677), da. of Sir Lionel Cranfield* of Wood Street, London and Chelsea, Mdx., 2s. d.v.p. 8da. (4 d.v.p.).6 cr. KB 3 Nov.1616;7 styled Lord Leppington 5 Feb. 1626;8 suc. fa. as 2nd earl of Monmouth 12 Apr. 1639.9 d. 13 June 1661.10

Offices Held

J.p. Warws. 1625-42, Herts. 1632-42, Mdx. and St. Albans, Herts. 1633-41;11 commr. archery, London 1632,12 oyer and terminer, Kent, Essex and Suss. 1633-5, Home circ. 1635-42, St Albans 1639, Mdx. 1660-d.,13 array Herts. 1642.14


The heir of a leading courtier, Carey was dubbed a knight of the Bath shortly before his twenty-first birthday. His parents, determined to find him a wife ‘with a great deal of wealth’, at first unsuccessfully sought a match with one of Lady Craven’s daughters, each reputedly worth up to £30,000.15 He was rejected, but an alliance of greater political significance was struck with the merchant-statesman Sir Lionel Cranfield*, whose daughter’s portion was rumoured to be £4,000 ‘if the king pleased’.16 As a reward for his services in Prince Charles’s Household, Carey’s father was promised Kenilworth Castle in 1618, but it was Sir Henry who took up residence there after the lease was finally confirmed in 1625.17

Carey was nominated for Camelford by the Prince’s Council, of which his father was a prominent member, in December 1620; his candidacy was further strengthened by his mother’s Cornish connections, and he was returned unopposed. However, he left no perceptible trace on the records of the third Jacobean Parliament. At the next election the Prince’s Council at first declined to offer him a duchy seat, but belatedly nominated him at Beverley in the East Riding, near his father’s Leppington estate, in place of Sir Henry Vane*, who had plumped for Carlisle.18 Carey was therefore ready at hand when charges of corruption were levelled against Cranfield, now lord treasurer and earl of Middlesex, in early April 1624. He offered the latter’s answer in writing to the first charge in committee 7 Apr., ‘and in his behalf protested his readiness’ to answer the others, but took no further part in the debate.19 Only when the impeachment proceedings were all over was he named to a committee, this being to help present the Commons’ grievances to the king (28 May).20

In the new reign Carey served entirely for Cornish constituencies until his succession to the peerage. With the help of his kinsman Charles Trevanion* he was elected for Tregony in 1625; but he played no known part in the Parliament. Soon after King Charles’s coronation his father was ennobled, and Carey subsequently became known by the courtesy title of Lord Leppington; however, he naturally remained entitled to sit in the Commons. At the next election he was returned for St. Mawes, while his younger brother Thomas was elected for Tregony. On 2 May 1626 he added to the charges of corruption levelled against Buckingham, by furnishing details of Cranfield’s purchase of the mastership of the Wards.21 His father’s position at Court presumably saved Carey from royal displeasure, and on 14 June he accompanied Sir James Fullerton* and two other courtiers to Whitehall to desire access to the king with the declaration against Buckingham.22

In 1628 Carey again changed constituencies for his brother’s benefit, being elected at Grampound, five miles from the Trevanion home. He was chosen to attend the joint conference of 21 Mar. 1628 on the petition for a fast, and was three times sent to the king to ask for access or to deliver petitions.23 On 23 May he opposed the Lords’ amendments to the Petition of Right as ‘so prejudicial that it cannot pass safely’, but was interrupted by the Speaker on expressing ‘some fears that His Majesty’s heart stands not so well affected to the proceedings of this House as formerly’. After Sir Nathaniel Rich insisted that he should be allowed to continue, Carey warned that ‘misreport had wronged our House’, and therefore ‘wished that the Lords might be moved to join with us to petition the king to be present at the conference’. Sir John Eliot replied that ‘this motion shows a great deal of good affection in the gentleman, but it stands not with the use’.24 On 31 May, while the Commons prevaricated over supply by debating whether Oxford or Cambridge should take precedence, Carey in defence of his alma mater asserted that Oxford had always been first named in previous subsidy bills.25 His only legislative committee was the bill for the restitution of Carew Ralegh†, the only son of Sir Walter† (4 June).26 In the 1629 session Carey was among those appointed to attend the king on 2 Feb. with an address against Arminianism.27 His only other appearance in the records was to move, on 23 Feb., for a sub-committee to state how far and upon what reasons the House had proceeded in the case of John Rolle*, the merchant-Member who had refused to pay Tunnage and Poundage.28

Unlike his father and grandfather, Carey was seldom prominent in public life, but preferred to spend his time translating historical and instructive works out of Italian, several of which were published.29 He succeeded to the Monmouth peerage shortly before the Civil War, and was among the nine peers impeached in May 1642 for attending the king at York.30 Thereafter he maintained neutrality, satisfying the committee for the advance of money with a payment of £400 in 1646.31 He had to acquiesce in the dismantling of Kenilworth Castle and sale of his other estates during the Interregnum.32 He drew up his will on 21 July 1659, desiring ‘to be buried by some orthodoxical minister of the Church of England according to the Book of Common Prayer’, and leaving what remained of his property to be divided between his widow and three unmarried daughters.33 He died on 13 June 1661, and was buried with his ancestors at Rickmansworth, the last of this branch of the family.34 He had many portraits painted, including a miniature by Samuel Cooper.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: John. P. Ferris / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. Mems. of Robert Carey ed. F.H. Mares, 84; CP, ix. 59.
  • 2. Vivian, Vis. Devon, 154-5; Her. and Gen. iv. 45.
  • 3. Al. Ox.; Oxford DNB sub Burton, Henry.
  • 4. APC, 1613-14, p. 449; HMC Downshire, iv. 410.
  • 5. PROB 11/304, f. 307v; Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, ii. 291.
  • 6. Her. and Gen. iv. 45; CP, ix. 59.
  • 7. Shaw, Knights of Eng. i. 160.
  • 8. APC, 1629-30, pp. 297-8.
  • 9. CSP Dom. 1639, p. 36; CP, ix. 59.
  • 10. Clutterbuck, Herts. i. 203.
  • 11. C231/4, f. 194; 231/5, pp. 8, 77, 101; C181/4, ff. 131v; 181/5, ff. 12, 212v.
  • 12. T. Rymer, Foedera, viii. pt. 3, p. 252.
  • 13. C181/4, ff. 144v, 198; 181/5, ff. 8v, 134v, 221v; 181/7, pp. 3, 66.
  • 14. Northants. RO, FH133.
  • 15. T. Birch, Ct. and Times of Jas. I, ii. 149, 156.
  • 16. M. Prestwich, Cranfield, 383.
  • 17. VCH Warws. vi. 138-9.
  • 18. DCO, Prince Charles in Spain, f. 39v; P.M. Hunneyball, ‘Prince Charles’s Council as Electoral Agent, 1620-4’, PH, xxiii. 328; R. Ruigh, Parl. of 1624, p. 61.
  • 19. ‘Pym 1624’, i. f. 53.
  • 20. CJ, i. 714a.
  • 21. Prestwich, 486; HMC Lonsdale, 13; Procs. 1626, iii. 123, 128, 133, 135.
  • 22. Procs. 1626, iii. 445.
  • 23. CD 1628, ii. 42; iv. 331, 388.
  • 24. Ibid. iii. 560, 585.
  • 25. Ibid. iv. 42.
  • 26. Ibid. 84, 505.
  • 27. CJ, i. 925b.
  • 28. CD 1629, p. 238.
  • 29. Oxford DNB.
  • 30. CSP Dom. 1641-3, pp. 357-8.
  • 31. CCAM, 631.
  • 32. VCH Warws. vi. 139; VCH Herts. ii. 377.
  • 33. PROB 11/304, ff. 307v-9v.
  • 34. Her. and Gen. iv. 137; Clutterbuck, i. 203; VCH Herts ii. 377.