CAREW, Nicholas (1686-1727), of Beddington, Surr. and Dover Street, Piccadilly, London

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



13 Dec. 1708 - 1710
18 Mar. 1714 - 1722
1722 - 18 Mar. 1727

Family and Education

bap. 26 Dec. 1686, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir Francis Carew of Beddington by Anne, da. of William Boteler.  educ. St. Catharine’s, Camb. 1703.  m. 2 Feb. 1709 (with £2,000), Elizabeth (d. 1740), da. of Nicholas Hackett of North Crawley, Bucks., 2s. 2da.  suc. fa. 1689. cr. Bt. 11 Jan. 1715.

Offices Held


One of the most venerable dynasties in Surrey, the Carews had first settled at Beddington in the second half of the 14th century. Indeed, according to Aubrey’s account, Beddington was ‘noted for little else but the family and name of Carew’. Having gained recognition as knights of the shire as early as 1361, the family had periodically represented several of the Surrey constituencies, and their most recent parliamentarian, Carew’s grandfather, Sir Nicholas†, had distinguished himself as a leading Exclusionist while sitting for Gatton between 1664 and 1681. However, by the time Carew succeeded his father in 1689, ‘debauchery and neglect’ had allowed the Beddington mansion to fall into temporary decay, and during his minority the estate was ‘only kept by a servant or two from dilapidation’. Nevertheless, Carew’s uncle Nicholas ensured that the family remained a political force within Surrey. Although ultimately failing to gain entrance to Parliament, the elder Carew stood for election at the county contests of 1698 and December 1701, and endeavoured to secure his return at Gatton in 1698, as well as at Bletchingley in 1695 and 1702. His political ambition may even have caused him in January 1701 to seek electoral success at the Cornish borough of St. Mawes, a constituency which later favoured the Onslow family, one of the Carews’ staunchest Whig allies in Surrey. The younger Carew’s own parliamentary aspirations were suggested by his attendance at the Bedfordshire election of 1705, a presence which reflected his family’s territorial influence in that county. However, with extensive proprietorial interests in the north-east of Surrey, he was clearly capable of playing a significant role in the politics of his home county.1

Having recently visited such leading local politicians as Sir Richard Onslow, 3rd Bt.*, Sir William Scawen* and Sir John Parsons*, Carew eagerly sought to gain entrance to Parliament at the Haslemere by-election of December 1708. Even though Haslemere stood at the opposite end of the shire to his own residence, Carew took the seat vacated by fellow Whig Thomas Onslow* without a contest, thereby replicating the success of an early Stuart ancestor, Sir Francis†. In the House itself Carew proved far from conspicuous, his only significant contribution to the business of the House in his first Parliament resting with an appointment in the second session to the drafting committee on a bill to establish a land registry in Surrey. However, his Whiggish sympathies were clearly in evidence, for he supported the naturalization of the Palatines in early 1709 and a year later voted in favour of the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell.

The Haslemere election of October 1710 proved a bitter disappointment for Carew. Less than a week before the poll he was fairly confident of securing one of the seats, although he felt it prudent to send for an additional 100 guineas in order to improve his electoral chances. However, these extra funds did not prevent his finishing behind the two Tory candidates, a defeat rendered even more galling when a subsequent scrutiny disqualified nearly half of Carew’s votes. Although he petitioned the House on 5 Dec. 1710 against the return of his Tory rival Theophilus Oglethorpe*, the elections committee never reported on his allegations. He did not stand at the next general election, where the Haslemere seats were shared between the two parties, but he scored a second by-election victory there after Thomas Onslow had again opted to stand for Bletchingley. In the short remainder of the session he twice acted as a teller on election matters: on 23 Mar. 1714, to instruct the elections committee to appoint a day to discuss the London return; and, on 25 June, to adjourn debate on the Southwark election. Given his presence at Westminster, he can probably be identified as the ‘Nicholas Carew’ who on 1 Aug. was in attendance at St. James’s palace for the proclamation of the accession of George I.

The advent of the new royal dynasty proved a particular blessing for Carew, for he was honoured with a baronetcy in January 1715, and within weeks had achieved his first victory at a general election. A parliamentary list confirmed his Whiggish allegiance soon afterwards, and thereafter he proved a steady supporter of the ministry, although he did oppose the peerage bill. At the election of 1722 he managed to secure a prestigious county seat, taking advantage of the temporary absence of an Onslow candidate. He died on 18 Mar. 1727, shortly before he had a chance to seek re-election, but Arthur Onslow† later paid tribute to his political interest by earnestly soliciting the support of his widow, Lady Elizabeth, who subsequently married William Chetwynd†, Member for Wootton Bassett between 1722 and 1727. Although Carew had succeeded in temporarily re-establishing the family’s influence in local political circles, his principal achievement lay with the development of Beddington, the estate being transformed within his lifetime into a ‘magnificently great’ house with ‘exquisitely fine’ gardens. Although his heir, Sir Nicholas Hackett Carew, 2nd Bt., was not politically inclined, and was destined to be the last baronet, the Carew name remained indissolubly linked with Beddington for the rest of the 18th century.2

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Perry Gauci


  • 1. Add. 29599, ff. 98, 131, 149; IGI, London; Manning and Bray, Surr. ii. 522–3, 527; J. Aubrey, Surr. ii. 159–60; Evelyn Diary, v. 427; Surr. Arch. Colls. x. 258.
  • 2. Surr. Arch. Colls. 266, 270–1; Add. 29598, f. 18; 29599, f. 256; Boyer, Pol. State, viii. 117; Cal. Treas. Bks. xxix. 394; Defoe, Tour ed. Cole, i. 158.