CAREW, Sir William, 5th Bt. (1690-1744), of Antony, nr. Saltash, Cornw.

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



17 Jan. 1711 - 1713
1713 - 8 Mar. 1744

Family and Education

bap. 24 Jan. 1690, 2nd s. of Sir John Carew, 3rd Bt.*, by his 3rd w.  educ. Exeter, Oxf. 1707.  m. 5 Jan. 1714 (with £3,000), Lady Anne, da. and h. of Gilbert, 4th Earl of Coventry, 1s. 1da. d.v.psuc. bro. as 5th Bt. 24 Sept. 1703.1

Offices Held


Carew, whose father died when he was very young, was cared for by his mother until her death in 1698. His maternal uncle, Nicholas Morice†, then acted as guardian for both Carew and his elder brother, Sir Richard, the 4th baronet. Following his brother’s death, Carew succeeded to the baronetcy. In 1707 he went up to Oxford, where he had trouble in extracting money from his guardian. Morice complained that Carew ‘cannot want money without much ill husbandry and profuseness’, especially as he had spent most of his time at the home of his brother-in-law, Sir Godfrey Copley, 2nd Bt.* Money problems underlined a difficult relationship, with Morice even complaining that his medical advice had been rejected, Carew having ‘a very ill habit of body, and without giving vent to those ill humours wherewith he so much abounds, they will prove pernicious and fatal to him’. Political differences did not help matters, for as with his brother, growing maturity saw Carew begin to flex his muscles in the family’s traditional area of influence at Saltash. Thus, in 1708 the Whiggish Morice had found that his nephew had his own ideas about the forthcoming election and was willing to join with the Bullers in favour of a Tory.2

It is likely that as soon as Carew came of age he entered Parliament for Saltash. This would explain why he did not contest the by-election held in December 1710, but rather waited for Alexander Pendarves to choose Penryn, which he did on 23 Dec. 1710, thereby precipitating a by-election in January 1711. Significantly, Carew gave Morice his ‘absolute quietus and discharge’ in November 1711, which had been delayed following disputes about the management of the estate and Carew’s desire to retain Morice’s agent, Richard Blighe, as his steward. Carew was not an active Member, being given leave of absence on 26 May 1712 for five weeks, but he was present on 18 June 1713 to vote for the French commerce bill. In July his influence was recognized by the government manager for the Cornish boroughs, Lord Lansdown (George Granville*), who asked Lord Treasurer Oxford (Robert Harley*) to oblige Carew by appointing a near relation of his to be post-master at Camelford. Having returned home to Cornwall in mid-August 1713, Carew was returned for the county at the ensuing general election. He was classified as a Tory in the Worsley list and on two lists comparing the Parliaments of 1713 and 1715.3

In November 1714 Carew was reported to be ready to spend heavily in the Tory cause at Liskeard and Saltash and to be confident of carrying the county contest. He was imprisoned during the Fifteen, and as a consequence lost his place on the bench the following year. However, he retained his county seat until his death on 8 Mar. 1744. His contemporary Thomas Tonkin* described him as ‘a gentleman that in every respect comes up to the merits of the greatest of his ancestors’.4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Stuart Handley


  • 1. Vivian, Vis. Devon, 143; Top. and Gen. iii. 509; Boyer, Pol. State, vii. 55; Polsue, Complete Paroch. Hist. Cornw. i. 23, 26; Trans. Plymouth Inst. ix. 293.
  • 2. HMC Lords, n.s. iii. 7; Morice mss at Bank of Eng. Nicholas to Humphry Morice*, 5 Oct. 1707, 5, 21 Mar. 1707[–8], 7 Oct. 1709.
  • 3. Morice mss, Richard Blighe to Humphry Morice, 22 Sept., 9 Nov. 1711, same to ?Joseph Moyle*, 17 Aug. 1713; HMC Portland, v. 307.
  • 4. Bodl. Ballard 18, ff. 71–72; Morice mss, (Sir) William Pole (4th Bt.*) to [?], 13 Nov. 1715; L. K. J. Glassey, Appt. JPs. 253; Gent. Mag. 1744, p. 168; Polsue, 23.