CARTERET, Sir Charles (1667-1719), of Toomer, Som. and Trinity Manor, Jersey

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



1690 - 1700

Family and Education

bap. 24 July 1667, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir Edward de Carteret of Toomer, Som., Whitehall and Trinity Manor, Jersey, gent. usher of the Black Rod, by Elizabeth, da. of Robert Johnson (d. 1660), Grocer and alderman of London.  m. Aug. 1687, Mary Anne, da. of Hon. Nicholas Fairfax, at least 5s. 2da.  suc. fa. 1683; kntd. 25 Oct. 1687.1

Offices Held

Cornet, indep. tp. of horse 1685; capt. lt. of horse Earl of Arran’s regt. (4 Drag. Gds.) 1687–9.


It was hardly surprising that a history of the Carteret family, published in 1756 in celebration of the Whig politician Earl Granville, the former Lord Carteret, should quietly omit details of the life and career of his distant relative Sir Charles Carteret, an authentic Jacobite who had spent his later years in the service of the Stuart court-in-exile. The Carterets (also known as the de Carterets) were a leading Jersey family who had been prominent in the government of the island since the Middle Ages. Sir Charles’s immediate forebears were of Trinity Manor, a junior branch of the de Carterets of St. Ouen, Jersey on whom a baronetcy had been bestowed in 1670. The two families became more closely linked in 1676 through the marriage of Sir Philip, 2nd Bt., with Sir Charles’s sister. Carteret’s father, a Royalist during the Civil War, shared Charles II’s exile, served as Black Rod from 1676 until his death six years later, and although non-resident bailiff of Jersey was placed by James II in charge of the island’s defence as major of the militia there.2

Carteret himself served in a troop of horse against Monmouth’s rebellion and was later promoted to one of the regiments of guards. His early years were spent at the palace of Whitehall, where his father had lodgings and he was in high favour with James II. In 1687 he married Mary Anne Fairfax, a maid of honour to Mary of Modena, and a granddaughter of the 2nd Viscount Fairfax [I]. The King gave a marriage portion of £2,000 and it is possible that Carteret converted, at least temporarily, to Catholicism in line with his wife’s faith. On receipt of his knighthood in October he was excused the usual fees. Carteret had already inherited the manor of Toomer, near Milborne Port, which his father had purchased in 1679. In December 1687, before he had come of age, the King’s agents reported that he had ‘the best interest of anyone’ at Milborne Port and added in September 1688 that not only would he be elected but he had influence enough to carry the second seat. He supported the King after the Dutch invasion and he and four servants were given a pass on 16 Nov. to visit King James at Salisbury. Though he did not stand for election to the Convention, he was making interest in the borough in July 1689, planning to stand jointly with Sir Thomas Travell*, a Whig merchant. In 1690, aged only 23, he was returned unopposed for the borough, and was classed by Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) as a Tory and in another list as a Court supporter. His attendance during the first session was foreshortened by a grant of leave on 21 Apr. In December Carmarthen saw him as a likely Court supporter, but in April 1691 he was noted by Robert Harley* as a Country supporter. There is no evidence, however, of any noteworthy involvement in parliamentary business.3

Returned in 1695, Carteret became more active in 1696, most notably as a teller. His political conduct in the House was consistently against the government. In January 1696 he was forecast as likely to oppose the Court over the proposed council of trade, and at the end of February was among the Tories who initially refused to sign the Association. However, he soon afterwards asked the pardon of the House and signed. In March he voted against fixing the price of guineas at 22s. In the next session he played an active part in the defence of Sir John Fenwick†, acting as teller on 6 Nov. with John Granville against authorizing the bill of attainder, and at the bill’s third reading on the 25th he outlined his belief that the case was insufficiently proven. He also voted against the bill in the closing division. Two days later he was teller in favour of a motion that the ‘grievances of the kingdom’, rather than the ‘state of the nation’, should be considered by a committee of the whole. On 23 Nov. he had been teller in favour of giving a second reading to the bill for improving the regulation of elections. In July 1697 it was brought to the attention of the lords justices that Carteret’s wife had been going about the streets of London in disguise distributing printed ‘libels’ sent from France, and orders were issued to the Post Office to intercept her letters. Returned again in 1698, Carteret was listed as a Country supporter, appeared in the forecast of those likely to oppose the standing army, and on 18 Jan. 1699 was one of the tellers (again with Granville) in favour of the disbanding bill. On 15 Mar. he conveyed a private naturalization bill to the Lords. He was given three weeks’ leave of absence on 16 Dec., and was teller on 10 Apr. 1700 against adjourning the debate on an address for the removal of Lord Chancellor Somers (Sir John*) from the King’s presence and councils.4

Carteret did not stand at the first general election of 1701 but instead left England for the Stuart court at St. Germain where, in November 1701, he was appointed gentleman usher of the Black Rod, the office his father had previously held under Charles II. He continued to serve the Old Pretender in this capacity until his death in July 1719 when he was buried at St. Germain-en-Laye in the presence of his son James and William Dicconson, treasurer to the Stuart Court.5

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. A. Collins, Hist. Carteret Fam. 32; J. B. Payne, Armorial of Jersey, 64–65, 111; C. E. Lart, Jacobite Extracts, ii. 45; Recusant Hist. v. 72–74; info. from Dr A. Barclay.
  • 2. Collins, 32; Soc. Jersiaise Bull. xii. 163.
  • 3. Pepys Diary, viii. 115; Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 1524; Recusant Hist. 72–73; CSP Dom. 1687–8, pp. 156, 409; 1690–1, p. 358; Feet of Fines, Som. Trinity term, 31 Car. II; Duckett, Penal Laws and Test Act (1883), 18, 230; Add. 28876, f. 210.
  • 4. Add. 30000A, f. 27; Cobbett, Parlty. Hist. v. 1120; Boyer, Wm. III, iii. 224–5; CSP Dom. 1697, p. 252.
  • 5. HMC Stuart, i. 166; Lart, 45; RA Stuart mss, 51/19, Joseph Ronchi to David Nairne, 9 Jan. 1721.