Carew, George (1555-1629) (DNB00)

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CAREW, GEORGE, Baron Carew of Clopton and Earl of Totnes (1555–1629), statesman, the son of George Carew, dean of Windsor, by his wife Anne, daughter of Sir Nicholas Harvey, was born on 29 May 1555. An elder brother was named Peter. His father, the third son of Sir Edmund Carew [q. v.], graduated B.A. at Broadgates Hall, Oxford, in 1522; was archdeacon of Totnas, 1535-49; prebendary of Bath and Wells, 1546; precentor of Exeter, 1549; prebendery of Salisbury, 1555; archdeacon of Exeter, 1556 to 1569; dean of Bristol, 5 Nov. 1552, whence he was ejected in 1553 resuming the post on the accession of Elizabeth, and filling it until 1571; precentor of Salisbury, 1558; and precentor of Bath and Wells, 1560 and 1565; dean of Christchurch, Oxford, 1559-61; dean and canon of Windsor, 1560-77; dean of Exeter, 1571. He died in June 1588, and was buried in the church of St. Giles-in-the-Fields (Wood, Fasti Oxon. ed. Bliss; Le Neve, Fasti; Welsh. Alumni Westmonast. p. 7).

The son George was educated, like the father, at Broadgates Hall (afterwards Pembroke College), Oxford, where he stayed from 1564 to 1573, and was created M.A. at a later date, 17 Sept. 1589. From an early age he devoted himself to military pursuits. In 1574 he entered the service of his first cousin, Sir Peter Carew [q.v.], in Ireland. In 1575 he served as a volunteer in the army in Ireland under Sir Henry Sidney, and after the post captain of the garrison in Leighlin for a few months in 1576, in the absence of his brother Peter, was appointed lieutenant-governor of the county of Carlow and vice-constable of Leighlin Castle in 1576. His courageous and successful attack on the rebel forces of Rory Oge O‘More in the following year, when Liggin Castle was seriously menaced, was rewarded with a small pension (Bagwell, Irish under the Tudors, ii. 342). In 1578 he held a captaincy in the royal navy, and made a voyage in the ship of Sir Humphrey Gilbert. In 1579 and 1580 he was at the head first of a regiment of Irish infantry and afterwards of a regiment of cavalry in Ireland. He was made constable of Leighlin~bridge Castle in 1580, on the death (in a skirmish, 25 Aug., with the Irish) of his brother Peter (State Papers, Ireland lxxv. 88). Shortly afterwards Carew killed with his own hand several Irishman suspected of slaying his brother, and was severely censured by the home government for his impetuosity. The queen, however, showed much liking for him, and the Cecils were his friends. He became gentleman-pensioner to Queen Elizabeth in 1582; sheriff of Carlow in 1588; and was knighted by his friend the lord deputy of Ireland, Sir John Parrott, on 24 Feb. 1585-1586. In 1586 Carew was at the English court trying to indicate to the queen’s advisers the terrible difficulties attending English rule in Ireland. He returned in the following year to assume the office of master of the ordnance in Ireland, to which he was appointed (1 Feb. 1587-8) on his declining the offer of the French embassy. On 25 Aug. 1590 Carew was promoted to the post of Irish privy councillor, but on 22 Aug. 1592 he resigned the mastership of the ordnance in Ireland, on becoming lieutenant-general of the ordnance in England. In this capacity he took part in Essex’s expedition to Cadiz in May 1596, and in that to the Asores in the following year, and went for a short time to France as ambassador in Ma 1598, when his companion was Sir Robert Cecil. At the beginning of 1599 his presence in Ireland was indispensable. On March 1598-9 he was appointed treasurer at war on the death of Sir Henry Wall, and on 27 Jan. 1599-1600 he became president of Munster. At the time the whole of Ireland was convulsed by the great rebellion of O’Neil, earl of Tyrone. Essex's attempt to crush it failed miserably, and Carew's relations with the Cecils did not make his advice congenial to Essex; but on Essex’s recall in September 1599 Carew, who had already been suggested as a competent lord-deputy, took his place as lord-justice, and held the post till the following January, when Lord Mountjoy was nominated Essex's successor. The powerful support that Carew lent Mountjoy [see Blount, Charles, 1563-1606] chiefly enabled the latter to suppress the revolt. At Kinsale he did especial service, and the successful raids he made on neighbouring castles effectually prevented the Spaniards from landing in the country after their ejection. Like all contemporary English officials in Ireland, he ruthlessly drove his victory home, and the Irish peasantry of Munster were handled with the utmost rigour. As soon as Ireland was pacified, Carew sought to return to England. His health was failing, and the anxieties of his office were endless, but while Elizabeth lived his request was overlooked. On Lord Mountjoy's resignation of the lord-deputyship in May 1603, Carew was allowed to retire, and Sir Henry Brouncker was promoted to the presidency of Munster. James I on his accession treated him with marked attention. Early in October 1603 he became Queen Anne's vice-chamberlain, and a few days later (10 Oct.) the receiver-general of her revenues. He was M.P. for Hastings in the parliament which met in 1604, and appointed councillor to the queen on 9 Aug. 1604. On 4 June of the year following he was created Baron Carew of Clopton House, near Stratford-on-Avon, the property of his wife Anne, daughter of William Clopton, whom he married in 1580. On 26 June 1608 he was nominated master of the ordnance, and held the post till 5 May 1617. He was keeper of Nonsuch House and Park in 1609, of which he was reappointed keeper for life 22 May 1619, councillor of the colony of Virginia (23 May 1609), governor of Guernsey (February 1609–10), commissioner to reform the army and revenue of Ireland (1611), a privy councillor (19 July 1616), member of the important council of war to consider the question of recovering the Palatinate (21 April 1624), and treasurer-general to Queen Henrietta Maria (1626). Carew visited Ireland in 1610 to report on the condition of the country, with a view to a resettlement of Ulster, and described Ireland as improving rapidly and recovering from the disasters of the previous century. In 1618 he pleaded with James I in behalf of Sir Walter Raleigh, with whom he had lived for more than thirty years on terms of great intimacy, and Lady Carew proved a kind friend to Raleigh's family after the execution. In 1621 Carew received, jointly with Buckingham and Cranfield, a monopoly for the manufacture of gunpowder. At the funeral of James I in 1625 he was attacked with palsy, which nearly proved fatal. But he recovered sufficiently to receive a few marks of favour from Charles I, to whose friend Buckingham he had attached himself. Carew was created earl of Totnes on 5 Feb. 1625–6. In the follwing month the House of Commons, resenting the action of the council of war in levying money for the support of Mansfeld's disastrous expedition, threatened to examine each of its members individually. Totnes expressed his readiness to undergo the indignity and even to suffer imprisonment in order to shelter the king, who was really aimed at by the commons, but Charles proudly rejected Totnes's offer and prohibited any of the council from acceding to the commons' orders. The earl died on 27 March 1629 at his house in the Savoy, London, and was buried in the church of Stratford-on-Avon, near Clopton House. An elaborate monument was erected above his grave by his widow, with a long inscription detailing his military successes (Dugdale, Warwickshire, 1730, ii. 686–7). He left no children. Anne Carew, whose second husband was Sir Allen Apsley, lieutenant of the Tower [q. v.], was daughter of his brother, Peter. The Earl of Totnes, whose name was often written Carey, must not be confounded with Sir George Carey (or Cary) of Cockington, treasurer at war in Ireland in 1588, lord justice on Mountjoy's departure in 1603, and lord deputy of Ireland from 30 May 1603 to 3 Feb. 1603–4, who died in February 1617.

Carew had antiquarian tastes, and was the friend of Camden, Sir Robert Cotton, and Sir Thomas Bodley. Camden thanked Carew in his ‘Britannia’ for the aid he had given him in Irish matters (ed. Gibson, 1772, ii. 338). In Irish history Carew took a vivid interest. His papers inspired the detailed account of the Irish revolt (1599–1602), which was published after his death, in 1633, under the title of ‘Pacata Hibernia, or the History of the late Wars in Ireland.’ The virtual author of this book, which has often been ascribed to Carew himself, is undoubtedly Sir Thomas Stafford, reputed to be Carew's illegitimate son, who had served under Carew in Munster. Wood states that Carew also wrote the history of the reign of Henry V which is incorporated in Speed's ‘Chronicle,’ and in a volume entitled ‘Hibernica,’ published by Walter Harris in 1747, are two translations by Carew, one of a French version of an old Irish poem of the fourteenth century, ‘The History of Ireland by Maurice Regan, servant and interpreter to Dermod MacMurrough, king of Leinster,’ and the other of a French contemporary account of Richard II's visit to Ireland in 1399.

Carew carefully preserved and annotated all letters and papers relating to Ireland of his own day, and purchased numbers of ancient documents. He spent much of his leisure in constructing pedigrees of Irish families, many of which in his own hand are still extant. He bequeathed his manuscripts and books to Stafford, from whom they passed to Archbishop Laud. Forty-two volumes of Carew’s manuscripts relating to Irish affairs were placed by Laud in the Lambeth Library, an four are in the Laudian collection at the Bodleian; several of the volumes are now lost. Others of Carew’s papers are among the Harleian MSS. at the British Museum, at the State Paper Office, and at Hatheld. Calendars of the Lambeth documents, dating from 1515, have been issued in the official series of State Paper Calendars under the editorship of J. S. Brewer and William Bullen. A number of Sir Robert Cecil’s letters to Carew, during the time that Carew was president of Munster, have been issued from the originals at Lambeth by the Camden Society (1864, edited by John Maclean). The same society has also Carew's letters to Sir Thomas Roe 1615-17. These volumes, although very valuable for general historical purposes, contribute little to Carew's bioqraphy. A portrait of Carew is prefixed to ‘Pacata Hibernia.'

[Doyle's Official Baronage, iii. 537-9; Burke's Extinct Peerage; Granger's Biog. Hist. ii, 133; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 445-62; Archæologia, xii. 401 et sq.; Introduction to the Carew MSS. Calendars; Maclean’s letters of Carew to Roe (1860, Camd. Soc.); Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. vi. 436; Herald and Genealogist, vii. 19-26, 575-6; Cal. of State Papers, Dom. 1590-1629; Cal. of State Papers, Irish, 1590-1629; Gardiner's Hist. of England; Biog. Brit. (Kippis).]

S. L. L.