Carter, Matthew (DNB00)

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CARTER, MATTHEW (fl. 1660), loyalist, was a gentleman of position and influence in the county of Kent. When the loyal inhabitants of that county rallied round the king's standard in May 1648 in the last desperate attempt to defeat the parliamentarians, Carter was chosen quartermaster-general of all the forces, and in the memorable events that followed bore a conspicuous part. At the surrender of Colchester on the ensuing 27 Aug., after a defence of seventy-six days, he was thrown into prison by the parliament. During his long confinement he wrote an account of the scenes of which he had been an eye-witness, under the title of ‘A Most True and Exact Relation of That as Honourable as unfortunate Expedition of Kent, Essex, and Colchester. By M. C. A Loyall Actor in that Engagement, Anno Dom. 1648. Printed in the Yeere 1650,’ 12mo. This valuable tract was seen through the press by the author's friend, ‘Sir C. K.,’ possibly Sir Charles Kemeys, bart., of Kevanmably in Glamorganshire. It fearlessly exposes the cruel deeds of Fairfax and his subordinates. An edition was issued at Colchester without a date, but probably about 1770, by the Essex antiquaries, the Revs. Philip Morant and Thomas Luffkin, with cumbrous additions, which do not add to the value of Carter's simple and telling narrative. Of this edition several reprints were published (Gough, British Topography, i. 348–9). Carter was also the author of a useful little compilation from the best writers on heraldry, which he called ‘Honor Redivivus; or an Analysis of Honor and Armory,’ 12mo, London, 1655. It reached a second edition in 1660 (reprinted in 1669), and a third in 1673, and for many years continued to be the most popular text-book with all who studied heraldry. The pretty plates by R. Gaywood are reduced copies of the whole-length figures in Milles's ‘Catalogue of Honour’ (Moule, Bibliotheca Heraldica, pp. 144, 153, 187). Carter died between the appearance of the reprint of the second edition in 1660 and the third edition in 1673.

[Cromwell's History of Colchester, i. ch. iv.; Notes and Queries, 4th ser. xii. 308; 5th ser. vii. 147; Gent. Mag. lxix. i. 299; Smith's Bibl. Cantiana, pp. 72–3.]

G. G.