CARYLL (CARRELL), John (c.1505-66), of Warnham, Suss.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Mar. 1553
Oct. 1553

Family and Education

b. c.1505, 1st s. of John Caryll of Warnham by 2nd w. Margaret, da. of Thomas Elinbridge of Merstham, Surr. educ. I. Temple. m.Elizabeth, da. of Robert Palmer of Parham, Suss., 3s. 1da. suc. fa. June 1523.3

Offices Held

Bencher, I. Temple Feb. 1537, Lent reader 1539, 1545, treasurer 1551-2, gov. Jan. 1559.

J.p. Suss. 1538-d., Surr. 1547-d.; attorney, ct. first fruits and tenths 1541-June 1543; attorney-gen. duchy of Lancaster 4 Mar. 1544-d.; commr. chantries, Bristol, Glos. 1546, relief, Surr., Suss. 1550, eccles. laws 1552, goods of churches and fraternities, Surr., Suss. 1553; steward, barony of Bramber c.1549.4


John Caryll had entered the Inner Temple a year before his father’s death and became the ward of his uncle, Thomas Caryll, and of Anthony Fitzherbert, justice of the common pleas. The presence of a namesake at the Temple makes his early progress there difficult to chart but he was probably ‘Mr. Caryll the elder’ who was made reader to Lion’s Inn in November 1529. During the next decade he carried out some of the routine duties at the inn but he was unusually mature when he read for the first time in 1539. Some five years earlier his father-in-law had written to Cromwell asking for a post at the Exchequer for Caryll, and he may have found some public employment during the following years. Soon after his first reading he was called to the degree of serjeant-at-law but, not for the last time, avoided the promotion. In January 1541 he secured the lucrative post of attorney of the court of first fruits and the rest of his life was spent mainly in the direct service of the crown. Although one of the best lawyers in England, praised by John Hales as ‘a man whose life for his learning, if his religion had been agreeing, were to be redeemed with thousands’, and constantly recommended for important posts, he preferred to play safe in his duchy of Lancaster office. He was, all the same, on numerous commissions in Surrey and Sussex as well as Lancashire, and in 1552 was appointed to the commission to reform the canon law. His role in the transmission of the law reports erroneously attributed to Robert Keilway II has recently been made clear.5

Caryll’s Membership of the Parliament of 1542 is known only from an entry in the repertories of the city of London: on 31 Jan. 1542 the common council resolved to approach four Members, one of them being ‘Mr. Carrell’, to solicit their support for a bill for the cleansing of the Fleet ditch. His constituency is unknown, but he may well have sat for a borough in Sussex since the names of the Members from that county in this Parliament are largely lost; his friend Sir John Gage was probably chosen as one of its knights and he would doubtless have favoured Caryll’s return. Caryll is not known to have been elected to the next Parliament, although following his appointment as attorney-general to the duchy of Lancaster he was well placed to secure a seat. In 1547 he sat for Taunton, with a fellow Inner Templar, (Sir) Nicholas Hare, whose association with William Paulet, Baron St. John, presumably accounts for his return. Caryll’s Catholicism must have made him an uncomfortable Member in this Parliament, which saw the resumption of the Reformation, but it did not deter him from being active in the House; in the third session (1549-50) a bill committed to John Gosnold was redelivered several days later by Caryll, and in the fourth (1552) he was ordered with others to scrutinize John Blundell’s by-election return and to prepare notes for the treasons bill. For the next Parliament he used his position in the duchy to take the senior place at Lancaster, his name appearing on the indenture over the erased name of Sir Walter Mildmay who had also been chosen by Maldon. Caryll’s subsequent series of elections for Sussex was a reflection of his local prestige.6

Caryll had inherited Warnham and other lands, mainly in Sussex, from his father, but he added greatly to his patrimony by purchase during the years following the Dissolution. He died in London on 10 Mar. 1566, one day after making his will. His heir was his grandson John and his descendants were to be recusant.7

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. City of London RO, Guildhall, rep 10, f 242v.
  • 2. Hatfield 207.
  • 3. Date of birth estimated from education and being under age at fa.’s death. PCC 10 Bodfelde, 34 Stonard; VCH Surr. iii. 217, 221; Vis. Suss (Harl. Soc. liii), 25.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, xiii-xxi; Somerville, Duchy, i. 408; CPR, 1550-3, p. 354; 1553, pp. 357, 359, 415; Suss. Arch. Colls. xiii. 126.
  • 5. Cal I.T. Recs. i. 94, 122; LP Hen. VIII, iv, viii, xx; Strype, Annals, i(2), 195; E. W. Ives, ‘Some aspects of the legal profession in the late 15th and early 16th cents.’ (London Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1955), 209, 211-13; A. W. B. Simpson, ‘Keilway’s reps. temp. Hen. VII and Hen. VIII’, Law Quarterly Rev. lxxiii. 89-105; L. W. Abbott, Law Reporting in Eng. 38-49.
  • 6. City of London RO, rep. 10, f. 242v;CJ, i. 11, 19, 20; C219/20/69.
  • 7. PCC 10 Bodfelde, 34 Stonard; LP Hen. VIII, xviii, xix; CPR, 1548-9, p 219; 1553, p. 261; 1555-7, p. 464; 1558-60, p. 308; C142/143/28; R. B. Manning, Rel. and Soc. in Eliz. Suss. 250-2.