CAREW, Francis (?1530-1611), of Beddington, Surr.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. ?1530, 1st s. of Sir Nicholas Carew, master of the horse to Henry VIII, by Elizabeth, da. of Sir Thomas Bryan. unm. suc. fa. 1539. Kntd. 1576.1

Offices Held

Sheriff, Surr. 1567-8, j.p. from c.1573, dep. lt. from 1587; commr. to inquire into activities of seminarists and jesuits 1591.


The attainder and execution of his father left Carew dependent upon an allowance made by the Crown to his mother, but as she was the sister of King Henry’s favourite, Sir Francis Bryan, her situation remained fairly comfortable. Nothing is known of Carew’s early life, though it is possible that, like his brother-in-law Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, he was attached to the household of Queen Catherine Parr: under Mary he was granted lands on behalf of her brother, the attainted Marquess of Northampton. He entered the service of Queen Mary in 1553, and early in the following year received a grant of many of his father’s lands which had been in the hands of Thomas, Lord Darcy of Chiche. By the end of the reign he was in possession of most of the Carew estates in Surrey and Sussex. He remained a courtier under Queen Elizabeth, in favour with the Queen and Cecil. In 1561 he went with his sister to join her husband, Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, ambassador at Paris. Cecil took this opportunity to sound Throckmorton on his opinion of Carew’s suitability to succeed him at Paris. Throckmorton, though recognising the honour suggested for his brother-in-law, and admitting that he had ‘some meet parts’, replied that ‘there lacks in him a second and greater degree than to be a good courtier, that is skill in negotiation of matters, not having been traded nor given thereunto but chiefly to pleasure’, and. concluded that he was not suitable for the post. The Queen did not relinquish the idea of Carew’s becoming a diplomat, and in December 1572 suggested him as ambassador in Scotland. Carew, however, made ‘great labour to the contrary by ladies of the Privy Chamber and others’ and evaded the post. Thenceforward though still much at court he was occupied mainly with the affairs of his county and his estates.2

His return for Castle Rising in 1563 can possibly best be explained by his kinship with Throckmorton, who was friendly with the 4th Duke of Norfolk, lord of the borough. There is no record of his taking part in Commons activities and he did not sit again.

Though by Elizabethan standards elderly, Carew was in arms at Dover against the Armada, and performed military duties throughout the 1590s, though there is no record that he ever saw any fighting. It was not until 1594 that he first asked the Queen for a grant—a lease of some estates of the diocese of Winchester. Sir Robert Cecil wrote to the bishop that ‘her Majesty is extraordinarily disposed in regard that it is the first suit that ever he made unto her’, and that he was an old servant of the Queen and ‘well esteemed’ by her.3

Carew rebuilt Beddington, where he was host many times to Elizabeth and James I. He had a garden and orangery there where he grew Mediterranean plants. In 1562 William Cecil wrote to Windebank in Paris, asking him to send over ‘with Mr. Carew’s trees’, lemon, pomegranate and myrtle trees, with instructions for their culture.4

Carew’s long life ended on 16 May 1611. His heir was his nephew Nicholas Throckmorton, who took the name Carew and eventually inherited most of the estates. By his will, dated 2 Aug. 1610, Carew left the manor of Walton to another nephew Sir Francis Darcy, ‘in whose company and conversation’, he wrote, ‘I have taken comfort and great pleasure’. After numerous substantial bequests to kinsmen and servants, he left the residue of his property to Throckmorton, who proved the will on 21 May 1611 and erected a monument to his uncle in Beddington church celebrating his generosity and hospitality.5

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. Vis. Surr. (Hart. Soc. xliii), 17, 214; Manning and Bray, Surr. ii. 530.
  • 2. HMC 7th Rep. passim; CPR, 1550-3, p. 458; 1553-4, p. 214; 1554-5, p. 28; 1555-7, p. 90; 1557-8, p. 382; CSP For. 1561-2, pp. 46, 49, 152, 160; Ellis, Original Letters (ser. 3), iv. 5-9.
  • 3. HMC 7th Rep. passim; CSP Dom. 1581-90, pp. 512, 556; 1595-7, pp. 190, 416, 419; HMC Hatfield, v. 31, 41, 46; vi. 139; vii. 187, 220, 292.
  • 4. C142/328/168; VCH Surr. iv. 219; Surr. Arch. Colls. xxi. 175, 190; xxxi. 1-22; Manning and Bray, ii. 527; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 197; E. K. Chambers, Eliz. Stage.
  • 5. PCC 41 Wood; Manning and Bray, ii. 530.