Sunday, March 11, 2012

Question from Stuart - Sir Richard Carew

Sir Richard Carew 1469-1520

I'd like to know a bit more about Sir Richard Carew. I am interested in Henry VIII's 1513 invasion of France and believe Carew was captain of Calais at that time though some sources state that he 'accompanied Henry' - does that mean literally, as in he wasn't in Calais already?

I also know that he was in the middle ward during that campaign in command of the artillery, his personal retinue and 1000 men - would these have been from the Calais garrison? would they have marched under his standard or was there a specific standard for the garrison?

That's about it, could anyone add anything else about Carew, his life, background and particularly with respect to his military career.

Thank You.



  1. Per Carew's background - Sir Richard seems to have been born around 1470. His career received a significant boost in 1497 when he fought under Henry VII at Blackheath "against the Cornishmen" and was created a knight banneret.

    He was subsequently appointed Lieutenant of Calais by the old king and continued in his appointment by Henry VIII. One source noted "He officiated as sewer at Archbishop Warham's enthronement" and he is also listed as Sheriff of Surrey in 1501.

    Just a few genealogical snippets:

    His mother appears to have been Eleanor Hoo, a younger half-sister of that Anne Hoo who was Anne Boleyn's great-grandmother. Sir Richard is recorded as being married to Malyn/Magdalene/Matilda Oxenbrigge/Oxenbridge, whose grand-niece was Lady Tyrwhitt (born Elizabeth Oxenbridge) - into whose custody Princess Elizabeth was delivered during the Thomas Seymour scandal. Malyn may have been Sir Richard's second wife; one source stated he had been married previously, but gave no name, and Lady Carew's death in 1544 (24 years after her husband's demise in 1520) may support this statement from a chronological standpoint.

    His son was the famous Nicholas Carew, executed in 1539 for participating in the Exeter conspiracy. Sir Richard's daughters married into the Pelhams and St. Johns (Henry VII's mother Margaret Beaufort had St. John half-siblings).

    Sir Richard's branch of the Carews, based at Beddington, was junior to the main branch of the family. His cousins included the Champernownes (including Ashley, Elizabeth's beloved governess) and more remotely the Courtenays. His great-granddaughter was Elizabeth Throckmorton, who married Sir Walter Raleigh.

    Per Sir Richard's participation in the 1513 campaign - Letters & Papers is not helpful on the origin of the "1000 men." For June 1513, it states "The order how the King's battle proceed" and specifies: "To accompany the great ordnance - Sir Ric. Carew, master of the ordnance, with 1000," but no mention of where the 1000 men came from. C.G. Cruickshank's Henry VIII's Invasion of France and David Grummitt's The Calais Garrison are no more informative.

    I ran across mention of Sir Edmund Carew, from the other branch of the family, who "mortgaged Carew Castle to equip himself as Master of Ordnance for the expedition" (when accompanying Henry VIII in 1513 to France) - according to Plantagenet Ancestry. I'm wondering if there's some confusion between him and Sir Richard Carew.

    It may not be so puzzling that Sir Richard accompanied the king to Calais. He might have traveled to England to consult with Henry about the campaign before the army embarked, leaving Calais in capable hands. But a specialist would know better.

  2. Thanks Foose, very much appreciated !

    There are quite a few Carew's who are mentioned with respect to the 1513 campaign and your suggestion that some references may be regarding the same person does make a bit more sense.

    I was interested in finding out what his standard looked like but only have the 'banners, standards and banners from a tudor manuscript in the college of arms' book to refer to; within which there are references to banners being carried in 1513 but there's nothing for a Richard Carew, just John, William and a 'master Carew' of which I wonder if that is Richard - i'm a bit puzzled as to how John & William are related and whom was the senior of the 3 so it's just a hunch that the master may be Richard but in any case there's no 1513 mention against it.


  3. Sir Richard Carew would be said to have "accompanied" Henry VIII perhaps because Carew was in charge of the artillery at the Battle of Tournai....which is not in Calais, so, they both had to go there. I'd hazard the standard would be that of England.

    I've seen that Richard's appt to Calais was actually that of his son, Nicholas, but Nicholas was too young to execute the office properly & so his father was set in his stead. Nicholas is another one whose DOB hasn't been conclusive, but he was thought to be about 6 yrs younger than Henry. He was probably born (the eldest of 5 & the only boy) shortly after Richard's tussle in the Perkin Warbeck rebellion.

    At the age of 6 Nicholas went into the Tudor royal nursery, not an unusual thing for a child of good birth, but a little unusual in that he was closer to Mary's age than Henry's. (Though Charles Brandon was 8 yrs older than Henry & 4 yrs older than Arthur, so who knows how that worked.)

    Nicholas Carew's courtier career got under way at age 14 or so with an appointment as groom of the privy chamber in 1511; he was made lieutenant of Calais in 1513; got a royal grant of 6 manors in Sussex in 1514 & was married to Elizabeth Bryan; was made esquire of the body and cypherer (cupbearer) in 1515; was made keeper of Pleasaunce & East Greenwich Park and Tower in 1517, the same year he was knighted; & in 1518 received the vice-lieutenancy of Rysbank Tower in Calais.

    CONTINUED~Blogger says I talked too much!

  4. He was so awesome in the joust even at a young age that Henry built him his own tiltyard & began establishing the armoury at Greenwich as early as 1515. Sir Richard Carew died in May 1520, barely a fortnight before his son's stellar jousting performance at the Field of Cloth of Gold.

    Nicholas sat on the grand jury that indicted Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham for treason in 1521, receiving Buckingham's manor of Bletchingley as a royal grant, & appointed the steward of Buckingham's manor of Brasted.

    In 1522, Henry appointed him master of the horse. Nicholas served under Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey (later Norfolk) in 1522 & 1523 in campaigns in Picardy & Scotland. Carew fell awry of Wolsey's Eltham Ordinances in 1526 & was kicked out of the privy chamber, but Henry reinstated him in 1528.

    In 1520, 1527, & 1532 Nicholas went on diplomatic missions to France, & Francis I wrote Henry of him in glowing terms. Francis urged Henry several times to create Nick a Knight of the Garter, & in 1536, he was unanimously elected, beating out George Boleyn for the coveted vacancy. (George was about to lose his head anyway, & so he wasn't disappointed much above three weeks.)

    The Italians also were highly impressed with Nick in 1529 on his trip to Bologna to ratify the Treaty of Cambrai. Henry even sent him to sound out Holy Roman Emperor Charles V on how ticked off he might get did Henry divorce Catherine of Aragon, Charles's aunt.

    As I just mentioned on another query, the Carews took in Henry's fool Will Somers when the latter was temporarily banished from court. They also hosted Jane Seymour so Henry could sneak over to bill & coo at her during Anne Boleyn's arrest & trial.

    At Edward's christening in 1537, Nicholas carried the baptismal font, a mark of very high royal favor, & Henry made him a huge grant of confiscated monastic lands that same year.

    Nice life if one can get it, save for that pesky paranoia followed by the axe thing that tended to decimate the ranks of Henry's "good friends" toward the end of his reign.

    Nick may be "famous" to dyed-in-the-wool Tudorphiles, but nobody else has ever heard of him or his dad. They're more likely to have heard of Anne (Nick's eldest; he also had 4 girls & a boy, but in reverse order) Carew's daughter, Bess Throckmorton, who married Sir Walter Raleigh & did that whole head-carrying-in-a-bag thing after her husband was executed by James I.

    I have not a clue where all this Carew info came from because A) I read too many historical things & B )I'm horrible about jotting down sources. I researched Henry's gentlemen of the bedchamber when the 1st season of The Tudors proved to be so screamingly inaccurate & they were combining people to make one person & throwing in Elizabethan stuff like puffy pants & OMG it raised my BP, so, there you go. Blame Michael Hicks. He knew that was wrong & he did it anyway.

    O, & Blogger apparently hates my lengthy Carew accomplishments list, so I have to split this up....sorry.

  5. Wow! thanks for the added detail - you can talk as much as you like !


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