CAREW, John (by 1508-44/45), of Oakley and Lyme Regis, Dorset.

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




Family and Education

b. by 1508, 2nd or 3rd s. of John Carew of Antony, Cornw. by Thomasin, da. and coh. of Roger Holland of Cowick in Exeter, Devon; bro. of Sir Wymond. m. Mary, 1s. 1da.2

Offices Held

Dep. to William Bond by 1529; comptroller, customs in Poole by July 1538-d.3


As a younger son John Carew was obliged to make his own way in the world, and he became a customs official in Dorset. His family’s interest in that county was hardly sufficient to procure Carew his opening in the service of William Bond, which he probably owed to the numerous connexions of his elder brother, a dependant of the powerful Arundells of Lanherne and kinsman by marriage of Anthony Denny, the King’s favourite. That eminent figure in Dorset, Sir Giles Strangways I, whose mother was an Arundell and one of whose daughters married a Carew, was perhaps Carew’s patron; his kinsman Thomas Arundell established himself in the county during the early 1530s. Carew’s own family took advantage of his term of office at Poole to trade from the port. In the 1540s Carew sought after other appointments without much success, but he enjoyed enough power to nominate his successor in the comptrollership. That he had a physical disability is suggested in a letter to John Gates which he ended with the words, ‘you have the prayer of a poor cripple’.4

Carew was returned at Poole in 1542 together with another customs officer, Oliver Lawrence; Strangways, who was steward of the borough and the nearby royal manor of Canford (where Oakley is situated), presumably favoured his election. He received 20s. from the corporation towards his expenses in attending the first session of the Parliament; no other record of payment is known, although there is a perhaps apocryphal reference to one for the previous Parliament, that of 1539. Before the last Parliament of Henry VIII’s reign opened Carew had been dead several months, perhaps since before the election held at Poole in January 1545. In 1542 he was living at Oakley: he was accused of encroachments upon the commons with his sheep and of hindering the other tenants from pasturing their cattle. In the same year he sought the help of Denny to expedite a suit concerning a copyhold in Canford; he also hoped that his cousin John Grenville, a serjeant at arms, might be helpful in obtaining a judgment in his favour. It is possible that Carew moved from Canford after December 1543 when he and his wife let their house and farm of Oakley for 21 years to Richard More. In his short will, dated 7 Apr. 1544, Carew described himself as of Lyme Regis and desired to be buried in the churchyard wherever he should die. He left to his wife all his leases and the property at Oakley, with a remainder to his son who was to receive a pension of £6 13s.4d. during the lifetime of Sir Thomas Thornbury. The only other bequest was one of £20 from the revenues of Oakley to Carew’s daughter on marriage. This will was proved by his widow on 6 Feb. 1545.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: M. K. Dale


  • 1. Poole rec. bk. 1. 67.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Devon, ed. Vivian, 139; Vis. Devon, ed. Colby, 40; PCC 21 Pynnyng.
  • 3. C1/727/30-2; LP Hen. VIII, xvii; add. i(2).
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, xii, xvii; R. Carew, Survey Cornw. ed. Halliday, 168-9; C1/727/30-2; SP1/171, f. 41.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, xvii; C1/1245/66-75; PCC 21 Pynnyng.