George CAREY

(2nd B. Carey of Hundson)

Born: 1547

Died: 8 Sep 1603

Buried: Westminster Abbey, London, Middlesex, England

Notes: Knight of the Garter.

Father: Henry CAREY (1 B. Hunsdon)

Mother: Anne MORGAN (B. Hundson)

Married: Elizabeth SPENCER 29 Dec 1574


1. Elizabeth CAREY

Carey,George(2B.Hundson)01.jpg (74554 bytes)

George Carey (2 B. Hundson)

with the inscription "free from all filthie fraude"

Miniature by Isaac Oliver 1581

I want to thank Tony Baldacci for the research he had done about George Carey

Born in 1547 to Henry Carey and Anne Morgan, the eldest of ten children; George's paternal grandmother was Mary Boleyn, Anne Boleyn's elder sister, making Queen Elizabeth I and Henry Carey first cousins. On the accession of Elizabeth to the throne, Henry Carey is ennobled as Baron Hunsdon, with lands in Hertfordshire, Kent, and Hampshire, and becomes Elizabeth's Captain of the Gentlemen Pensioners, the Queen's personal bodyguard. Henry eventually gains the office of Lord Chamberlain as well.

George's six younger brothers were (in order): John, the two Thomases and William (these three all died in childhood), Edmund (knighted by the Earl of Leicester in the Netherlands, 1587) and Robert (created Earl of Monmouth by James I). The sisters were named Catherine (Lady Nottingham), Philadelphia (married Lord Scrope) and Margaret (married Sir Edward Hoby).

Another of the Carey family's connections (via Henry's sister Catherine) was the Knollys family - most notably Sir Francis Knollys (George's uncle) and cousin Lettice - who successively married the earls of Essex and Leicester. The latter marriage cost Lettice what little royal favor she'd had, while her son (by Essex) grew up to be Elizabeth's late favorite for a time, before he revolted and lost his head as a consequence.

In 1560, George matriculates at Trinity College, Cambridge, 13 May - being then all of 13 years old. In 1566 accompanies the Earl of Bedford on an official mission to Scotland, to attend the baptism of the future James I.

In 1569 he is once again sent to Scotland in Sep, this time to confer with the regent Earl of Moray on the subject of the proposed marriage of the Duke of Norfolk with Mary Queen of Scots.

During the Revolt of the Northern Earls, with help from dissidents in Scotland, Hunsdon is named lieutenant-general of the Queen's forces in the north. The rebellion is crushed in northern England first (Feb 1570), then remaining rebels are hunted down on the Scots' side of the border with Scottish help. George distinguishes himself later in this campaign (under the command of Sir William Drury) by issuing - and winning - a personal challenge to the Scots Lord Fleming holed up in Dumbarton castle. George was knighted by the Earl of Sussex in May 1570.

In Jul 1596 George becomes the second Baron Hunsdon and assumes some of his his father's offices, but not as Lord Chamberlain yet (George's youngest brother Robert, a favorite of the Queen and later James I, becomes governor of Berwick). George is invested as a Knight of the Garter this year. As a side note, the very first performance of Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor was held to commemorate the occasion.

In 1599 Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, is sent to Ireland to put down the ongoing rebellion led by the O'Neills. George accompanies him as treasurer for the army - and becomes amazingly wealthy in the process. Interestingly enough, George was definitely affiliated with the Cecil faction at court - and as such was Essex's political enemy.

George becomes governor of the Isle of Wight and captain-general of Hampshire. His tenure on the Isle lasted 20 years and includes the period when Spain sent the Armada Catholica. Sir John Oglander in his Memoirs commends Carey for his great hospitality when residing in the castle of Carisbrook; and further speaks of his government as a period when the Isle of Wight was at its most flourishing state. He relates (with much apparent satisfaction) that "in Sir George Carey's time, any attorney coming to settle in the island was, by his command, with a pound of candles hanging at his breech lighted, with bells about his legs, hunted owte of the island".

George serves several terms as a Member of Parliament (in the Commons), for both Hertfordshire (1571) and Hampshire (1584, 1586, 1588-89, 1592).

Carey,George(2BHundson)02.jpg (130750 bytes)

George Carey (2 B. Hundson)

by Nicholas Hilliard 1601

Both Henry and George Carey were patrons of a professional theatre troupe in London, commonly known as the "Lord Chamberlain's Men" - this patronage included William Shakespeare with some lesser lights.

George married Elizabeth Spencer (related to poet/author Edmund Spenser), they have one daughter, also named Elizabeth. Both mother and daughter were patronesses of artists & writers of the time, including Spenser. The younger Elizabeth married Sir Thomas Berkeley, and passed away in 1635.

He died 9 Sep 1603 (from venereal disease and mercury poisoning), his brother John (next eldest) becomes the third Lord Hunsdon.

to Bios Page

to Family Page

to Peerage Page to Home Page