Sir George Carey's biography
...under occasional construction...
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- 1547 - Born to Henry Carey and Anne Morgan Carey, 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...)
- 1559 - 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.
- 1560 - George matriculates at Trinity College, Cambridge, on May 13th - being then all of 13 years old...
- 1566 - George accompanies the Earl of Bedford on an official mission to Scotland, to attend the baptism of the future James I.
- 1569 - He is once again sent to Scotland in September, 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 (Norfolk literally lost his head over this one, eventually).
- 1569 (November) - 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 is knighted by the Earl of Sussex in May 1570.
- 1596 - Henry dies in July, 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.
- 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 ( I've been told that he made perhaps as much as 100,000 pounds, which I find just a touch hard to believe as that is an AWFUL LOT of money...but apparently, embezzlement was considered perfectly acceptable as a means of income then as long as one was discreet about it - and not caught!). Interestingly enough, George was definitely affiliated with the Cecil faction at court - and as such was Essex's political enemy.
NOTE BENE: I am having some doubts as to whether or not this might have actually been Sir George Carew instead - it's very "out of character" for George Carey to have left court if he didn't have to - also, I've seen other sources that specifically mention Carew.
- 1602 - George's oldest sister Catherine, Lady Effingham dies. Her widower Charles Howard, Earl of Nottingham, is Lord Admiral and had commanded the fleet that defeated the Armada in 1588. Charles remarries later.
- 1603 - George dies on September 9th (from venereal disease and mercury poisoning!), his brother John (next eldest) becomes the third Lord Hunsdon. Queen Elizabeth also passed away in her sleep this year, on March 24th at about 3 AM.
Stuff I haven't located really solid dates for (yet):
- George marries 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.
- 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" .
(I knew there was something about this guy I really liked!)
- George serves several terms as a member of Parliament (in the Commons), for both Hertfordshire (1571) and Hampshire (1584, 1586, 1588-89, 1592).
- 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'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.
- I'm also told that brother Edmund married the widow of Sir John Danvers (it must be true, I've had several people tell me; including my friends who portray the Danvers at ren fair!)
One of the major sources I've found for all of this is the Dictionary of National Biography, as well as A.L. Rowse's excellent Eminent Elizabethans.
If anybody has additions or knows of any other sources I can use, please drop me a line.
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