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Sir George Carew (1555-1629)

George Carew, Earl of Totnes, by unknown artist. Public domain image.

Sir George Carew (1555-1629)

Sir George Carew (1555-1629) went to Ireland in 1574 in the service of his cousin, Sir Peter Carew. In 1576 he was appointed Lieutenant Governor of the County of Carlow and Vice-Constable of Leighlin Castle. He successfully repelled the forces of Rory Oge O'More in 1577. He became head of a regiment of Irish infantry, and later of cavalry, in 1579 - 1580. He held various post posts, mostly in Ireland, but in 1592 became Lieutenant General of the Ordnance in England. In 1598, he returned to Ireland as Treasurer at War, and the following year became President of Munster. He retired in 1603, but returned in 1610 to report on the condition of the country, with a view to a resettlement of Ulster; and in 1611 as Commissioner to reform the army and revenue of Ireland. During his various terms of office in Ireland, he carefully preserved and annotated letters and papers of the period, and also purchased many ancient documents. The papers cover the administration of Ireland and the Settlement of Ulster in the 16th and early 17th centuries.

Further information about Sir George Carew can be found in his entry in the Dictionary of Irish Biography.

Carew Papers

The papers of Sir George Carew, later Earl of Totnes, are held in the Archiepiscopal Palace Library of Lambeth in London, and were originally collected by him in preparation for writing a history of Ireland.  UCC Library holds microfilm copies of these papers, fuller details of the contents can be found in the user guide.  Selected images from the papers (including maps) can also be found on the Lambeth Palace website.

The papers are indexed in State Papers 3.66:

Brewer, J.S. and William Bullen, eds. Calendar of the Carew manuscripts : preserved in the Archiepiscopal library at Lambeth. London: Longman, 1867-1873. 6 vols.

v. 1. 1515-1574 -- v. 2. 1575-1588 -- v. 3. 1589-1600 -- v. 4. 1601-1603 -- v. 5. The Book of Howth. The conquest of Ireland, by Thomas Bray -- v. 6. 1603-1624.

There are 15 microfilm reels, corresponding to UCC Main Series microfilms 3000-3014, which can be found the Microform Room in Special Collections and Archives.  See here for further information about the library's microform collections.

Further reading

Hardy, T.  Duffus.  Report to the right honourable the master of the rolls upon the Carte and Carew Papers in the Bodleian and Lambeth libraries. London: Longman, 1864.

James, M.R., “The Carew Manuscripts”, English Historical Review 42 (1927): 261-267.

Some further information about the papers can also be found on the webpage of the UK National Archives.

Carew Papers user guide