(1st B. Carey of Hunsdon)

Born: 4 Mar 1525/6 Hengrave, Suffolk, England

Died: 23 Jul 1596, Somerset House, Strand, Middlesex, England

Buried: 1596, Westminster Abbey, London, Middlesex, England

Notes: Knight of the Garter.

Father: William CAREY (Gentleman of the Privy)

Mother: Mary BOLEYN

Married: Anne MORGAN (B. Hundson) 21 May 1545, Hengrave, Suffolk, England


1. Catherine CAREY (C. Nottingham)

2. George CAREY (2º B. Hundson)

3. John CAREY (3° B. Hunsdon)

4. Robert CAREY (1º E. Monmouth)

5. Mary (Margaret) CAREY

6. Henry CAREY

7. Thomas CAREY

8. Thomas CAREY

9. William CAREY

10. Edmund CAREY (Sir Knight)

11. Philadelphia CAREY (B. Scrope of Bolton)


Associated with: ¿?


12. Valentine CAREY

Carey,Henry(1ºB.Hundson).jpg (174831 bytes)

Said to be son of Henry VIII by Mary Boleyn, officially son of Sir William Carey. The King granted the Carey's actual manors and estates during the affair and immediately before the child's birth. BEF, the Careys had been granted rather minor offices. (You may recall that Henry publicly acknowledged another illegitimate son, born in 1519. This boy was called Henry Fitzroy - the surname traditionally given to royal bastards - and was ennobled, given the title Duke of Richmond. If Henry Carey was also his son, why didn't Henry do the same for him? The answer lies in his determination to divorce Catalina de Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn, the child's aunt. It is likely that even Henry VIII would have been too embarrassed to recognize his bastard son by his fiancee's sister).

William Carey died on 23 Jun 1528 and Henry VIII promptly granted Anne Boleyn the wardship of her nephew (and possibly his son), two-year-old Henry Carey. In another letter to Anne, Henry remarked upon Mary's easy virtue. He and Anne were concerned that, after William's death, Mary's behavior would degenerate; in other words, she would be an embarrassment to the King and his intended wife.

In 1534, Mary secretly married William Stafford. This marriage was a disaster for her, excepting her personal happienss. Meanwhile, her son was still living with his aunt, Queen Anne. He was being tutored by the great French poet, Nicholas Bourbon, clearly benefitting from the wardship. His mother's life between 1534 and her sister's execution in 1536 is difficult to trace. She seems to have resided at Rochford, Essex from the time of her disgrace to her death on 19 Jul 1543.

Henry Carey married Anne Morgan in 1545. She was the daughter of Sir Thomas Morgan of Arkestone, Herfordshire and Elizabeth Whitney.

Morgan,Anne01.jpg (53943 bytes)

Lady Hundson

portrait at Hatfield c. 1585-90

by a follower of George Gower

Entering politics at the young age of 21, Henry Carey served twice as Member of Parliament, representing Buckingham during 1547–1552, 1554–1555.

In 1559, on the accession of Elizabeth to the throne, Henry Carey was 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. As Lady Hunsdon, his wife Anne was a lady of the privy chamber.

In Nov 1569, 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. His Feb victory over Sir Leonard Dacre was instrumental in crushing the rebellion. Nearly three thousand rebels ambushed Henry Carey's party of half that size, but Carey was nonetheless victorious in fending off the assault. 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. Henry could still appreciate the courage of Dacre's soldiers, in his letter to the Queen detailing the victory made mention of the rebel charge "the bravest charge that ever I saw!".

The victorious Henry was appointed Warden of the East Marches and represented the Queen in signing a treaty with the Regent on 23 Oct 1571. On 31 Jul 1574, Henry became Keeper of Somerset House, the property of the Queen before ascending the throne. He was then named Privy Counsellor in 1577.

On 16 Jan 1581 found Henry appointed Captain-General of the forces responsible for the safety of English borders. He was appointed Lord Chamberlain of the Household in Jul, 1585 and would hold this position until his death.

This did not prevent Elizabeth from appointing him Lord Chamberlain Lieutenant, Principal Captain and Governor of the army "for the defence and surety of our own Royal Person". The appointment occurred on 20 Jul 1588 in Tilbury.

Henry was a blunt, plain-spoken man with little tact, which often worked to his disadvantage at Court. However, his character and reputation as a successful military leader gained him the respect — and often the affection — of the soldiers who served under him.

Henry also served as Chief Justice in Eyre, south of the River Trent between 1589 and his death. He was Joined Commissioner of the Office Earl Marshal and High Steward of Ipswich and Doncaster. He served as Chief Justice of the Royal Forces between 20 Dec 1591 and his death. On 2 Mar 1592, Henry was appointed High Steward of Oxford for life.

Henry Carey, Lord Hunsdon, as Lord Chamberlain became the first patron of The Lord Chamberlain's Men, William Shakespeare's company, in 1594.

Henry had several illegitimate children, including Valentine Carey, who eventually served in the military under his father and achieved fairly high rank.

Emilia Bassano was the illegitimate daughter of Baptista Bassano (d. 10 Apr 1576), a court musician, and Margaret Johnson (d. 1587). She entered the service of Susan Bertie, countess of Kent, and it is possible that is how she met Lord Hunsdon. She became his mistress. Her son, Henry (b. 1592 - d. 1633), probably Hunsdon's child, was born after she married Alphonso Lanier (b. 1573 - d. 1613), another musician, at St. Botolph Aldgate on 10 Oct 1592. Dr. A. L. Rowse in several of his books (Shakespeare the Man, 1973; Sex and Society in Shakespeare's Age, 1974; Shakespeare the Elizabethan, 1977), dates Emilia's involvement with Shakespeare, and with the Earl of Southampton, just after this. Rowse maintains that this same Emilia, from 1597 until 1600, also had a sexual relationship with Simon Forman the astrologer. Forman's records tell us that Emilia had several miscarriages and parish records reveal a daughter, Odillia (1598-99). Sometime in the early 1600s, Emilia spent time at Cookham, home of Margaret Russell, Countess of Cumberland. Whether she was there as a servant or a guest is unclear. In 1609, Shakespeare's sonnets were published for the first time. By then, Emilia had apparently developed Puritan leanings. In 1611 there appeared in print a feminist, religious poem consisting of 230 eight-line stanzas, prefaced by eleven metrical addresses to various great ladies, titled Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum. The author was identified as the wife of Alphonso Lanier. Emilia was buried on 3 Apr 1645 in St. James, Clerkenwell. 

On his deathbed his cousin Elizabeth I offered to create him Earl of Wiltshire; however, he refused, saying: `Madam, as you did not count me worthy of this honour in life, then I shall account myself not worthy of it in death´.

He died in Jul 1596, and his son 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).  When Lord Hunsdon died, he left the family in debt, thanks to the expense of serving the Queen. Elizabeth Tudor paid Hunsdon’s funeral expenses (£800) and granted the widow an outright gift of £400, a pension of £200 per annum from the Exchequer, and the keepership of Somerset House for life. Lady Hunsdon used some of the money to erect a monument to her late husband in Westminster Abbey.

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