The Carew family: An Extract from the book 'Luppitt: Parish, Church and People'

"Having arrived at the beginning of the sixteenth century we turn our attention again to the Domesday manor of Mohun's Ottery and the Carew family who have been there for probably 200 years.

During that time members of that great family had performed valiant deeds on the field of battle, and became part of our national history.

Baring Gould tells us that on one side of the gatehouse at Mohun's Ottery are the arms of a Sir John Carew, a hero of Crecy. Coxhead adds that this Sir John was a grandson of the Sir John who married Eleanor, daughter of Sir William de Mohun.

G W Copeland writing about Mohun's Ottery and the Carews says that a Sir John served valiantly in the French wars in Edward III's reign. Thomas, Baron Carew, was in charge of a navy and 3,000 English soldiers on behalf of the security of the Emperor Sigismund, during his stay in England. Edmund, Baron Carew was knighted on Bosworth field, for good services by Henry VII. Hamilton Rogers in 'Memorials of the West' adds that Sir Edmond was killed by a cannon ball at the siege of Têrouenne in 1513. Also that Sir Nicholas had two sons, that John the younger was a daring seaman under Henry VIII, that he commanded 'Regent' and grappled with a French vessel 'Cordeliere' whose captain fired his magazine and blew up both ships and seven hundred men.

Mr Rogers also records that at the famous Battle of Flodden in 1514, a Scottish knight named Andrew Barton challenged any English knight to meet him in personal combat, before the commencement of the battle. The challenge was gallantly accepted by Sir Edmond's second son, Thomas Carew and in full view of the opposing armies these two brave men fought a deadly conflict, which ended in the defeat of the Scottish knight. The battle which followed was stubbornly contested and after suffering heavy loss the English gained the victory.

Beginning with the first of eight instalments on 1st September 1953, the local newspaper 'Pulman's Weekly News' ran articles under the heading 'Tales of Mohun's Ottery' written by J R W Coxhead. Some of his earlier information on the Carew's has already been included here, because he quoted from Rogers, but we now note the continuation of an important section of the family history. It would be impossible to quote Mr Coxhead as given in his articles in Pulman's in full, this has already been photocopied and deposited at Devon Record Office at Exeter in Volume 1 of Luppitt notes, so I will endeavour to quote some of a very detailed account of the life of Sir Peter Carew, the last of that family to reside at Mohun's Ottery. But first concerning his older brother – Sir George.

Sir Edmond was followed at Mohun's Ottery by his eldest son Sir William Carew who married Joan, daughter of Sir William Courtenay of Powderham. There were three sons by the marriage, George, Philip and Peter.

Sir George Carew, the eldest son inherited the dauntless courage and adventurous spirit of his race and in 1516 he was one of the challengers at the great jousting held at Greenwich. In 1543 he was Lieutenant General of the Horse under Sir John Wallop in the expedition against the French, and in the following year, through being too impetuous in pursuit of the enemy he was taken prisoner.

Like so many of the outstanding leaders of Tudor times, Sir George Carew was equally at home on land or sea, and his next appointment found him in the Navy as Vice-Admiral of the Fleet assembled at Portsmouth under Viscount Lisle in preparation for an attack on the French ships that were harrying the southern coast of England. Sir George flew his flag in a strong and well appointed ship called the Mary Rose, and when the time came for the fleet to sail the vessel mysteriously heeled over and sank with the loss of nearly all on board.

This fearful disaster in which Sir George Carew and seven hundred men were lost occurred on 19th July 1545, and was witnessed by King Henry VIII who had just arrived on the scene at Portsmouth to see the fleet depart."

© 2000 - J. Sage