Carey George, second Lord Hunsdon 1547-1603, eldest son of Henry, first lord Hunsdon [qv.], by Anne, daughter of Sir Thomas Morgan, knight, was matriculated as a fellow commoner of Trinity College, Cambridge, on 13 May 1560, being then of the age of thirteen. He accompanied the Earl of Bedford on his embassy to Scotland at the baptism of the prince, afterwards King James VI, in December 1566. In September 1569 he was despatched to the Earl of Moray, regent of Scotland, to confer on the subject of the contemplated marriage of the Duke of Norfolk with Mary Queen of Scots. He returned to England in October, and in December served under his father in the expedition against the northern rebels. On their overthrow he was again sent to the Earl of Moray in Scotland, returning in a few days with the intelligence that the Earl of Northumberland and Thomas Jenny, two of the leading insurgents, were in the regent's custody. In May 1570 he served under Sir William Drury in the expedition against Scotland, and he was knighted on the 18th of that month by the Earl of Sussex, the lord general of the queen's northern army, having greatly distinguished himself by his intrepidity in the field, and still more by a challenge to Lord Fleming, governor of Dumbarton. On 12 Jan. 1573-4 he obtained from her majesty a lease for twenty-one years of Herstwood in Great Saxham, Suffolk. On 27 May 1574 the queen granted to him and his heirs male the office of steward, constable, and porter of the castle and lordship of Bamborough, with the fishery of the water of the Tweed. He was constituted steward of the royal manor of Great Saxham on 22 May 1575. On 24 Dec. 1580 he was with others empowered to examine in the Tower, on interrogatories, and torture, if need be, Harte, Bosgrave, and Pascall, arrested within the realm coming from Rome and other places beyond the seas with intent to pervert and seduce the queen's subjects. He was M.P. for Hertfordshire in 1571, and for Hampshire 1584, 1586, 1588-9, and 1592.
Immediately after the raid of Ruthven, Carey, marshal of the queen's house, was sent into Scotland with Robert Bowes. Carey had an interview with James VI at Stirling on 12 Sept. 1582, and soon afterwards, having a painful disease, returned to England, leaving Bowes in Scotland.
On the death of Sir Edward Horsey, in 1582, Carey was appointed captain-general of the Isle of Wight. In 1584 he procured for the borough of Newport the privilege of returning members to parliament, his brother Edmund being one of those first chosen; and the bailiffs and burgesses granted to Carey full power during his life to nominate one of the members for their borough. In 1585-6 two ships belonging to him captured a vessel which, as he alleged, belonged to Spain, but which was claimed by Stephen Damaskette, an inhabitant of St. Jean de Luz, on behalf of himself and other merchants of that place.
In February 1586-7, the queen, having had information of a design to surprise the Isle of Wight, authorised Carey to take view and muster of the trained bands in certain hundreds of Hampshire for the defence of that island. Immediately afterwards he caused the castles and forts in the island to be put in a state of thorough repair. The site of Carey's sconce is even yet pointed out. When England was threatened by the armada of Spain, Carey was remarkably vigilant in the Isle of Wight. The gentry of the island complained of his arbitrary conduct, and were much offended at his assuming the title of governor. He cited before the privy council one of the complainants, Sir George Dillington, who in or about November 1588 was committed by them to the Fleet.
Sir John Oglander in his Memoirs commends Carey for residing in the castle of Carisbrook and for his great hospitality there, and speaks of the time of his government as the period when the Isle of Wight was in its most flourishing state. He relates with much apparent satisfaction that in Sir George Carey's time an 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.
In 1589 he was sent on an embassy to Scotland. The privy council, on 4 June 1592, empowered Carey and Richard Young to examine in Bridewell Owen Edmondes, an Irishman, charged with treasonable practices, who had obstinately refused to confess. The accounts of the parish of Lambeth for that year make mention of a visit by the queen to Carey, whose name occurs in the commission for causes ecclesiastical within the diocese of Winchester, issued 7 June 1596 and 10 Oct. 1597.
He succeeded to the peerage as Lord Hunsdon on the death of his father (23 July 1596). He likewise succeeded him as captain of the band of pensioners, being sworn of the privy council and invested with the order of the Garter.
In March 1596-7 he was appointed lord chamberlain of the household. His name is on the general commission for the suppression of schism, issued on 24 Nov. 1599. He died on 9 Sept. 1603. He married Elizabeth [see Carey, Elizabeth Lady], daughter of Sir John Spencer of Althorpe, knight, by whom he had an only daughter and heiress, Elizabeth [see under Carey, Lady Elizabeth], who married Sir Thomas Berkeley, knight, son and heir of Henry, lord Berkeley.
He was the author of: 1. Instructions and orders by him as captain-general of the Isle of Wight for the good government of the island, for the training of soldiers and firing of beacons, and agreed to by the centioners of the said isle, 20 March 1583-4; Lansdowne MS. 40, art. 8. 2. Proofs that the prize taken by his two ships did not appertain to the merchants of St. Jean de Luz; manuscripts in the State Paper Office, and Lansdowne MS. 143, f. 406. 3. Orders for the better state and strengthening of the Isle of Wight, 1586; manuscript in the State Paper Office. 4. Answer to complaints made by the States, 4 July 1589; Lansdowne MS. 145, f. 183. 5. Letters, principally on state affairs.
In 1862 miniature portraits of this Lord Hunsdon and his wife were exhibited at the South Kensington Museum, together with his exquisite jewel known as the Hunsdon onyx.
Ames's Typogr. Antiq. (Herbert), 954, 1140, 1275
Birch's Elizabeth, ii. 282
Calendars of English State Papers
Cat. of Special Exhibition at South Kensington, 1862, pp. 188, 196, 214, 680
Cooper's Athenę Cantab. iii. 6
Letters of Elizabeth and James VI, 1, 2
Ellis's Letters, 2nd series, iii. 97, 100
Gage's Thingoe, 104
Jardine on Torture, 29, 38, 82, 94
Lodge's Illustrations (1838), ii. 526, iii. 24
Lysons's Environs, i. 313
Murdin's State Papers, 768, 769
Nichols's Progresses of Queen Elizabeth, iii. 10, 19, 27, 449, 557
Rymer's Federa (1715), xvi. 291, 324, 386, 421, 446, 488
Sharp's Northern Rebellion, 116, 121
Thomas's Hist. Notes, 401, 450
Thorpe's Cal. of Scottish State Papers, 425-7, 431, 432, 463, 543, 557
Tytler's Scotland (1864), iii. 315, iv. 50, 52
Worsley's Isle of Wight, 96-107, 152, Append. No. xviii.
Wright's Elizabeth, ii. 265.
Contributor: T. C. [Thompson Cooper]