The Devon born Admiral of the Mary Rose

The Devon born Admiral of the Mary Rose

OUR THANKS to Sir Rivers Carew, BT, of the ancient and noble Carew family who writes to say how much he enjoyed Devonshire’s article in the December issue on the subject of what he calls “that disreputable member of my family” the notorious Bamfylde-Moore Carew, Devon’s very own self-styled King of the Gypsies (click here for the article).

Admiral Sir George Carew

Admiral Sir George Carew

But Sir Rivers points out that we got a date wrong and that Carew was born in Bickleigh right enough  but not in July 1693, as so many of the sources have it, but on 23rd September, 1690. We stand corrected. History repeats itself, historians repeat each other!

Sir Rivers is nearing completion of his history of the family from its earliest ancestor, Walter FitzOther, one of the few men listed in the Domesday Book as a tenant-in-chief – someone who held his lands directly from the Crown.

A significant part of that story will doubtless revolve around Admiral Sir George Carew (c. 1504 – 19 July 1545) who was born at Mohuns Ottery, an historic manor house and the Carew family seat in the parish of Luppitt, near Honiton.

Soldier, adventurer and latterly admiral, he perished during the reign of King Henry VIII in the Royal Navy flagship Mary Rose when it capsized at the Battle of the Solent in the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour on 19 July, 1545.

He had only taken command that day and many of the crew, who were foreigners, spoke no English. Carew’s last known words, called out to his uncle Gawen Carew aboard a nearby warship were, “I have the sort of knaves I cannot rule!”

Of the crew of nearly 500 only 34 survived and Sir George’s body was never recovered. When the ship was raised nearly 450 years later, only some pewter plates stamped with his initials were recovered from the wreck.

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This article was written by
John Fisher

Writer, author, script and sketch-writer, cartoonist, public speaker, Visitor Engagement Volunteer (National Trust) and would-be ukelele virtuoso.