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John Carew (1622–1660), from Antony, Cornwall, was one of the regicides of King Charles I.


He was the eldest son of Richard Carew of Antony in Cornwall, and his second wife, of the family of Rolle of Hesnton in Devonshire, and was consequently the half-brother of Sir Alexander Carew. He entered Gloucester Hall, University of Oxford, on 9 March 1638, and was admitted to the Inner Temple in 1640.[1]

Mr. John Carew was a gentleman of an ancient family in the county of Cornwall, educated in one of the universities, and at the Inns of Court. He had a plentiful estate, and being chosen to serve in the Great Parliament, he was elected into the Council of State, and employed in many important affairs; in which he showed great ability.[2]


He was elected MP for Tregony in 1647,[3] he was a prominent member of the Fifth Monarchy Men who saw the overthrow of Charles I as a divine sign of the second coming of Jesus and the establishment of the millennium a thousand years of Christ's rule on earth. Like many of the other 59 men who signed the death warrant for Charles I, he was in grave danger when Charles II of England was restored to the throne. Some of the 59 fled England but Carew was arrested, put on trial, and found guilty. He was hanged, drawn and quartered on 15 October 1660.[4][5]


Mr. John Carew as tried on 12 Oct. 1660.[6]

He found the same usage from the Court as Major-General Harrison had done, being frequently interrupted and council denied, though earnestly desired by him in that point of law touching the authority by which he had acted.

When he saw that all he could say was to no purpose, he frankly acknowledged that he sat in the High Court of Justice, and had signed two warrants, one for summoning the Court in order to the King's trial, and another for his execution.

Upon this the Court, who were well acquainted with the disposition of the jury, permitting him to speak. He said that in the year 1640, a Parliament was called according to the laws and Constitution of this nation: that some differences arising between the King and that Parliament, the King withdrew his person from them. Upon which the Lords and Commons declared ...Here the Court being conscious that their cobweb-coverings were not sufficient to keep out the light of those truths he was going to produce, contrary to the liberty they had promised, interrupted him, under color that what he was about to say, tended not only to justify the action for which he was accused, but to cast a ball of division among those who were present. But Mr. Carew going on to say, 'The Lords and Commons by their declaration---'

Judge Foster interrupted him again, and told him he endeavored to revive those differences which he hoped were laid asleep, and that he did so to blow the trumpet of sedition; demanding if he had ever heard, or could produce an Act of Parliament made by the Commons alone. To this he would have answered, but was not permitted to finish what he began to say, or hardly any one thing he endeavored to speak in his defense during the whole trial;

Mr. Arthur Annesley particularly charging him with the exclusion of the members in the year 1648, of which number he had been one; to which he only replied, 'That it seemed strange to find a man who sat as a judge on the bench to give evidence as to witness in the Court.'

These irregular proceedings unbecoming a court of judicature, obliged Mr. Carew to address himself to the jury, leaving them to judge of the legality of his trial; and appealing to their consciences, whether he had been permitted to make his defense. But they who were not to be diverted from the resolutions they had taken, without any regard to the manner of his trial, declared him guilty as he was accused."


According to Edmund Ludlow,

On the fifteenth (15 October 1660), Mr. John Carew suffered there also, even their enemies confessing that more steadiness of mind, more contempt of death, and more magnanimity could not be expressed. To all who were present with them (also Major General Harrison), either in prison or at the place where the sentence was executed, they owned that having engaged in the cause of God and their country, they were not at all ashamed to suffer in the manner their enemies thought fit, openly avowing the inward satisfaction of their minds when they reflected upon the actions for which they had been condemned, not doubting the revival of the same cause; and that a time should come when men would have better thoughts of their persons and proceedings.

See also


  1. ^ Foster, Joseph (1891). Alumni Oxonienses 1500-1714. Oxford: Parker & Co. p. 237.
  2. ^ The Memoirs of Edmund Ludlow, Lieutenant-General of the Horse, in the Army of the Commonwealth of England, 1625-1672, Edited with Appendices of Letters and Illustrative Documents, by C.H. Firth, M.A., in two volumes, Oxford, At the Clarendon Press, 1894, Vol 2, page 305
  3. ^ Plant, David. "John Carew, Regicide, 1622–60". British Civil Wars and Commonwealth website. Retrieved 2 December 2009.
  4. ^ "Biographies: John Carew". British Civil War Project. Retrieved 19 January 2022.
  5. ^ Pepys, Samuel. "Diary Entries from October 1660". The Diary of Samuel Pepys. Retrieved 19 January 2022.
  6. ^ Memoirs of Ludlow, Vol. 2, pages 309, with some light editing in spelling and punctuation
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainCourtney, William Prideaux (1887). "Carew, John (d.1660)". In Stephen, Leslie (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 9. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  • The Memoirs of Edmund Ludlow, Lieutenant-General of the Horse, in the Army of the Commonwealth of England, 1625-1672, Edited with Appendices of Letters and Illustrative Documents, by C.H. Firth, M.A., in two volumes, Oxford, At the Clarendon Press, 1894

Further reading

1893 text

John Carew signed the warrant for the execution of Charles I. He held the religion of the Fifth Monarchists, and was tried October 12th, 1660. He refused to avail himself of many opportunities of escape, and suffered death with much composure.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.