Henry VIII,the Reign
Sir Nicholas Carew KG
c.1496–3 March 1539
Profile Sir Nicholas Carew KG
Sir Nicholas Carew KG, of Beddington in Surrey, was an English courtier and diplomat during the reign of King Henry VIII. He was executed for his alleged part in the Exeter Conspiracy.
The son of Richard Carew, the Captain of Calais, Nicholas was placed in Henry's household when he was six, and shared the King's education. In the early years of Henry's reign, he came to prominence at court through his skill at jousting, and was renowned for his fearlessness.
By 1515, Carew's fame in the lists was such that the King provided him with his own tiltyard at Greenwich. He was knighted some time before 1517. He was a prominent member of the Court and held the position of Master of the Horse, as well as other prominent offices such as Master of the Forests, Lieutenant of Ruysbank, guarding Calais harbour, and Chief Esquire of the King. He was a close friend of the King and was made a Knight of the Garter.
Sir Nicholas was sent to France twice as part of a diplomatic mission, once in January 1521 and was reputedly well received by Francis I of France. His second mission to France took place in 1524, this time to have English presence at the peace talks between Francis and Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.
Carew was popular with the King, who sought his company, but was known in his youth for being something of a rake. He was one of a number of Henry's companions whom Cardinal Wolsey believed had too much influence over the King. In 1518, Wolsey had Carew sent away from court, replacing him with his own protégé Richard Pace.
He soon returned, but was removed again, to Ruysbank Tower, Calais, in 1519, when he was also High Sheriff of Surrey and Sussex. In 1521 he was given reversion of constable of Wallingford Castle, together with the stewardship of Wallingford. Wolsey finally engineered Carew's dismissal from the Privy chamber as part of the Eltham ordinances of 1526.