Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon, by Steven van Herwijck
Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon, by Steven van Herwijck
On 12th August 1596, Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon, son of Mary Boleyn, nephew of Queen Anne Boleyn and cousin of Queen Elizabeth I, was buried at Westminster Abbey. He had died on 23rd July 1596 at Somerset House, in London, at the age of seventy.

He was buried at his cousin the queen’s expense in the abbey’s St John the Baptist’s Chapel. His lavish alabaster and marble tomb, erected by his widow, Anne (née Morgan), Lady Hunsdon, is the tallest in the abbey, measuring thirty-six feet (nearly 11m) in height. Westminster Abbey website gives the following description of his tomb:

“It is made of alabaster and marble with a considerable display of heraldry, which includes the Carey arms – argent, on a bend sable three roses of the field (i.e. a silver shield with a black bar diagonally across it from top left to bottom right with three silver roses on it). His crest is a swan and his motto “Comme je trouve” (as I find it).”

The website also gives a translation of the Latin tomb inscription:

“Consecrated for the burial of the Hunsdon family. Here sleeps in the Lord Henry Carey, Baron Hunsdon, one-time Governor of the town of Berwick, Warden of the east marches towards Scotland, Captain of the gentleman-pensioners, Chief Justice of the Forests south of the Trent, Knight of the Order of the Garter, Lord Chamberlain of the Lady Queen Elizabeth, sworn of the Privy Council, and first cousin to the aforesaid Queen. Together with him is buried Anne, his dearest wife, daughter of Thomas Morgan, knight, who bore him many children, of whom there survive George, John, Edmund and Robert, knights, Catherine, Countess of Nottingham, Philadelphia, Baroness Scrope, and Margaret, Lady Hoby. He died 23 July 1596 aged 71. His son, George Carey, Baron Hunsdon, member of the Order of the Garter, Captain-General of the Isle of Wight, Chamberlain of the household to Queen Elizabeth, Privy Councillor, and his wife Anne, placed this monument to the best of fathers and dearest of husbands, in his honour and memory, and being mindful of their own and their family’s mortality.”

Lady Hunsdon joined him in the tomb after her death on 19th January 1607.

The Westminster Abbey website has a photo of Hundson’s tomb at http://www.westminster-abbey.org/our-history/people/henry-carey.

You can find out more about Henry Carey in my article Mary Boleyn Part Two – The King’s Children? and about his mother’s relationship with King Henry VIII in Mary Boleyn and Henry VIII.

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15 thoughts on “12 August 1596 – The burial of Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon”
  1. Elizabeth sure seems to have been much closer to her Boleyn cousins than any of the others. At any rate, she seems to have been fond of both Henry and Catherine Carey, though she was definitely unhappy with Lettice Knowles who was Catherine’s daughter (or was she a granddaughter?)

    Her cousins through Margaret and Mary Tudor didn’t seem to become close or friendly to her, with the possible exception of Jane Grey, Mary’s granddaughter.

    I wonder if maybe Elizabeth was close to Henry and Catherine because they had known her mother, and could tell her what Anne was really like. I can’t imagine hearing things like “whore” “traitor” and “heretic” were too pleasant for Elizabeth, especially since that seemed to be a chorus throughout her life, even after she became Queen.

    Sigh, again, too much – probably, maybe, what if? – to be certain of anything. But I say that such a fine tomb would be an indication of real affection for Henry Carey.

    1. Yes Elizabeth was always very affectionate towards her Boleyn relations, this I think stemmed from never having known her mother properly as I don’t think it’s possible she could have remembered her, and also a need to be close to Anne Boleyn, they were her mothers closest living relatives so Elizabeth’s deep love for them I feel arose from that longing to feel close to the mother she had lost so tragically, it was a love they returned and all her life Elizabeth nurtured that closeness, the magnificent tombs she raised both to Henry Carey and his sister Catherine shows in what esteem she held them, no expanse was spared, it’s also possible she may have known if the elder sibling Catherine was
      Henrys bastard daughter thus making them half sisters as well as first cousins, if that were true it would also explain Elizabeth’s extreme closeness to Catherine.

  2. Not just the Beckhams who give their kids strange names, associated with place names. Philadelphia, wow what a name. Philadelphia, England, I assume. Was she born there? I read that Henry Hudson could have succeeded Elizabeth when she was ill back in 1560s with smallpox, but on hearing that all was well if she died as her cousin Lord Hudson could succeed her, that she quickly recovered and of course had a long life. Is this true? Henry Carey certainly lived a long and productive life and deserved royal recognition.

  3. Elizabeth got her queenship, her majesty, her invulnerability, from her father, the late king, magnificent Henry VIII.
    But, how she must have been drawn to the unmentionable, unacknowledged mother, the infamous, utterly compelling traitor, executed before she could properly know her, Anne Boleyn.
    Did Elizabeth have vague, dreamlike memories of a wonderful, almost magical, exciting woman, her mother, her long lost, irrecoverable mother – of laughter, of gifts, of a haunting, wonderful presence?
    If so, no wonder Elizabeth was drawn to Mary’s children, eh?

    1. It is just possible that Elizabeth did remember her mother, I can remember back to when I was two sitting in the pram, so it is possible that Elizabeth also had vague memories of Anne.

      1. Elizabeth had a double locket that had a picture of her and one of Anne, or a ring that opened with the double portrait. It was found I believe in a chest of stuff from Elizabeth treasury that had been lost for quite some time.

        1. There was a ring that she always wore and on her death I believe it had to be sliced from her finger, it was then given to James 1st at least that’s what I read, I think the ring is now in Chequers, the country estate of the PM.

        2. Cheers Chris, I recall seeing it on a documentary, but could not recall if it was a ring, but saw it again and yes it is a ring with a locket, according to picture credit in Weir I am looking at, circa 1572, with portrait Anne one side, Elizabeth below when it opens. A very pretty little ring, pink stones and gold. Very nice. At Cheques, interesting. Thanks.

      1. I was thinking of Tom Boleyn his grandfather the brass plaque on his tomb shows a long face which is what Anne inherited, but yes Norfolk also had a long face.

    1. Hi Globerose, sorry I never replied earlier, yes the image on the brass plaque shows the kind of features that both his aunt Anne Boleyn and he himself inherited, and Elizabeth 1st.

  4. Hi Globerose sorry I never replied earlier, yes the image on the brass plaque is quite striking and does show the kind of features that both Carey, his aunt Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth 1st inherited.

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