George Carey, 2nd Baron Hunsdon

George Carey, 2nd Baron Hunsdon KG (1547 – 9 September 1603) was the eldest son of Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon and Anne Morgan. His father was first cousin to Elizabeth I of England. In 1560, at the age of 13, George matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge.[1]

George Carey, 2nd Baron Hunsdon, by Nicholas Hilliard, 1601
Arms of Sir George Carey, 2nd Baron Hunsdon, KG
Ivory seal matrix, c.1586, of George Carey, 2nd Baron Hunsdon, with 20 quarterings (most notably Beaufort, 3rd quarter), inscribed: SIGIL(LUM) GEO(RGII) CAREY MIL(ITIS) CAPP(ITANUS) INS(ULAE) VECTIS E(..) ADMIRALLUS COM(ITATIS) SOWTHAMTO(N) ("Seal of George Cary, Knight, Captain of the Isle of Wight and Admiral of the County of Southampton"). British Museum. (This photo a mirror image to display arms correctly, matrix designed to impress corrected image in wax)

Military and political careerEdit

In December 1566 he accompanied the Earl of Bedford on an official mission to Scotland, to attend the baptism of the future King James. Mary, Queen of Scots gave him a ring and a chain with her miniature portrait.[2]

During the Northern Rebellion of 1569, George was knighted in the field by Thomas Radcliffe 3rd Earl of Sussex for bravery. George had challenged Lord Fleming, the commander of Dunbar Castle, to single combat.

George served as a member of Parliament in the Commons for several terms (for Hertfordshire in 1571, for Hampshire in 1584, 1586, 1589, and 1593). He was created Knight Marshal in 1578.[3] He was given the tenure of the lands of the Cornish recusant Francis Tregian when the latter was convicted of praemunire in 1577 for aiding and abetting the missionary priest Cuthbert Mayne.[4]

George was sent to Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight and later assumed command of the Isle's defenses during the Spanish Armada threat.

In July 1596, when his father died, George became the second Baron Hunsdon, and the following year he was appointed Lord Chamberlain of the Royal Household, a position which had been held by his father.


Both Henry and George Carey were patrons of the professional theatre company in London known as "the Lord Chamberlain's Men". Talents such as William Shakespeare and Richard Burbage were among the writers and performers of the company. In 1597 George was invested as a Knight of the Garter, and it is sometimes proposed that the first performance of William Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor was held to commemorate the occasion.[5]


George married Elizabeth Spencer (related to poet/author Edmund Spenser), who like her husband was a patron of the arts. They had one daughter, Elizabeth.


He died on 9 September 1603 (from venereal disease and mercury poisoning), and his brother John (the next eldest) became the third Lord Hunsdon.


  1. ^ "Carey, George (CRY560G)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. ^ Thomas Thomson, James Melville: Memoirs of his own life (Edinburgh, 1827), p. 172.
  3. ^ "CAREY, Sir George (1547-1603), of Blackfriars, London, Hunsdon, Herts. And Carisbrooke, I.o.W. | History of Parliament Online".
  4. ^ A.L. Rowse, Tudor Cornwall (1941), MacMillan, 1969, p. 351.
  5. ^ Duncan-Jones, Katherine (2001). Ungentle Shakespeare: scenes from his life. London: Arden Shakespeare. p. 97. ISBN 1-903436-26-5.
Political offices
Preceded by Custos Rotulorum of Hampshire
Succeeded by
Preceded by Captain of the Gentlemen Pensioners
Succeeded by
Preceded by Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire
jointly with The Marquess of Winchester 1597–1598
The Earl of Devonshire

Succeeded by
Preceded by Lord Chamberlain
Succeeded by
Peerage of England
Preceded by Baron Hunsdon
Succeeded by