Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Sir Richard Carew, Captain of the Calais Garrison

Work on the Carew command is complete.

I have enjoyed putting this group together as it involved a fair bit of reading and some assistance from other sources. The nucleus for this idea came after reading David Grummitt's book;

'The Calais Garrison, War and military service in England,1436-1558'

This revealed to me the professionalism of the garrison and its supposed Captain at the time of the 1513 invasion which was my starting point after which I then tried to learn as much as I could about Sir Richard Carew.


The Carew's were a large noble family and occasionally their names are not fully stated or apparently confused in the historical sources. My first experience of this was with the above banner to which I am 70% sure is that of Richard but I can't be certain; it appears in the College of Arms manuscripts with the footnote 'Master Carew' other Carew's are shown, these being Sir John & Sir William, I was also aware of a Sir Nicholas (more on him later). So in essence this standard is a bit guesswork.....but doesn't it look nice!

The above banner was hand drawn, polished up on Photoshop then painted with the primary and secondary colours at which point I scanned it for reference here as I then attached it to the pole and applied the highlights.

Sir Richard seems to have been born around 1470. His career received a significant boost in 1497 when he fought under Henry VII at Blackheath "against the Cornishmen" and was created a knight banneret.

He was subsequently appointed Lieutenant of Calais by King Henry VII and had this appointment continued by Henry VIII. Sir Richard's branch of the Carews, based at Beddington, was junior to the main branch of the family. His cousins included the Champernownes (including Ashley, Elizabeth's beloved governess) and more remotely the Courtenays. His great-granddaughter was Elizabeth Throckmorton who married Sir Walter Raleigh.

His son was the famous Nicholas Carew who was executed in 1539 for his part in the Exeter conspiracy.

Incidentally, this portrait along with a few others was an early point of inspiration for putting this army together.

At the time of the 1513 campaign Sir Richard Carew was in the Middle-ward appointed as master of the ordnance (of that ward) he was accompanied by his personal retinue along with 1000 men, perhaps men of the garrison - or just merely under his command, sadly there is no mention as to where these men came from.

I mentioned the potential for confusion within the source material as there is also a Sir Edmund Carew, from the other branch of the family, who "mortgaged Carew Castle to equip himself as Master of Ordnance for the expedition" (when accompanying Henry VIII in 1513 to France) - according to Plantagenet Ancestry. I'm wondering if there's some confusion between him and Sir Richard Carew.

In looking through sources I have found that 'ordnance' can but does not necessarily always mean artillery so there is a chance that both Richard and Edmund were present, both being master of ordnance and in potentially different wards in different roles with different troops.

Some background to Edmund; He was born in 1466 and was knighted by Henry Tudor at the Battle of Bosworth, as mentioned, finding funds for the campaign almost bankrupted him, he died in 1513 during skirmishing at the siege of Therouanne, his heirs were unable to keep up the payments on the Castle and it was lost to the Crown. Edmund was buried in Calais.......was that because he was Captain or because his heirs couldn't afford to repatriate the body?

We'll never know, or at least I won't at this juncture but that's the joy / frustration of history.

As there are two potential contenders I have chosen to represent them both, Edmund stands next to Richard in his older armour;

I thought this would also be a good opportunity to demonstrate something of the organisation of my army. Each Infantry group has 6 single bases of Archers and 6 single bases of bill (though I do tend to base in doubles for ease) within which there are 3 or 4 banners representing nobles with retinues of at least 150 men to whom I know were part of the Campaign. Each group is then under command of an overall Captain. Two groups together then form a ward or battle as illustrated below. These are just for illustration for an idea of numbers as each ward would also have cavalry and artillery. At the moment I have three half-finished wards but we're getting there. I'll post the first to be completed as and when.



  1. you are doing a beautiful job on these i love to see the progress, one thing though i would like to see some beards like in the picture of the yeoman i know they were just coming into fashion again by this time, keep up the good work!

    1. Now that's so obvious an aspect of a Henrician Army that I have completely missed it! you're absolutely right, I shall foray with the green stuff in future.

  2. Hi Stuart

    Your painting are realy stunning, love the flag most impressive !!!

    Thanks for tha info about how you organize your army.

    Best regards dalauppror

  3. That's a beautiful flag, the figures look superb too!! Nice one Stuart!!

  4. A great post Stuart - what makes this blog so compelling and inspiring; great painting (that banner really has a wow factor) coupled with fascinating background and context for the models.
    The army's really coming on as well - it looks beautiful.
    Regards, Simon.

  5. More wonderful figures, Stuart, and fascinating background information. Another member of the Carew family whom you might have mentioned was Admiral Sir George Carew, in command of the Mary Rose when she sank in the Solent in 1545, and lost with her.

  6. Superb stuart,Carew has come out fantasticly well,just like the rest of your army.Also beautiful long tailed standards with some really wonderful little details and nice to see the army together on the historical background you give too as my knowledge on this period is basic.

    Regards Chris