John Carew, 1622-60

Cornish MP and member of the Fifth Monarchist sect, he signed the King's death warrant and was executed as a regicide in 1660

Portrait of John CarewThe second son of a distinguished Cornish family, John Carew was educated at Oxford and the Inner Temple. In February 1647, he was elected recruiter MP for Tregony, Cornwall, and the following year was one of the parliamentary commissioners sent to receive the King at Holmby House. In January 1649, Carew was involved in the preparations for the King's trial. He was appointed to the High Court of Justice, and was a signatory of the King's death warrant.

During the Commonwealth (1649-53), Carew served on various parliamentary committees. He was a member of the Council of State from 1651-3 and had a particular interest in legal and social reform. He was also a member of the admiralty commission during the First Anglo-Dutch War.

Carew was a close friend of Thomas Harrison and shared his Fifth Monarchist beliefs. He represented Devon in the Nominated Assembly, or "Parliament of Saints", in 1653. Like other radicals, Carew opposed Cromwell's elevation to the office of Lord Protector. He published an attack on the Protectorate entitled The Grand Catastrophe, published in 1654, and was rumoured to be involved in plots against the government.

In February 1655, Carew demanded the release of the imprisoned Fifth Monarchist preachers Christopher Feake and John Rogers. He was arrested after refusing to answer a summons to appear before Cromwell and remained in prison from mid-February 1655 until October 1656. After his release, Carew declined to join any further conspiracies against the government. He represented a branch of the Fifth Monarchist movement that sought an alliance with the Baptists and was re-baptized himself early in 1658. He attended a Baptist conference at Dorchester in May 1658 where he proposed an alliance between Fifth Monarchists and Baptists, but the proposal was firmly rejected by William Kiffin and other Baptist leaders.

Carew made no attempt to escape at the Restoration, and was brought to trial as a regicide in October 1660. His attempts to justify the righteousness of the trial and execution of King Charles resulted in a sentence of death. He was hanged, drawn and quartered at Charing Cross on 15 October 1660.


Bernard Capp, The Fifth Monarchy Men (London 1972)

J. T. Peacey, John Carew, Oxford DNB, 2004