RepositoryLambeth Palace Library
Alt Ref NoMS 596-638
Extent43 volumes
TitleCarew Manuscripts
DescriptionDiverse and important papers for the history of Ireland, especially during the reign of Elizabeth I, including copies of some documents not now known to survive.
ArrangementThere is some obscurity in the arrangement of the collection which, unlike the published calendar, is not arranged chronologically. Different parts of some documents are bound in different volumes.
FindingAidsOriginally catalogued in H. J. Todd, 'A catalogue of the archiepiscopal manuscripts in the library at Lambeth Palace' (1812). More detailed entries in published 'Calendar of the Carew Manuscripts preserved in the Archiepiscopal Library at Lambeth', ed J. S. Brewer and William Bullen (6 volumes, 1867-1873) [Lambeth Palace Library L6622.L6L2: available in Library reading room]:
Volume I: 1515-1574 (1867)
Volume II: 1575-1588 (1868)
Volume III: 1589-1600 (1869)
Volume IV: 1601-1603 (1870)
Volume V: 1603-1623 (1873)
Volume VI: Book of Howth and Miscellaneous (1871)
These give detailed abstracts of the documents (although not all the manuscripts are included). The abstracts are arranged in chronological order, unlike the original papers which are dispersed through the volumes. The introductions to the volumes of the published calendar include biographical information on Carew and his contemporaries, summarise the content of the papers and remark on particular items, and provide commentary on contemporary events and characters. They also include further copies of some of the documents, and copies of documents from other sources. Catalogue descriptions are based on this calendar. MS 606 and MS 626 do not appear to be noted in the Calendar.

See also 'Report to the Right Honourable the Master of the Rolls upon the Carte and Carew Papers in the Bodleian and Lambeth Libraries' (1864), including information (Appendix C) on the missing volumes.

Descriptions available on the National Archives Discovery site <> as well as the Library catalogue.
CreatorNameCarew, George (1555-1629), Earl of Totnes
AdminHistoryCollected by Sir George Carew, during his period in Ireland as President of Munster (he was afterwards Earl of Totnes), for the purpose of writing a history of Ireland from the reign of Henry II to that of Queen Elizabeth, but he died before completing this work.
CustodialHistoryVolume I, p. lxiii, of the published calendar notes that part of Carew's efforts in later life must have been 'occupied in arranging his valuable collections of papers connected with the history of Ireland'. The material was bequeathed to Sir Thomas Stafford, perhaps Carew's natural son, on whom biographical information is limited, but who finished the work and published 'Pacata Hibernia' (1633), a history of Carew's administration of the province of Munster.

M.R. James, 'The History of Lambeth Palace Library', Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society, vol. iii, part 1 (1959), believed that Archbishop Sheldon gave the Carew manuscripts to the Library.

The Carew manuscripts were transferred to the Public Record Office for the calendar to be made.

Some of the original volumes appear not to have survived.

Showing the Ancient Letter-marks both of the Volumes which are still to be found in the LAMBETH and BODLEIAN LIBRARIES, and of those which are now wanting.
Old lettering.
A Carew MS 596.
AA Carew MS 597.
AAA Described in the old catalogue of the Lambeth Library, but now missing.
B Carew MS 598.
BB Carew MS 599.
BBB Described as above. Missing.
C Carew MS 600.
CC Carew MS 601.
[C]CC Carew MS 602.
D Carew MS 603.
DD MS. Laud. 611, in the Bodleian Library.
DDD (altered to QQQ) Carew MS 604.
E MS. Bodl. Laud., 612.
EE Missing, but printed as Davis's Reports.
EEE Carew MS 605.
F Carew MS 606.
FF Described as above. Missing.
FFF Carew MS 607.
G Carew MS 608.
[GG] Carew MS 609.
GGG Carew MS 610.
H Carew MS 611.
HH Carew MS 612.
HHH Described as above. Missing.
I MS. Bodl. Laud. 613.
JJ Carew MS 610.
JJJ Described as above. Missing.
K MS. Bodl. Laud. 614.
KK Described as above. Missing.
KKK Carew MS 613.
L Carew MS 614.
LL Carew MS 615.
LLL Carew MS 616.
M Carew MS 617.
MM Carew MS 618.
MMM Carew MS 619.
N Carew MS 620.
NN Described as above. Missing.
NN[N] Carew MS 621.
O Carew MS 622.
OO Described as above. Missing.
OOO Described as above. Missing.
P Carew MS 623.
PP Described as above. Missing.
PPP Carew MS 624.
Q Carew MS 625.
QQ Carew MS 626.
QQQ Described as above. Missing.
R Described as above. Missing.
RR Described as above. Missing.
RRR Described as above. Missing.
S Carew MS 627.
SS Described as above. Missing.
SSS Carew MS 628.
T MS. Bodl. Laud. 615.
TT ("Tomus Primus") Carew MS 629.
TT ("Tomus Secundus") Carew MS 630.
TTT Described as above. Missing.
V Carew MS 631.
VV Carew MS 632.
VVV Described as above. Missing.
W Carew MS 633.
WW Described as above. Missing.
WWW Carew MS 634.
X Described as above. Missing.
XX Carew MS 635.
XXX Described as above. Missing.
Y Described as above. (Printed as "Davis's Discourse.")
YY Described as above.
YYY Not described in the old catalogue, but a memorandum respecting it has been made by Archbishop Sancroft.
CopiesMicrofilms of the Carew Manuscripts are available from World Microfilms Publications. Copies of the microfilms may be available in other libraries.

Lambeth Palace Library microfilm: MS Film 777-791.
RelatedMaterialBodleian Library: Carte Papers; also Laud Manuscripts 611-615.

There are other volumes of Carew provenance within the Lambeth collections aside from the sequence MSS 596-638.

See additional information on this manuscript in LR/L/13A.
PublnNoteSome documents were also published in the 'Letters and Papers' of Henry VIII.

The Carew manuscripts are referred to in:

J. H. Andrews, 'The Irish maps of Lord Carew: an exhibition in the library of Trinity College, Dublin' (1983) [Lambeth Palace Library Pamphlets Outsize KA905.T7 [P] ]

Marion E. Colthorpe, 'The Elizabethan Court Day by Day', available online:

'Londonderry and the London companies, 1609-1629: being a survey and other documents submitted to King Charles I by Sir Thomas Phillips' (Belfast, H.M.S.O., 1928 (14), 198p. front., plates). The plates are taken from tracings of the original maps and sketches in the Carew manuscripts. Introduction by D. A. Chart. [Lambeth Palace Library KA 990.L8]

J. S. Curl, 'The Londonderry Plantation 1609-1914' (1986). To identify individual references, one has to check the chapter notes at the end of the volume.

M. R. James, "The Carew manuscripts", 'English Historical Review', vol. 42, 1927, pp.261-7; including remarks on their provenance.

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Related name records
GB/109/14535Carew; George (1555-1629); Earl of Totnes; statesman1555-1629
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