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Carew is a Welsh language and Cornish Language habitation type surname; it has also been used as a synonym for the Irish patronymic Ó Corráin. Carey can be a variant.

The Cambro-Norman Carew family sprang from the same stock as the FitzGeralds: viz. from the union of Gerald de Windsor alias Gerald FitzWalter (1070–1136), the Norman Constable of Pembroke, Pembrokeshire and Nest ferch Rhys, Princess of Deheubarth, the 'Helen of Wales'.[1] These Carews descend from Gerald and Nest's oldest son William FitzGerald de Carew. The family home was at Carew, Pembrokeshire, Welsh language 'Caeriw', from a fortified site and later castle, originally a holding of Nest's royal father, Rhys Ap Tewdwr. The usual derivation offered is that the root word is 'caer', Middle Welsh for 'fort';[2] the second element being possibly 'rhiw' – 'slope',[3] or 'yw' – 'yew' (tree). The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park website has 'Caerau – fort (Locally pron Carey)'.[4]

First, as will be shown below, not all modern Carews are of Carew, Pembrokeshire stock; some bear the name from cognate Cornish origins;[5][6] and others as an Anglicised form, together with Carey, of the Irish patronymic Ó Corráin/Ó Carráin.[7]

Secondly, some true Carews in Wales may have received their name in the variant form of 'Carey' or 'Cary', which is a traditional local pronunciation of the place Carew (see above), another version being 'Care-ew'.[8] John Marius Wilson's 'Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales' (1870–72) has 'Carew, or Carey, a village and a parish in the district and county of Pembroke'. Bannister (1871) writes that Carew is 'pronounced Car'-ew in Ireland; Car-ew' in Devon; Carey in Cornwall and Wales' (my italics).[5] However, Carey in Britain generally is either from any one of at least six immigrant Gaelic-Irish patronymics Anglicised thus,[9][10] or is from a Pre-Celtic[11] or Celtic language river/habitation name in Somerset and Devon.[12][13]

Gerald FitzWalter's second son Maurice FitzGerald, Lord of Lanstephan and grandson Raymond de Carreu, 'le Gros', took part, alongside Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, or 'Strongbow', in the invasion of Ireland in 1171. The 'invasion' was almost a family affair, with many of the Cambro-Norman protagonists related through the matriarchal and 'polygamous' Nest: among the cousins of the Geraldines were Robert FitzStephen, Robert de Barry et al.

In Ireland, after the invasion, the de Carreus, or Carews, held the barony of Idrone in County Carlow, without relinquishing their holdings in Britain. William de Carreu (d. 1213), held both manors of Carew and Idrone.[14] Maurice de Carreu was in Edward 1's Irish Parliament in 1300. Raymond de Carreu appears in Irish records in 1302. Sir John Carew (d. 1362), who also held the manor of Moulsford in Berkshire, was Justiciar of Ireland.[15]

Another Norman branch, which may or may not be related to the Idrone Carews, said to be descended from Adam Montgomery de Carrew, settled in East Cork, at Garryvoe, on the Waterford border in the 12th century.[16] This family is described in 'British Museum Funeral Certificates', MS. No. 4820. They feature frequently in the 'Fiants' (Tudor records): e.g. John Careue of Garryvoe, 1582; Redmond & Peirse Carewe, 1600.[17] They forfeited Garryvoe, as rebels against Cromwell's 'Commonwealth' in 1656. Paul MacCotter has claimed in 'Irish Roots' (1997) that the rare East Cork Carews survive under the form 'Carey';[7] although the Garryvoe family definitely died out in the male line in the 1660s (Brit Mus.MS 4820); and Carey in this area is regarded as an Anglicisation of Ó Ciaráin.[18]

There is recorded evidence for Carew being used as a synonym of the Munster surname Ó Corráin/Ó Carráin. The 'Court of Claims' in Ireland, 15 July 1663, adjudicates a request for return of lands in and around Mobernan in County Tipperary forfeited by 'Teige Carrue alias O Carron'.[19] Donald O Carrane of Mobernayne, 1586 was his ancestor.[17] By the 17th century the Mobernan O Corrain sept had widely adopted Carew as an Anglicised form of their name: Conor Carew of Mobarnan, was a representative at the Catholic Confederation of Kilkenny, 1642.[20] Thomas Carue (alias O Corrain) of Mobernan appears in the Dictionary of National Biography[21] His brother, Sir Ross Carey, appears on the 1661 memorial of Anne Hyde, his wife, in Westminster Abbey.[22]

Some Carews, according to family legend/family trees, moved from Pembrokeshire to the English West Country, and settled in Crowcombe in Somerset, Haccombe in Devon and Antony House in Cornwall.[1] There the name has occasionally been used interchangeably, in records such as the 'Patent Rolls', with the indigenous Cary of the West Country, causing no little confusion. It has been claimed that 'Carey' is a variant of Carew in Cornwall,[3] (neither name there is numerous). However, this claim seems to be based on the Carew family of Antony being allegedly known by the byname 'Carey' (Hanks & Hodges, op. cit. 1988), whereas this gentry family were usually known as 'Carew' not 'Carey'.

It is also highly likely that the surnames Carew and Carrow in Cornwall are variants of Cornish locative names such as Kerrow, Caroe &c. with derivations from either Celtic 'car/ker'- 'fort' or pre-Celtic 'car'- 'stone/stony'.[5] This would mean that at least some Cornish Carews are indigenous to Cornwall, and therefore have no connection with the Welsh/Norman immigrant Carews of Antony.

In England the family became influential. The Devon Carews became Earls of Totness (1625, extinct 1629).[14] A Devon man, Sir George Carew was President of Munster temp. Elizabeth 1st.[23] Ironically, given the supposed family connection, one of his more formidable tasks was the destruction of the FitzGerald Earls of Desmond.

Cornishman Richard Carew of Antony was a noted late 16th century historian of Cornwall; he wrote the fascinating 'Survey of Cornwall', published in 1602. Another family member, Alexander Carew, 2nd Baronet of Antony, was executed by Parliament for his lackadaisical support of their 'cause' in 1644. His half brother, John Carew, was a keener supporter of Cromwell: he was Commonwealth M.P. for Cornwall, and a signatory to the execution of Charles 1st; thus as a 'regicide' he was hanged, drawn and quartered by the returning royalists in 1660.

The Cambro-Norman Pembrokeshire Carew arms are 'Or, three lioncels passant, sable'.

The surname Carew has been adopted in Russia as Keyru. It originates from John Carew, an athlete from Sierra Leone who had a family in Russia including the actor Olah Keru, the singer Willy Keyru and international basketball players Victor and Katerina Keyru.[24]

Notable Carews[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Burke, Sir Bernard (1866). A Genealogical History of the Dormant, Abeyant, Forfeited, and Extinct Peerages of the British Empire. p. 102. 
  2. ^ editor, Patrick Hanks, (2003). Dictionary of American family names (e-reference ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195081374. 
  3. ^ a b Hanks, Patrick; Gold, Flavia Hodges ; special consultant for Jewish names, David L. (1988). A dictionary of surnames (Reprinted ed.). Oxford [England]: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780192115928. 
  4. ^ "Pembrokeshire Coast National Park – Know Your Place Names". Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  5. ^ a b c J. Bannister (1871) A Glossary of Cornish Names...
  6. ^ Patrick Hanks (2003) Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press
  7. ^ a b Paul MacCotter (1997) "The Anglo-Norman Surnames of Ireland Part III", Irish Roots.
  8. ^ "Carew Castle – Pembrokeshire – Bluestone Wales". Bluestone Wales. 2014-05-05. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  9. ^ Dr Edward MacLysaght (1985) The Surnames of Ireland, Irish Academic Press, Dublin.
  10. ^ P. Woulfe (1913) Sloinnte Gaedheal is Gall: Irish Names and Surnames, Dublin.
  11. ^ see Castle Cary, So. and Carey, De. in Victor Watts, 'Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names', Cambridge University Press, 2004
  12. ^ Patrick Hanks (2003) Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press.
  13. ^ The Devon Carys, New York, 1920. Kari Manor is in 'Exon Domesday', fol. 3168
  14. ^ a b Burke, Sir Bernard (1866) Dormant & Extinct Peerage
  15. ^ Calendar of State Papers relating to Ireland, Index of Persons, National Library of Ireland
  16. ^ Burke (1884) General Armory
  17. ^ a b 'Fiants of the Tudor Sovereigns, 1521–1603' official letters patent unique to Ireland (British Library, National Library of Ireland etc.)
  18. ^ Dr Edward MacLysaght, 'Irish Families', Irish Academic Press, Dublin, 1985
  19. ^ 'Court of Claims, Submissions and Evidence, 1663', The Irish Manuscripts Commission
  20. ^ Dr. Edward MacLysaght, 'More Irish Families', Irish Academic Press, 1982
  21. ^ Thomas Carve, Dictionary of National Biography', Oxford University Press
  22. ^ Arthur Penrhyn Stanley (1886) Historical Memorials of Westminster Abbey Archived August 8, 2014, at the Wayback Machine., London: John Murray, p. 296
  23. ^ Calendar of State Papers relating to Ireland, National Library of Ireland
  24. ^ Dmitry Abarenov (14 June 2011) Сладкие сны Кати Кейру. Баскетболистка сборной России мечтает о победе на Евро, море клубники и Поездке в сьерра-Леоне.