CARR, William I (d.1575), of Baldwin Street, Bristol.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

s. of William Carr of Ipswich, Suff. by Margaret, da. of Oliver Holland. m. (1) Joyce, da. of Thomas Bilford, 2s. 3da.; (2) Anne, s.p. 1

Offices Held

Sheriff, Bristol 1545-6, mayor 1560-1.2


Carr was a soapmaker, wealthy enough by 1562 to offer £3,500 for the manors of Congresbury and Wick St. Lawrence in Somerset. He may have intended to set up as a country gentleman, but as Lady Mary Allen, who had a life interest in the property, survived him, he never entered into possession of the estate. In 1566 he bought Woodspring priory, Somerset, with the manors of Woodspring and Locking, as a residence for his second son Edward.

A member of the Bristol merchant venturers, he became unpopular with the corporation after the 1566 session of Parliament, owing to his ‘sinister dealing’ in promoting a bill limiting the city’s foreign trade to those who joined the company. In 1572 he was entrusted by another Bristol merchant, Francis Codrington, with £50 for the hospital of John Barnstaple in the city. In order to carry out the trust he bought lands and houses in Portbury and Portishead and demised the whole to the corporation.3

He died 10 Jan. 1575. His will, made on his deathbed, was proved on 16 May the same year. He left generous legacies to the city of Bristol, including land of £10 annual value, the profits of which were to be divided between poor prisoners and the four almshouses. Money bequests included £25 to highways within 15 miles of Bristol, £60 to clothe the city poor, £26 13s.4d. for poor maidens’ marriages, and another £30 to various Bristol charities. Carr asked to be buried in the church of St. Werburgh, near his first wife, ‘and then Almighty God to be praised and His word preached’. The widow received £200, a £20 annuity, 150 ozs. of plate, and the house in Baldwin Street, Bristol, where she and her husband had lived. The heir, their elder son John, was left another house in Bristol, and was to have all his debts cancelled. These included losses ‘in respect of certain goods ... stayed in Portugal’. The younger son Edward, received a confirmation of his grant at Woodspring, and other legacies including sheep and cattle, plate and a ‘counting chest’. One of the witnesses and overseers was Thomas Aldworth II. Carr’s children, except Edward, were all associated with Bristol. John founded Queen Elizabeth’s hospital in the city. The daughters mentioned in the will married Richard Cole, William Young, sheriff of Bristol and John Ashe, soapmaker, another sheriff. Cole and Ashe were executors, receiving £20 each for undertaking the office. Carr’s tomb, with an altar monument measuring 12 feet across, was destroyed soon after 1759.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. Vis. Glos. (Harl. Soc. xxi), 224-5; PCC 21 Pyckering.
  • 2. A. B. Beaven, Bristol Lists, 166, 330.
  • 3. J. Latimer, 16th Cent. Bristol, 82; PCC 21 Pyckering; Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. xxxvi 260-1; li. 116-18; J. Collinson, Som. iii. 195; PRO, Baskerville transcripts of Dudley mss, i. 124; CJ, i. 78, 79.
  • 4. C142/187/67; S. Seyer, Mems. of Bristol, 246; PCC 21 Pyckering; Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. li. 116-18; W. Barrett, Hist. Bristol, 485.