CARVETH, Richard (-d.1620), of Tregony, Cornw.
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Family and Education
Burgess, Tregony by 1609-d., mayor 1609-10.4
The Carveth or Carveigh family was resident in the parish of Cuby, which included Tregony, as early as 1524, when John Carveigh was assessed for subsidy at £10 in goods. Carveth was probably the son of Richard Carveth of Cuby, who died in 1588; a lawsuit in 1576 relating to a property in the adjacent parish of Veryan mentions Richard ‘Carveigh’ senior and junior. However, the family did not warrant inclusion in the district’s subsidy assessments during the 1590s.5 Carveth was apparently not closely related to the Carveths of St. Enoder, eight miles distant, who also employed the name Richard; and he should be distinguished from Richard Carveth of St. Columb Major, Cornwall, a yeoman still living in 1623. As Carveth had a daughter named Honor, he may be the Richard Carveigh who married Honor, daughter of David Pendarves of Crowan, Cornwall around the late sixteenth century.6 Carveth was a vintner, and in 1606 his subsidy assessment of £4 in goods was one of Tregony’s highest.7
Described on his election indenture as a resident, Carveth was returned to Parliament for Tregony in 1604. In the first session he was named to just one bill committee, concerned with witchcraft (26 May). In the second session, his professional expertise doubtless explains his nomination on 7 Apr. 1606 to a bill committee regarding wine prices. Ten days later he was required to consider a bill to preserve fish stocks, a perennial Cornish concern. He spoke in the debate on 15 Apr. about the courtier Sir Roger Aston’s* patent of Greenwax in duchy of Lancaster courts north of the Trent, although his views went unrecorded.8 On 12 May his was apparently the sole dissenting voice following the third reading of the bill to attaint the Gunpowder plotters. He objected strongly to the inclusion of Francis Tresham, who had died in prison without being tried, describing it as contrary to God’s will and the law, and as setting a dangerous precedent. His scriptural argument defies elucidation, but his legal case rested on 34 Edw. III. cl. 12, which exempted traitors in these circumstances from the penalty of forfeiture. There was, however, a precedent for Tresham’s punishment in the attainder of Jack Cade (29 Hen. VI. cl. 1), and Carveth was argued down by the lawyer Lawrence Hyde I. Carveth’s dissent is difficult to explain. No connection with Tresham or other recusants has been discovered, and it seems extraordinary that a man of his status, with no recorded legal training and no discernible patron, should stand alone against such a significant and popular measure. Nevertheless, the manuscript Commons Journal confirms Carveth’s name, and it cannot be demonstrated that the clerk was mistaken.9 During the 1606-7 session Carveth was named to only one legislative committee, concerned with the manufacture of leather (2 July 1607).10
In February 1610, just after the opening of the fourth parliamentary session, Carveth, then mayor of Tregony, was prosecuted for an alleged assault on a sheriff’s bailiff at the town.11 As this was a criminal charge he could not plead parliamentary privilege. However, the bill introduced on 28 Mar. to deter vexatious suits against local magistrates for actions undertaken in the line of duty, may well represent his response, as he reported the committee stage on 16 May, and was subsequently entrusted with the bill’s engrossing.12 On 18 Apr. he also introduced a bill for suppressing idleness, and was named to the committee the next day, but his proposals, which have not survived, failed to achieve a third reading. On 21 Mar. Carveth apparently opened the debate on the first reading of a bill about brewing in victualling-houses, but his speech was not recorded. He intervened in the debate on the first reading of the Arundell of Trerice estate bill on 26 Mar. to secure a hearing for John Arundell*, who lived nine miles from Tregony. He also spoke on 4 May about a measure to improve Devon’s agriculture, and on 12 June objected to a bill on wine imports; again, no detail of these speeches survives. He received four other committee nominations.13
Carveth made his will on 8 Nov. 1620, requesting burial in Cuby churchyard. He was dead by 24 Nov., when his possessions were inventoried and valued at £234 1s., a figure which excluded the rent from two tenements. The wine in his cellar was priced at £13 6s. 8d., a sum too small to gauge the scale of his business. Carveth allowed two years for the raising of dowries for his daughters totalling just £25, which suggests that he died short of capital. Identifiable luxuries were limited to the books in his study, worth £2, and plate valued at £6 13s. 4d., though the inventory included miscellaneous chattels worth £70. At least one of his sons was still an apprentice, and as Carveth designated his wife as his sole executor, he may have died leaving all his children under age.14
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Paul Hunneyball
- 1. Cornw. Archdeaconry Wills 1569-1699 ed. R.M. Glencross (Brit. Rec. Soc. lvi) (lost admon. for Richard Carveth).
- 2. Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 355.
- 3. Cornw. RO, C474/1-2, C731/1.
- 4. STAC 8/154/13; Vis. Cornw. (Harl. Soc. ix), 285.
- 5. E179/87/134; 179/88/250, 260; STAC 5/P29/22.
- 6. Cornw. RO, P56/1/1; C2/Jas.1/C8/63.
- 7. E179/88/281.
- 8. CJ, i. 227a, 295a, 298b, 299b; W. Notestein, House of Commons 1604-10, pp. 165-6; CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 175.
- 9. CJ, i. 308a; SR, i. 367-8; ii. 358; iv. 1068; HLRO, ms CJ, v. 12 May 1606.
- 10. CJ, i. 389b.
- 11. STAC 8/154/13.
- 12. CJ, i. 408b, 415b, 429a, 432a; SR, iv. 1161-2.
- 13. CJ, i. 413a, 414b, 418b, 419a, 424b, 437a.
- 14. Cornw. RO, C474/1-2.