The Twickenham Museum
People : Bankers and Politicians

Anthony Cary, 5th Viscount Falkland
Politician and Admiralty Official
1656 - 1694

In 1687 Anthony Cary bought the house in Whitton known as Goodfathers, built by Sir John Suckling, from Lord Bellasyse, who was building himself another house nearby. The great-grandson of the recusant author Elizabeth Cary, he was born on 15 February 1656 at Farleigh Castle, Somerset, and baptized at Great Tew, his father's estate in Oxfordshire, ten days later. The 70 mile road journey to Great Tew, the family estate, seems to have been undertaken with some haste. His mother was Rachel, née Hungerford. She had married Henry Cary, the 4th Viscount on 14 April, 1653. She was the daughter of Anthony Hungerford (1607/8-1657) of Black Bourton in Oxfordshire. The Hungerfords had started to build the castle in 1377. Anthony, a Royalist, inherited the castle by reversion, on the death of his half-brother, Sir Edward, a Parliamentarian, in 1653. The Carys were Royalist and Henry, the 4th Viscount was one of the group of twelve MPs who crossed to the Netherlands to invite Charles to return to England as King. Anthony became the 5th Viscount at the age of seven on the early death of his father in 1663. In 1681 he married Rebecca Lytton (1662-1710) who brought him a substantial jointure. They had one daughter, Harriott, christened on 24 July 1683 at St Peter-le-Poer, in London, who died an infant. Rebecca's father was Sir Rowland Lytton of Knebworth where his family had lived since 1490 and where they remain today.

Education and Career

He is stated to have been educated at Winchester and Christchurch Oxford, though apparently only briefly, between 1668 and 1672, starting at the age of 12.

He served as Treasurer of the Navy from 1681-89, buying the office from Edward Seymour for £15,000, using his wife's jointure. During this time he would have had dealings with Samuel Pepys, Secretary to the Admiralty from 1673 until 1688. He was Member of Parliament for Oxfordshire 1685-88, for Great Marlow 1689-90 and for Great Bedwyn 1690-94. He was sworn of the Privy Council of England in 1692. He was appointed a Commissioner of the Admiralty from 1690 until 1693 and then First Lord of the Admiralty 1693-94, the last year of his life. During this time he spent three days committed to the Tower of London, accused of the misuse of Admiralty funds. It can be deduced, from later documents (King's Warrant Book XIX, pp. 198-202) , that he offered the Great Tew estate as security pending the return of the funds.

Another Commissioner, no friend, was Admiral Henry Killigrew (c1652-1712), who was descended from Sir William Killigrew (1606-1695) of Hanworth Manor. Other members of this Cornish family, connected by marriage to the Bacon and Berkeley families of Twickenham Park, are recorded as living in Twickenham, although exactly where is not known.

Financial venturesIn 1687 Cary joined a syndicate led by Christopher Monck, 2nd duke of Albemarle, who invested money in an attempt to find the Spanish treasure ship the Concepcion. Successful, his share proved highly profitable, bringing him over £20,000. Two subsequent expeditions were much less successful, and he lost, or spent, most of the money on both. In 1689 he financed Captain John Strong's expedition to the Pacific. On his journey Strong visited the Islands later to be known as the Falklands, and christened the water between them Falkland Sound in honour of his patron.

Death and burial

He died of smallpox, just 38, on 24 May 1694, at Deptford where he probably had a house for his admiralty work. John Evelyn lived at Sayes Court, adjoining the Dockyard and, on hearing of Falkland's death, he wrote as an epitaph: he was a pretty, brisk, understanding, industrious young gentleman; had formerly been faulty, but much reclaimed. He married a great fortune...had been Treasurer of the Navy, and advancing in the new court. All now gone in a moment. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.

His will (PCC Prob 11/421) dated 30 October 1691 made his wife the sole executrix. It does not mention the Whitton property. It acknowledges the possibility of male heirs which,. bearing in mind their ages of 35 and 29 respectively, was not unreasonable, though none came.

Lady Falkland continued to live at Goodfathers and, in April 1696, she recovered the Great Tew estate from the Crown, selling it two years later to Sir Anthony Keck, grandfather of Anthony Keck. When she died, without direct descendants, in 1709/10, Goodfathers appears to have remained empty and falling into disrepair. Her will has not been traced, although documents held at Somerset Archives (no. DD/S/BT/7/7/18) mention an Elizabeth Raynsford of Whitton as executrix and devisee of Rebecca, Countess Falkland.

further reading:Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

King's Warrant Book XIX, pp. 198-202, 16 April 1696
Royal warrant, dated Kensington, to the Attorney or Solicitor General for a great seal for a grant, release and confirmation to Rebecca, Viscountess Falkland, relict of Anthony Cary late Visct. Falkland, late Treasurer of the Navy and to her heirs and assigns for ever of all the lordship and manor of Great New otherwise Michells Teu, Co. Oxford; and all the rectory and parsonage of Great Tew and Little Tew and all the appurtenances thereto with the advowson to the vicarage of Great Tew; and the capital messuage or mansion house of Great Tew as hitherto enjoyed by her; and the park or enclosed ground called the Park adjoining the said messuage and the meadow ground adjoining containing in the whole 119 acres heretofore in the tenure of William Draper Esq. and John Grundy; and the coppice or wood ground called the Upper Coppice containing 3 acres heretofore in the tenure of John Grundy; and the messuage or tenement called the Farm House and the close adjoining containing 7 acres and the close called the Beares Close containing 7.5  acres heretofore in the tenure of John Gerard: and the parcels of meadow or pasture called Preists Lands, Coleway Hills, the coppice between Coleway Hills and Lodgfeild and the grove of trees adjoining to Oxon Hayes meadow containing in the whole 160 acres heretofore in the tenure of Richard Gascoyne; and the coppice called Woolcome Copice of 2.5 acres in the like tenure; and the parcels of meadow or pasture called New Leasow of 78.5 acres heretofore in the tenure of Thomas Hore, and New Leasow adjoining and heretofore belonging thereto, being 21 acres and heretofore in the tenure of William Hiorne and John Hiorne; and the parcels of meadow or pasture called Lodgfeild of 137 acres heretofore in the tenure of Timothy Taylour of North Newington; and the close called Great Poole of 4 acres heretofore in the occupation of the said Viscountess Falkland; and the parcels of meadow or pasture called Beaconsfeilds, Nastfeilds and Cotman Mead of 420 acres heretofore in the tenure of William Draper, John Gerard, and William Pready; and the meadow called Parsons Meadow and the little close adjoining, in all 10 acres heretofore in the tenure of John Hiorne; and the lands called Grove Ashe Farm: and all other the lands and hereditaments of the said late Visct. Falkland within Great Tew, Little Tew and Sandford, and all the Crown's title thereto arising by reason of any [Navy] moneys received by him from the Crown, from Charles II, James II, the late Queen Consort Mary and the present King, viz., as Treasurer of the Navy or by reason of any other debts owing to the Crown: all which premises were (by lease and release of 1681 Aug. 12 and 13 between the said Viscount and Viscountess of the one part and Thomas Kerwood, Henry Cherrey and James Needler of the second part, Dame Rebecca Litton mother of the said Viscountess and William Hussy of the third part, and Sir Edward Atkins and Playters Lucy of the fourth part) settled for the life of said Visct., his wife and Rebecca his mother who is still living: and further hereby no process is to go against the said Viscountess by reason of any such moneys or account as above.

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