Carthew, Thomas (DNB00)


CARTHEW, THOMAS (1657–1704), serjeant-at-law, eldest son of Thomas Carthew of Cannaliggy, St. Issey in Cornwall, who married Mary Baker of Bodmin, was born on 6 April 1657. If the authority of Hals, the Cornish historian, can be trusted, he was for some time ‘in the inferior practice of the law under Mr. Tregenna, without being a perfect Latin grammarian, always using the English words for matters and things in his declarations where he understood not the Latin.’ He became a student at the Middle Temple on 21 May 1683, and on 14 June 1686 was called to the bar, Hals adding that he gained his advancement ‘by a mandamus from the lord keeper, North,’ with whom he was undoubtedly connected by marriage. He was admitted to the same position at the Inner Temple on 23 Nov. 1698, and was created a serjeant-at-law on 7 Nov. 1700, when he was raised to the bench of his inn. The same local historian prophesied his growth ‘into such great fame and reputation, that he is likely to make a considerable addition to his paternal estate,’ but on 4 July 1704 Narcissus Luttrell records in his diary, ‘'tis reported Serjeant Carthew is dead,’ and on 12 July he was buried in the Temple Church. John Colby of Banham in Norfolk married Ann, daughter and heiress of John Arthur of Wiggenhall St. Mary. At Colby's death his widow married Edward North of Benacre, Suffolk. Ann, one of Colby's two daughters and coheiresses, married a second Edward North, and the other daughter, Mary, married Serjeant Carthew. By her the serjeant had two sons, Thomas and John, both at the bar, and Thomas, the elder, inherited Cannaliggy from his father, and Benacre and Woodbridge from his maternal uncle, Edward North. The Cornish property he sold in 1720, and the Suffolk estates have long passed from the family, but a portrait of the serjeant is said to be preserved at Woodbridge Abbey. A volume of the serjeant's, ‘Reports of Cases adjudged in the Court of King's Bench from 3 Jac. II to 12 Will. III,’ was published by his son, Thomas Carthew, in 1728, and reprinted in an enlarged edition in 1741. A ‘Reading on the law of uses by Serjeant Carthew at New Inn in Michaelmas term, the third of William and Mary, when he was deputy reader for the Middle Temple,’ was included in a volume entitled ‘Collectanea Juridica’ (1791). The serjeant's reports are praised by Kenyon and Willes, but condemned by Thurlow.

[Benchers of Inner Temple (1883) p. 58; Woolrych's Serjeants, ii. 459–63; Suckling's Suffolk, ii. 123–4; Courtney and Boase's Bibl. Cornub. 64, 1116; Miscell. Geneal. et Herald. iii. 176; Parochial Hist. of Cornwall (1868), ii. 236–7, 241.]

W. P. C.