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Bampfylde-Moore Carew

Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VII, (1912-1913), Exeter: James G. Commin. 1913, pp. 111-112.


A.J.P. Skinner

Prepared by Michael Steer

Bampfylde Moore Carew (1693–1759) was a rogue, vagabond and impostor, who claimed to be King of the Beggars. He was the son of Reverend Theodore Carew, rector of Bickleigh. The Carews were a well-established county family, although they had a reputation for adventurousness. Bampfylde Moore Carew took this to extremes if his picaresque memoirs are to be believed. Little is known about his life beyond these, in which he is described on the title-page as "the Noted Devonshire Stroller and Dogstealer". The Note relates to an episode after Carew’s travel to Newfoundland, where he stayed a short time. On his return, he pretended to be the mate of a vessel and eloped with the daughter of a respectable apothecary of Newcastle on Tyne, whom he afterwards married.The article, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers

Note 84. BAMPFYLDE-MOORE CAREW. - The Parish Church Register of Stoke Damarell gives amongst the marriages the following interesting entry: -

"1733. Bampfyld-Moore Carew and Mary Gray were Marrd - Xbr  29 1733. Bans," The author of The Life of Bampfylde Moore Carew states: - "It was about this time our hero became sensible of the power of love. It was in the town of Newcastle, so famous for its coal works, which our hero visited out of curiosity, appearing there undisguised and making a very genteel appearance, that he became enamoured of the daughter of Mr. Gray, an eminent apothecary and surgeon there. He passed with her for the mate of a collier's vessel, in which he was supported by Captain L___ n, of Dartmouth, an old acquaintance of our hero's, who then commanded a vessel lying at Newcastle, and acknowledged him for his mate. These assertions satisfied the young lady very well, and she at length consented to exchange the tender care and love of a parent for that of a husband.

"The lover and his fair one being on board, they soon hoisted sail. They had an exceeding quick passage to Dartmouth, where they landed.

"The lovers set out for Bath, where they lawfully solemnized their nuptials with great gaiety and splendor.

"We cannot conclude on this head but with the deserved praises of our hero, from whose mouth we have had repeated assurance that, during their voyage to Dartmouth, and their journey from thence to Bath, not the least indignity was offered to the innocence or modesty of his dear Miss Gray."

The author evidently is in error, as the above entry shows they must have gone from Dartmouth to Stoke Damarell, where they were married previously to proceeding to Bath.