Nicholas was sworn in as Prevot on 25 February 1582/3 and was one
of the few guernseymen who was friendly with Sir Thomas Leighton,
whose autocratic disposition estranged him from the independent Islanders.
On 5 February 1586/7, Sir Thomas, writing to the Earl of Leicester
on various matters connected with the Island, says:
' Hit may therfore please yor Lp to retorne me yor pleasure
by this berrar whos name is Peter Cary a marchante off this issle
honneste and trusty, who is to declare farther to yor Lp off the
Spanish preparacione accordinge to the generalle reports of all
that comith frome thense '
The mention of the 'Spanish preparacione' referred to the Spanish
Armada which set sail the next year, 12 May 1588.
The letter continues urging the advisability of executing Mary,
Queen of Scots, counselling the Earl to prevail upon Queen Elizabeth
' suffer dewe punishmente to be done uppon that wikid won,
throgh whos meanes her Maties death is dayly still soghte, and will
be so longe as the other hathe lyffe. Wherefore my good lorde deale
vehemently with her Matie, take no refusalle tille that enemye to
you and he highness be executed '
Queen Mary's execution took place three days later on February 1586/7.
On 22 May 1588, Peter was sworn in as a Jurat and three years later
he stood out against a proposal that on the death of a Jurat all legal
business should be suspended until the election of his successor,
on the grounds that an action once commenced should be continued without
interuption. He was in the minority and the courts were closed for
four days, but the practice seems to have been discontinued.
In 1594 Peter, as 'Procureur of the Poor and Necessitous of the
Island' was engaged in a lawsuit with the guardian of Marye de la
Court, on a seizure which he had made on the property of the de la
Court Benevolent Fund and had to pay £80 trs.
On 18 August 1597 he was present at a very sad occurence. Sir Thomas
Leighton. the Governor, had invited a party of guests to cross to
Herm to a picnic and to hunt deer. Herm was then the game preserve
of the Governor and was well stocked with deer, pheasants, and partridges.
Peter was invited together with Sir Thomas's son, also Thomas, together
with Peter's son, also called Peter, Samuel Cartwright and two other
guests, Walter St John and his tutor, Isaac Daubeny who were both
staying at Castle Cornet. Whilst the elders were engaged in hunting,
the younger members did their lessons with the tutor. After dinner,
the four youths set out to bathe, but unfortunately Walter St John
got into difficulties. Isaac Daubeny, the tutor went to his rescue
but in the process, both were drowned. Peter and the others managed
to recover the bodies and took them back to Castle Cornet. An inquest
was held at which twenty nine witnesses were examined.
In 1607, Peter represented Sir Thomas Leighton as his Lieutenant
during the visit of the Royal Commissioners sent over by James I to
regulate the course of Justice and to redress various grievances.
The Commissioners were Sir Robert Gardner and James Hussey, Doctor
of Law and one of the Masters of the Court of Chancery. It was the
most important Commission of its day, in the extent of its investigation
of the history of Guernsey. It starts with twenty eight complaints
against Sir Thomas Leighton, in most of which his tyrannical and overbearing
disposition shows itself, and the Commissioners found against him
in almost every instance. It is perhaps just to him to state that
he was not the only offender, the Bailiff and Jurats were accused
of many irregularities - in the holding of the courts, excessive sentences,
unlawful exactions for dispensing justice, illegal taxation - and
the Receiver for irregularities in the receipt of, and even embezzlement
of Crown Revenues. Overall, the affairs of the Island required a complete
purge. Peter put before the Royal Court on 31 January 1607/8 several
protests against the findings of the Commissioners but was over-ruled.
After Sir Thomas's death in 1610, Peter appears to have withdrawn
from public service. he was appointed 'Superviseur de la Chaussée'
on 18 January 1618/9 and in that capacity he was engaged in extensive
repairs and alterations to the pier. at that time, the pier consisted
of an arm to the South. On 31 May 1622 he was sworn in as Lieutenant
and Deputy of Sir Peter Osborne, the Lieutenant-Governor under Lord
Henry Danvers, who has suceeded Lord Zouche in the Governorship.
In 1629, he was stated to be bedridden when his son, Pierre was
put up for the Juratcy - it seemed that he was unlikely to serve again.
Peter was buried on 24 November 1629 at the Town Church having survived
his son by ten days.
He owned several properties which can be found as noted in Reports
made by the Queen Elizabeth in 1597 of the Fiefs of Guernsey:
Of Peter Careye, son and heire of Nicolas Carey for a Water
Mill in ye said Parish called the King's Mill of the Bridgs Bordage)
which he holdeth in fee farm and payeth for yt same of yearly rent
at Michaelmas only.
Of peter Carey, for the fee farme of a certain Bordage called
the Bordage Durant with the ground of the Park (except the Bordage
The Heirs of Nicollas Carey senior for ye rent of a Cloase
of Lands happening by ye Escheate of John du Gaillard.
The Merchants Mark of Peter Carey was originally carved into
a large stone built into the south arm of the old pier. In his
capacity as 'Superviseur de la Chaussée', he was authorized
to build a parapet and to demand labour and materials from the
Douzaine of St Peter Port, under a penalty for non compliance.
There was a small building at the end of the South Arm, in which
criminals were temporarily-confined in the event of bad weather
/ darkness prior to their transfer by the Sheriff to Castle
The building was demolished in 1832 and replaced by a lighthouse
into which construction, the stone was transferred. During later
alterations in 1859, the stone again was moved and built into
the slaughter-house in St Peter Port. General De Vic Carey later
had it removed and built into the stone-work of the great arch
in the gateway at Le Vallon.
The Merchants Mark of Peter Carey now in the great archway