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Carden Family History

Tuesday, 22 November 2016



It is not certain that this is Sir Henry’s Sword, though it is a fairly typical sword of a Dragoon officer during the Peninsula War, and is engraved with the initials HRC.

A full biography appears in the new edition of ‘Carden of Templemore’ to be issued early in 2017.  Henry was commissioned as a Cornet with the 1st (or Royal) Regiment of Dragoons in September 1807, aged 18.  The regiment arrived in Portugal in April 1809.  In October Henry ‘not only headed a charge with conspicuous gallantry but, following up his advantage too far, had his horse shot under him & was wounded and taken.’  A planned exchange failed and he was held as a POW in France until repatriated in 1814 in time to participate in the battle of Waterloo.

The sword was offered on ebay in August 2016 by a seller in USA, and was bought by Mark Carden.  It had been drawn to Arthur Carden’s attention by Richard Schenk of USA who had discussed it on the forum at  where someone suggested that the initials HRC engraved upon it might be those of Sir Henry.

Schenk wrote:

This is certainly a genuine Pattern 1796 Heavy Cavalry dress sword of the type worn up to 1821 when it was replaced by the M1821 cavalry sword.  It is mounted with an earlier blade which appears to be from a Scottish broad sword.  It is marked with the name "Andrea Ferrara" (as is traditional with Scottish broad swords), a crowned "GR", and the owner's initials "HRC" in an ornate, hard to decipher style.  From the style, it would appear the initials were etched on the blade at a later time than the other markings, probably when it was rehilted. 

It probably wasn't the blade which was replaced but rather the hilt.  In cases like this when we see an old blade on a newer model sword, it is usually because an officer wanted to use an old family sword when he joined the military, so he would have the blade mounted in a current model hilt and scabbard.  This was a not at all uncommon practice at the time.  This blade could possibly date back to the 17th century;  if so, the Crown/GR etching would have been added sometime in the mid-1700s, and the "HRC" monogram at an even later date.

As to whether Sir Henry wore this sword at Waterloo on other engagements is uncertain.  This was a dress sword.  He probably also had an undress sword which was in a plainer style which was the one usually carried on informal occasions (such as a battle).  This might explain how it survived his capture on the Peninsula - when he was captured he was likely wearing his undress sword while his dress sword was with his fancy full-dress uniform back in camp.  After his release he was probably able to recover his old belongings.

(No other expert opinion is available at present.)

It seems almost certain that this was Sir Henry Robert Carden’s sword. He inherited the baronetcy in 1822 and renamed many of the Templemore streets after Peninsula War battles. Perhaps at that time he had his Waterloo Medal refurbished. It seems likely that he also either obtained this sword and adopted it as his own or had his own genuine sword refurbished.

The sword probably remained with the family in Templemore until the contents of Templemore Abbey were sold at auction in 1921.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Joan Carden AO, opera singer

Joan has been a friend and regular correspondent since we first met at Covent Garden in March 1974, when she sang the top role of Gilda in Rigoletto.   See
 (Scroll down a long way in this blog to see the posting Joan at Covent Garden 1990 )

Opera Australia to mark 60th anniversary with a performance to raise the roof

Ex-principal soprano Joan Carden celebrates the 2016 season of Opera Australia at the Sydney Opera House, marking 60 years of the iconic company.


Sunday, 8 May 2016

Albertine ("Atty") Carden

As many of you already know, my beloved wife Atty died on Saturday January 23rd. She had been discharged from hospital at the end of November to a nursing home specialising in end-of-life care where she was superbly looked after and remained her usual feisty self until the last few days of her life when she faded gently away and then died peacefully and painlessly in her sleep.

A non-religious funeral took place at Worthing Crematorium on February 8th. We held a celebration of her life in London on May 7th. 
I have written a brief biography of her fascinating life, mentioning her childhood in Holland during the war and how she became an orphan there before making her way to England. A copy is available from me.
Portrait made in Indonesia in 1972

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

The Tank Museum

Readers may be amused at this picture recently taken by the staff photographer at the Tank Museum, Bovington, of myself with a 1927 fore-runner of the Bren Gun Carrier, designed by 'Peter' Carden, later Sir John Valentine Carden. A full biography of the latter appears in my book Carden of Templemore.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Portrait of the 1st Baronet

This portrait of Sir John was sold by Adams in Dublin on October 13th 2015 for €2,700.00, below the estimate of €3,000.00 - €5,000.00. The catalogue description was as follows:

ROBERT HUNTER (1745-1803). Portrait of Sir John Craven Carden, 1st Baronet, half-length, wearing uniform. Oil on canvas, 74 x 62cm.
This portrait of John Craven Carden is in the uniform of the Templemore Light Dragoons, a volunteer regiment raised in response to the withdrawal of regular troops required for the American War but which rapidly acquired political leverage. Carden had inherited large estates in Tipperary acquired in the Cromwellian settlement of the 17th Century. Although without parliamentary influence, Carden represented landed interests which the Castle administration were keen to control. Bribes were measured and Carden was made a baronet in 1787. He proved to be a sound man in the 1798 rebellion and by fortifying the Market House in Templemore denied the town to the rebels. He also leased the land for a barracks (now the Garda Training College) and donated the site of the Catholic Church in 1810.
(The above description is not taken directly from any source of which I am aware, and I do not understand the reference to bribes.)
I saw a very similar portrait in the 7th Baronet’s flat in London, when I visited him shortly before his death in 2008.  His daughter Isabel sold that portrait, but believes the one sold in 2015 was a copy. The frame is totally different, but otherwise they are similar, as will be seen from the reproduction in Carden of Templemore.
I have written a letter to the purchaser, c/o the auctioneers, but have not yet received a reply.


Sunday, 20 September 2015

Dr Thom Carden - USA branches

Many of you will have seen Dr Thom Carden’s chart at

It is an amazing diagram showing how twelve or more of the USA branches are connected.

I was put in touch with Dr Thom in about 2007 by Chuck (see item about him below). He sent me a copy of his chart, and he also sent me a massive document listing 1,400 Cardens and Cardins in USA. He said he “found this on a disk in my New Year clean up time.“  He must have carried out a huge amount of research and corresponded with a great many people. If anyone would like me to search the document for a specific Carden ancestor, I will be glad to do that for them.

Dr Thom appears in Chuck’s book as Thomas Ray Carden , born 19 May 1931 in Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana.  He married (1) Shirley Ann Towles ; (2) Anita Van Natter.  I think he must have died in about 2010.  Does anyone have more information and perhaps a photograph of him?

Della Ford Nash writes:  after reading your blog I wanted to send you this picture of Thom Carden and his wife Anita from a letter received in 1990.    Anita died in February 2014 but I believe Dr Thom may still be alive as he commented on the Mormon History blog in April 2014.


For more of Della’s letter please contact me.


Thursday, 20 August 2015

Carden’s Wild Domain

A splendid video of someone singing “Carden’s Wild Domain” was posted on August 15 2015 by Joe Coughlan to the facebook page related to his site  You can view it at  

Joe writes:  The song was recorded in 1985 as part of a project to record the songs and stories of the local people before they all disappeared.  The man in the video is Paddy Nolan from near Templemore.  I am not sure if he is still alive.

According to a book The Spirit of Tipperary, Anon, Guardian 1930, the ballad was written between 1870 and 1880 “when Woodcock Carden of Barnane was at the height of his tyrannical power,”  but may refer to Templemore rather than Barnane.  It was written by Rev. Timothy Corcoran (1857-1928) and appears in full in my book Carden of Barnane, almost exactly as sung by Paddy Nolan.


Monday, 13 July 2015

Portsmouth, July 11th 2015

Photograph taken during a family visit to the exhibition featuring Admiral Sackville Carden 

Matthew, Charlie, David, Adam, Richard, Mark, Nelson, Tom, Brian
Michael, Carol, Lynn, Giles, Kirsten, Tamsin
Marcella, Liz, Shane, Arthur, Kathryn, Annette, Anne

All Carden, except McCorkell - Nelson, Tom, Tamsin, Kirsten; Woodford - Brian, Liz, Marcella;
James - Shane; Fernyhough - Annette 

Missing from picture: Tim Carden and family; Bruce and Alison Garrett; Kenneth Thompson


Monday, 22 June 2015

Exciting news about Molesey, Worcester and other ‘Cheshire’ branches

Carol Smith of the Matlock branch has made some exciting speculations about the forebears of the Molesey, Worcester, Winsford, Randle, Monmouth and Bendigo branches, all of which have chapters in my book CARDEN OF CHESHIRE.

For instance, it is now almost certain that the earliest previously known member of the Molesey branch was a brother of an early member of the Worcester branch. The former branch included the Lord Mayor of London, the latter the mayor of Worcester. Carol has carried both these branches back, via Shropshire, to John and Margery who lived in 1600 at Caldecott, Cheshire, near Carden Hall.

Carol has also found fascinating information about the forebears of the other ‘Cheshire’ branches mentioned above.

For more information, please contact me at

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Barnane Supplement now available

The promised Supplement to Carden of Barnane is now available from (put CARDEN in the search box).

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Carden Cancer Research Fellowship

Joan Carden, the famous Australian soprano, has drawn my attention to the death aged 85 in December 2014 of Dr Donald Metcalf, holder of the Carden Cancer and Leukaemia Research Fellowship almost from its inception. Metcalf spent more than 40 years developing colony stimulating factors, or CSFs, for clinical use. An estimated 20 million people have now been treated with CSFs, including the Spanish tenor José Carreras, improving their chances of beating cancer.

“CSFs are now standard treatment and every year the number of people alive because Don’s work grows,” said Professor Douglas Hilton, director of Walter and Eliza Hall Institute off Medical Research.

George Frederick Carden (1872-1942), a wealthy businessman and Melbourne City Councillor, left most of his money to establish the fellowship because of family disagreements, described in the Bendigo chapter of my book Carden of Cheshire. He was a son of John Moss Carden who emigrated from Cheshire as a teenager and in due course became a member of the Ballarat and Bendigo stock exchanges. He was a younger brother of Joan’s grandfather William Henry Pearson Carden of Kalgoorlie.


Thursday, 26 March 2015

Gallipoli exhibition at Portsmouth

The exhibition mentioned below runs from 28 March until the end of January 2016.  My son Mark and I were invited to a preview which took place a few days ago, and were most impressed. There are several displays of material concerning Admiral Carden.

I am now organising a mini-gathering of family members in Portsmouth on Saturday July 11th to view the exhibition and exchange information. 15 members of the Tipperary branches have already said they are coming and of course everyone else is most welcome to join us.  Please contact me at for details.

Those interested may like to visit

My book Carden and the Dardanelles is now available from me or from, for £7.50, copyright consent having been received.


Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Manufacturing Carden cars

These two photographs appeared in a document published by The Society of Automotive Historians. The top photo is titled "The motor assembling group as employed by Carden Engineering Co. Ltd. of Ascot" the lower photo is not captioned but one must assume it is the Carden management 'team'.

I hope to add these pictures in due course to the chapter on Sir John Valentine Carden in my book Carden of Templemore.



Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Admiral Sir Sackville Hamilton Carden

Sackville Hamilton Carden, nephew of my grandfather, belonged to the Barnane, Tipperary, branch of the family. His papers were given to me by his granddaughter, and selected material will be used in an Exhibition in Portsmouth starting on March 25th 2015, the anniversary of the attempt to force the Dardanelles. My short book Carden and the Dardanelles, based on his papers, will be available as soon as copyright consent for some additional material has been obtained.

 Here is a summary.

Until 1915, Sackville Carden’s naval career could be described as excellent if not spectacular.  He earned the Légion d’Honneur and other medals for his part in clashes in Suakin in 1884 and Benin in 1897, was promoted to captain in December 1899 and to rear-admiral in 1908. By 1910 he was flying his flag in the battleship London in the Atlantic Fleet, aged 53. This was expected to be pretty much the culmination of his career and his last sea-going post. By the outbreak of the Great War he had stepped ashore to become the vice-admiral in charge of the dockyard in Malta.

Rather to everyone’s surprise he was chosen in September 1914 to command the British battle squadron (and also French forces under Amiral Guépratte) in the eastern Mediterranean. He became Churchill’s pawn in his plan to open a new theatre of war by forcing the Dardanelles and capturing Constantinople. On Churchill’s instructions Carden drew up a detailed plan and told Churchill that it might be successful. Churchill used Carden’s plan to force agreement from the War Council and in March 1915 Carden found himself flying his flag in the first super-dreadnought Queen Elizabeth, the newest and most formidable battleship in the world, commanding a fleet which included another dreadnought and twelve older battleships, four cruisers, six submarines, twenty-one minesweepers and other ships, perhaps the largest fleet to go into battle since Trafalgar. The bombardment of the forts at the entrance to the Dardanelles began on 19 February 1915.

It proved impossible to force the Dardanelles under Carden’s plan, which required the Turkish guns to be silenced before the fleet entered the Narrows. Instead of admitting defeat and withdrawing, Churchill pressed for greater efforts, and with reluctance Carden planned to risk disaster by entering the strait before the guns were silenced and the mines swept.

At that point he collapsed and had to hand over to his No.2, Admiral Jack de Robeck, who pressed on, soon losing the French battleship Bouvet with 640 men. Then the dreadnought Inflexible was badly damaged, the battleship Irresistible was utterly obliterated, and two more allied battleships were lost.

The whole project should have been called to a halt, but plans were already afoot for the army to invade, leading to the horrors of Gallipoli.

Carden wanted to return to his post as soon as he recovered, but his career was over. He received his knighthood in 1916 and retired as a full admiral the following year. Perhaps Marder was right in saying that ‘Carden was a charming man and an ideal peacetime admiral, but he had none of the qualities needed for an admiral at war in the technical age.’

(He has a chapter to himself in Turtle Bunbury’s book The Glorious Madness - Tales of the Irish & the Great War, Gill & Macmillan, 2014)


Monday, 19 January 2015

Lockwood family of Cashel, Tipperary

Those who have a copy of Carden of Templemore will have seen the a chapter on the Lockwood family, which intermarried with members of the Carden family on no less than six occasions, and were important people in the locality, especially in Cashel. 

 Roger Carden Depper has studied the family in depth. He writes that he would very much like some help with Richard Lockwood who may have been born in about 1660. Did he come from England with Cromwell?  He was buried at St John Church, Cashel on 16 March 1735. In 1713/1714 he was Mayor and then Alderman of Cashel.  He and his son Richard had vested interests in the development of the Town of Cashel.   They were involved in land transactions with the Smith/Barry estate and the Church.  Land agents.  In a letter dated 1700 Ann Wansbrough states that her sister Lucy had married her steward and clerk Richard Lockwood.  The Wansbrough family came from Shrewton in Wiltshire.

Please respond to Roger at or by adding a comment.


Friday, 5 December 2014

Templemore no longer has a Mayor!

A group of us visited Templemore as an extension of the Carden Gathering in 2008, and were entertained wonderfully by Jim O’Shea, the mayor of Templemore.  Now, in 2014, the Templemore Town Council has ceased to exist, being replaced by the Templemore-Thurles Municipal District. Tipperary has been divided into five such districts.  The excellent web site with its many pictures and historical snippets including Carden items has vanished.  Jim has however set up a Templemore Community Council, and let us hope that it will ensure some continuity.

 Another feature that has ceased to exist is Paul Walsh’s bookshop in the Main Street, established by his grandfather, author of a history of Templemore. It used to stock my books, but they can still be found in the library, I am glad to say.


Thursday, 16 October 2014

Carwarden House School Jubilee

Sir John Valentine Carden, the tank designer, built Carwarden House near Camberley in Surrey, England, in 1932, soon after he inherited the title. He knew he should have spelled it Cawarden without the ‘r’ but apparently the mistake was made when the name board was painted!

It is now a school for children with learning difficulties.  Out of the blue I received an invitation from the headmaster, Jarlath O’Brien, to attend the jubilee of the 1964 opening. He asked for the addresses of the current baronet and of Isabel Carden of New York, grand-daughter of Sir John.

On September 12th, Isobel, my brother Michael and I attended the Jubilee. The photograph shows Jarlath on the left, Isabel on the right (with the mayor), and centre, by the door, Michael. The window on the left is a replacement for the one pictured in Carden of Templemore. The original was a single sheet of glass which could be lowered into the ground so that people could step outside from the sitting-room, typical of Sir John’s imaginative engineering.

We were all tremendously impressed by the school and the way in which it enabled so many disadvantaged children to enjoy life and participate in society, finding work in supermarkets, hairdressers, bakeries, etc.  Many classrooms have been added, but much of Sir John’s original house remains unaltered. Jarlath and others were very pleased to learn more from us about Sir John and the building. “That explains why there is a story of a tank being buried somewhere in the grounds,” he said.

Afterwards Isabel, Michael and I tried to find Sir John’s tomb (where the 7th baronet is also buried) in a nearby cemetery, without success.

(A more comprehensive record will appear in the next edition of Carden of Templemore).

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

National Library of Ireland

I received a request from the NLI for a copy of Carden of Barnane so I have just made a donation to the library of the current editions of that book and of Carden of Templemore. Their nice letter of thanks arrived today.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Another Carden car

My wife's sister tells me that the motor museum at The Hague has a Carden cyclecar on display. So don't visit The Hague without taking a photograph of it for me!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

2013 Carden Gathering

Carden Gathering - Virginia 2013 - (This report kindly written by Richard).

More than 40 members of the Carden family clan attended the Gathering held at Hampton Virginia from 13th- 15th September 2013. They included two groups from the UK –David, Lynn, Janet & Stuart from the Brighton branch and Anne & Richard from Norfolk, members of the Fishmoyne branch of the family.

Held at the Embassy Suites hotel on the outskirts of Hampton the programme of the event included a number of presentations by members on family histories and related subjects. An excellent Southern Banquet was much enjoyed but, as usual with Carden Gatherings, the best part of the event was the opportunity to meet informally members of the extended family in such pleasant surroundings.

Meeting in Hampton provided attendees with the opportunity of visiting the nearby historic sites of Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown. The British members of the family were obviously suitably humble at the last. The final part of the Gathering was a fascinating boat trip from Hampton Harbour round the Roads passing the Norfolk naval base and other historic sites.

Thanks must go to everybody involved in the organisation of the event but particularly Eddie I & his family and Beth Carden Tate. Everybody attending, especially the UK contingent, had a great time. Roll on the next Gathering.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Carden of Cheshire

Visitors to (put CARDEN in search box) will see that a new edition of Carden of Cheshire is now available.

The revised front cover, reproduced here, shows a splendid painting by Marrion Carding of the ruins of Wingfield Manor. Marrion has discovered that in the sixteenth century William Carden was Keeper of Wingfield Manor for the Earl of Shrewsbury when Mary Queen of Scots was incarcerated there. There are several contributions by Carol Smith (née Carding), one of which shows that David Cawardyn was the first of our family to own Mavesyn Ridware, with its wonderful Carden tombs and hatchments, not Sir John Cawarden of Carden in Cheshire.

There are comprehensive chapters on the Matlock, Winsford, Worcester, Bendigo, and Monmouth branches of the family.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Cardenton, Athy, Co Kildare

There appears to be no connection between Cardenton, Co Kildare, Ireland, a well known golf course and the site of the 2011 ploughing chapionships, and the Carden family. The very helpful Kildare librarian wrote: "The official name seems to be Cardington though I have only heard it referred to as Cardenton - seems that in this case it can be traced back at least to 14th century which pre-dates your branch of the family’s arrival in Ireland," which is a pity because I had hoped to learn something about their first home, which may have been in Co Kildare before they went to Tipperary.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Chuck Carden has died

Chuck died at Cape Cod, USA, on March 28th. 2013  He will be greatly missed by all who knew him personally, including those who remember him from his attendance at the Carden Gathering in Cheshire in 1998. He will also be greatly missed by those who corresponded with him about Carden history,and by readers of his book CARDEN IN AMERICA which I am proud to have helped him publish.  Only six weeks ago he wrote "I thought I would be sending the 2nd edition to you by now, but as you can see from the attached photo I had a slight accident."

The picture alongside is reproduced from the back cover of his book.

For more about the book see post below dated 19 March 2012.

(Added December 2013). CARDEN IN AMERICA has been revised to mention Chuck's death.)

Isabel Carden MBE

Isabel Carden, daughter of the seventh baronet (1926-2008, Templemore branch) lives in New York.  In the Queen's birthday honours in June 2012 she became an MBE. The citation was Ms Isabel M Carden, Director, The Queen Elizabeth II Garden, New York. For services to the UK/USA business and British Community interests in New York.

The picture alongside shows Isabel between two other recipients of honours, at a reception held on December 10 at the British Residence in New York held to congratulate the three of them (Isabel Carden MBE, Richard Fursland CBE and Sir John Richardson KBE).

I have met Isabel on a couple of her visits to London.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Ambassador Carden

Visitors to will find that a family member is the United States Representative to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (“ASEAN”) with the rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. He was nominated by President Barack Obama in November 2010 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in March, 2011.

He corresponded with me about a DNA test in 2008, but we lost contact. 

(Added in December 2014).  As will be seen from a visit to Wikipedia, David has now rejoined his law firm and is based in Singapore. We have corresponded and he has put me in touch with his brother Douglas, who has bought Chuck's book and one of mine. Their great grandfather was Allen D. Carden, born in 1862, who lived in Gratz, Owen County, Ky.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Tilston and Carden Hall

While revising my Carden of Cheshire book mentioned below, I contacted Jane Stephenson who gave us such a wonderful talk in 1998 about the early history of the family in Cheshire, and she has sent her best wishes to all of us and writes "I do only occasional forays into Landscape History nowadays as I am currently ‘Rector’ of Tilston (more accurately I am ‘priest-in-charge') and find my opportunities for history curtailed, although it gives me plenty of chance to add information about the ecclesiastical  history!"  We owe her a great debt, and what she told us has been very frequently quoted and has become part of family lore.

In this context, readers might like to visit a site drawn to my attention by Eddie Carden of USA, which gives a great deal of information about the history and archaeology of the Carden Hall site, without once mentioning our family!

Monday, 19 March 2012

Carden in America


The above book is now available from where the following description will be found -

With encouragement from Arthur Carden, Chuck Carden has agreed to make available for posterity, in book form, a large part of his research on the family, which includes entries for over 5,900 Carden descendants and spouses living in USA. They mostly descend from one or more immigrants from Cheshire, England. An attempt is made to indicate which Carden males have submitted samples for DNA analysis and what conclusions can be drawn. Though only twelve branches of the family in America are covered the book will be of widespread interest. Purchase now is advised, as the next edition in a few months' time will be more expensive.

The next, more expensive, edition will contain only minor improvements such as better artwork on the cover.

I personally believe that this 570-page book, densely packed with information and with an excellent index, should be in the library of every American member of the family, whether they belong to one of the twelve branches or not.


Tuesday, 31 January 2012

CARDEN OF CHESHIRE and the Cheshire Carden Diaspora

(revised 15 May 2012)

The above book is now available from me or from Lulu where the following description will be found:

The original purpose of this book was to place in the public domain the documents recording information on the following Carden branches, not previously published in book form: Winsford, Bendigo, Randle and Monmouth. In the latest edition the opportunity has been taken to include a great deal of of extra information about the family in Cheshire in medieval times and about Carden Hall, and also to include material about the whole Cheshire Carden diaspora world-wide.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

The destruction of the Barnane mansion

After 1932, when Captain Andrew Carden died, the mansion came into the possession of Walter Thompson, his 'good friend.'  The Thompson family had been associated with Barnane for several generations, and Andrew's father had let a large part of the estate to them. I recently met Walter Thompson's son, a bishop-abbot in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Apparently after destroying the mansion by selling the lead on the roof and other acts to meet his heavy debts, Walter Thompson married Annie, only daughter of H J Butler-Lloyd of Lloydsboro', a nearby mansion.  Their son, baptised as Mervyn Thomson-Butler-Lloyd, but now known as Father Demetrius, was born in 1939. Walter served at Dublin Castle during the war.

More about Walter Thomson and Father Demetrius, whose photographs appear here, will appear in my forthcoming supplement to Carden of Barnane.


Saturday, 5 February 2011

Robert Carden, Governor of Antigua in 1666

Colonel Robert Carden was appointed Governor of Antigua around 1660-1665. He was captured by the French during an invasion of the island in 1666, and was apparently murdered within a year. Robert's wife (twice widowed) and son (who died without issue in 1697 as Captain Robert Carden) continued to live on the island and several land transactions were made by them. The island was only briefly occupied by the French - it was returned to Britain at the treaty of Breda in 1668.

More information can be found in Antigua and the Antiguans: Also an Impartial View of Slavery and the Free Labour Systems; the ... by Flannigan, Lanaghan (or Mrs Lanaghan), Saunders and Otley, 1844. (Internet Archive edition digitised by Google from Harvard University collection and The History of the island of Antigua one of the Leeward Caribbees in the West Indies, from the first settlement in 1635 to the present time by Oliver, Vere Langford, Vol 1, London, 1894. (Internet Archive edition digitised by Boston Public Library).

Here is a quotation from the former -

MURDER OF COLONEL CARDEN. The fate of Colonel Carden was truly shocking. Soon after the French had abandoned Antigua, a party of Caribs landed, and cruelly treated the defenceless inhabitants. At length they proceeded to the house of the ex-governor, Colonel Carden, who treated them very kindly, and administered to their want. Upon their leaving, they requested their entertainer to accompany them to the beach, who instantly complied ; but the Caribs, more treacherous than the wild beasts that haunt the desert, had no sooner reached the place where their canoes were stationed, than they fell upon their kind host, cruelly murdered him, and broiled his head, which they afterwards carried with them to Dominica.


Sunday, 28 November 2010

Cardin, Oklahoma

Eddie Carden of Hampton VA kindly drew my attention to this photograph from   It is reproduced with the permission of John Schehrer who writes: From the "History of Ottawa County, Oklahoma," the name was changed from Tar River to Cardin about 1918 when Oscar Cardin promised to construct a half mile of sidewalk in the town, if it could bear his name. Louis LaFountaine Cardin and his brother, Oscar, had been adopted by the Quapaw Indians and given allotments in 1894. The family was prominent in the early mining development of Ottawa County. I am not sure if the Cardins were Indians or not.

Sunday, 3 October 2010


Those interested in canals should study the following books -

The Worcester and Birmingham Canal: Chronicles of the Cut by Revd. Alan White, 2005. Thomas Carden of Worcester (see my book on that branch) was one of the original promoters of this canal and a member of the committee all through its construction and chairman most of the time. He continued to be actively involved until 1827 at the age of 89.

The Anderton Boat Lift by David Carden, Black Dwarf Publications, 2000. See my book "Carden of Tonbridge."

The boat pictured here is believed to belong to David Carden of the Chalfont branch.  He and half a dozen other members of his immediate family came to the 1998 Gathering and all stayed at the Carden Park Hotel.  Subsequently they adopted a pheon-like symbol for their firm, which appears on the boat, I'm glad to see.  You will find it on their website at  



Saturday, 21 August 2010

Carden of Templemore

A new edition of CARDEN OF TEMPLEMORE is now available, far more comprehensive than the 2007 edition. See the page on Carden Books in the menu above.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

A remarkable John Carden

A solicitor by trade, John Carden, of Mottram St Andrew, Cheshire, England loved racing; first cars at Silverstone and later horses round Aintree. But a tragic fall at an amateur hurdles race 17 years ago left him paralysed from the neck down and dependent on an iron lung and round-the-clock care. Thanks to a ventilated wheelchair, he continued in law, representing Ken Dodd, Alex Higgins, George Best and cyclist Reg Harris.

He died in July 2010 aged 73.

A note about his brother Ted (and his Carden Car) appears later in this blog.

These two remarkable Cardens descend from a Lincolnshire branch called the Cardens of Rigsby. A document on the branch is available from Arthur Carden.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

National Portrait Gallery

These three portraits appear on the website of the National Portrait Gallery.

The sitters are, respectively,
Sir Robert Walter Carden, 1st Bt by Sir Leslie Ward, watercolour,
published in Vanity Fair 11 December 1880
Sir Robert Walter Carden, 1st Bt by London Stereoscopic & Photographic Company,
woodburytype print on paper mount, 1870s-1880s
Sir Sackville Hamilton Carden by Bassano, vintage print, 1915.

The NPG has 16 Carden portraits but only these three appear on its website.


Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Tower near the Devil's Bit

Those who joined the visit to Tipperary which followed the 2008 Carden Gathering (and others) will be interested to see this excellent picture of the tower near the Devil's Bit which appears in Michael Fewer's recent book Rambling Down the Suir. Click once on the picture, and again after a short delay, to enlarge it. Near the top right of the picture (beyond the modern house) can be seen the remains of Barnane House, the Carden mansion, and beyond it the field in which the Carden graveyard lies. Robert Rainsberry, who assisted John Rutter Carden in his 1856 attempted abduction of Eleanor Arbuthnot, lived in the tower in 1851.  I have written to ask Michael Fewer for permission to use the picture in the next edition of Carden of Barnane.


Monday, 29 March 2010

A Cardin family in St. Kitts

Readers may like to visit where they can read more about the Richard Cardin who was sent by the Earl of Romney to manage his estates in the Caribbean island of St Kitts. Richard may have been baptised at Lewes in 1762 and died in the USA after 1833. He had previously helped to develop sugar cane in India. He appears in my book Carden of Brighton both as Richard Carden and as Richard Cardin. The above web site is being created by Margo McPhillips of Maryland and adds a great deal to the information which appears in Carden of Brighton and was provided by Margo's second cousin Virginia Ness, also of USA.

The above illustration appears on the web site with the caption: “… St. Thomas, Middle Island (St. Kitts) dated December 1867. John and Agnes were married here and John and his father and several Cardin children are buried in the graveyard. …”


Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Recent News

CARDEN LORD MAYOR OF LONDON. Most readers will be aware that Sir Robert Walter Carden was created a baronet in 1887, having been Lord Mayor of London in 1857/8. Over the past 40 years I had had almost no contact with his descendants, though I had accumulated a good deal of information about this branch, the Cardens of Molesey.
. I was delighted to receive an email in February 2009 from the current baronet (who does not use the title) Christopher Robert Carden, born 1946, who lives in Bolivia and is a tropical forest consultant. His photograph, taken from Genes Reunited, appears alongside.
. Chris is now working intensively on a history of his branch. No 'paper' connection has yet been found with any other branch, a "blank wall" having been reached regarding the parents of Sir Robert's father, but analysis of a DNA sample submitted by Chris and other discoveries suggest a connection with the Matlock branch and with the original family in Cheshire.
PROOF THAT THE TIPPERARY CARDENS CAME FROM CHESHIRE. Though some early documents claimed that the first Cardens to arrive in Tipperary came from Cheshire, there was no firm evidence. It was hoped that DNA results would prove the matter, by showing a match with descendants of Cheshire Cardens. Unfortunately results for myself and two other Barnane Cardens are unique and implied that our ancestor, John born 1699, was not the biological son of Jonathan, the first Barnane Carden, though he made him his heir. Results for the only other two Tipperary Cardens to submit samples were inconclusive. In February, however, results for Peter O'Neil Carden of Australia were received, which exactly match (at all 37 loci examined) those descended from Cheshire Cardens. Wonderful!
CARDEN DNA PROJECT. Eddie Carden, a geneticist from North Carolina USA, and his father also called Eddie both of whom were at our recent Carden Gathering, have agreed to join me as joint administrators of the project. This will ensure it continues after my demise and will soon, I hope, lead to a more efficient operation. Several new results are in the pipeline, like the one above.
CARDENS OF MONMOUTH. I was recently contacted "out of the blue" by Steve Carden of this branch, and we can now trace its earliest member as William Carden born 1823, whose son Thomas was born in 1848 only a mile or two from Carden Hall in Cheshire.

Portrait of Sir Lionel Carden

Sir Lionel was mentioned in a blog in 2007 to be found quite a long way below. At the 2008 Carden Gathering my nephew Matthew Carden gave a lecture about Lionel's adventurous career which included recruiting General Millen of the IRA as an informer regarding the bomb plots in the late 1890s. See the report on the Gathering.

My son Mark recently saw this portrait of Sir Lionel in the dining room of Pratt's House at Eton College, where one of his godsons, James Richardson, is at school. The latter's father, Phil Richardson, kindly drew it to Mark's attention.

The portrait is signed H.J.Thaddeus 1912, so it is interesting that it was made at about the time he received his KCMG awarded for his services in Guatemala, just before he returned to Mexico where his policies infuriated President Woodrow Wilson.

Mark appears in the picture.

(posted 16 March 2010 and amended 18 March)

Admiral John Surman Carden and his father

Admiral John Surman Carden (1771-1858) of the Killard branch is mainly remembered as having surrendered HMS Macedonian to a vastly superior American frigate, the USS United States in 1812. He wrote some amusing and exciting memoirs which read like a Patrick O'Brien book and can be downloaded from His father, Major John Carden, was in command of British forces at the Battle of Hanging Rock during the American Revolutionary War, and later apparently faked his death in battle in order to marry, bigamously, a Miss Judith Wragg in Charleston. See the story in the Report on the 1998 Carden Gathering.
Mark Robinson is writing a biography of Major John Carden. He is seen in the picture (in October 2009) next to the plaque at Hanging Rock which commemorates the battle and mentions Major John Carden.

Carden in Scotland

The following extracts, including the pictures (described as "early 1900 photos"), are taken from Trish and Thor's site

Carden Tower

A 16th century dwelling house probably oblong in plan and containing three storeys, the lowest of which may have been vaulted. A feature of interest was the south west angle which was borne on a continous corbelling of four members. The round was provided with shot-holes pointing downwards.The masonry is rubble, Four and a half and Four and three quarters Feet thick but, the round and its corbel were of ashlar. The tower has been thirteen and a half feet wide internally but its length is indeterminate.This ruin stands on a rock overlooking the Gelly Burn in the Den approximately one mile south east of Cardenden Railway Station.

Royal Commission Ancient and Historical Monuments Scotland.

The estate of Carden first appeared in records associated with the family of Martyne in 1482 when King James 4 confirmed a charter by the deceased John Martyne of Medhope,Linlithgowshire to his son, Henry, of the lands of Cardwan, in the Constabulary of Kinghorn.It remained in that family until the death of Andrew Martyne without issue in 1549. No heir entered into possession for 50 years.In 1582, James 6 granted the lands of Carden to George Mertyne who claimed it through his mother, one of the Duries of that ilk. George Mertyne appears to have been the last of that family in Carden.In 1623 David Wemyss was served heir to his father, Duncan Wemyss, in the lands and Barony of Carden.

By 1642,  David Betson was successful in a petition to have his Barony of Carden disjoined from the Parish of Kinghorn and adjoined to Auchterderran. In 1707 it was disposed of to the Earl of Melville and in 1725 the estate of Carden became the property of Ferguson of Raith.

Carden Tower

Until 1988 we thought that the earliest record of Carden was in 1482 when James 4 confirmed a charter of John Martyne of Medhope in Linlithgowshire which granted to his son.Henry Martyne, the lands of Cardwan in the Constabulary of Kinghorn. However,having searched all the usual historical sources, we decided to write to Geoffrey Barrow at the Department of Scottish History in Edinburgh.Imagine our excitement when he wrote back saying that he had recently come across a completely unknown charter of William the Lion, dated around 1170, which referred to "my forest of Carden". According to Professor Barrow, it would seem likely that Carden was an area of woodland in the 12th Century which the Kings of Scotland kept for their private hunting. The King would appoint one of his servants as keeper of the forest and, no doubt, he built himself a home there. The obvious site would be the cliff overlooking the Gelly Burn where he could command a good view over the area and defend himself if necessary. The name Carden which means "high fortified place" and the site itself, high up above a ravine, suggest that this may well have been the site of a much earlier fortification.

Back in the Middle Ages, the pattern was that keepership of royal lands and forests usually became hereditary. This may have been the case with the Mertynes of Carden. We have certainly found references to them holding the lands of Carden during the 15th and l6th centuries and it must have been this family who built the sturdy sandstone tower-house. By the early l7th century the Mertynes are no longer mentioned and charters refer to the Wemyss family being in possession. By 1642 ownership had changed again and we find David Betson petitioning the Crown "to have his Barony (of Carden) disjoined from the Parish of Kinghorn and adjoined to the Parish of Auchterderran".

On the Hearth of 1694 we found that Lady Carden was paying tax for 4 hearths, and in the 1695 Revaluation of the Parish of Auchterderran the estate of Carden was still valued at £1292. However, when we looked up the Register of Sasines for the same period it became clear that the Betsons were in financial difficulties and, not long after, the lands passed into the hands of the Earl of Leven and Melville, from whom Robert Ferguson of Raith purchased it, along with Raith, in 1725. We can be certain that the Tower was still being lived in when the Hearth Tax was paid in 1694, but once the land passed to the Earl of Leven and Melville it is likely that it was abandoned. Certainly by 1725 it was a ruin because in that year Robert Fergusson of Raith prohibited the removal of stones by local people.

Thanks to Anne Mead for this contribution.

I myself have found (in the Edmonstone MSS at the Historical Manuscripts Commission, 1909) a reference dated 1651 to Sir Archibald Stirling of Carden, Knyght. Also (in the Laing MSS at Edinburgh University) a statement that Sir Archibald Carden, 7th Laird of Keir, died in 1668, and a reference to Lord Carden, Laird of Carden in the Proceedings of the House of Lords for 1709.

I have found no other references to Carden in Scotland prior to about 1750.  From this I deduce that the family name Carden did not exist in Scotland until Cardens arrived from England in the past two centuries, but that a member of the Stirling family was known as Lord Carden, his title having been taken from the place of that name.

There is therefore unlikely to be any truth in the belief of many Cardens in USA that they are descended from a Scottish Carden family.

(posted 15 March 2010 - pay no attention to date at top)

A black Carden

(Copied November 2009 from a posting to my previous blog dated April 15th, 2006)

On April 11 2006 I posted the following note to the CARDEN-L mailing list.

Names of ex-slaves. Those who have read my report on our Carden DNA project will have seen that
one of those whose DNA matches the Cheshire (England) haplotype exactly was James Eugene Carden, who wrote "I am African American and have never met another 'Black' Carden except for my immediate family until about 2 years ago when I visited Halifax County (Scottsburg) Virginia. I think this is where my Great Grandfather, James H. Carden was born."

I had supposed that James' family took their surname from that of their former owner at the time they obtained their freedom. But discussing our DNA project recently with Jane Reid (who is descended from a sister of the Eleanor Arbuthnot whose attempted abduction by John Rutter Carden in Tipperary in 1856 is a well-known story), Jane drew my attention to "The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom, 1750-1925" by Herbert G Gutman, Oxford 1976. It has an absolutely fascinating chapter about the surnames used by ex-slaves, from which it appears that they very seldom used the name of their most recent owner, and the name they used often showed a great interest in their own family background right back to their earliest known ancestor who arrived from Africa, and the name chosen was often that of the original owner or even of the man who transported them from Africa.

Of course it is possible, even probable, that in the case of James' family a white Carden took a black wife and married her formally, and they gave their surname to their children in the normal way.

I am sending this note to the list as well as to James, as I think it may be of general interest. I hope James does not mind, and will respond with further information.


Reply from James E Carden, who lives in Birmingham, Alabama. James replied almost immediately as follows, and I am reproducing his reply with his permission.


As I stated earlier, My Grand Father was James H Carden, who apparently was born in Halifax County (Scottsburg) Virginia. When I started my research, I found his name in the Virginia (Halifax) census of 1900. (Roanoke; ED 56 sheet 3). It appeared his mother's name was "Bady", which created a problem with further research.

After more records became available on the Internet, I discovered that there was a Bettie (Bady?) listed in the Halifax County 1870 census. In that census, she and her sister Frances were listed as "Black" and were living in the household of Bryant Carden (Black).

In the 1880 census, she and Frances were enumerated as "White" and were living in the household of John Carden (White). It also listed John's brother as Peter Carden, a Physician.

Earlier I had found a Planter, John B. Carden, who was listed in the 1860 Slave Census as owning 20 slaves (9 male and 11 female). The plantation was located on land along Key Fork and Boston Road in Wilmoth tract, as identified in deed book 66, page 507, Halifax Co. Virginia (1873).

When I visited Halifax County in 1999, I found about 50 black Carden families in the same area. I was told these were the descendents of two Carden lines that they referred to as the "Black and White" Cardens.


James also sent the following, including a photograph of his grandfather. Grandfather James H Carden, born Apr 1885 in Halifax County Virginia. Listed in 1900 Virginia Census with mother Bettie (Bady?) Carden. Bettie Carden was born in approximately 1860 in Halifax County. Apparently was born a slave on the plantation of John B Carden, located at Key fork and Boston Road in the Wilmoth tract, Halifax County Virginia.

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