Carden Family History

Friday, 27 March 2015


The menu items at the top of this page have been missing for a while. Sorry about that. Now they appear three times! Perhaps next time you visit I will have found out how to fix them. Arthur

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!

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.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Carden of Templemore - new edition

Those who visit and insert CARDEN in the search box will find that a new edition is now available.

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.

Monday, 25 February 2013

2013 Carden Gathering

Here is a splendid message.  I am determined to go - do join me!

Hello all Carden kith and kin. A Carden Gathering is being planned for 13, 14, and 15 September 2013 in Hampton, Virginia, USA. This will be the fifth anniversary of the very successful 2008 Carden Gathering in Brighton, England. Those who were present or read the Gathering Report will recall that 150 family members from around the world attended, countries represented included Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, New Zealand, USA, and Wales.

This advance notice will allow those of you who wish to do so plan extended vacations in the nearby Historic Triangle of Virginia; Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown, or other points in the USA.

Please reply to by 01 April 2013 as to whether or not you are likely to attend, if attending include the name of head of your party and the total number of people in your party. This will allow us to keep you informed of happenings and provide numbers to determine conference room size, how large a block of hotel rooms to book, and how many people to cater for. Feel free to forward this message to anyone you think may have an interest in attending.

Take a moment to visit Arthur’s blog at where he has posted information about the 2008 Gathering, as well as many other Carden items.

Andrea Carden Magruder, Beth Carden Tate, Eddie Carden I, Eddie Carden II

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Ireland visit in 2013?

The other day I wrote to Templemore to ask whether anyone was planning any function in 2013 for “The Gathering 2013” ? See I received the following splendid reply:

From: Tom Mc Grath []

Sent: 29 November 2012 09:27
To: Arthur Carden
Subject: RE: Templemore Gathering 2013

Good morning Arthur, I had the pleasure of meeting your group when you visited the Town Hall - 19th September - during your trip [in 2008]. Hard to believe that is over 4 years ago now. How time is flying by.

For the “2013 Gathering” the Council has set up a Committee to develop a programme of events. Whether this will be an intensive set of events over a short period of say a week or a series of events throughout the year I am not sure at this time. I will add your contact details to the list for circulation in due course.

Looking forward to seeing you in 2013. Regards to all your family.

Tom Mc Grath, Town Clerk, Templemore Town Council.

I will keep all the "Irish" members of our family informed about this, and all being well, I will organise a trip to Tipperary in the coming year.

Incidentally, we have "downsized" to a flat/apartment and our address is now. : 14 Lyon Court, Ayshe Court Drive, Horsham RH13 5RN. New telephone 01403 276750. Email remains


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.

Cardens arrive in Virginia in the 1600s


The following is to be found at From Branch Jackson Carden, Jr.:

"Into this area, in the year 1642, moved ROBERT CARDEN recently a migrant colonist from the British Isles. The land grant office in Richmond now contains the records of these early immigrants who came to the eastern shore of Virginia from 1623 to 1666. The original lists have been indexed in recent years. During the 43-year period approximately 25,000 colonists entered the Virginia Colony. Many came with land grants obtained before embarking from England. Others came as headrights for other individuals who already possessed land grants or for companies organized by British firms for the purpose of establishing grants. ROBERT CARDEN is listed as a headright for Abraham Turner and Co. Whether or not he was also an indentured servant is not known, but he did, eventually, acquire land of his own."

After claiming that Robert Carden above was a brother of the first JOHN CARDEN of Tipperary, he continues -A number of other Cardens came to the Virginia Colony from England in the1600s, among these are:-
1635, March 28 - Joseph Curden arrived on the "Speedwell", listed as age 22;
1642 - Another Robert Cardin arrived, this time from Hillington Parish,Middlesex;
1642 - John Carden arrived;1650, October 18 - Grigory Cordon arrived transported by Lewis Burwell;
1663, June 3 - Edwin Cordon arrived transported by John Hughlett;
1672, March 23 - Roger Carden arrived transported by Edward Revell;
1672 - Robert Cardin arrived transported by Thomas Gouldman;
1674, April 8 - James Carder arrived transported by Richard Whitehead.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Templemore from the air

The second picture shows the central square of Templemore, with the barracks visible at the top. It was handed to me by John Walsh in July 1995. The first picture was sent to me in October 2008 by Jim O'Shea, Mayor of Templemore, following our group visit. The site of Templemore Abbey is in the foreground, with the lake in the distance. Double click on a picture to enlarge it.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Ted's Carden Car

Edward Carden (Ted) is a distinguised Anaesthologist - see Google for his many qualifications and publications. He is a member of the Rigsby, Lincolnshire branch of our family. He emigrated when young and now lives in Los Angeles. He is a flamboyant character who loves motor racing, big game hunting, and in November 2008 was in England shooting pheasants.

The illustration is a 1921 Carden Cyclecar which he has just purchased from a museum in Germany. He hopes to drive it on the road to exhibitions in California. A chapter in the book CARDEN OF TEMPLEMORE above gives details of the car and its designer Sir John Valentine Carden.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Carden Gathering, September 2008

(revised 11 November 2009)
The 2008 Gathering was held near Brighton, England, on September 12th, 13th and 14th, followed by visits to Carden sites in Cheshire and Staffordshire on September 15th and 16th, and in Tipperary on September 18th, 19th and 20th. Nearly 150 family members came to the Brighton event, about 40 to Cheshire and 11 to Tipperary.

Ten years before, the 1998 Gathering was held in Cheshire, where the earliest ancestors of most Cardens, worldwide, lived. The 2008 Gathering was held in Brighton because the neighbourhood holds the largest concentration of family members in England, and because of the renown of Sir Herbert Carden “the maker of modern Brighton.”

Organisers of the 2008 Gathering were principally Richard (a member of the Fishmoyne branch of the Cardens of Tipperary) and David Carden, town clerk of Burgess Hill in Sussex (a member of the Virgo branch of the Cardens of Brighton). I mostly concerned myself with genealogical matters.

A 64-page Report on the Gathering in full colour is available from where the following review appears. Masterpiece! The only possible description of this volume edited by Tim Carden containing enjoyable and useful descriptions of every event and lecture during the September 2008 Carden Gathering in Brighton, Cheshire and Tipperary, with masses of photographs in colour. Strongly recommended to everyone with an interest in the family, whether they came to the Gathering or not. See "Carden Books" at the top of this blog and a reproduction of the cover above.

A book “Cardens of Brighton” was written by David Carden and Arthur Carden specially for the event, and a revised edition was issued in 2009. The front cover appears above.

Joan at Covent Garden 1990

Joan Carden, the famous Australian soprano and member of the Bendigo Branch the origins of which are on the Cheshire border, writes:

This "action" photo was taken at the Australian Musical Association's concert at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in I think 1990, by Andrew McKinnon, who organised the participation of the Australian RESIDENT singers, Suzy Johnston and me, in this fundraiser for both the AMA and Jose Carreras's Leukaemia Foundation. As we walked to the post-concert reception in the Crush Bar, I told Mr. Carreras of my family's G.F. Carden Leukaemia Research Foundation, whose funding facilitated Dr. Metcalfe's treatment which had famously saved Mr. Carreras's life. He seemed stunned by the paradox of a Carden giving her services to raise funds for HIS leukaemia foundation.

All the singers and the conductor are Australian except Jose Carreras. We're singing the bubbly Drinking Song "The Brindisi" from the first act of LA TRAVIATA, at this moment all pronouncing the word "voi"!

Left to right:
Yvonne Kenny, Jose Carreras, Joan Carden, conductor Charles Mackerras, mezzo Suzanne Johnston, and baritone Jonathan Summers.

Carden Beach, US Virgin Islands

A condominium development with the above name was promoted in 1990 and the following is taken from the sales brochure.

Archive maps reveal that a portion of the Carden Beach property was acquired in 1739 by James Barrow, who started a cotton plantation. By marrying the Widow Barrow, William Coakley, Sr. assumed ownership in 1745, and the stone and coral mills were built by 1754.

In 1781, by consolidating the Barrow parcel with the adjacent Thayler and Potter lands, John Carden, son-in-law of John Coakley, Sr., formed Carden Plantation, which remained in the Carden family for nearly half a century, producing sugar, then molasses and rum.

In the two hundred years since John Carden first walked this shoreline and gazed toward Buck Island, the land has found its place in history. A battery was constructed here in 1794 to protect Carden residents from seafaring privateers . . .

(Perhaps this was connected in some way with the John Carden who served in the Caribbean at the time of the American Revolutionary War)

Sir John Carden

(revised 16 Oct 2008)
The funeral of Sir John Craven Carden, the seventh baronet, took place at St Paul's Knightsbridge on Monday April 14th 2008. His ancestor, Sir John Craven Carden of Templemore, was created a baronet in 1787.
I was with him a few days before his death. Having ignored many approaches during the past 30 years, in the final six months of his life he invited me to visit him several times and kindly gave me many pictures and reminiscences, some of which appear in my recent book Carden of Templemore.

The picture shows the new eighth baronet, Sir John Craven Carden born 1953, a distant relative of the seventh, with his wife Celia and son Patrick. John and Celia were present at the Carden Gathering in September.

Cardens Bluff and Watauga Lake, Tennessee

Heidi Farnsworth of Alabama posted the following to the Carden mailing list at Rootsweb in March 2008.

"Lost Heritage: The People of Old Butler, Tennessee, and the Watauga Valley" by Russ Calhoun, Sr. (The Overmountain Press, Johnson City, TN):"

This book, available from Amazon and elsewhere, has some interesting information on the effects the TWA Watauga Reservoir/Dam had on the local families and community. Many of these were Carden's and their relatives. The result of this project relocated hundreds, the living and the dead. Some graves were re-interred and some were not. The town of Butler where many lived and had businesses now lay at the bottom of Watauga Lake. This is where many of my relatives lived. The book has a section with the names of the families, family history on where their home is located, how long they have been in the community, how old they are, occupation, children, and other information. It lists the people living in the household and what their plans are in relocating. Although my Dad and Uncle had talked about this event, I never knew the impact it had until I read the book. It also gave me much more insight into the history of the Carden family and some of the relatives they would marry.

CARDENS BLUFF The Cardens Bluff community, more accurately described as the area between Dividing Ridge Church and the Watauga River, was settled by the Carden, Campbell, Lewis and Smith families before the Revolutionary War. It was named for Ancil Carden, who owned the Bluff now known as Cardens Bluff. These early pioneers were of Anglo-Saxon origin, who loved their land and liberty. The soil of this valley, which lies along the Watauga River between the high mountains of the Unaka Range--now in Carter County--is still owned, loved and worked by the men and women who are descendants of the original settlers... Early in the TVA Watauga Dam Project the Cardens Bluff School, which served the community, was demolished. The students were then transported to Hampton and Fish Springs schools. Hampton and Elizabethton are the principal trading centers for the residents of Cardens Bluff." Some of the other areas, businesses and families noted in this book are: The Horseshoe Dam area, Carden's Mercantile Store, Carden's Bluff Grocery Store (owned my Mr. Mack Montgomery), Cardens Bluff Baptist Church, Cardens Bluff School (Principal Basil Hyder).

Heidi plans to visit the area in summer 2008, and it is hoped that she will supply a photograph in due course.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Housing Estate at Templemore

This is the sign at the entrance to a new housing development at Templemore (photograph sent by Pat Bracken of the Templemore Library in February 2008). Perhaps the CARDEN name is now regarded more positively than in earlier times!

Monday, 26 November 2007

Party at Barnane, 1862

John Rutter Carden of Barnane "the woodcock" was released from gaol in 1856, having served two years for attempting to abduct Eleanor Arbuthnot. He soon returned to actively running the estate, standing for parliament and other activities. This extract from The Times of London, quoted by Mary Heaphy on the Co Tipperary mailing list, seems to show that good times had returned.

25 October 1862.
-- On Thursday last a harvest home entertainment on an unusually extensive scale took place at Barnane, the charming residence of John Carden, Esq., in the County of Tipperary. Two hundred of Mr. Carden's tenants and labourers with their families sat down to dinner in the covered racket-court, together with a number of ladies and gentlemen, who seemed greatly to enjoy the scene of festivities and happiness thus presented to them. Ample justice having been done to the good things provided, the Queen's health was given and drunk with enthusiasm. On Mr. Carden's health being proposed by one of the tenants, he observed, in returning thanks, "that it was pleasant in this severe weather to find oneself under shelter and before a good dinner, especially when so much distress prevails elsewhere, but that it was far more satisfactory to feel that amongst a number of persons thus assembled together, and representing a large class outside, no feeling but that of kindness and good will prevailed, and that the elements of discord were even more effectually excluded than the severities of the season". Mr. Carden proceeded to remark that the condition of the labouring classes now engaged more attention than formerly; that when distress came -- as is being exemplified at the present moment in the case of the distressed operatives in Lancashire - it excited general sympathy; and he expressed a hope that their next meeting might be connected with some practical purpose, such as the encouragement of those who, by the attention they bestowed, with a view to the neatness of their houses, the cultivation of their gardens, and the education of their children, might appear to have made the best use of the advantages which Providence conferred upon them. These remarks elicited much applause, admidst which Mr. Carden resumed his seat. "The Health of the ladies present" and of the "Wives and Daughters" of the farmers and labourers, was next proposed, and was responded to in a humourous speech by Mr. Boulcott, of the 86th Regiment. Mr. Fitzgerald, one of Mr. Carden's employees, then rose and gave expression to the fullness of his heart by eulogising Mr. Carden's character as a Landlord and extensive employer. The tables being cleared away, a country dance was formed, headed by the ladies and gentlemen present, after which the festivities of the evening were prolonged to a late hour by the country people.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Carden on the Moselle

Many years ago I bought back with me from a visit to the Moselle valley in Germany a bottle of excellent wine with a Carden (or was it Karden?) label from the village of Karden. I have now received, from Clare Coulburn, this photograph taken in Karden by Fred Calladine of Northampton. Double-click on the image to read the words on the banner. Fred also photographed a tablet in the church reading Pro Memoria Wilhelm Cadenbach, Pastor Bonus in Carden 1851-1890. Clearly the village name (and the monastery there) were originally spelled CARDEN. Perhaps one day a connection with our family may be found.

Sunday, 10 June 2007

Moruya, NSW

In my book CARDEN OF BARNANE several pages are devoted to the hotels run by descendants in Australia. Erik and Livoni Andersen (of the Tonbridge branch) have kindly sent me the above advertisement which appeared in the Motor Road Guide to Southern N.S.W. in about 1925. Mrs M Carden ("May," née Margaret Mabel Moran) was the widow of Robert Nicholas Carden, born 1867. Moruya is near the coast, just over 300 km south of Sydney

Wednesday, 30 May 2007


C Octavia Carden (1868-1954) married Gus Edwardes of Sealyham, Pembrokeshire. When he owned Sealyham, Gus's elder brother created the Sealyham breed of terriers, and Octavia became a renowned breeder and judge of Sealyhams. The Sealyham Terrier Club will hold its Centenary show at Sealyham Mansion on April 13 next year. Henry Sutliff of Pebble Beach, California, is writing a multi-volume book to commemmorate the occasion, with which I am helping. It will include a full biography of Octavia.

Octavia later married Victor Higgon and as Octavia Higgon wrote a number of delightful illustrated manuscripts regarding the King, Carden and other families, some of which are now in my possession. She was my great-aunt, daughter of Charles Wilson Carden of the Barnane branch.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

Lionel in Mexico

Lionel (later Sir Lionel) Carden of the Barnane branch built Villa Tlalocan at Lake Chapala in about 1895 while he was the British Consul in Mexico City. It is described as 'majestic' by local sources. It appears in the postcard reproduced here, dated about 1904. Click on the picture to enlarge it and read the caption, which mentions Carden.

Lionel was Minister at Havana 1902-05 and returned to Mexico again as Minister in Mexico in 1913-14 (knighted by then) during a period of great turmoil. He played a decisive and controversial role in dealings with the dictator Huerta described at length in The Secret War in Mexico by Friedrich Katz (Chicago 1981), and inadequately in the new Oxford DNB and in my book Carden of Barnane.

The picture and information have kindly been supplied by Tony Burton of who is writing a book about those who lived at Lake Chapala at that period. Tony now adds: My guess would be that he sold it at roughly the time he left for Cuba, but certainly the property had been sold twice by about 1908, and it is very unlikely that Carden (having been close to Diaz) would have risked visiting Chapala in 1913-1914, though I'll keep my eyes open for any evidence either way.

The recent book Fenian Fire by Christy Campbell relates the extraordinary involvement of Lionel Carden, while Consul in Mexico, in running the Irish terrorist General Millen as a spy while he was responsible for many dynamite outrages in England which culminated in a bomb in the House of Commons in 1887, the year of Queen Victoria’s jubilee.

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Carden Hall


The picture is taken from a leaflet with the above title by Pochin Ltd announcing in about 2001 that they had been appointed by Steve Morgan to build the new Carden Hall, for completion in 2004.

The Financial Times stated in October 2004 that Steve Morgan’s biggest quoted investment is a £68m stake in De Vere, owners of the Belfry golf club and Brighton's Grand hotel, which bought his 192-bedroom Carden Park hotel, near Chester. It went on to mention that he lives in Jersey but also mentions “Carden Hall, the £8m regency-style country house that he is building in Cheshire to house his young second family on their return to England."

An article in the journal Builder in 2005 about Steve Morgan said: at the mention of Carden Hall he makes it clear that he is something of a stroppy customer himself. “I’m so busy with this bloody house, it’s driving me nuts,” he says. “Once the house is finished I can work something close to a normal week.” And, naturally, the problem with the house is the builders. “It’s always the builders,” he grumbles.

Footnote (added December 2008): By courtesy of Mrs Morgan about thirty Carden family members visited the new Carden Hall in September 2008 and were most impressed. Several photographs of the new building can be seen at

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Cardon, Spain & France

The following was posted by an anonymous reader as a comment on my "French Origins?" posting at LiveJournal (my previous blog location).

I have been looking into yet another branch of the Cardon famille which has its roots in Spain and are known to have crossed into France and some setlled in and around Lyon area. The Famille name in Spain was Folch de Cardonne and lived in the Catalogne area in the Chateau (Castell ) D'Arbcea which is now open to the public. This famille was first recorded in the chateau in 1158, they held the title of Comte de Carrdonne. About 1475 - 1500 they became the Duc de Cardonne: the first to hold this title was Joan Ramon Folch IV.

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