Thursday, 15 August 2013

Colonel William Carlos and the Royal Oak

In September 2013 the Royal Hospital Chelsea will be officially unveiling a plaque to commemorate the achievements of Colonel William Carlos in assisting our Founder King Charles II in escaping capture by the Commonwealth soldiers.

The plaque will be placed in the base of Grinling Gibbon's statue of
King Charles II in Figure Court at the Royal Hospital Chelsea
Colonel William Carlos served in the Royalist Army during the civil wars. It is believed that he took part in the Battle of Worcester in 1651 and did not leave the battlefield until the Royalists were defeated. At this point he fled to the woods surrounding Boscobel House and hid in an oak tree. 

Whilst escaping from the Commonwealth soldiers, King Charles II was urged by Colonel Carlos to hide with him in the oak tree, where they stayed for over 24 hours. Colonel Carlos sourced food during this time and prevented King Charles falling from the tree whilst he slept. 

The oak tree is still standing in Boscobel Wood today and is referred to as the Royal Oak.

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At 9 September 2013 at 07:57 , Blogger Robert said...

Our family is from the same part of Staffordshire as William Careless and so, given the rarity of the name, are almost certainly related to him. He later changed his name to Carlos:

"Colonel Careless, the companion of Charles in the oak, was especially honoured at the Restoration, by the change of his name to Carlos, at the King's express desire, that it might thus assimilate with his own; and the grant of 'this very honourable coat of arms, which is thus described in the letters patent, "upon an oak proper, in a field or, a foss gules, charged with three royal crowns of the second, by the name of Carlos. And for his crest a civic crown, or oak garland, with a sword and sceptre crossed through it saltier-wise."'

Robert Careless


At 9 September 2013 at 08:57 , Blogger Robert said...

At 11 September 2013 at 07:51 , Blogger Roy Hampton said...

Ref;- Col. William Careless's (Carlos) will, Wikipedia information sources, and other research.
Col William Careless (1610 - 1689) was the son of John and Ellen Careless. Col. William Careless had two sons, William (1631 - 1679) and Thomas (164? - 166?), both died without (known) heirs. Col. Careless adopted his brother's (John) eldest son Edward as his heir. Edward married Dorothy and had a son Charles. Edward was the main beneficiary of Col. William Careless's will. Others to benefit from Col. Careless's will were;- William Carlos of Birmingham, Thomas Carlos of Birmingham, Richard Carlos of Birmingham, Franc Carlos, Jno Carlos, Mary Foster, Elizabeth Carlos, Elnor Carlos, Margret Carlos, Margret Hawkins of London, and Francis Carlos of London. Any remainder went to Elizabeth Carlos of Brumhall.
There are, as far as I can tell no DIRECT descendants from Col. William Careless (Carlos) but rather from Col. William Careless's adopted son, Edward Careless and his son, Charles.
Your comments please!

At 12 September 2013 at 04:50 , Blogger Royal Hospital Chelsea said...

It certainly is a fascinating subject. Our curator at the RHC would be very interested to see you research on this - perhaps you can contact us directly on

At 13 September 2013 at 05:30 , Blogger Unknown said...

My great great grandfather was Professor Richard Careless Sanders. I believe a relative in Jersey has a snuff box given to William Carlos by the king. Julie Collins

At 13 September 2013 at 05:37 , Blogger Unknown said...

Do you have any links to the Sanders or Spraggett families? My great great grandfather was Professor Richard Careless Sanders. My mother passed on stories of the Oak tree and says that a family member has a snuff box given to William by the king. Julie Collins

At 14 September 2013 at 12:36 , Blogger philhove1 said...

Interesting, since I also come from the Careless family, (believed to have line going back to Edward Careless), nephew of the Royalist, Colonel William Careless, Charles II oak tree compatriot. My father, (Mr Leonard Careless, ex WW II RN, now 92, living in Nottingham), has done some genealogy, of our particular line, which reminds me I must check all this out.

If it is possible I would like to come to visit RHC and photograph the plaque in situ. If anyone could enlighten me of the date of plaque installation it would be great to be there. Possibly it is best I telephone RHC after the weekend, to find out details.

David Philip Careless, (ex WO1 (SSM) RAOC)

At 19 September 2013 at 10:43 , Blogger Roy Hampton said...

have tried contacting can not get through.
I can be contacted on


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