BARNHAM, Benedict (1559-98), of London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. 1559, 3rd s. of Francis Barnham, draper, alderman and sheriff of London by Alice, da. of William Bradbridge of Chichester, Suss., wid. of one Marnay; bro. of Stephen. educ. St. Alban Hall, Oxf. by 1572. m. Dorothy, da. of Humphrey or Ambrose Smith, ?of Leics., 4da.3

Offices Held

Alderman, London 1591, sheriff 1591-2, master, Drapers’ Co. 1592-3, 1596-7; collector of the loan 1598.


Barnham belonged to a well-known family of London drapers. He inherited a third of his father’s movable property, and lands in Essex, Surrey and Wales. He became free of the Drapers’ Company by patrimony in 1580. For the 1589 subsidy he was assessed at £220. When alderman he was frequently called upon by the Privy Council to investigate disputes or malpractices in the city, and once, in March 1596, he was among those summoned to a Privy Council meeting when some sort of consent was wanted to an official decision on taxation in the city. He had a wide range of close friends among city dignitaries, including the recorder, and was well known to the attorney and the solicitor-general. It is not clear through what links of patronage he was provided with his two borough seats in Parliament.

His long will is dated 24 Mar. 1597. After a devout preamble he divided his goods equally into three shares, one for his wife, one for his daughters, and one to meet various legacies and the purchase of the wardships of his children. His many charitable bequests included those to Christ’s Hospital, the Bridewell, and the inmates of five London prisons. Relatives, friends and acquaintances were to receive ‘blacks’ and gowns. His extensive real property was in Essex, Hampshire, Kent, and Middlesex as well as London. The executors were William Greenwell and Abraham Cartwright, ‘late my servant’. The will was proved 29 May 1598 and upheld by sentence 2 Dec. Barnham died 4 Apr. 1598. He was buried, as he had wished, at St. Clement, Eastcheap, where an elaborate monument was erected.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: J.E.M.


  • 1. C219/31.
  • 2. C219/33/167.
  • 3. DNB; W. Berry, Co. Genealogies, Suss. (Comber’s copy at Chichester), 166; PCC 10 Carew.
  • 4. A. Beaven, Aldermen ; A. H. Johnson, Drapers’ Co. ii. 216; iii. 79; iv. 647; PCC 10 Carew; 39, 40, 102 Lewyn; Vis. London (Harl. Soc. cix, cx), 161; APC, xxii. 116; xxiv. 47, 397; xxv. 117, 296-7; xxvi. 363-525; xxvii. 266; xxviii. 255; C142/253/78.