BARLOW, William (c.1655-1733), of Haroldston, Pemb.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. c.1655, 2nd s. of George Barlow of Slebech by Joan, da. and coh. of David Lloyd of Cilciffeth, Pontfaen. unm.

Offices Held

J.p. Pemb. 1687-9.

Cornet, Earl of Peterborough’s Horse (later 2 Dgn. Gds.) 1685, capt.-lt. 1685-7; capt. Mq. de Miremont’s Horse Sept. 1688-9.1


Barlow was descended from the bishop of St. Davids who acquired monastic property in Pembrokeshire, including Slebech, in 1546. The family were ‘church Papists’ and Royalists in the Civil War, his grandfather Captain John Barlow being described as ‘a rare example of loyalty and affliction’. His brother John, who inherited an estate of £1,500 p.a., was created a baronet in 1677, and Barlow himself became the first of the family to enter Parliament when he was returned for the county in 1685. But he was not active in James II’s Parliament, being named only to the committee of elections and privileges. On Monmouth’s invasion he accepted a commission from the Roman Catholic Earl of Peterborough as his captain-lieutenant. He was the only Pembrokeshire j.p. to approve the proposed repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws. Nevertheless, he remained on social terms with such a pillar of Anglican orthodoxy as the 2nd Earl of Clarendon (Henry Hyde), with whom he dined at Cornbury when his regiment was quartered at Oxford in April 1688.2

Barlow offered his services to Haverfordwest in the next Parliament on the grounds that William Wogan, the sitting Member, had ‘renounced all pretensions to anything of that nature for his being got off the shrievalty’. He wrote to the mayor on 9 May 1688:

I suppose you are sensible in what danger your charter at present is and what are the consequences of losing it, and if you at the same time be pleased to consider what were the reasons your corporation gave the King for his displeasure, you will not think me improper in now writing to you, at least I hope, not as an enemy. You know your late representative hath not been so acceptable to his Majesty as very many honest and wise men think he ought to have been, and, since that hath been the ground of the King’s anger against your Corporation, as in friendship to yourself and ... in duty to my King I offer you the best of my service (which I know will be effectual if you take my advice) for the preservance of your charter, or, if need be, for enlarging your privileges.

In September, Sunderland recommended him as court candidate, and Lord Peterborough promised him leave, wishing that ‘he may in his pretence of election answer his Majesty’s desires’. Although among the few candidates pledged to James II’s ecclesiastical policy whom the Duke of Beaufort (Henry Somerset) considered to have some prospect of success if the corporations were remodelled and purged, he did not stand at the general election.3

Barlow was one of the officers who petitioned for the repayment of the cost of their accoutrements when their regiment was disbanded in May 1689. On 1 June, a local correspondent reported to the Earl of Shrewsbury that ‘one Mr William Barlow, a Papist’ had assisted an Irish Jacobite agent to escape. Barlow refused to take the oath of allegiance to William and Mary, and was described in 1693 as a ‘known enemy of their Majesties and their Government’. His nephew John sat for Pembrokeshire from 1710 to 1715 as a Tory. Barlow himself was president of the Society of Sea Serjeants, a high Tory society, and probably died before 2 June 1733, when another president was elected.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: Leonard Naylor / Geoffrey Jaggar


  • 1. Trans. Cymm. Soc. 1967, pt. 1, p. 75.
  • 2. Nat. Lib. Wales Jnl. xi. 142; West Wales Hist. Recs. iii. 142-5; Clarendon Corresp. ii. 167.
  • 3. Pemb. Life 1572-1843 (Pemb. Rec. Ser. i), 52; SP29/62/59; CSP Dom. 1687-9, p. 276; Add. 34079, f. 158.
  • 4. CSP Dom. 1689-90, pp. 117, 129-30; Trans. Cymm. Soc. 65-6, 75, 77; NLW, will of William Barlow, proved 7 July 1737.