BARTON, John (c.1614-84), of the Middle Temple.
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Family and Education
b. c.1614, 4th s. of Francis Barton of Brigstock, Northants. and the Middle Temple. educ. M. Temple 1632, called 1639. m. by 1649 (with £400), Joan, da. of Charles Roscarrock of Roscarrock, St. Endellion, Cornw., 2s. 1da.1
Commr. for assessment, Mdx. Sept. 1660-1; bencher, M. Temple 1662, reader 1667.
Barton came of a Northamptonshire family closely associated with the Montagus of Boughton, but Anglican in sympathy. Thomas Barton of Brigstock was a royalist suspect in 1656. Barton himself, like his father before him, became a professional lawyer, and his career should have been assisted by the marriage of the head of the family to the sister of Sir Geoffrey Palmer, the attorney-general. He himself also married into a strongly royalist family and thereby acquired a Cornish connexion, though in 1649 he was compelled to sue his brother-in-law, Charles Roscarrock, for part of his wife’s dowry. He appears to have taken no part in the Civil War, nor had he held office when he was first returned for Fowey to Richard Cromwell’s Parliament.2
Barton was re-elected in 1660 and listed by Lord Wharton as a friend, though he was clearly an Anglican and a court supporter. An inactive Member of the Convention, he was named to 12 committees and made eight recorded speeches. On 25 June he opposed the reading of the petition from the intruded dons at Oxford, and on 6 July he favoured the committal of the bill for maintaining the Protestant religion brought in by William Prynne. He opposed confirming sales of crown lands to Rumpers or members of the high courts of justice. On 16 July he supported the proposal of Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper to adjourn the committee of religion for three months. In the debate on the bill for settling ministers in their livings on 30 July he proposed the removal of all those who refused to take the oaths or read the 39 Articles. He was named to the committee, and also to that entrusted on 31 Aug. with directing the clerk over the engrossment of the bill.3
After the recess Barton received from Wharton a statement of the case for modified episcopacy ‘with some circumstances’, but in the debate of 6 Nov. he spoke against giving statutory force to the Worcester House declaration, and recommended a synod. He was named to the committees for the attainder and militia bills. On 20 Dec. he was ordered, together with Prynne and Edward King, to bring in a bill for recovering arrears from the prize commissioners and maintenance trustees.4
The Rashleighs recovered both seats at Fowey in 1661, and Barton is not likely to have stood again. In 1663 he applied through Sir William Godolphin for appointment as standing counsel to Sir Henry Bennet, and in 1671 he represented the Penryn tinners who wished the borough to be made a coinage town. His children married well, and he was himself advanced to the coif and even considered for a judgeship. But he does not seem to have made any considerable fortune at the law, and never purchased an estate. His will was proved in May 1684. No other member of the family is known to have sat in Parliament.5