BARNE, Frederick (1801-1886), of Sotterley Hall, Suff.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



1830 - 1832

Family and Education

b. 8 Nov. 1801, o.s. of Michael Barne* and Mary, da. of Ayscoghe Boucherett† of Willingham, Lincs. educ. Westminster 1814-17; by Christopher Bird at High Hoyland, Yorks. 1817-19; Trinity Hall, Camb. 1819; by G.H. de Seigneux at Lausanne 1820-2. m. 4 Feb. 1834, Mary Ann Elizabeth, da. of Sir John Courtenay Honywood, 5th bt., of Evington, Kent, 2s. 2da. suc. fa. 1837. d. 9 Mar. 1886.

Offices Held

Cornet 4 Drag. 1823; lt. 12 R. Lancers 1825, capt. 1829, ret. 1832.

Sheriff, Suff. 1851-2.


Barne was born at his mother’s family home at Willingham, where he spent much of his early life. He was educated at Westminster; his father’s decision to place him in a house where the Boucheretts ‘were known’, instead of that favoured hitherto by the ‘Barne, Sawbridge, Blois and Harding’ families, caused his uncle Snowdon Barne† much unease.1 In 1817 his uncle Barne Barne† expressed concern over his education: in this instance, the decision to place him with a private tutor, Christopher Bird, depriving him of ‘two years in the fifth form [at Westminster] with the liberty of frequently seeing his relations and mixing in different companies just as his mind was opening and his character forming would have been of most essential service to him’.2 The family nevertheless approved of Bird’s work and endorsed his judgement that when Barne went to Cambridge in 1819 his ‘only great defect [was] ... a heedlessness about the future’.3 Conflict with his father over this surfaced early in 1820, when Frederick took refuge with the Boucheretts at Willingham instead of returning to Cambridge, whence he was destined for the military academy at Brunswick.4 It was resolved by sending him to Lausanne to be taught, at a cost apparently beyond his father’s income, by G.H. de Seigneux, to whom Michael wrote on 31 Dec. 1821 acknowledging his son’s ‘difficulty in fixing the attention’ and want of the ‘necessary application to the subject he is about’. He added:

As he is designed for the military profession it is almost a necessary qualification that he should learn fortification and geometry. To be well acquainted with French literature is most desirable and I should hope he will soon speak the French language as well as his own. To dance well and like a gentleman may also be reckoned a necessary accomplishment.5

Barne returned to England in the autumn of 1822 preparatory to joining the army, where he found his father’s choice of regiment unsatisfactory.6 He persuaded him to use his influence with the duke of Clarence to procure him a posting to the hussars at Hanover, but another change of regiment and relocation to Dublin further strained their relationship.7 He wrote, 13 May 1825:

I do not mean to complain but you certainly might have got me into a light cavalry regiment, by making proper applications to the colonels; but by getting a half-pay lieutenancy five years’ negligence will be made up at once, and I shall be able to begin the world again ... If you would, write to Sir H. Taylor* to know whether I could obtain a half-pay lieutenancy between this and July, for if I cannot I must think of some other plan, for I cannot remain where I am. I think nothing of the want of money, that is a trifle compared to being in a situation I hate.8

Barne was guaranteed an interest in the family’s borough of Dunwich by the electoral agreement of 1819, and was destined to inherit the entailed estates and appurtenant revenues of his four childless paternal uncles, in addition to the provision made for him by his parents.9 It had been taken for granted that he would enter Parliament, thereby placing himself, in the words of his cousin Emilia Boucherett, ‘at once among the country gentlemen’ and becoming ‘a very bon ton man’; and at the dissolution in 1830, when all his uncles except Thomas were dead, his father, now aged 71, stood down in his favour.10 The Wellington ministry listed him among their ‘friends’.

Barne’s absence from the House and the levees early in November 1830 disappointed his father, who, though professing non-interference in his ‘line of politics’, nevertheless

thought you would have been glad to hear what Mr. Peel had to say in answer to Mr. Brougham, whose speeches, with all his cleverness, are often very tiresome. You should endeavour to make yourself acquainted with the forms of the House, which you will not be able to do without a regular and constant attendance, at least for some time.11

Possibly heeding this advice, Barne voted in the Wellington ministry’s minority on the civil list, 15 Nov., when they were brought down. He received a month’s leave of absence on account of ill health, 10 Feb. 1831, and remained absent when the House divided on the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reform bill, which proposed Dunwich’s disfranchisement, 22 Mar. He voted for Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831, and was returned for Dunwich at the ensuing general election.12 A poor attender by whom no speeches are known, he voted against the reintroduced reform bill at its second reading, 6 July, to adjourn its committal, 12 July, and against its passage, 21 Sept. 1831; and against the third reading of the revised bill, 22 Mar., and the second reading of the Irish reform bill, 25 May 1832.

Barne did not stand for Parliament after Dunwich was disfranchised. With their placemen Barne Barne and Snowdon Barne dead, patronage eluded the family, and his mother had applied in vain to the marquess of Anglesey to make him his extra aide-de-camp to boost his military career, 29 Nov. 1830.13 He retired from the army in November 1832 and pursued his interest in the Turf, becoming a member of the Jockey Club in 1835. He remained financially dependent on his father for income from family trusts when he married in 1834 and settled at Malmesbury, Wiltshire.14 He refused to finance his own subscription to the Carlton Club, which he described to his mother, 12 Feb. 1835, as ‘a very good club, but I prefer Arthur’s and Boodles’.15 After succeeding his father in 1837, he settled at Dunwich, where he established a racing stud. His £3,000 a year from Sotterley’s 3,721 acres was enhanced by revenue from lands held in trust for him and his male heirs by their Thornhill and Sawbridge relations under the 1824 settlement and the wills of his uncles Miles, Snowdon and Thomas.16 Although reluctant to involve himself in county politics, he became an active magistrate and sheriff, and served as a bailiff of Dunwich, where he was the principal benefactor until its charter was withdrawn in 1886.17 He died at ‘Greyfriars’, Dunwich in March 1886, having provided for his widow and two sons, the elder of whom, Colonel Frederick St. John Newdegate Barne (1842-98), Conservative Member for East Suffolk, 1876-85, succeeded to the entailed estates. He authorized the direct succession of his grandson Miles Barne (1874-1917) to all his unentailed ‘farms and lands and personal property’ on the death of his widow (d. 1890).18

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Margaret Escott


  • 1. Suff. RO (Ipswich), Barne mss HA53/359/110.
  • 2. Ibid. 90, B. to M. Barne, 25 Apr. 1817.
  • 3. Ibid., Bird to M. Barne, 16 Sept. 1819.
  • 4. Ibid. 88, E. Boucherett to Mary Barne, 25 Feb. 1820 and undated.
  • 5. Ibid. 82, M. Barne to G.H. de Seigneux, 31 Dec. 1821 and passim.
  • 6. Ibid. 91-93.
  • 7. Ibid. 94.
  • 8. Ibid. 83.
  • 9. Ibid. 67, 72, 81, 124.
  • 10. Ibid. 92; Suff. RO (Ipswich), Dunwich borough recs. EE6/1144/153.
  • 11. Barne mss 124.
  • 12. Dunwich borough recs. EE6/1144/43.
  • 13. Barne mss 81.
  • 14. Ibid. 72, 84, 211; Gent. Mag. (1834), i. 326.
  • 15. Barne mss 84.
  • 16. Ibid. 63, 67, 81, 125, 213; PROB 11/1705/562; 1834/449; 1882/501; IR26/1030/844; 1031/1175; 1441/634; 3707/1553.
  • 17. Barne mss 50-52, 84; N.S. Gay, Glorious Dunwich, 30.
  • 18. The Times, 11 Mar. 1886; Barne mss 1044-58, 1170-3.