BARNE, Michael (1759-1837), of Sotterley Hall, Suff. and 37 Grosvenor Street, Mdx.

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

Constituency

Dates

1812 - 1830

Family and Education

b. 3 June 1759, 4th s. of Miles Barne† (d.1780) of Sotterley and 2nd w. Mary, da. of George Thornhill of Diddington, Hunts.; bro. of Barne Barne† and Snowdon Barne†; half-bro. of Miles Barne†. educ. Westminster 1772-3; Trinity Hall, Camb. 1777. m. 2 Oct. 1798, Mary, da. of Ayscoghe Boucherett† of Willingham, Lincs., 1s. 1da. suc. to estates of half-bro. Miles (d. 1825); bros. Snowdon (d. 1825), Barne (d. 1828) and Thomas (d. 1834) in trust for his s. Frederick Barne* under family settlements of 1824, 1828 and 1834.1 d. 23 June 1837.

Offices Held

Cornet 7 Drag. 1778, lt. 1780, capt. 1783, maj. 1794, lt.-col. 1799, ret. 1804; lt.-col. yeomanry 1805.

Biography

In a ‘Memorandum respecting the Borough of Dunwich’, drafted in 1813, Barne, who had married into a wealthy family of Huguenot origin and pursued a military career which had allowed him time to indulge his interest in horses and freemasonry, recorded how on first succeeding his father and three elder brothers as Member for Dunwich he had ‘doubts in my mind whether I should accept it or not, my private fortune being too small to admit of my establishing myself comfortably in London’. An anti-Catholic Tory, who is not known to have spoken in debate, he gave silent support to Lord Liverpool’s ministry (in which Snowdon and Barne were placemen); but his attendance was lax and appears to have remained so following his third return for Dunwich in 1820, when his nephew George Henry Cherry became his colleague, and he had problems launching his only son Frederick’s career.2 Summoned by the patronage secretary Arbuthnot, he voted in defence of the government’s conduct towards Queen Caroline, 6 Feb. 1821, and against repealing the additional malt duty, 3 Apr. 1821, and abolishing one of the joint-postmasterships, 13 Mar. 1822.3 He voted against Catholic relief, 30 Apr. 1822, 21 Apr., 10 May 1825.

Barne was returned in 1826 with the Whig Andrew Arcedeckne, a kinsman by marriage of their co-patron at Dunwich, the 2nd Lord Huntingfield†, Barne family finances being then in disarray on account of Barne Barne’s debts and the deaths of Miles and Snowdon in 1825.4 He voted against Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827, 12 May 1828, and divided with the duke of Wellington’s ministry on the ordnance estimates, 4 July 1828. The patronage secretary Planta predicted that he would vote ‘with government’ for Catholic emancipation in 1829, but he divided against it, 6, 18 Mar. Before standing down at the dissolution in 1830, when he made way for Frederick at Dunwich, he voted against Jewish emancipation, 17 May, and making forgery a non-capital offence, 7 June.5 In a letter of 7 Nov. 1830 he informed Frederick that ‘the rule in general I acted upon was to support the government as long as the constitution was not infringed upon, the work of ages, and which ought to be held sacred by every Englishman’.6

Barne now strove to ensure that the family estates in Suffolk, which, partly because of a multiplicity of trusts, reversions and life interests, occupied him increasingly from 1827, could pass smoothly to Frederick, whom he urged in a memorandum drafted in 1828 to ‘follow my own rule, to live £10 per annum under my income’. He divided his time between Dunwich, where he underwrote much of the cost of a new parish church and corporation dinners, and the palace at Hampton Court, where he had a ‘grace and favour’ apartment. He died there in June 1837 and was buried at his church in Dunwich, where a plaque commemorates him. The comparatively low value (under £16,000) of his personal estate at probate, 5 Aug. 1837, is accounted for by the trust provisions deliberately made by the Barne brothers in 1824, Barne and his son in 1828, and his relatives’ testamentary provisions. His wife retained the Barne family’s London house in Grosvenor Street for life, his daughter Emilia Mary Bowater’s annuity was increased by £100, and Frederick inherited absolutely Suffolk estates worth £10,248 in 1839.