BARTON, Andrew (1497/98-1549), of Smithhills in Deane, Lancs. and Holme, Notts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. 1497/98, 1st, s. of John Barton of Smithhills by Cecily, da. and h. of Ralph Radcliffe of Smithhills. educ. I. Temple. m. Anne, da. of Sir William Stanley of Hooton, Cheshire, 7s. inc. Ralph 4da. suc. fa. July 1516.1

Offices Held

J.p. Lancs. by 1529-d., Notts. 1537-43; commr. for tenths of spiritualities, Notts. 1535, subsidy, Lancs. 1541, 1543; ?steward, Ingleton (?Yorks.) 1548.2


The Bartons were a Nottinghamshire family which had acquired Lancashire estates through the marriage of Andrew Barton’s grandfather to an heiress of the Radcliffes of Smithhills. Barton’s father also married a Radcliffe, who was his cousin, but after her death he entered the house of Observant Franciscans at Richmond, Surrey, in July 1516. The choice of order may well have been significant. The Observants, the Carthusians and the Bridgettines were the three religious orders which ‘in different ways and tempers, opposed the designs of the King’. Richmond was in close touch with the Carthusians of Sheen and the Bridgettines of Syon. There is some evidence of a Lancashire circle connected with these houses, although the link might more properly be expressed as service or relationship to the earls of Derby— the 2nd Earl, for example, was buried at Syon. Andrew Barton was distantly related to the earls of Derby through his marriage to a Stanley of Hooton. His cousin and friend Thurstan Tyldesley had a brother at Sheen, as did William Bromley and Thomas Fleetwood. Bromley also had a sister at Syon and Alexander Barlow, the 3rd Earl of Derby’s brother-in-law, was to have a daughter there. Moreover, Sir Robert Rochester, who became chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster on Mary’s accession, was the brother of the Carthusian martyr John Rochester and was himself much associated with that order. John Barton was among the surviving Observants listed in 1534: he and William Craforth were then in Kent ‘at the pleasure of’ the archbishop of Canterbury.3

When Andrew Barton succeeded to his inheritance, on his father’s withdrawal from the world, he may have been studying law. Although when he came to make his will he professed to be ‘not learned in the law’ and to have too little ‘experience and knowledge sufficiently to make and declare’ the will, this disclaimer need not rule out his identification with the Andrew Barton of Smithhills, late of the Inner Temple, who sued out a pardon on x 1 June 1547; after more than a quarter of a century he may well have thought he had forgotten his law. He had since become a considerable and well-connected Lancashire landowner. The 3rd Earl of Derby wrote to him in 1533, thanking him for his diligence in raising troops for service against the Scots and appointing him (should the appointment lie in the earl’s gift, the evidences having been mislaid) his deputy as steward of Ingleton. Barton joined the earl in 1536 at the head of 172 men and afterwards took part in the examination of rebels. He and Sir William Stanley, his father-in-law, shared a lease from Derby of the grazing rights at Knowsley, and at his death he held certain property in Hoole, Lancashire, of another member of the Stanley family, Thomas, 2nd Lord Monteagle. To such connexions Barton could add, in support of his nomination as second knight of the shire in 1529, the fortunate circumstance that the sheriff, Sir Alexander Radcliffe, was his kinsman; Radcliffe was also related to his fellow-Member, Henry Farrington, and to Thurstan Tyldesley, who was to be returned for the county in 1547, when Sir Alexander was again sheriff. Whether Barton sat again in 1536, and even in 1539 and 1542, we cannot say, as the names of the Lancashire Members in these Parliaments are unknown.4

Barton was an active justice of the peace, attending sessions fairly regularly from 1529 to his death. He was appointed to a number of commissions, including one in 1534 to inquire into the finding of some gold and silver in Furness. In July 1540 he acquired from Sir Alexander Radcliffe the lands in Ramsgreave in Blackburn which Radcliffe had himself received after the suppression of Whalley abbey, and in 1548 another Radcliffe, Henry, 2nd Earl of Sussex, sold to him Oswaldtwistle in Whalley. For their part Barton and his wife sold Salford Hall to Adam Byrom in 1540. He was assessed for the subsidy of 1524 at £30 in lands, on which he had to pay 30s., and for those of 1541 and 1543, when he was himself a commissioner, at £60, on which he had had to pay £3.5

Barton made his will on 7 Feb. 1549. He asked to be buried in the chancel of Bolton church. His executors were his wife, his eldest son Robert, Thurstan Tyldesley and his son-in-law, Robert Holt. An inventory of his debts included £40 owed to Sir Henry Farrington. Barton died on 14 Mar. 1549 and Robert Barton, then aged 24, had licence to enter on the lands on 11 July 1549. One of the daughters married a more eminent lawyer, William Gerard II.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Authors: L. M. Kirk / Alan Davidson


  • 1. Aged 18 in 1516, Chetham Soc. xli. 290. Vis. Lancs. (Chetham Soc. lxxxi), 21; J. B. Watson, ‘Lancs. gentry 1529-58’ (London Univ. M.A. thesis, 1959), 224; CPR, 1548-9, p. 114.
  • 2. Watson, 225; LP Hen. VIII, viii, xii, xiii, xviii; Chetham Soc. n.s. xix. 113; lxxxiii. 18; Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. xii. 137. He was also appointed a commr. for relief in 1550, CPR, 1553, p. 360.
  • 3. Watson, 244-5; D. Knowles, Rel. Orders in Eng. iii. 206-7; E. M. Thompson, Carthusian Order in Eng., 501; LP Hen. VIII, vii.
  • 4. Chetham Soc. li. 101; n.s. xix. 112-13; CPR, 1548-9, p. 144; LP Hen. VIII, xi xii; VCH Lancs. iii. 161n; vi. 150n.
  • 5. Watson, 225, 538; LP Hen. VIII, vii, xv; VCH Lancs. iv. 209n; vi. 252, 405; Chetham Soc. n.s. lxxxiii. 8, 33; Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. xii. 141.
  • 6. Chetham Soc. xli. 290; li. 98-103; CFR, 1548-9, p. 338.