BARFOOT, Thomas (-d.1610), of Weymouth, Dorset

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



1604 - by 25 May 1610

Family and Education

s. of John Barfoot of ?Cricket Malherbie, Som. and Joan, da. of one Mollins and wid. of Humphrey Simpson of Cricket Malherbie, Som.1 m. 2 Sept. 1588,2 Joan (bur. 22 Jan. 1608),3 da. of John Pitt of Causeway, Radipole, Dorset and wid. of John Mounsell (d.1586) of Weymouth, merchant, 1s. 1da.4 d. by 25 May 1610.5 sig. Thomas Barffoot.

Offices Held

Mayor, Weymouth 1592-3, 1603-4,6 capt. militia ft. 1598,7 bailiff 1600-1.8


Barfoot presumably settled in Weymouth no later than the time of his marriage into a prominent local merchant family. In January 1592, along with two of his brothers-in-law, Richard and John Pitt, he was licensed to export cloth duty-free to St. Malo in France, this concession being intended to help them recover two ships captured by French privateers off Le Havre.9 Barfoot became mayor of Weymouth for the first time later that year, and in 1594 he was assessed for the subsidy at £5 in goods.10 Having married two of his stepdaughters to the successful London merchants, Robert Myddelton* and Robert Bateman*, he possessed strong contacts with the capital.11 Indeed, he was staying there in April 1599 when he forwarded to the government a letter of intelligence concerning Spain, which he had just received from a kinsman, possibly his resident factor, at Corunna.12

In the parliamentary election of 1604 Barfoot secured a seat at Weymouth for Middleton, and also returned himself, in breach of convention. However, the Commons was not yet rigorously enforcing its ban on this practice, and Barfoot’s status in the House went unchallenged. His priority at Westminster was undoubtedly to promote the borough’s bill to convert Melcombe Regis from a chapel-of-ease to a full parish. As part of this measure, Barfoot undertook to provide a house in East Street as the new parsonage. It is not known whether he spoke in favour of this legislation, and he was not initially appointed to scrutinize it, but the bill was delivered to him on 1 May along with the committee list. Although fault was found with the original text, a revised bill was enacted at the end of the first session. Barfoot apparently made no further contributions to the Commons’ proceedings prior to his death.13

After falling ill at a house near Lyme Regis, Dorset, Barfoot made his will on 31 July 1609. He bequeathed his ‘grounds’ in Weymouth to his son John, and a life interest in property at West Chaldon, Dorset to his daughter Anne. The bulk of his other legacies consisted of gold memorial rings. The will was witnessed by his son-in-law William Whiteway I*. Barfoot evidently rallied after this crisis. His date of death is unknown, but a writ for the resultant by-election was not ordered by the Commons until 25 May 1610, his will being proved on 3 August. He is the only member of his family known to have entered Parliament.14

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: John. P. Ferris / Paul Hunneyball


  • 1. Vis. Som. ed. Weaver, 13; Vis. London (Harl. Soc. xv), 124; Som. Wills ed. F. Brown, iv. 69; PROB 11/116, ff. 163v-4v.
  • 2. Dorset RO, P243/RE1.
  • 3. St. Dunstan in the East (Harl. Soc. Reg. lxix), 164.
  • 4. Hutchins, Dorset, ii. 480; PROB 11/116, f. 164.
  • 5. CJ, i. 432b.
  • 6. H.J. Moule, Docs. of Bor. of Weymouth and Melcombe Regis, 102, 136.
  • 7. Som. and Dorset N and Q, ii. 314.
  • 8. HMC Hatfield, xi. 326.
  • 9. APC, 1591-2, p. 220.
  • 10. Dorset Tudor Subsidies ed. T.L. Stoate, 105.
  • 11. PROB 11/116, f. 164.
  • 12. HMC Hatfield, ix. 132.
  • 13. Moule, 193; CJ, i. 962a; SR, iv. 1059.
  • 14. PROB 11/116, ff. 163v-4v; CJ, i. 432b.