BARWIS, Richard (1602-1649), of Ilekirk Grange, Westward, Cumbria

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



1640 (Apr.)
1640 (Nov.) - 13 Feb. 1649

Family and Education

b. 3 Apr. 1602,1 o.s. of Anthony Barwise of Ilekirk Grange and Grace, da. of William Fleming of Rydal, Westmld.2 m. by 1640, Frances (d.1670), da. of (Sir) Edward Musgrave* of Hayton Castle, Cumb., s.p.3 suc. fa. 1616.4 d. 13 Feb. 1649.5

Offices Held

Freeman, Carlisle, Cumb. 1624, mayor 1636-7, 1648-d.;6 j.p. Cumb. 1626-at least 1640;7 commr. Forced Loan, Cumb. 1627,8 oyer and terminer 1630, piracy 1631;9 sheriff, Cumb. 1634-5;10 commr. assessment, Cumb. 1641-d.;11 dep. lt. Cumb. by 1642-5;12 commr. sequestration, Cumb.1643, levying money 1643, Northern Assoc. 1645, militia, Cumb. 1648.13

Gent. waiter extraordinary to Chas. I;14 commr. regulating excise 1645, exclusion from sacrament 1646, scandalous offences 1648.15


The Barwis family had held Ilekirk Grange as tenants of Holm Cultram Abbey before the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and acquired the freehold in 1544.16 Orphaned at the age of 14, Barwis was raised in the household of his Catholic uncle, John Fleming, although his wardship was purchased by Sir John Dalston†; he later blamed them both for neglecting the upkeep of his estates and failing to develop coal-mines on the property. When he came of age, Barwis successfully modernized the customary tenures of Whinfell manor, persuading the tenants to pay him the equivalent of 40 years’ old rents on condition that their entry fines should in future be fixed at double the rent, and the agreement was confirmed in Chancery on 10 Feb. 1627.17 He was first elected for Carlisle, 12 miles from his home, in 1628; he defeated the courtier Sir Henry Vane to take the first seat, which the latter had occupied in the four preceding Parliaments. Once in the Commons, Barwis left no trace on the record of its proceedings. As sheriff he was responsible for the collection of Ship Money, which task he performed conscientiously despite having sympathy with those who objected.18 He was returned again at both elections of 1640, and during the Civil War became perhaps the most prominent parliamentarian in Cumbria, for notwithstanding the influence of his uncle and marriage into the Catholic Musgrave family, he maintained puritan sympathies. With Vane he helped to bring about the Scottish invasion in 1644. Taken prisoner by the royalists during the Second Civil War,19 Barwis never recovered from this experience, and drew up his will on 22 Jan. 1649.20 Known as ‘Great Richard’ for his tall stature and strength, his epitaph commemorated him as an ‘excellently accomplished gentleman’.21 He died on 13 Feb. following, and was buried at Westward, the only member of the family ever to sit in Parliament.22

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: John. P. Ferris / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. C142/354/101.
  • 2. Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. n.s. li. 118.
  • 3. Ibid. 119.
  • 4. C142/354/101.
  • 5. Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. n.s. xxxvii. 119.
  • 6. Mun. Recs. Carlisle ed. R.S. Ferguson (Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. Soc., extra ser. iv), 90, 108; Cumb. RO (Carlisle), Ca2/21/4; Ca2/27.
  • 7. C231/4, f. 207; C66/2858.
  • 8. SP16/73/41; C193/12/2, f. 8v.
  • 9. C181/4, ff. 25, 81.
  • 10. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 28.
  • 11. SR, v. 60, 149; A. and O. i. 90, 643, 962, 1079.
  • 12. SP16/152/46; C.D. Phillips, ‘Gentry in Cumb. and Westmld. 1600-65’, (Lancaster Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1973), p. 290.
  • 13. A. and O. i. 111, 147, 228, 707, 1235.
  • 14. LC3/1, unfol.
  • 15. A. and O. i. 691, 854, 1209.
  • 16. Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. n.s. l. 141-3.
  • 17. Phillips, 235; C78/432/10.
  • 18. CSP Dom. 1635-6, p. 13; Philips, 274.
  • 19. CSP Dom. 1644, p. 255; 1648-9, p. 133; M.F. Keeler, Long Parl. 99-100.
  • 20. PROB 11/207, f. 264.
  • 21. Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. n.s. li. 119-24.
  • 22. Ibid. n.s. xxxvii. 119.