BARNEBY, John (1621-1701), of Hull, Bockleton, Worcs. and Canon Pyon, Herefs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

bap. 3 May 1621, 3rd but o. surv. s. of John Barneby of Hull by Catherine, da. of Sir Thomas Cornewall of Burford, Salop. m. (1) Mary (d.1648), da. of William Nicholetts of Hopton Sollers, Herefs., 3s. 2da.; (2) 1649, Judith, da. and h. of George Vaughan of Canon Pyon, wid. of Walter Baskerville of Wormesley Grange, Herefs., and of William Lochard of The Byletts, Pembridge, Herefs., s.p. suc. fa. 1640; kntd. by 9 Mar. 1670.1

Offices Held

J.p. Herefs. July 1660-89, Worcs. 1666-?75; commr. for assessment, Herefs. 1661-80, 1689, Worcs. 1664-80, recusants, Herefs. and Worcs. 1675; dep. lt. Herefs. 1683-9.2


Barneby was descended from a Yorkist official who married the heiress of Hull and was killed at the battle of Towton. The elder branch of the family migrated to Herefordshire in 1552, but Barneby had no interest in the county until his second marriage, when he sold much of his Worcestershire property. His father’s bequests to Bockleton church suggest that he favoured a reading as much as a preaching ministry. Barneby took no part in the Civil War, and practically nothing is known of him before his election for Weobley in 1661, by which time he had taken up residence on the small estate of Canon Pyon, some four miles away. Barneby was an active government back-bencher in the Cavalier Parliament, serving on 226 committees and acting as teller in six divisions. Most of this activity, so far as it concerned matters of political importance, was concentrated between 1673 and 1677.3

Barneby was not long in making use of his parliamentary privilege against his mother-in-law, who had started an action of ejectment against him. But he was not otherwise conspicuous during Clarendon’s administration, though he was named to the committee to consider the petition of the loyal and indigent officers on 12 Mar. 1663. His only chairmanship was in the committee to inspect the laws against the export of wool and leather. He was on both lists of court supporters in 1669-71 as one who had usually voted for supply. Rewarded with a knighthood, he acted as teller for supply and for the conventicles bill in 1670, and in the next session he was appointed to the committee to inspect the Conventicles and Militia Acts. In 1673 he was named to the committees to prepare the impeachment of Arlington and to consider the state of Ireland. In his only speech, he defended Lord Treasurer Clifford from charges of Popery: ‘Hears only common fame that you are told of, and that is no ground. He sees him at chapel most Sundays.’ Unfortunately Barneby’s own position was not impregnable; his wife’s daughter had been baptized by a Roman Catholic priest and was married to a recusant cousin of the Marquess of Worcester (Henry Somerset). In the spring session of 1675 Barneby served on the committees for hindering Papists from sitting in Parliament and for suppressing Popery. He was granted an excise pension of £200 p.a., was named on the working lists, and received the government whip in October. In A Seasonable Argument he was said to have been given £500, and after his threats to sue the borough for his wages unless they elected Sir Thomas Williams the country party were determined that he should not sit again. In the autumn session he served on the committees for appropriating the customs to the navy, preventing the growth of Popery and preserving the liberty of the subject. Sir Richard Wiseman had no doubt of his reliability as a court supporter, and Shaftesbury marked him as ‘thrice vile’.4

Barneby presumably turned Hull over to his son to qualify him for the Worcestershire commission of the peace in 1675, and on Lady Barneby’s death early in 1678 he found himself homeless, Canon Pyon descending to her recusant son-in-law. He went to live with his own son-in-law at nearby Little Pyon. His name is missing from the opposition list of court supporters in 1678, but he certainly attended most of the sessions, acting as teller against the motion to investigate the corruption of Members on 18 June, and serving on the committees to inquire into the Popish Plot and the French translation of the London Gazette. He is unlikely to have stood for the Exclusion Parliaments, but in July 1681 he was among those who tried to win over Lord Scudamore (John Scudamore) from the country party. During the Monmouth rebellion, he summoned (Sir) Edward Harley and other Whigs to Hereford and confined them there. He was considered certain to answer affirmatively to the lord lieutenant’s questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws, and was one of three candidates for Herefordshire approved by Sunderland in 1688. After the Revolution he was probably a non-juror. He was buried at Bockleton on 27 Aug. 1701. His sons died childless and he was the only member of his family to sit in Parliament.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Edward Rowlands


  • 1. Vis. Worcs. ed. Metcalfe, 8-9; W. R. Williams, Parl. Hist. Herefs. 159; C. J. Robinson, Mansions and Manors of Herefs. 225; Cooke, Herefs. iv. 71-72; Portland mss BL Loan 29/181, f. 109v, Sir Edward to Lady Harley, 12 Mar. 1670.
  • 2. Trans. Woolhope Field Club, xxxiv. 293.
  • 3. Robinson, 48, 62; VCH Worcs. iii. 465; iv. 243.
  • 4. CJ, viii. 529; ix. 124, 136; Grey, ii. 153; Cooke, 72; HMC Lords, i. 227; Cal. Treas. Bks. v. 1330, 1332; CSP Dom. 1675-6, p. 461; Nottingham Univ. Lib. Pw2/Hy 196.
  • 5. HMC Portland, iii. 359, 384-5; Cooke, 72; BL Loan 29/183, f. 87, Richard Reed to Sir Edward Harley 28 July 1681; Bodl. Carte 130, f. 24.