BARNHAM, Robert (1606-85), of Boughton Monchelsea, Kent.

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. 12 Oct. 1606, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir Francis Barnham of Boughton Monchelsea by Elizabeth, da. of Sampson Lennard of Chevening. m. (1) 28 Feb. 1636, Elizabeth, da. of Robert Henley of Henley, Som. and Soper Lane, London, chief clerk of K.b. 1629-42, 1s. d.v.p. 3da.; (2) lic. 18 Aug. 1663, ‘aged 47’, Hannah, da. of one Nichols of London, wid. of William Lowfield, Draper, of Lombard Street, London, 1da. suc. fa. 1646; cr. Bt. 15 Aug. 1663.1

Offices Held

Asst. Rochester Bridge 1632-43, 1661-4, warden 1635; j.p. Kent July 1660-d., dep. lt. July 1660-63, 1672-d., commr. for assessment Aug. 1660-80, sewers Rother marsh Oct. 1660, Walland marsh Dec. 1660, recusants Kent 1675.2


Barnham came from a London merchant family. His great-uncle sat for Yarmouth, I.o.W. in 1597. His grandfather, however, had settled in Kent in 1572, and his father, after inheriting Boughton Monchelsea, four miles south-east of Maidstone, in 1613, sat for the borough in six Parliaments. But he ceased to attend both Parliament and county committee in July 1643, though he ‘never failed in his duty to the House, nor committed anything against them’. Barnham himself was imprisoned in Leeds Castle as a suspected Royalist. He was returned to the Convention for Maidstone, but made no speeches and was named only to the committee for the assessment ordinance. Re-elected in 1661, he became a moderately active committeeman in the Cavalier Parliament. He was appointed to 77 committees, but took no part in the Clarendon Code. He may have had Presbyterian sympathies, for he acted as teller on 17 May 1661 against the burning of the Covenant. ‘A person of worth’, he bought a baronetcy from the oldest crown servant living in 1663. He was appointed to the committee for the conventicles bill in 1670, and Sir Thomas Osborne included him among the Members who might be engaged for the Court by the Duke of York and his friends. On 30 Mar. 1671, indeed, he was teller against the Roos divorce bill, which threatened a precedent against the interests of the heir presumptive. He received the government whip in 1675, his name appeared on the working lists, and Sir Richard Wiseman apparently regarded his vote as safe. His most important committees in the later sessions were on the bills to prevent the growth of Popery in 1675 and 1677. Shaftesbury changed his initial assessment of ‘doubly worthy’ to ‘doubly vile’, and according to A Seasonable Argument his only livelihood was his pension, though his will mentions considerable property in Kent and bequests of some £3,000. He signed the letter to the lord lieutenant protesting against government support for Sir John Banks at Winchelsea in 1677. He was on both lists of the court party in 1678, and as one of the ‘unanimous club’ was not returned again. He died in May or June 1685, leaving Boughton Monchelsea to his youngest daughter and her husband, Thomas Rider, who was elected for Maidstone in 1695.3

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / Basil Duke Henning


  • 1. J. Cave-Browne, Story of Hollingbourne, 73; St. Peter Cornhill (Harl. Soc. Reg. i), 255; London Mar. Lic. ed. Foster, 84; Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. liv), 8.
  • 2. Twysden Ltcy. Pprs. (Kent Recs. x), 13, 24; Arch. Cant. xvii. 173; information from Mr P. F. Cooper, Bridge Clerk, Rochester Bridge Trust.
  • 3. The Ancestor, ix. 195; Hasted, Kent, v. 340; A. M. Everitt, Community of Kent and the Great Rebellion, 36, 145, 147; Keeler, Long Parl. 97; Arch. Cant. iv. 185; CSP Dom. 1663-4, p. 227; Kent AO, Sa/ZB3/1; PCC 68 Cann.