BARENTYNE (BARRINGTON), Sir William (1481-1549), of Little Haseley, Oxon. and London.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
b. 31 Dec. 1481, 1st s. of John Barentyne of Little Haseley by Mary, da. of Thomas Stonor of Stonor. m. (1) Anne, da. and coh. of Sir Robert Rede of London, 2da.; (2) 1516/19, Anne (d.1522), da. of William Eton of London, wid. of Richard Grey of London, 1s. 1da.; (3) Jane, da. of Sir Roger Lewknor of Dedisham and Bodiam, Suss., wid. of Sir Christopher Pickering (d.1516) of Killington, Westmld., and Sir Arthur Pole (d.1535/36), 2s. 1da. suc. fa. 24 Dec. 1485. Kntd. 1513.1
Sheriff, Oxon. and Berks. 1511-12, Jan.-Nov. 1526, 1542-3; commr. subsidy, Oxon. 1512, 1514, 1523, 1524, musters 1539, 1546, benevolence 1544/45, church goods 1549; other commissions 1530-d.; esquire of the body by 1513; j.p. Oxford 1516, Oxon. 1524-d.2
The Barentynes had long been a leading Oxfordshire family: William Barentyne’s grea-grandfather and grandfather had been knights of the shire. His father, from whom he inherited lands in Hampshire and Wiltshire as well as in Oxfordshire, died at the age of 25. Barentyne’s wardship and marriage were granted to his uncle, Drew Barentyne, but in November 1488 John, 13th Earl of Oxford, was granted the custody of the Barentynes’ second parcel of Oxfordshire lands in Churchill, in the King’s hands because of the minority and because the property had been alienated to John Barentyne by Sir William Stonor without royal licence. The earl and Drew Barentyne granted the wardship to Sir Robert Rede, later chief justice of common pleas.3
Leland, who was for a time rector of Great Haseley, described ‘Little Haseley, where Master Barentyne hath a right fair mansion place’ as full of ‘marvellous fair walks topiarii operis, and orchards and pools’. But the Cotswold lands at Churchill may have been the main source of Barentyne’s wealth. In 1533 he was listed amongst the producers of Cotswold wool shipped to Calais. The enclosure commission of 1517 found that on 16 Oct. 1512 he had enclosed and converted 300 acres of derelict arable land at Churchill and more than trebled its value. He finally purchased the manor of Churchill, which had belonged to Bruern abbey, in 1544.4
During his early manhood Barentyne lived partly in London, in the parish of St. Clement Danes ‘extra barras Novi Templi’, and to the end of his life he had a tenement in Bread Street, Queenhithe. Sir Robert Rede’s guardianship might have inclined him towards a legal career but he was not admitted to the Inner Temple until 1517, too late for the admission to have been anything other than honorific. He was by then already an esquire of the body, a post that may have been secured for him by his uncle or possibly by Oxford, and had taken his place as a leader of his county. He had also served in France in the campaign of 1513, in which he was knighted; he was at the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520 and was again leading troops in France in 1522. In 1536 he headed the list of the Oxfordshire gentry called upon to lead militia against the northern rebellion, and he provided 20 footmen for the army in Flanders in 1543 and 30 for the vanguard in France in 1544, although he apparently did not serve in person. He was on the Oxfordshire commission to survey Wolsey’s goods and in 1534 arbitrated in a dispute between the town of Oxford and the university. He dealt in monastic property at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland, and in Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Oxfordshire, but himself retained only a little of it at Warpsgrove near his home.5
It was from Barentyne’s house at Haseley that in August 1526 the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk, the Marquess of Exeter and Viscount Rochford, Anne Boleyn’s father, wrote to Wolsey to ask that the grievances of the widowed Countess of Oxford should be quickly settled. If Barentyne’s own standing and his connexions in the county and at court made him a natural choice as knight of the shire in 1529, his election may also have owed something to his daughter Margaret’s marriage to John Harcourt, whose father, Sir Simon, was sheriff at the time. Only the month, December, remains on a letter from Barentyne at Haseley to ‘his heartily beloved friend, Master Cromwell’, but it may have been written in 1529, and after the close of the first session of the Parliament on 17 Dec. Barentyne, who had hoped to entertain Cromwell in Oxfordshire before Christmas, sought his help in securing the parsonage of Churchill and in preventing the sealing of the indenture by which the dean of Cardinal’s College was leasing it to another. During the Parliament Barentyne was one of the group who ‘did much use the Queen’s Head at dinner and supper’ to converse ‘of Parliament matters’; but his name does not appear with others of the group on the list thought to be of Members opposed to the bill in restraint of appeals to Rome. It is not known whether he was re-elected to the Parliament of 1536, when the King asked for the return of the previous Members.6
Barentyne was present at the christening of Prince Edward in 1537. In the years 1537-9 he was concerned in several prosecutions for treason, sitting on the Buckinghamshire commission which received indictments against the Marquess of Exeter and Lord Montagu (whose brother’s widow he had recently married) and the Surrey jury which found Sir Nicholas Carew guilty. He was commissioned to inquire into allegations made by one John Parkyns against the abbots of Eynsham and Osney. Finding the accusations false, he sent Parkyns to Bocardo, the Oxford gaol, whereupon the latter complained to the lord admiral, pointing out Barentyne’s relationship to Sir Simon Harcourt, one of Eynsham’s chief tenants. (Parkyns was probably unaware of the more distant relationship, through the Nevilles, between Barentyne and the admiral himself, Sir William Fitzwilliam I, Earl of Southampton.) The Oxfordshire justices met at Barentyne’s house early in 1539 before executing a commission to enforce the royal supremacy, and later in the year he was one of the commission which condemned the abbot of Reading for denying it.7
Barentyne’s second marriage, to the widow of a prominent ironmonger, had involved him in lawsuits with his stepson and with the abbess of Syon, as well as in proceedings in the London court of aldermen, but it was his third which was to cause the most serious trouble. Sir Roger Lewknor had no sons and there was great rivalry to obtain his considerable inheritance: as early as August 1536 Barentyne wrote to Cromwell denying charges brought before the Privy Council that he had made deceitful bargains with his father-in-law. Lewknor had settled his property on his daughter and her children by Barentyne, and in 1539 he assured his son-in-law of his support against the schemes of Sir Henry Knyvet, who had married Anne Pickering, Jane Lewknor’s daughter by her first marriage and the widow of the executed Sir Francis Weston. Knyvet’s claim on behalf of his own wife turned on his allegation against Barentyne’s that on the death of her second husband Sir Arthur Pole, she had taken a vow of chastity, and his argument was upheld by a commission sitting in the consistory court of London in December 1540 which accordingly pronounced Barentyne’s marriage with her void. To complicate matters still further, Lewknor had meanwhile married a second time and had three more daughters. Following his death in 1543 an Act (34 and 35 Hen. VIII, c.43) confirmed a decision in Chancery which had apparently given the inheritance to these daughters, and Knyvet was eventually granted the wardship of the three young coheirs. That the Act also declared Barentyne’s marriage legitimate, on the ground that the vow of chastity had been extorted by Lord Montagu, does not appear to have affected the result, and in 1563 Barentyne’s sons were still attempting to secure a judicial verdict in favour of their legitimacy.8
Barentyne died on 17 Nov. 1549, leaving as heir his son, Francis, a gentleman pensioner, aged 27 and married to Elizabeth Fiennes, sister of (Sir) Richard Fiennes. He had named John Pollard, husband of his stepdaughter Anne Grey, executor of his will. His tomb and jousting-helm survive in Great Haseley church.9
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: Alan Harding
- 1. Date of birth given in proof of age, CIPM Hen. VII , ii. 6. Oxon. Arch. Soc. lv. 30-31; N. and Q. clxxxiii. 191-2, 350; Vis. Suss. (Harl. Soc. liii), 66; City of London RO, Guildhall, rep. 3, f. 93v; 5, f. 4; Weever, Funeral Mons. 361; Vis. Yorks. (Harl. Soc. xvi), 251.
- 2. LP Hen. VIII, i, iii, iv, vi, viii, x, xiv, xvi, xx, xxi; Statutes, iii. 88, 112; F. G. Lee Thame Church, 68; CPR, 1547-8, p. 88.
- 3. CIPM Hen. VII, i. 177-80, 442; ii. 6, 674; CPR, 1485-94, pp. 156, 260.
- 4. LP Hen. VIII, xix, add.; Leland, Itin. ed. Smith, i. 114; Domesday of Inclosures, i. 360.
- 5. LP Hen. VIII, i, iii, iv, vii, xi, xiv, xviii, xix; N. and Q. clxxxiii. 350.
- 6. LP Hen. VIII, iv, xii; SP1/56, f. 155.
- 7. LP Hen. VIII, xii-xiv; Oxf. Recs. 140-4; CP, ix. 93n; D. Knowles, Rel. Orders in Eng., iii. 379, 487, 491; Bull IHR, xxxiii. 115-21.
- 8. ECP, v. 354, 541; City of London RO, rep. 5, ff. 4, 20v; LP Hen. VIII, xi, xiv, xviii, xxi; VCH Suss. ix. 263; Suss. Arch. Colls. lxviii. 279; CPR, 1560-3, pp. 526-7.
- 9. E150/817/4; Vis. Oxon. (Harl. Soc. v), 213; PCC 5 Coode; Procs. Soc. Antiqs. (ser. 2), xvi. 53-58; information from W. J. Tighe.