Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Nov. 1554

Family and Education

Offices Held


Barnes was a fairly common name in Tudor England. There was a Barnes family at Bold in Lancashire, of which Richard Barnes, the Elizabethan bishop of Durham, was a member. His father and brother were both named John, and it was one of them who was engaged in several lawsuits in the duchy court: on one occasion (undated) Richard Bold of Bold complained that Barnes had detained title deeds but at other times Bold and Barnes were on the same side. Catherine Barnes, the bishop’s sister, married Richard Bold’s brother Francis.1

Wigan had been less under the influence of the duchy than some Lancashire boroughs and had tended to elect local men, although more distinguished ones than a shadowy Barnes of Bold: thus John Barnes’s fellow-Member was the 3rd Earl of Derby’s brother-in-law Alexander Barlow. Both were described as esquires. Barlow’s fellow-Member in the previous Parliament had been William Barnes II, gentleman, probably the eldest son of William Barnes I of Fryerning and Thoby, Essex, an auditor in the royal courts who himself sat in both the Parliaments of 1554 and who had an elder half-brother John. The family may already have been able to claim kinship with Sir Robert Rochester, chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster. It is not clear whether or not Barnes’s name is inserted in the indenture over an erasure but, if so, this would support the view that he was a duchy nominee rather than a local man. He was not one of those who quitted the Parliament prematurely without leave.2

John Barnes, brother of William, settled at Therfield, Hertfordshire, having sold Turges or Sturgeons Writtle, Essex, which he had inherited from his father. He is described in a modern pedigree as receiver-general to Catherine Parr and may also have been the John Barnes who was a coroner in Hertfordshire in 1541. He made a will on 20 Dec. 1557 which was proved ten days later. He described himself as a gentleman and distributed a rather small estate among members of his family whom he did not identify, save for his wife Elizabeth, who was executrix, his son Richard and an illegitimate daughter.3

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. J. B. Watson, ‘Lancs. gentry 1529-58’ (London Univ. M.A. thesis, 1959), 122, 548; Fuller, Worthies (1840), ii. 197; F. O. White, Eliz. Bishops, 181-5; Strype, Annals, iii (2), 680; Ducatus Lanc. ii. 291, 293; iii. 168; iv. 45, 84, 149; Vis. Lancs. (Chetham Soc. lxxxii), 15-16. Others of the name appear in CPR, 1548-9, p. 160; 1553-4, pp. 418, 448; 1558-60, p. 18.
  • 2. E. E. Wilde, Ingatestone and the Essex Great Road, 21, 411; Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 4, 21; C219/23/73.
  • 3. It is not clear how he fits into the pedigree given in Vis. Herts. (Harl. Soc. xxii), 28; Wilde, 411; LP Hen. VIII, xvi; PCC 55 Wrastley.