BARTON, Ralph (1524/25-92), of Gray's Inn, London, Smithhills in Deane, Lancs. and Holme, Notts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
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Family and Education

b. 1524/25, 2nd s. of Andrew Barton educ. G. Inn 1542, called 1545. m. lic. 14 June 1555, Eleanor, da. of Sir Roger Brereton of Malpas, Cheshire, wid. Of one Brackenbury, at least 2s. 1da. suc. bro. Robert 1580.2

Offices Held

Reader, G. Inn Lent 1559, autumn 1568, bencher 1569.

Feodary, Notts, from c.1560; Queen’s attorney, Cheshire, Flints., Anglesey, Caern. and Merion. May 1563; Queen’s attorney and serjeant, Lancs. May 1564; recorder, Nottingham 1564-c.82; member, council in the marches of Wales 1570; j.p.q. Notts.1558/59-d., Glos., Herefs., Salop 1579-d.; commr. musters, Denb. 1580; other commissions 1560-79.3


Although he was to inherit the family estates in Lancashire and Nottinghamshire on the death of his brother, Ralph Barton’s immediate inheritance from his father was his professional training. Bequeathed 10 marks in his father’s will of February 1549 and also £10 yearly ‘during certain years towards his exhibition and learning’, Ralph Barton had entered Gray’s Inn seven years earlier and had been called to the bar in 1545. He was to have a successful legal career under Elizabeth and may already have entered the service of the crown under Mary. His return for Wigan in I558 was thus perhaps due to his professional standing. He was probably also acceptable in religion at this time, although he presumably conformed under Elizabeth; his brother Robert, who had been responsible for the arrest of the Protestant martyr George Marsh in 1554, was regarded as unfavourable to the Elizabethan settlement in 1564. The Barton family was of some importance in the neighbourhood and held a lease of property in Wigan itself; moreover, by 1562 Ralph Barton was to be in receipt of a wage, fee or annuity of 40s. from Edward Stanley, 3rd Earl of Derby, whose influence would have reinforced whatever other claims Barton might have had. No explanation has been found for the omission of his name and those of 17 others, including his brother-in-law William Gerard II, from a copy of the Crown Office list.4

Barton’s brother’s widow became the wife of Sir Richard Shuttleworth, with the result that there was a protracted lawsuit before he secured his inheritance. He had done so by his death in 1592.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Aged 55 in 1580, Chetham Soc. xli. 290. Vis. Lancs. (Chetham Soc. lxxxi), 21; (cx), 197-200; Vis. Cheshire (Harl. Soc. xviii), 44; Mar. Lic. London (Harl. Soc. xxv), 16.
  • 3. CPR, 1560-3, pp. 94, 611; 1563-6, pp. 35, 38; 1566-9, pp. 130, 240, 347; 1569-72 pp. 32, 194, 432-3; Somerville, Duchy, i. 484; Nottingham Recs. iv. 418, 422; HMC Rutland. i. 142; P. H. Williams, Council in the Marches of Wales, 344-5; R. Flenley, Cal. Reg. Council, Marches of Wales, 98, 173, 200.
  • 4. Chetham Soc. xli, 289-90; li. 98-101; DNB (Marsh, George); Cam. Misc. ix(3), 78; Lancs. RO, Stanley pprs. DDK/6/3, p. 17; Wm. Salt Lib. SMS 264.
  • 5. Ducatus Lanc. iv. 91, 107, 117-18, 133, 139, 514; APC, xiii. 18-19, 21; HMC Var. ii. 97.