VANE, Henry, Visct. Barnard (1788-1864), of Selby, Welford, Northants.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



1812 - July 1815
12 Feb. 1816 - 1818
1818 - 1826
1826 - 1830
1830 - 1831
1832 - 29 Jan. 1842

Family and Education

b. 6 Aug. 1788, 1st s. of William Harry Vane†, 3rd earl of Darlington, and 1st w. Lady Catherine Margaret Powlett, da. and coh. of Harry Powlett† , 6th duke of Bolton; bro. of Hon. William John Frederick Powlett* and Hon. Harry George Vane†. educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1806. m. 18 Nov. 1809, Lady Sophia Poulett, da. of John, 4th Earl Poulett, s.p. styled Visct. Barnard 1792-1827, earl of Darlington 1827-42; suc. fa. as 2nd duke of Cleveland 29 Jan. 1842; KG 11 Apr. 1842. d. 18 Jan. 1864.

Offices Held

Cornet 7 Drag. 1815; lt. 2 Life Gds. 1817, capt. 1818; maj. (half-pay) 2 Ceylon Regt. 1823; maj. 75 Ft. 1823, lt.-col. 1824; half-pay 1826-d.; brevet col. 1838; maj-gen. 1851; lt.-gen. 1857; gen. 1863.

Col. co. Dur. militia 1842-d.


Barnard’s father, Lord Darlington, who was worth over £1,000,000 and owned almost 100,000 acres when (as marquess of Cleveland) he died in January 1842, returned Members in this period for Camelford, Ilchester, Totnes, Tregony and Winchelsea. He also had decisive interests in Milborne Port (until 1825), Shrewsbury, Shropshire and county Durham, where he was colonel of the militia and lord lieutenant.1 Returned for that county in 1812, Barnard was ineffective and relinquished the seat in 1815 to pursue what proved to be a high ranking but essentially nominal military career, which left him free to sit for his father’s boroughs and indulge his love of hunting. With his brother and successor as Member for county Durham William Powlett, he generally followed the Whig, pro-Catholic line adhered to by Darlington, whose reservations on parliamentary reform they shared, but after being checked in 1818 from veering too closely to Lord Liverpool’s administration, Barnard had spent the next session abroad.2 His return for Tregony at the general election of 1820, when he also defended Darlington’s electoral interests in Camelford, county Durham, Ilchester and Milborne Port, was contested and petitioned against. The House ruled in his favour, 15 Feb. 1821.3

Barnard’s votes were subject to confusion with those of the Irish Members Lord Bernard and Thomas Bernard. He seems to have divided with the main Whig opposition with Darlington’s Members on most major issues in the 1820 Parliament. According to a radical publication of 1825, he ‘attended frequently and voted in opposition to government’, but his attendance was no more than episodic, and he made no reported speeches and served on no major committees.4 He supported the parliamentary campaign on behalf of Queen Caroline in 1821, when the death on 8 Jan. of his sister Louisa kept him away at the start of the session.5 He divided for Catholic relief, 28 Feb. 1821, 1 Mar., 10 May 1825, for parliamentary reform, 9 May 1821, 25 Apr. 1822, 24 Apr., 2 June 1823, 13 Apr. 1826, and in condemnation of electoral bribery, 26 May 1826. It was almost certainly he who voted to abolish the death penalty for forgery, 23 May, 4 June 1821, and for a fixed 20s. duty on wheat, 9 May 1822. He attended successfully to Darlington’s interests at by-elections for Camelford and Shropshire in 1822. From then until the general election of 1826 he was party to protracted and duplicitous negotiations and litigation concerning the vote houses and corporation of Tregony and his own candidature for Totnes, where, having been requisitioned, he was furious to be taken to a poll and at finishing in second place. He stated on the hustings that he was ‘no merchant adventurer’ and was committed to defending local interests.6 Camelford, Ilchester and Tregony were also hotly contested in 1826, and he was a member of the committee that confirmed the return of Darlington’s Tregony nominees, 23 Mar. 1827.

Now on half-pay, he retained a low profile in the House until 1830, when his father went over to the duke of Wellington’s administration. He voted for Catholic relief, 6 Mar., and inquiry into the allegations against Leicester corporation, 15 Mar. 1827. He was in France with his youngest brother Harry when Canning succeeded Lord Liverpool as premier, so his allegiance to his administration and to its successor led by Lord Goderich, to whom Darlington owed his promotion to the marquessate of Cleveland, was not tested.7 Now styled Lord Darlington, he took a house in Brook Street and joined his father and brother in refusing to sign the requisition for a Durham county meeting to address Wellington during his tour of the North East that month.8 They refrained from deliberate hostility to the duke’s ministry in 1828, when Barnard’s only reported votes were for Catholic relief, 12 May, and against ordnance reductions, 4 July, and according to the secretary at war Sir Henry Hardinge*, he ‘gave in a general adhesion’ to the government at the close of the session.9 Cleveland secured a diplomatic posting to St. Petersburg for Harry during the recess, and as directed and the patronage secretary Planta predicted, Darlington divided ‘with government’ for Catholic emancipation, 6, 30 Mar. 1829.10

Ministers had passed over him as mover of the 1829 address, and his selection in 1830 was interpreted by the Whig James Abercromby as a deliberate ploy to allay the opposition of Henry Brougham, who despite Cleveland’s entreaties, had exchanged his Winchelsea seat for the Whig duke of Devonshire’s borough of Knaresborough.11 On 4 Feb., making his maiden speech after 17 years in Parliament, he made a virtue of his previous silence and loose political alignment, praised Wellington and maintained that Whig measures, especially retrenchment, which he had advocated consistently, were now promoted by Tory ministers. As an ‘independent’ Member, he was free to support them. The Ultra Knatchbull contrasted and exploited references in the speech to recent increases in exports and a decline in home consumption, claiming they were symptoms of the distress the address had ignored.12 Ill-equipped to counter Huskisson’s criticism, Darlington eventually did so briefly, before voting against transferring East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 11 Feb. He divided against Lord Blandford’s reform scheme, 18 Feb., and the enfranchisement of Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb., when his brother voted for it. Opposing the Jewish emancipation bill (for which Powlett voted), 17 May, he argued that the admission to Parliament of all non-Christians was ‘too great a reform in the institutions of the country’. His vote against the forgery mitigation bill cancelled Powlett’s for it, 7 June, but both voted for the grant for South American missions that day. Darlington presented and endorsed petitions from Stockton against foreign flour imports, 28 May, and for the release of grain from bonded warehouses (for grinding), 15 June. He resisted attempts by the opposition to revive the regency question following William IV’s accession, 6 July 1830. He held his colleague and co-patron, the vice-president of the board of trade Thomas Courtenay, directly responsible for his defeat at Totnes at the general election that summer, when Cleveland’s candidates were also opposed at Ilchester and Tregony. Afterwards he was hastily returned for Saltash on the interest of the Whig William Russell, whose election, with Powlett, for county Durham Cleveland supported.13 In September Darlington asked the home secretary Peel to help him to broker a mutual pact for Totnes at the next election with Courtenay.14

Ministers listed Darlington among their ‘friends’, and he divided with them on the civil list when they were brought down, 15 Nov. 1830. In December, Cleveland, who had applied to Wellington in vain for promotion in the peerage, the Order of the Bath, or the Garter, declared for Grey’s reform ministry and expected his sons to do the same.15 Undeterred and notwithstanding his avowed intention to support his Whig ‘friends’ in office ‘whenever possible’, on 2 Mar. 1831 Darlington, who hitherto had ‘only sipped but never dived into political discussions’,16 created a stir by differing openly from his father and making a major speech against the ministerial reform bill, by which Camelford, Ilchester, Tregony and Winchelsea were to be disfranchised and Totnes deprived of a Member. The Times, then pro-reform, reported that he was barely attended to and ‘transiently heard in the gallery’.17 He conceded the case for granting the middle classes a ‘voice in government’ and that many boroughs were ‘too small’ or ‘rotten’, suggested levying a rate on the newly enfranchised towns to compensate the disfranchised boroughs and their proprietors and cautioned that the ballot, universal suffrage and any extension of the franchise to the lower classes were harbingers of revolution. He divided against the bill at its second reading, 22 Mar., when Powlett, who had also criticized its details, divided for it. He proposed a 20 per cent reduction in the civil list salaries of the royal household, 28 Mar. He delayed presenting Saltash’s petition and case for continued representation until 18 Apr. 1831, and voted (with Powlett) in the majority for Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment next day. Cleveland denied them his interest at the ensuing general election.18 Darlington hurried in vain to Saltash in search of a seat and afterwards tried his luck at Totnes, where he came third. His canvassing address evaded the ‘great question of reform’ and concentrated on local issues, but on the hustings he said that the bill would have had his support had it not proposed an overall reduction in representation. He said he supported the principle of transferring Members from rotten boroughs to large towns.19

Out of Parliament, Darlington, like Powlett, moved to Norfolk, settling at the Vane estate of Snettisham Hall, near King’s Lynn. At the general election of 1832 his father’s former Shropshire Member Cressett Pelham made way for him in the Conservative stronghold of Shropshire South, which he represented until Cleveland’s death in January 1842.20 He applied in vain to Peel in 1841 to be called to the Lords in his father’s lifetime and was passed over as his successor in the lord lieutenancy of Durham.21 He died without issue at Raby Castle in January 1864, predeceased in 1859 by his wife and recalled as an ardent Conservative and sportsman, who had been instrumental in making owners liable for rates under the 1834 poor law.22 His will was proved in London by his nephew and executor Mark Milbank, 3 Mar. 1864. As agreed with Powlett, his successor as 3rd duke, who was also childless, the unentailed estates passed directly to their heirs, their brother Harry (1803-91), Liberal Member for Durham South, 1841-59, and Hastings, 1859-64, and nephew Sir Morgan Vane (1809-86).23

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Margaret Escott


  • 1. The Times, 31 Jan., 7 May 1842; PROB 11/1960/243; IR26/1603/321.
  • 2. HP Commons, 1790-1820, ii. 151; v. 430.
  • 3. Lincs. AO, Tennyson d’Eyncourt mss 2Td’E H108/32, Russell to Tennyson, 21 Feb.; Grey mss, Tierney to Grey [29 Feb.], Darlington to same [Mar.]; West Briton, 3, 10, 17 Mar. 1820; Add. 30115, f. 165.
  • 4. Session of Parl. 1825, p. 450.
  • 5. Grey mss, Darlington to Grey, 16 Jan. 1821.
  • 6. NLW, Aston Hall mss C. 1087; Add. 43507, ff. 34-51; West Briton, 23 Sept., 7 Oct. 1825; 2, 16, 20 June; The Times, 19 Feb., 3 June 1826.
  • 7. Add. 43597, ff. 55-57; Brougham mss, Darlington to Brougham, 18 Apr. 1827.
  • 8. Aberdeen Univ. Lib. Arbuthnot mss, Hardinge to Mrs. Arbuthnot, 6 Oct. 1827.
  • 9. Durham CRO, Londonderry mss D/LO/C83 (24).
  • 10. Wellington mss WP1/971/16; 974/29; 990/12; 995/22; 1004/34; Brougham mss, Cleveland to Brougham, 10 Feb. 1829.
  • 11. Wellington mss WP1/1092/14; 1098/7; Add. 40395, f. 85; 40400, f. 40; 515175, Abercromby to Holland [30 Jan.]; Brougham mss, same to Brougham [Jan.]; Grey mss, Durham to Grey, 20 Jan. 1830.
  • 12. Durham Chron. 6, 13 Feb.; Western Times, 13 Feb. 1830.
  • 13. Add. 40501, 238; Western Times, 31 July; Exeter Flying Post, 12 Aug. 1830.
  • 14. Add. 40401, f. 155.
  • 15. Wellington mss WP1/1126/4; 1152/6; 1154/45; Lonsdale mss, Lowther to Lonsdale, 12 Dec. 1830; Brougham mss, Cleveland to Brougham, 24 Jan. 1831.
  • 16. Rutland mss (History of Parliament Aspinall transcripts), Douglas to Rutland, 23 Apr. 1831.
  • 17. The Times, 3 Mar.; Durham Chron. 11 Mar.; Durham Co. Advertiser, 11 Mar.; Plymouth Herald, 19 Mar. 1831.
  • 18. St. Deiniol’s Lib. Glynne-Gladstone mss 198, T. to J. Gladstone, 20 Apr.; Stair mss (History of Parliament transcripts), Murray to Dalrymple, 24 Apr.; Durham Co. Advertiser, 29 Apr. 1831.
  • 19. R. Devonport Telegraph, 30 Apr., 7 May; Western Times, 7 May 1831; W.P. Courtney, Parl. Rep. Cornw. (1889), 160, 162; Devon RO D1579 A/12/20.
  • 20. NLW, Coedymaen mss 230; Salopian Jnl. 14 Nov.-26 Dec. 1832; VCH Salop, iii. 315.
  • 21. Add. 40501, ff. 228-44.
  • 22. The Times, 7 Oct. 1842, 3 Mar. 1846, 3 Oct. 1854, 3, 6 June 1857, 13 Apr. 1861, 19 Jan.; Durham Co. Advertiser, 22 Jan. 1864.
  • 23. The Times, 8 Feb., 14 Mar. 1864.