Barnham Coats of Arms

Over a period of several centuries, the Crown granted patents of nobility to four members of the Barnham family. Burke, Extinct and Dormant Peerages of Great Britain, states that all of them have subsequently lapsed in default of male heirs. The oldest of these, mentioned in Fairbairn’s Crests of the Leading Families in Great Britain and Ireland, and their Kindred in other Lands, was bestowed upon Sir Walter Barnham by Richard II (reigned 1377-1399). Sir Walter was born about 1350, during the reign of Edward III (reigned 1327-1377) and was Chancellor of the Exchequer during the reign of King Richard. The exact date of his elevation to the nobility is not known.

Sir Walter’s arms are illustrated below in accordance with the description mentioned.

Barnham Arms 1

 

These arms were granted at an unknown date to Sir Walter Barnham, L.C.B. (fl. 1350) and were blazoned: Argent, a cross gules between four crescents gules. Crest: A crescent gules between two laurel branches in orle proper. It is not known whether a motto accompanied this blazoning of arms.

The second patent of nobility granted to a member of the Barnham family was bestowed upon an unknown member of the family, possibly the father of Sir Nicholas Barnham. Sir Nicholas and his father were both killed 22 August 1485 in Leicestershire, England, along with Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field.

 

Barnham Arms 2

 Colorline

Above are the arms granted to an unknown descendant of Sir Walter Barnham. These arms are blazoned: sable, a cross engrailed between four crescents argent. Crest: A dragon's head argent pelletée between four dragon's wings sable bezantée. Motto: Per Crucem ad Lumen — “Through the Cross to the Light.”

The third patent of nobility that is known to have been granted by the Crown to a member of the Barnham family is that of Sir Martin Barnham, Knight of Hollingbourne, who was Sheriff of Kent in 1598. Sir Martin was knighted on July 23, 1603, by James I (reigned 1603-1625). This was just a few months after James had ascended the throne following the death of Elizabeth I (reigned 1558-1603). Note the quartering of the Barnham arms with those of Martin's mother, the heiress Alice Brodbridge. The use of the phaeon (the heraldic broad arrow) is an example of canting or punning arms — using a broad arrow for the sound of Brodbridge.

Barnham Arms 3

 

Above are the arms of Sir Martin Barnham, kt., which quarter the arms of his father (Barnham) and mother (Brodbridge). These arms are blazoned: quarterly 1st and 4th sable, a cross engrailed between four crescents argent; 2nd and 3rd azure, a phaeon proper. Crest: A dragon's head argent pelletée between four dragon's wings sable bezantée. Motto: Per Crucem ad Lumen — “Through the Cross to the Light.”

Sir Robert Barnham, esquire, was created a baronet on August 15, 1663 by Charles II (reigned 1660-1685). His was the fourth patent of nobility granted to a member of the Barnham family. According to Burke's Heraldry, “[T]he heiress of Sir Robert Barnham, second and last baronet, married Thomas Rider, esquire. A branch of the Barnhams still exists at Norwich.” No example has been found of the arms of Robert Barnham, bart., but it may reasonably be assumed that they were similar to those of his grandfather, Sir Martin Barnham. The principal difference would likely have been the quartering of the Barnham arms with those of Robert's mother, the heiress Elizabeth Lennard, as illustrated below.

Barnham Arms 4

 

The arms of Robert Barnham, bart. quarter the arms of his father (Barnham) and mother (Lennard). These arms are blazoned: quarterly 1st and 4th sable, a cross engrailed between four crescents argent; 2nd and 3rd or, on a fess gules three fleur-de-lis of the first. Crest: A dragon's head argent pelletée between four dragon's wings sable bezantée. Motto: Per Crucem ad Lumen —“Through the Cross to the Light.”

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A Research Guide to the Genealogy of the Barnum/Barnam/Barnham Family Worldwide

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