A Genealogy of the Barnum, Barnam and Barnham Family

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A One-Name Study for the BARNUM/BARNHAM Surname



Notes for Benedict BARNHAM


Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981:
Barnham, Benedict (1559-98), of London.
Family and Education. b. 1559, 3rd s. of Francis Barnham, draper, alderman and sheriff of London by Alice, da. of William Bradbridge of Chichester, Suss., wid. of one Marnay; bro. of Stephen. educ. St. Alban Hall, Oxf. by 1572. m. Dorothy, da. of Humphrey or Ambrose Smith, ?of Leics., 4da.3
Offices Held- Alderman, London 1591, sheriff 1591-2, master, Drapers’ Co. 1592-3, 1596-7; collector of the loan 1598.
Biography.Barnham belonged to a well-known family of London drapers. He inherited a third of his father’s movable property, and lands in Essex, Surrey and Wales. He became free of the Drapers’ Company by patrimony in 1580. For the 1589 subsidy he was assessed at £220. When alderman he was frequently called upon by the Privy Council to investigate disputes or malpractices in the city, and once, in March 1596, he was among those summoned to a Privy Council meeting when some sort of consent was wanted to an official decision on taxation in the city. He had a wide range of close friends among city dignitaries, including the recorder, and was well known to the attorney and the solicitor-general. It is not clear through what links of patronage he was provided with his two borough seats in Parliament.
His long will is dated 24 Mar. 1597. After a devout preamble he divided his goods equally into three shares, one for his wife, one for his daughters, and one to meet various legacies and the purchase of the wardships of his children. His many charitable bequests included those to Christ’s Hospital, the Bridewell, and the inmates of five London prisons. Relatives, friends and acquaintances were to receive ‘blacks’ and gowns. His extensive real property was in Essex, Hampshire, Kent, and Middlesex as well as London. The executors were William Greenwell and Abraham Cartwright, ‘late my servant’. The will was proved 29 May 1598 and upheld by sentence 2 Dec. Barnham died 4 Apr. 1598. He was buried, as he had wished, at St. Clement, Eastcheap, where an elaborate monument was erected.4
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
The medieval building of Saint Mildred in the Poultry was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666, and a new church was completed in 1676 to the designs of Sir Christopher Wren, after which the parish was united with that of Saint Mary Colechurch, which was not rebuilt.
Despite an untimely death, Benedict left behind one of the great London merchant fortunes, with vast lands and their rental incomes and, in addition, personal property worth £14,614. He was just 17 when his father died, still under-age, and the business partner with whom Benedict launched a brilliant career was his widowed mother.
He was buried at Saint Clement, Eastcheap.
The will of Benedicte Barnham, Alderman of London, dated 29 May 1598, may be found in Department Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Prerogative Court of Canterbury and related Probate Jurisdictions: Will Registers. Name of Register: Lewyn Quire Numbers: 1 - 57, Catalogue reference PROB 11/91.

The Sentence of Benedict Barnham, Alderman of City of London, dated 02 December 1598, Department Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Prerogative Court of Canterbury and related Probate Jurisdictions: Will Registers. Name of Register: Lewyn Quire Numbers: 58 - 103, Catalogue reference PROB 11/92. Note: a Sentence is a judgment about a disputed will, given at the conclusion of litigation.
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