The Name and Family of Barham

by Sydney Pay Barham

Chapter Twenty One


To Thomas, his third son, John Barham the ironmaster of 'Woodland and 'Butts' bequeathed lands in Pembury and Tonbridge. Thomas Barham however migrated to Boughton Monchelsea in Kent, where we find him and his family residing at 'East Hall, a house situated under the brow of a hill on the side of the parish nearest to Chart Sutton. I am ignorant of the reasons that induced him to choose this place, unless its proximity to Maidstone and his famous kinsman, Nicholas Barham of Chillington Manor, have something to do with it.

Thomas took a wife from a family of the neighbourhood, Mildred, the daughter of Thomas Frankland of East Sutton. When he married her, the lady was a widow, having been the wife of George Roberts of 'Moatlands' in Brenchley, who died in 1562 or 1563, and was the kindred of the Roberts of Glassenbury in Cranbrook; the only link, and at that a remote one, between the names of Barham and Roberts. Thomas Barham had three sons, Robert, Thomas and Richard, and a daughter Mildred. He was the executor, or overseer, of the will of his brother of Faircrouch in 1583, and outlived him by several years, dying in 1595.

I need only trouble the reader with a note on the elder son, Robert, who succeeded his father at East Hall. This man was a civil servant - a treasury official - who held the post of Controller of the Pipe'; that is to say he had the custody of the pipe-roll, on which were entered the accounts, rendered annually by the sheriffs of several counties. He married in January 1594, and I should imagine that his bride Susanna brought with her a substantial dowry, as her father, Thomas Sarr, had recently purchased an estate in Norton, near Faversham. Robert Barham considered himself of sufficient dignity to make the return of his arms and pedigree at the Visitation of Kent in 1619, which he indicated with his kinship with the late Nicholas Barham of Chillington, the Queen's Sergeant, of whom he was in fact the second cousin. At this date he had a family of six sons and eight daughters. In 1621 his eldest son, also named Robert, was fortunate enough to secure in marriage Katherine, the third daughter of Sir Robert Filmer of East Sutton Place. At his marriage his father settled upon him an estate of 300 acres, which he had purchased in the parishes of Guestling and Westfield in Sussex. This Katherine, the wife of Robert Barham, can boast of a portrait in the parish church of East Sutton, where there is a very fine brass showing the figure of Sir Robert Filmer, and his lady, and of his nine sons and five daughters, all of whom are named. Katherine is one of these named figures, but of course the accuracy of the likeness cannot be guaranteed. The Filmers were ardent Royalists at the time of the Civil War, and it is probable that some of the younger generation of Barhams were involved with them.

A report on the movements of suspected Royalists drawn up by Cromwell's Secret Service, and dated 31st December 1656, includes the name of Edward Barham, who it is stated had travelled from St. Andrew's Holborn to East Sutton. Affra, one of the daughters of Robert Barham senior, had married a man from St. Andrew's in 1633, and may have been the suspected Edward's aunt. After this notice the Barhams of Boughton Monchelsea fade completely out of the picture.

How many families were founded by the numerous offspring of the 'Controller of the Pipe' ? Where are their descendants now?

As we run lightly over these dates we forget the revolutionary nature of the years they denote. Within the space of twenty years, England had been successively Catholic, but in revolt of the Pope under Henry VIII, Protestant under Edward VI, Catholic and obedient to the Pope under Mary, and finally Protestant under Elizabeth I. There is no sign that John, or any other of his kin refused to follow the tide. They were not of the stuff of which martyrs are made, yet at Warbleden, barely ten miles from Wadhurst as the crow flies there was an Ironmaster who died for the reformed faith under Queen Mary. Richard Woodman was burnt at the stake at Lewes in 1557. John Barham may very well have known him.

Under John Barham's will, 'Browns' and his other lands in Wadhurst went to Nicholas, his eldest son; but John, his second son, inherited the two forges. Before passing to the next generation however I must denote a little space to Thomas, the younger brother of John Barham of Faircrouch

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