James Barham (1748 – 1831)

Painter-Stainer, Plumber and Glazier

James was the son of James Barham, Soldier, Cordwainer and Workhouse Master. This page is a summary of known facts about his life and speculation from other evidence, which is discussed in more detail on the following pages.

James was born in about 1748 to James Barham and his first wife Ann Garnham. He may have been born in London, East Kent or even in the Netherlands where his father was on campaign with the 3rd Infantry of Foot.

The first record of James was in London on 3rd December 1766 when at the age of 18 he was apprenticed for seven years to Robert Blackman of the Painters-Stainers company. Mr Blackman died before he completed his apprenticeship and on 5th September 1770 he was turned over to Edward Gardner,

He completed his apprenticeship and was made free on 5th June 1776, but was fined for not having taken up his freedom within time.

On 1st June 1775 he married Susannah Holdsworth in Islington.  One of the witnesses was a Mary Barham who may have been his step-mother.

  • James BARHAM
    b 1748

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  • Susannah HOLDSWORTH
family connector

James and Susanna had at least six children. Two boys, James (who died in infancy) and Robert, were baptised at St Lukes, Old Street.  On 2nd January 1781 their first daughter, Susanna, was born and was baptised on 4th February in Woolwich. However she died 3 years later and was buried on 8th February 1784. Another son, James, was born in 1785, also in Woolwich.

The last two children were both girls and were baptised in Darenth. The first of these, another Susanna, was baptised on 23rd May 1788 but nothing more is known of her. There is no record of her death, so she did possibly survive childhood, unlike the last known child, Mary, who was baptised on 8th August 1790. She died aged one year and was buried on 9th October 1791. So of at least six live births, only three at the most survived to adult life.

Following the trail of these births and deaths James and his family must have moved from the vicinity of Old Street to Woolwich in about 1780 and thence to Darenth, where his father had taken up the post of Master of the Poorhouse, between 1785 and 1788 . His father died in 1786, the year after the death of Mary, his step-mother.

James' work had now extended from painting/staining to include plumbing and glazing, as over the next few years there are numerous invoices recorded in the vestry accounts for Darenth, Sutton-at-Hone and Swanscombe for such work. He may also have succeeded as Master of the Darenth workhouse for a while following the death of his father.

James finally moved to Sutton-at-Hone where he lived until his death at the age of 83. He was buried on 17th November 1831.  Susannah had died eight years earlier at the age of 70 and was buried on 23rd February 1823.