James Barham (1748 – 1831)

Painter-Stainer, Plumber and Glazier

Life in North West Kent

James and Susanna moved to Darenth in North West Kent between September 1785 and June 1787. This final phase of their lives is discussed below; for other aspects of his life see the following links.

The Darenth parish records refer to a James Barham submitting a bill to the churchwardens on 12th June 1787. As James' father, the Master of the Workhouse, had died the previous year, this must be the son, so James, Susanna and their children Robert and James must by then have moved to Darenth.  There are several further references to bills, two specifically for repairing church windows and in February 1789 there is an intriguing entry in the Darenth Vestry Minutes, A Winifred Bar made a complaint of cruelty against “Mr Barham” and he was ordered to attend a special meeting. The meeting held on the 22nd February, 1789, found the complaint to be totally void of foundation and, in consideration of her advanced age and infirmity, Winifred Bar was re­-admitted to the House, her husband undertaking “to make her sensible of her bad conduct”.

Assuming the record to be correct as to name, it suggests that James (jnr) possibly temporarily took over as Master of the Workhouse pending a new appointment or was even “permanently” apponted to succeed his father. Having arrived in Darenth sometime after September 1785, James can be seen, according to invoices in vestry accounts over the next decade, carrying out plumbing, painting and glazing work for Darenth, Sutton-at-Hone and Swanscombe Vestries.

James finally moved to Sutton-at-Hone where he worked as a glazier and in 1794 he re-glazed Swanscombe Church Clock. In 1812 he was mentioned in the will of Mary Barham of Farningham in which he was left the sum of one shilling. Nothing more is known of her, but she is another possibility for the Mary Barham who was witness at James and Susanna's wedding.  In any case it is interesting to speculate on the relationship.

Susanna died on 23rd February 1823 aged 70 and James died on 17th November 1831, at the age of 83, both in Sutton-at-Hone