BARREY, Richard (d.1588), of the Moat, Sevington and Dover, Kent.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
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Family and Education

m., at least 2da.

Offices Held

Lt. Dover castle bef. 1576-d.; commr. piracy, Kent, Suss. 1578, Dover haven 1580.


Barrey’s family acquired the Moat by marriage in the thirteenth century. The date of his entry into the lord warden’s service has not been found, but it must have been before his nomination to Parliament for Winchelsea in 1572. As lieutenant of Dover castle and therefore the lord warden’s resident deputy, he was concerned in most aspects of the life of the Cinque Ports—arranging for Elizabeth’s visit to Dover castle in 1573, writing to the mayors and bailiffs of the Ports in 1579 concerning the training of 140 soldiers, and, in the following year, endeavouring to find 160 seamen for the royal service in Kent and Sussex. On many occasions he asked for more powder and shot for Dover castle. Among his other duties as lieutenant of the castle, he had to meet arriving or departing dignitaries; for example in 1578 he escorted the French ambassador from Dover to Canterbury. In 1580 he arrested two men carrying letters from Catholics abroad to their English friends; in 1588 he intercepted a Scotchman taking documents to Scotland from the Spanish ambassador in France.

Throughout the 1580s Barrey was occupied by the scheme for the rebuilding of Dover harbour, damaged in the great storms of 1578-9. This is reflected in his membership of the Commons committee on the subject on 4 Mar. 1581. He was thrice returned for Cinque Port constituencies by the warden, and his other parliamentary activity included the continuation of statutes (26 June), and wrecks (30 Jan. 1581). He may have been the ‘Mr. Barrleye’ who spoke on the bill for rites and ceremonies on 20 May 1572. As burgess for Dover, Barrey would have had the opportunity of sitting on the committee discussing imports of fish (6 Mar. 1586). For his last Parliament he was paid 2s.6d. a day. He several times intervened in local disputes between the Cinque Ports and within the Dover corporation, reporting to Burghley in 1578 that ho mayoral election for the last 20 years had been ‘without blows or scratching’.

Throughout the early months of 1588 he acted as the intermediary between the Privy Council and the local officials, commending the speed with which the Ports fitted out their ships, ordering beer for the navy, and, during the battle itself, reporting on the situation in the Dover Straits. On 22 Aug. the lord admiral reported to Walsingham that Barrey was sick and, the next day, he died. No further details of his illness or death have been found, and no will is known to have survived.

Hasted, Kent, vii. 578-9; Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. xlii), 39; HMC 13th Rep. IV, 59, 63, 68, 71; CSP Dom. 1547-80, pp. 528, 599, 665, 682; 1582-90, passim; APC, x. 293, 437; xi. 54; xii. 161, 192, 197, 339; xiii. 204; xvi. 183, 187-8; Lansd. 34, f. 161; 48, ff. 70, 136; 146, f. 20; Arch. Cant. xxiv. 184; xxviii. 35-7; HMC Hatfield, ii. 54, 200, 513; Egerton 2095, ff. 306-7, 337; CJ, i. 103, 120, 131; D’Ewes, 224, 412; Trinity, Dublin, Thos. Cromwell’s jnl., f. 30.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: J.E.M.