BARTON, Ralph (c.1523-92), of Smithhills Hall, Bolton, Lancs. and Holme nr. Newark, Notts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer




Family and Education

b. c.1523, 2nd s. of Andrew Barton of Smithhills by Anne, da. of Sir William Stanley of Haughton, Cheshire. educ. G. Inn 1542, called 1545, reader 1559, 1569. m. 14 June 1555, Eleanor, da. of Sir Robert Brereton, wid. of one Brackenbury, at least 2s. 1da. suc. bro. Robert 1580.2

Offices Held

Feodary, Notts. by 29 Nov. 1560; Queen’s attorney, Anglesey, Caerns., Chester, Flints., Merion. 18 May 1563; commr. sewers, Derbys., Notts., Staffs. 1564; Queen’s attorney and serjeant, Lancs. 26 May 1564; recorder, Nottingham 1564-c.82; bencher, G. Inn 1569; member, council in the marches of Wales 1570; j.p.q. Notts. by 1576, Herefs., Salop by 1582, Lancs. by 1587.3


As the second son, Barton came into none of the considerable estates of the family, but received an annuity of £10 p.a. towards his ‘exhibition and learning’. Whether or not he entered the service of the Crown before the end of Mary’s reign, under Elizabeth he became a lawyer at Lancaster and on the council in the marches. He pleaded inability to contribute to the forced loan of 1570, but some six years later was among Gray’s Inn lawyers listed as ‘of good living’. In 1580 he succeeded to his brother’s estates and embarked upon litigation with his sister-in-law and her second husband. The matter was settled in 1586 under the arbitration of Lord Burghley and Sir Francis Walsingham.4

Barton was recorder of Nottingham by 1564 and represented the borough in the second session of the Parliament of 1563 and again in 1571, leaving no trace upon the known records. By 1577 the town was complaining of his frequent absences, and he relinquished the post about 1582. He died at Holme on 18 Mar. 1592, leaving estates near Newark, Nottinghamshire, and Bolton, Lancashire. The administration of this property was in dispute at York in May of the same year. His daughter married William Fleetwood II.5

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. VCH Lancs. v. 14; Vis. Lancs. (Chetham Soc. xcviii), 197; Vis. Lancs. (Chetham Soc. lxxxi), 21; Vis. Cheshire (Harl. Soc. xviii), 44; Lancs. and Cheshire Wills, ii. 80; London Mar. Lic. (Harl. Soc. xxv), 16.
  • 3. CPR, 1560-3, pp. 94, 611; 1563-6, p. 38; Somerville, Duchy, i. 484; Nottingham Recs. iv. 418, 422; HMC Rutland, i. 142; P. H. Williams, Council in the Marches of Wales, 345; Flenley, Cal. Reg. Council, Marches of Wales, 98.
  • 4. VCH Lancs. v. 13-14; Lancs. and Cheshire Wills, ii. 98-101; Flenley, 98-119, 173, 200; Lancs. RO, Stanley Pprs. DDK/6/3, p. 17; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 384; Lansd. 22, f. 51 et seq.
  • 5. HMC Var. ii. 97 ; W. R. Williams, Welsh Judges, 80; DL 7/17/50; York admon. act bk. 1592.