BARWICKE, William (c.1559-by 1641), of Carlisle, Cumbria

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



Family and Education

b. c.1559.1 m. Margaret, at least 4s. d. by 22 Feb. 1641.2

Offices Held

Freeman, Carlisle by 1586, master of merchant guild 1586-7, bailiff 1596-7, collector of customs c.1612-22, mayor 1628-9.3


Nothing is known of Barwicke’s background before he took up the office of master of the merchant guild of Carlisle in 1586. He was elected to represent the city in the first Stuart Parliament, together with his friend and kinsman Thomas Blennerhassett.4 In the opening session he was named to one committee, to consider a bill concerning tanning, to which he was added on 16 June 1604.5 He delivered his maiden speech in the Union debate of 3 Dec. 1606 on the hostile laws, when he drew the attention of the Commons to the difficulties of cross-border trade between England and Scotland, and desired ‘that some about the king would acquaint His Majesty herewithal’. In particular, he raised a grievance concerning sheep bought in Scotland that had been seized and confiscated ‘upon an old law never before put in execution within the memory of man; for which the poor men complaining to the Council in Scotland had no other answer or redress but that such buying was against the law of that country, and so no remedy’.6 With the king intent on the union of the kingdoms, the timing of this outburst was perfect. The peccant border official (Sir Roger Wilbraham*) was obliged to apologize, and Barwicke announced on 10 Dec. that ‘His Majesty had taken knowledge of the wrongs done by the Scots in seizing of the sheep of the English; and ... that morning [had] sent him a privy seal directed to the lord treasurer of Scotland for restitution of the value of the sheep’.7 On 17 Feb. 1607, after the expulsion of Sir Christopher Pigott* for insulting the Scots, Barwicke reported ‘what success he had with His Majesty’s letters ... touching the sheep’, before entering into ‘a commendation of the government and tranquillity of those parts, the borders; and remembereth what slaughter there was and outrage upon the queen’s death’.8 He was among those named to consider a bill for the relief of poor London curriers (30 Apr.); and in the fourth session to the committee for a Durham estate bill (22 Feb. 1610).9 His final appointment was to attend a conference with the Lords concerning justice on the Borders, on 25 July 1610.10

Barwicke may have used his visits to the metropolis to make the acquaintance of Sir William Garway, the customs farmer, who appointed him collector for Carlisle until he was replaced by Richard Graham* in 1622.11 In 1623-4 Barwicke became embroiled in litigation against Henry, Lord Clifford* over his holdings adjoining Carlisle castle.12 As an elder of the Carlisle corporation, he was named one of the trustees for the lecturer’s stipend in 1627, and served as mayor of the city in the following year.13 He drew up his will with his own hand on 13 July 1635 ‘in health and perfect memory ... for avoiding of controversies’, but omitted to provide any witnesses. His exact date of death is unknown, but the will, which was revised at intervals until July 1639, was proved by his widow on 22 Feb. 1641.14 His descendants succeeded him in municipal office in Carlisle, but none entered Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: John. P. Ferris / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. E134/21Jas.I/Mich.24.
  • 2. Cumb. RO (Carlisle), will of William Barwicke 1641.
  • 3. Mun. Recs. Carlisle ed. R.S. Ferguson (Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. extra ser. iv), 90, 106, 272; E134/21Jas.I/Mich.24; Cumb. RO (Carlisle), Ca3/1/156.
  • 4. Cumb. RO (Carlisle), will of Thomas Blennerhassett 1637.
  • 5. CJ, i. 241a.
  • 6. Bowyer Diary, 200; Reg. PC Scot. 1604-7, p. 80.
  • 7. CJ, i. 1008b, 1009b.
  • 8. Ibid. 1014b-1015a.
  • 9. Ibid. 365a, 398b.
  • 10. Ibid. 445b.
  • 11. E134/21Jas.I/Mich.24; HMC Sackville, i. 288.
  • 12. E134/22Jas.I/Mich.25; 134/22Jas.I/East.22.
  • 13. Cumb. RO (Carlisle), Ca2/120.
  • 14. Cumb. RO (Carlisle), will of William Barwicke 1641.