BARNE, Snowdon (1756-1825), of Dunwich, Suff.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1796 - 1812

Family and Education

b. 26 Dec. 1756, 3rd s. of Miles Barne of Sotterley Hall by 2nd w., and bro. of Barne Barne* and Michael Barne*; half-bro. of Miles Barne*. educ. Westminster 1770; Trinity Hall, Camb. 1776, LLB 1781, fellow 1786-d.; M. Temple 1773, called 1781; I. Temple 1782. unm.

Offices Held

Ld. treasurer’s remembrancer, ct. of Exchequer 1806-d.; ld. of Treasury Dec. 1809-Oct. 1812.

Commr. of customs 1812-23 (dep. chairman 1819).

Bencher, I. Temple 1816.


In 1796 it was the turn of Snowdon Barne, a barrister practising on the western circuit, to come in for Dunwich on the family interest. He wrote to Pitt, 5 June:

The ill state of my eldest brother’s health and your kindness to my next brother have been the occasion of my coming into Parliament, a situation to which my circumstances are hardly equal.

It is with extreme reluctance that I trouble you on such a subject, but if by any arrangement, you would be kind enough to consider me, you will confer the greatest obligation on ... your most faithful and obedient servant.1

Nothing then materialized and he gave a silent support to Pitt. On 19 Feb. 1801 he was one of the Members who joined opposition in voting for inquiry into the Ferrol expedition.2 He made his only known contribution to the House’s proceedings on 16 May 1803 when he presented the report of the Cirencester election committee; a week later he took leave of absence. He voted with opposition on the defence questions of 23 and 25 Apr. 1804 that brought down Addington’s ministry.

Listed an adherent of Pitt in September 1804 and after voting against the censure of Melville on 8 Apr. and sitting on the committee to investigate the 11th naval report in July 1805, Barne obtained his reward later that year when he obtained a place in the Exchequer worth £200 p.a.3 It seems that he was one of Pitt’s friends disposed to oppose the Grenville ministry, for he was in the minorities against the American intercourse bill, 17 June 1806, and on the Hampshire petition, 13 Feb. 1807. He also made difficulties about the removal of the remembrancer’s office in September 1806, demanding a room of his own. At this time he wished to go out of Parliament with a place at the board of customs, so he informed Lord Eldon. The Duke of Portland recorded this wish in his patronage book on taking office.4 Barne was offered the secretaryship to the Treasury by Perceval, but declined it as being too demanding; but when Perceval took the helm in 1809 he made him a lord of the Treasury, informing the King (13 Nov.) that Barne was ‘a very steady supporter of your Majesty’s government’.5

Barne did not appear in support of Perceval in the House at the opening of the session of 1810 because of a difficulty about his re-election at Dunwich. He took steps to pacify the borough and meanwhile voted with ministers on 23 Feb., 5 and 30 Mar. on the Scheldt question. The Whigs listed him ‘against the Opposition’. He further voted against the discharge of Gale Jones the radical, 16 Apr., against sinecure reform, 17 May, and against parliamentary reform, 21 May. He voted with ministers on the Regency, 1 Jan. 1811. His only known votes in the session of 1812 were against the reversions bill and sinecure regulation, 7 Feb., 4 May. At the dissolution he went out with a customs place. A conscientious and respected member of the customs board, of which he became deputy chairman, he remained there until 1823. He died 3 July 1825. ‘Without possessing any very splendid talents or very extensive learning’, he was regarded as ‘an extremely sensible and right-minded man’.6

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: Winifred Stokes


  • 1. PRO 30/8/111.
  • 2. The Times, 24 Feb. 1801.
  • 3. Dorset RO, Bond mss D367, Jekyll to Bond, 19 Nov. [1805].
  • 4. PRO 30/9/15, Barne to Abbot, 15 Sept., Wickham to same, 21 Sept. 1806; E. Suff. RO, Barne coll. 359/124, S. to B. Barne, 24 Mar. 1807; Portland mss PwV114.
  • 5. Geo. III Corresp. v. 4032.
  • 6. T.11/52-69; Gent. Mag. (1825), ii. 89.