BARNARDISTON, Sir Sir Samuel, 1st Bt. (1620-1707), of Brightwell, Suff. and Bloomsbury Square, Mdx.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



19 Feb. 1674 - Mar. 1681
1690 - 1702

Family and Education

b. 23 June 1620, 3rd s. of Sir Nathaniel Barnardiston† of Kedington, Suff. by Jane, da. of Sir Stephen Soame† of London, ld. mayor 1598–9.  m. (1) Thomasine (d.1654), da. of Joseph Brand† of Tower Street, London and Edwardstone, Suff., s.p.; (2) aft. 1679, Mary, da. of Sir Abraham Reynardson, Merchant Taylor, of Bishopsgate Street, London, ld. mayor 1648–9, wid. of Richard Onslow, merchant, of London, s.pcr. Bt. 11 May 1663.

Offices Held

Freeman, Grocers’ Co. 1654, Levant Co. 1654, asst. 1654–62, 1669–72, 1673–4, 1675–8; freeman, E.I. Co. 1657, cttee. 1661–8, 1670–6, 1677–83, dep. gov. 1668–70.1

Sheriff, Suff. 1666–7; freeman and alderman, Dunwich 1680–4.2

Commr. public accts. 1691–4.


Barnardiston, ‘the old troubler of our Israel’, as a Suffolk Tory described him, was returned for the county on the Whig interest in 1690, and was listed as a Whig by Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†). Presumably because of his own previous involvement in and his family’s present connexions with the Turkey trade he was one of several Members ordered on 29 Mar. 1690 to prepare a bill to restrict the import of thrown silk, following a petition from the Levant Company. He was nominated to the drafting committees for bills to regulate the East India trade (2 Apr.); to appoint commissioners of public accounts (14 Apr.); to draw up the oath of abjuration (24 Apr.); to prepare a test of fidelity to the government (29 Apr.); and to confirm the charter of the East India Company (8 May), in which he still owned considerable stock. On 15 May he told against a rider to the supply bill (forfeitures) extending the time for office-holders to take the oaths. He was elected, with the second lowest total of votes, in the ballot for commissioners of accounts under the abortive public accounts bill, and at the start of the next session, on 11 Oct. 1690, was named to the committee to bring in a second bill for examining public accounts. He was also appointed to the committee of 25 Oct. for examining the army and navy estimates (from which he reported on 5 Dec.). Much of his time in November and December was taken up with securing the passage of a private bill to relieve his estate from several ‘encumbrances’, the results of the fine of £10,000 imposed on him in 1684 for seditious libel, a judgment which had been reversed on appeal in 1689. In the election of commissioners of accounts on 26 Dec. he was again successful, reaching one place higher than before, and this time the bill passed. In the following April Robert Harley*, a fellow commissioner, listed him among the Country party.3

In a debate on 7 Nov. 1691 on the miscarriages of the fleet, Barnardiston seconded the motion of another commissioner, the Tory Sir Thomas Clarges*, that Admiral Russell (Edward*) be called upon to produce ‘a journal of the transactions of the fleet’. During the year he had quarrelled with Sir Josiah Child, 2nd Bt.*, and in consequence had sold all his East India Company stock. In this and subsequent sessions he actively supported the moves to establish a new company. On 2 Dec. 1691, when Sir Edward Seymour, 4th Bt., presented ‘heads’ for the regulation of a company to be established by Act of Parliament, Barnardiston spoke in favour of setting a minimum of £1,500,000 stock, a proposal for which he also acted as a teller on 17 Dec. He is recorded as having spoken again on 16 Dec. in support of the introduction of a bill to encourage privateers against the French, which he said would be ‘very useful to advance our trade, prevent the taking of our merchant ships, and in a great measure save our charge of taking a winter guard’. On 8 Jan. 1692 he spoke and told against the bill for lessening the interest of money, and four days later he followed Robert Harley and William Ettrick in advocating the setting up of a committee to study proposals introduced by Paul Foley I for carrying on the war against France upon a fund of perpetual interest. On 12 Feb. 1692 he reported the bill allowing English ships to be sailed with foreign seamen to and from the West Indies, carrying it up to the Lords four days later. His two remaining tellerships in this session were on 19 Feb., with his colleague as knight of the shire, Sir Gervase Elwes, 1st Bt., to adjourn rather than go into committee immediately on the bill against corresponding with their Majesties’ enemies; and on 22 Feb. in favour of the Quakers’ affirmation bill. In the same month he helped manage a private estate bill through the House.4

It was reported in October 1692 that Barnardiston was seriously ill, having had ‘several fits of an ague’; but he had recovered by the beginning of the parliamentary session. On 17 Nov. he spoke in favour of bringing in a bill to establish a new East India Company, and on 24 Nov. he intervened in a debate in the committee considering the ‘heads’ of this bill, to declare his conviction that

this trade cannot be carried on but in a joint-stock. I was formerly of this company, and remember in Oliver’s time the trade was open, which had near endangered the loss of the trade, and so they were forced to get a charter for a joint-stock to preserve it.

On 17 Dec. he presented a bill to prevent abuses in the packing and weighing of butter and cheese. Harking back to the arguments he had used in support of the project for a new East India Company, he informed the House in a speech on 10 Jan. 1693 in favour of the bill to encourage and to regulate the Greenland trade that ‘this was a very beneficial trade but lost to this nation, being engrossed by the Dutch and the Hamburgers, of whom we are forced to have the commodity at expensive rates’; and that the only way to regain this trade was to incorporate them in a company with a joint-stock exclusive to others. Narcissus Luttrell* noted that these comments were ‘not liked of by some’. When the bill was eventually passed Barnardiston was ordered to carry it up to the Lords (2 Mar.). Two more speeches of his are recorded in this session: on 19 Jan. he spoke against the bill to encourage woollen manufactures, which its enemies said ‘was a project driven on by the factors of Blackwell Hall for their own interest’; and on 8 Feb., following a complaint against the activities of press-gangs in Essex, he was one of the local Members who ‘gave an account of divers great abuses committed by press-masters’. He was a teller seven times: against the bill for the importing of Italian silks, which threatened both the Turkey trade and the Suffolk woollen industry (11 Jan. 1693); for the opposition side on a procedural motion (17 Jan.); against the bill against hawkers and pedlars, which Robert Harley, Sir Thomas Clarges and other members of the Country party had opposed (2 Feb.); against giving leave of absence to Granado Pigot (10 Feb.); against the continuance of the Licensing Act (20 Feb.); for an additional clause to the bill continuing the Act against Trade with France, to encourage privateers to work the routes of the Levant and East India traders (2 Mar.); and against a rider to the lotteries bill, to preserve the annuity due to a Colonel Vaughan (6 Mar.). In Samuel Grascome’s list in the spring of 1693 he was marked as doubtful.5

Discussing prospects for a new Parliament in November 1693 Humphrey Prideaux considered Barnardiston and Elwes certain to retain their seats: both, he claimed, were ‘stiff republicarians’. In the 1693–4 session Barnardiston acted six times as a teller: on 24 Jan. 1694 against a bill to revive the Woollen Act; on 8 Mar. in favour of an additional clause to the bill for the relief of the London orphans; on 29 Mar. for the House insisting on its disagreement with the Lords’ amendments to Sir John Maynard’s* estate bill; on 31 Mar. against another bill against hawkers and pedlars; on 14 Apr. for a motion to fix at 3/4d. in the pound the fees claimed by Exchequer officers in respect of provisions in the wine, beer and tunnage duties bill; and finally, on 17 Apr. in support of Hon. Fitton Gerard* in a disputed election case for Clitheroe. When the accounts commissioners’ report on payments for secret service and to Members was read on 9 Dec. Robert Harley took pains to explain the circumstances of a payment of £500 to Barnardiston. This had been part of the money remaining in the Exchequer at the Revolution, some £1,905 in all, out of the £10,000 fine levied on Barnardiston in 1684. Harley recapitulated the events in the case: ‘His fine was brought into the Exchequer. He brought a writ of error, and . . . in the Lords’ House, reversed the judgments, etc. The interest of his fine came to more than £500 and he ought to have all.’ In the ballot of 11 Apr. 1694 for a new commission, the first since 1690, Barnardiston was one of three members replaced by Court Whigs.6

Barnardiston was nominated on 12 Feb. 1695 to the drafting committee for a bill to deter highway robbery, and was a teller on the 20th in favour of allowing Nathaniel Palmer leave of absence. He was ordered on 12 Apr. to prepare and bring in a bill to explain the Act allowing a Bounty on the Export of Coin. His three other tellerships included two on points of procedure (26 and 29 Apr.), in which he appeared on the Whig side against Tories. In May his petition was allowed for full payment of the £1,905 owed him from the Exchequer, with the proviso that the King would pay the sum outstanding when ‘in a condition’ to do so. He was re-elected without opposition in 1695. He was numbered among the opposition in the forecast for the divisions on 31 Jan. 1696 on the proposed council of trade, and signed the Association promptly. He voted in March against fixing the price of guineas at 22s. He presented a bill on 10 Mar. to reform abuses in the ‘garbling’ of spices, drugs and other such goods, and two days later was a teller in favour of inserting into the bill against hawkers and pedlars a clause to safeguard the position of poulterers, in response to a petition from the Poulterers’ Company. On two subsequent occasions in this session he acted as a teller: on 17 Apr., in the minority, against adjourning the report on his own garbling spices bill; and five days later against a Court-inspired amendment to the supply bill (salt duties and land bank), which sought to stipulate that receivers swear on oath that money they were paying over had actually been received ‘for revenues and taxes’. No settlement of his debt from the Crown having yet been made, he attended at the Treasury board in May 1696 with a memorial estimating the sum due at over £2,400, including compound interest, less the £500 which had previously been paid him. Although the King’s promise was reaffirmed and the amount of the debt admitted (excepting interest), the official letter of confirmation was apparently mislaid and no action was taken. In the next session Barnardiston voted on 25 Nov. 1696 against the attainder of Sir John Fenwick†. On 27 Nov. he told for rejecting a petition from Southwark against the landownership qualification in the bill regulating elections. In February 1697 he made an unsuccessful attempt to intrude himself into elections at Orford, where a vacancy had arisen. A member of the corporation wrote, ‘there was . . . a messenger from Sir Samuel Barnardiston to let us know if we would elect a friend of his he would do great things for us, but the answer he received . . . was that whatsoever Lord Hereford agreed upon we would stand to’. Soon afterwards Barnardiston made a serious blunder in Parliament. A manager at a conference on 19 Mar. to discuss the Lords’ amendments to a bill against the import of East Indian cloth, he so far departed from the instructions of the Commons as to argue against the bill. The next day a complaint was made against him and it was moved that he be sent to the Tower. He was attacked by Court Whigs and defended by Tories, and after a lengthy debate it was resolved that a Speaker’s reprimand would be sufficient punishment ‘in consideration of his great age and infirmities, and of his sufferings and services, formerly, in maintaining the rights of this House’. A year later, in February 1698, he was again in trouble. During investigations on 5 Feb. into irregularities in Exchequer bill payments, one of the witnesses, under pressure of cross-examination, claimed to have been told that some ‘great men’ were involved. This was in due course exposed as a lie but not before Barnardiston had ‘reproached’ another witness for contradicting the allegation, an intervention for which he ‘was obliged to ask pardon of the House’. On 1 Feb. 1698 he reported a petition of officers, clothiers and innkeepers who had claimed they were owed money for the maintenance of the army in 1677–9. Also in this session he assisted his nephew, Sir Thomas Barnardiston, 2nd Bt.*, to prepare a bill to erect a workhouse and hospital at Sudbury.7

Returned again at the head of the poll in the 1698 election, Barnardiston was listed in about September 1698 as a supporter of the Country party. In June 1699 he petitioned the King for at least the third time for the payment of his debt. Although a warrant was ordered by the Treasury board in August no money was issued, and he was obliged to renew his petition in December. On this occasion the board minuted that payment was to be ‘respited till there be some more money’. Six months later Barnardiston asked yet again. At last in April 1701, he was paid what was owing to him, but without any interest. At the head of the poll for Suffolk once more in January 1701, he was said at the beginning of February to have been ‘very ill’ but to be ‘now on the mending hand, being past danger’. Included in the ‘blacklist’ of those who had opposed making preparations for war, he was one of the signatories to a published rejoinder, justifying the conduct of the Members named. In December 1701, after his re-election, he was listed by Harley with the Tories. On 26 Feb. 1702 he presented a private bill on behalf of a kinsman.8

After Queen Anne’s accession Barnardiston pursued his claim to interest on the money repaid him in 1701. Twice, in June 1702 and March 1703, he presented petitions, and twice he was refused. In 1702 his ascendancy in Suffolk elections was suddenly broken, and he suffered the indignity of coming bottom of the poll, having in all probability fought the election as a Whig. In 1705 he certainly stood as a Whig, and came bottom of the poll for a second time. When making his will in July 1706 he declared himself to be ‘of sound and perfect memory’. He asked to be ‘decently interred, without pomp or ostentation’, and among others named ‘Edward Harley of Lincoln’s Inn’ as a trustee. Despite his claims to have lost some £20,000 over and above the £10,000 fine as a result of the 1684 judgment, he still possessed assets of more than £15,000 together with a house in Middlesex and extensive property in Suffolk, most of which he had purchased himself. Barnardiston died on 8 Nov. 1707 and was buried at Brightwell. The baronetcy passed to his nephew Samuel*, but a great-nephew, also called Samuel, a merchant in the Levant, inherited the bulk of his estate.9

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: D. W. Hayton


  • 1. Info. from Miss S. P. Anderson; Cal. Ct. Mins. E.I. Co. ed. Sainsbury, v. 189; vi. 100, 200, 306; vii. 31, 141, 218, 316; viii. 55, 187, 322; ix. 122, 225; x. 46, 175, 302; xi. 40, 176, 268; Add. 38871, f. 7.
  • 2. Suff. RO (Ipswich), Dunwich bor. recs. EE6/1144/13.
  • 3. Bodl. Tanner 27, f. 110; Chandler, ii. 382, 388.
  • 4. Luttrell Diary, 7, 56, 83, 117, 124; DNB.
  • 5. Add. 70115, Abigail to Sir Edward Harley*, 8, 15 Oct. 1692; Luttrell Diary, 234, 259, 358, 374, 397, 411, 459, 460.
  • 6. Prideaux Letters (Cam. Soc. n.s. xv), 156; Grey, x. 357; H. Horwitz, Parl. and Pol. Wm. III, 132, 140.
  • 7. Cal. Treas. Bks. x. 1371; xi. 9, 151, 171; W. Suss. RO, Shillinglee mss Ac.454/971, Nathaniel Gooding to Sir Edward Turnor*, 22 Feb. 1696–7; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 198; CSP Dom. 1698, p. 71.
  • 8. Cal. Treas. Bks. xiv. 99, 404; xv. 2, 32, 103, 124; xvi. 59, 224; Post Boy, 4–6 Feb. 1701; An Answer to the Black List, or the Vine Tavern Queries (1701).
  • 9. Cal. Treas. Pprs. 1702–7, pp. 13, 132–3, 418; Cal. Treas. Bks. xvii. 43; CSP Dom. 1702–3, p. 418; W. A. Speck, Tory and Whig, 104–5; PCC 254 Poley.