BARRY, James, 4th Earl of Barrymore [I] (1667-1748), of Castle Lyons, co. Cork, Ire.

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



1710 - 1713
30 Apr. 1714 - 1715
1715 - 1727
1734 - 1747

Family and Education

b. 1667, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Richard Barry, 2nd Earl of Barrymore [I], by his 3rd w. Dorothy, da. and h. of John Ferrar of Dropmore, co. Down.  m. (1) (with £10,000), Elizabeth (d. 1703), da. of Charles Boyle†, Ld. Clifford, 1s. d.v.p. 2da.; (2) June 1706, Lady Elizabeth (d. 1714), da. of Richard Savage*, 4th Earl Rivers, 1da.; (3) 12 July 1716, Lady Anne Chichester, da. of Arthur, 3rd Earl of Donegall [I], 4s. 2da.  suc. half-bro. Lawrence as 4th Earl 17 Apr. 1699.1

Offices Held

Capt. of ft. Col. Richard’s regt. 1689–93; col. 13 Ft. 1702–15; brig.-gen. 1706, maj.-gen. 1709, lt.-gen. 1710.

Freeman, Cork 1700, Salisbury 1712; burgess, Wigan 1712, mayor 1725, 1734.2

PC [I] 1714–d.


Barry was descended from an ancient, somewhat impoverished, Irish family. His grandfather had died from a wound received at the battle of Liscarrol while fighting for the Royalists, and while Barry’s father had sat in James II’s Irish parliament of 1689 his elder half-brother Lawrence had been attainted for remaining in England. Possibly the family had wanted a foot in both camps until the result of the Revolution became clear. Once William III had emerged victorious Barry’s father took his seat in the Irish house of lords in the parliament of 1692, and his half-brother signed the Irish Association in 1697. Barry’s military career started in 1689, but came to an abrupt and unexplained halt in 1693, though the dowry of £10,000 he received from his first marriage may have removed the necessity of military service. After succeeding to the title, Barrymore was granted a pardon in March 1700 ‘for all crimes and offences by him committed against his Majesty’, though these crimes were not specified, and in March 1702 he purchased a regiment of foot for 1,400 guineas from his brother-in-law, Sir John Jacobs. The regiment was sent to Spain in 1704, and Barrymore spent much of the next few years on active service in the Peninsula, though he had sufficient leave in London to contract a second advantageous marriage in June 1706 with Lady Elizabeth Savage, without the knowledge or consent of her father, Lord Rivers, who was informed of the event by Sir Roger Bradshaigh, 3rd Bt.*, in August 1706. On 12 Aug. Bradshaigh added the more reassuring information that ‘I am told my Lord Barrymore has in present near £1,500, and I find he is generally well spoken of about the town and indeed seems more concerned for disobliging your lordship than those who have been most active in this affair’. Barrymore’s regiment remained in the Peninsula, however, and in May 1709 he was captured at Caya, being exchanged in August that year and returning to England where he was promoted lieutenant-general in January 1710.3

Elected a member of the Board of Brothers in February 1710, Barrymore was returned for Stockbridge in October with the assistance of a fellow Board member, the Duke of Beaufort, and was classed as a Tory in the ‘Hanover list’. Though he was added on 13 Mar. 1711 to the staff of the Duke of Argyll in Spain, he remained in England and was later listed among the ‘worthy patriots’ who had detected the mismanagements of the previous ministry during the session. Barrymore returned to Spain, where he acted as Argyll’s second-in-command, assuming command at times during Argyll’s absence, but was disillusioned by the lack of military success, writing in April 1712 to ‘inform the Duke of Argyll and my Lord Dartmouth how near ruin we are’, and that ‘our miseries daily increase’. He returned to England in the autumn of 1712, but by February 1713 was again in Spain, writing to Lord Treasurer Oxford (Robert Harley*) that he would shortly be left ‘to be baited by the officers of the three reduced regiments in Catalonia, who are without money or ships to carry them home’. Barrymore returned to England in time to be appointed on 10 Apr. 1713 to draft the Douglas navigation bill, and six days later was the first-named member of the second-reading committee on the bill. His vote on 18 June against the French commerce bill indicates that by this time his Toryism had taken on a ‘whimsical’ nature.4

Barrymore’s father-in-law, Lord Rivers, had died in 1712, his will making no mention of his only legitimate daughter, Lady Barrymore, and leaving his estates in Lancashire, Cheshire, Yorkshire and Essex to his cousin, and the inheritor of the title, John Savage, a Roman Catholic priest, and after him to a natural daughter. Barrymore at once challenged the settlement and secured possession of Wardley in Lancashire and consequently control of the Rivers interest at Wigan. In the 1713 election, while still contesting Stockbridge, Barrymore stood at Wigan, utilizing the Rivers interest, together with the support of the Finches, but was defeated in both boroughs. In December 1713 Swift wrote to Oxford that ‘the Earl of Barrymore’s friends say he would take it kindly to be made a privy councillor’ in Ireland, and the suggestion was acted upon the following January. When the 1713 Parliament opened Barrymore lodged petitions against the return of his opponents at Stockbridge and Wigan (3 Mar. 1714), but his failure to sign the petition concerning Wigan led to its dismissal by the House on 6 Apr., when leave to introduce a new petition was also refused. The expulsion of Richard Steele led, however, to Barrymore being seated for Stockbridge on 30 Apr., and a modern historian has noted that he was one of a number of Members who rallied under the banner of (Sir) Thomas Hanmer II* (4th Bt.) in this Parliament. The whimsical nature of his Toryism in the 1713 Parliament is clear from the fact that the Worsley list classed him as a Tory who would on occasion vote with the Whigs, while two further comparisons of the 1713 and 1715 Parliaments listed him as a Whig and a Tory respectively. Barrymore secured his interest at Wigan in December 1714, and was returned for the borough at the 1715 election. Following the Fifteen, Barrymore was removed from the colonelcy of his regiment, though he was one of the few Tories retained on the Lancashire bench in the aftermath of the rebellion. In the 1740s a disillusioned and elderly Barrymore was active in Jacobite intrigue. He died on 5 Jan. 1748 in his eightieth year, the family interest at the borough having been assumed by his son, Richard Barry†.5

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Paula Watson / Richard Harrison


  • 1. Lodge, Peerage of Ire. i. 307–10.
  • 2. Cork Corp. Council Bk. ed. Caulfield, 282; Dorset RO, Strangways mss D124/Box 238 bdle. 11, William Waterman to Charles Fox*, 13 Nov. 1712; Wigan RO, Wigan bor. recs. AB/MR/10.
  • 3. LJ Ire. i. 448, 479, 673; Lodge, 307, 311; CSP Dom. 1699–1700, p. 410; 1703–4, p. 522; HMC Bath, i. 87–89; Cal. Treas. Bks. xix. 515; Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 42, 76, 442, 473; Add. 61127, f. 7; 70420, Dyer’s newsletters 17, 19 May 1709; Edinburgh Courant, 10–12 Aug. 1709.
  • 4. Add. 49360, ff. 15, 17, 58; Beaufort mss at Badminton House, Duke of Beaufort to Henry Whitehead, 14 Sept. 1710; P. Dickson, Red John of the Battles, 135–6, 146–7; HMC Portland, v. 155, 270, 327.
  • 5. PCC 219 Barnes; Bull. John Rylands Lib. xxxvii. 127–8; Add. 70146, Lady Oxford to Abigail Harley, 23 Aug. 1712; 70287, William Bromley II* to Oxford (Robert Harley*), 4 Sept. 1712; HMC Kenyon, 448, 453; HMC Portland, v. 270, 327; G. Holmes, Pol. in Age of Anne, 281; NLS, Crawford mss 47/2/281, George Kenyon* to Bradshaigh, 15 July 1713, 47/2/637, Barrymore to [–], 17 Nov. 1713; 47/3/38, Kenyon to Robert Hollinshead, 11 Dec. 1714; Swift Corresp. ed. Ball, vi. 243; L. K. J. Glassey, Appt. JPs, 293.