BARNARD, Sir John (c.1685-1764), of Clapham, Surr.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1722 - 1761

Family and Education

b. c.1685, s. of John Barnard, merchant, of London, by Sarah, da. of Robert Payne of Play Hatch, Sonning, Berks.1 educ. Wandsworth. m. 5 Oct. 1708, Jane, da. of John Godschall,2 a Turkey merchant, 1s. 2da. Kntd. 29 Sept. 1732.

Offices Held

Alderman, London 1728-58, sheriff 1735-6, ld. mayor 1737-8; president Christ’s Hospital 1740-58.


Of Quaker parentage, Barnard as a young man joined the Church of England. He entered his father’s business c.1700 and later became a prominent insurer at Lloyd’s, making a moderate fortune. Invited in 1722 to stand for the City in the popular Whig interest, he was for many years its unchallenged leader, and in 1754 still topped the poll in a hotly contested election. An extremely active independent, he was classed by Dupplin as ‘doubtful’; yet was consulted by Newcastle on financial matters,3 in which he enjoyed in many quarters a great reputation. In previous Parliaments a frequent speaker on economic subjects, he seems to have been much less prominent in that of 1754, only one speech of his—on a financial resolution—being recorded.4 His importance in the City also declined, Beckford taking his place as leader of its popular forces. In 1757 he played a prominent part in framing the unorthodox and unsuccessful method of raising the supplies adopted by H. B. Legge as chancellor of the Exchequer in the Devonshire-Pitt Administration.5

On grounds of health Barnard refused to stand again in 1761, and died 29 Aug. 1764.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. Reg. Oxfordshire Quarterly Meeting, Berks. RO.
  • 2. Reg. St. Mary at Hill, London.
  • 3. Jas. West to Newcastle, 11 Feb. 1758, Add. 32877, f. 422.
  • 4. West to Newcastle, Add. 32861, f. 202.
  • 5. See L. S. Sutherland, ‘The City of London and the Devonshire-Pitt Administration, 1756-7’, Proc. Br. Acad. xlvi.