Barnes, Ambrose (DNB00)

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BARNES, AMBROSE (1627–1710), nonconformist, of Newcastle, the eldest son of Thomas Barnes, a prominent puritan of Startforth, Yorkshire, was born there in 1627; was apprenticed to a merchant adventurer of Newcastle in 1646; showed remarkable aptitude for trade; became a merchant adventurer in 1654–5; was alderman of Newcastle in 1658, and mayor in 1660–1. An ardent puritan from his youth, Barnes strove to alleviate the sufferings of the nonconformists in the north during the reign of Charles II, and was for some time imprisoned in Tynemouth Castle for holding prayer-meetings in his own house. He was the intimate friend of Richard Gilpin, Simeon Ashe, Edmund Calamy, and Joseph Caryll, and often met Richard Baxter at the London house of Alderman Henry Ashurst [q. v.] He died 23 March 1709–10. He married Mary Butler in 1655, and had by her seven children. His eldest son Joseph was recorder of Newcastle from 1687 to 1711, and his son Thomas was minister of the independent congregation from 1698 till his death in 1731. Barnes wrote a ‘Breviate of the Four Monarchies,’ an ‘Inquiry into the Nature, Grounds, and Reasons of Religion,’ and a ‘Censure upon the Times and Age he lived in.’ Extracts only from these works, which all display much learning, have been published; but they remain in manuscript in the library of the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle, together with a very elaborate, though discursive, life of their author (dated 1716) by an unidentified writer, who signs himself ‘M. R.’ Barnes's memoirs and works were printed in an abridged form by the Newcastle Typographical Society in 1828, and again in a completer shape, with elaborate notes, by the Surtees Society in 1867, under the direction of Mr. W. H. D. Longstaffe. The ‘Life’ shows Barnes to have been a man of high and independent character, and to have enjoyed the regard of men of all religious and political parties. He hated Charles II, whom he saw in London when he presented a petition to the privy council in behalf of the municipal rights of Newcastle, but he showed much respect for James II.

[Memoirs of Ambrose Barnes, Surtees Society, 1867.]