Barnham, Benedict (DNB00)

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BARNHAM, BENEDICT (1559–1598), merchant and benefactor of St. Alban's Hall, Oxford, was a younger son of Francis Barnham, merchant, who was elected alderman of Farringdon Without 14 Dec. 1568, and sheriff of London in 1570, and died in 1575. Benedict was educated at St. Alban's Hall, Oxford, but left apparently without a degree. He afterwards became a liveryman of the Drapers' Company, and on 14 Oct. 1591 was chosen alderman of Bread Street ward; in the same year he served the office of sheriff. He was M.P. for Yarmouth (Isle of Wight) in 1597. He was a member of the Society of Antiquaries, formed by Archbishop Parker in 1572, of which Camden and Stow were conspicuous members. Benedict died 3 April 1598, aged 39, and an elaborate monument was erected above his grave in St. Clement's, Eastcheap (Stow's London (ed. Strype), ii. 183). Wood tells that he left 200l. to St. Alban's Hall, Oxford, to rebuild ‘its front next the street,’ and that ‘as a testimony of the benefaction his arms were engraved over the gateway and on the plate belonging to the house.’ He married Dorothy, the daughter of Humphrey Smith, Queen Elizabeth's silkman, stated to be of an ancient Leicestershire family. She survived him, and became, a year or two after his death, the wife of Sir John Packington. By her he had four daughters, of whom Elizabeth, the eldest, married Mervin, Lord Audley and Earl of Castlehaven, of infamous memory; and Alice, the second daughter, became in 1606 the wife of Sir Francis Bacon (Spedding's Life, iii. 290).

[Wood's Antiquities (ed. Gutch), p. 659; Archæologia, i. xx; Hasted's Kent; Remembrancia of London; Notes and Queries, 6th ser. ix. 1.]

S. L. L.