Barnham Surname History
Sir Walter Barnham, L.C.B., was born prior to 1350 in County Kent, England and flourished during the times of Edward III (1312-1377) and Richard II (1367-1400). He is reliably believed to be the scion of the family from which was descended the immigrant American ancestor, Thomas Barnum (1625-1695). [Note: the initials L.C.B. after his name designate Sir Walter as the Lord Chief Baron of England].
It is believed that Sir Walter took his surname from his residence in the village and civil parish of Barnham, in the Saint Edmundsbury district of Suffolk, England. Barnham is about 3 miles south of Thetford. According to the scholar Bror Oscar Eilert Ekwall, the meaning of the village name is “Beorn's homestead”. The Domesday Book records the population of Barnham in 1086 as 36 persons.
The patent of nobility (coat of arms) granted to Sir Walter is the oldest of four such patents known to have been granted by the English Crown to members of the Barnham family who were his descendants. According to Sir Bernard Burke, Extinct and Dormant Peerages of Great Britain, all four have since lapsed in default of male heirs.
Noah G. Barnum, in both the 1904 and 1907 editions of The Barnum Family, states that Sir Walter was probably the father or grandfather of Sir Nicholas Barnham (about 1455-1485). Although the dates involved make such a close relationship unlikely, the information given above does seem to indicate that there was a relationship by descent. The Genealogical Record of the Barnum Family(1912) also indicates that the branch of the family headed by Sir Nicholas and his father (whose given name is not known) is probably descended from Sir Walter. In spite of the probable line of descent from Sir Walter to Sir Nicholas, the names of Sir Walter’s wife (or wives) and child (or children) are not known, and there are apparently several additional generations between him and Sir Nicholas for which no documentation has yet been found.
The published Barnum genealogy begins with the father of Sir Walter’s descendant Sir Nicholas Barnham (whose given name is not known) and continues without interruption down to the present time.
The immigrant ancestor (to the American Colonies) Thomas Barnum was born in 1625 in County Kent, England and died on December 26, 1695 in Danbury, Connecticut Colony. Noah G. Barnum, in The Barnum Family, 1517-1904, states that Thomas was the 15th child (11th son) of Sir Francis Barnham and his wife the Honorable Elizabeth Lennard, Baroness Dacre of the South. Noah Barnum also states that Thomas left England in 1640 to come to the American Colonies, where he first settled in what is now Bethel, Fairfield County, Connecticut. Although none of this can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, many family genealogies do include it as documentation for the origin of the Barnum famliiy in North America. What is certain is that all the Barnum families for which a complete and well-documented family tree has been prepared are directly descended from this same Thomas Barnum.
Barnham family history, dating back to England in the 14th century, is well documented. While the surname still exists in England, the great majority of Barnham descendants now live in North America and spell the surname Barnum. The story begins with Sir Walter Barnham. Sir Walter was the ancestor of Thomas Barnum, who emigrated to the United States of America (then the American Colonies) in the 17th century. Continue reading for much more information on the Barnum family.
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Last names similar to BarnhamBarnham Armstrong, Barnhammer, Barnhand, Barnhar, Barnhard, Barnharde, Barnhardi, Barnhardston, Barnhardt, Barnhardtson, Barnhardy, Barnhared, Barnharett, Barnharf, Barnharid, Barnhark, Barnharot, Barnharst, Barnhart, Barnhartbrandon
Barnham Family Tree
Here are a few of the Barnham biographies shared by AncientFaces users. Click here to see more Barnhams
- Rebecca Barnham Wolleston
- Sarah Barnham Barnham 1669 - 1715
- William Barnham Mayor of Norwich 1606 - 1675
- Rebecca Middleton Middleton
- Elizabeth Wyndham Wyndham
- Rebecca Beacon 1673 - 1695
- Mary Flowerdew Flowerdew
- Ursula Barnham Swift 1581 - 1628
- Benedict Barnham
- Alice Barnham
Famous People named Barnham
- In addition to Sir Walter Barnham, and those of his English descendants who were members of the minor nobility, Alice Barnham, Viscountess Saint Alban (1592-1650) became famous when she married the Lord Chancellor of England Sir Francis Bacon on 10 May 1606 in London, England.
- The most well known member of the Barnham/Barnum family is, without a doubt, Phineas Taylor "P.T." Barnum (1810-1891) the famous showman and entrepreneur.
- Among other famous members of the family in the US are several clergymen, senators, congressmen and judges, as well as three recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor. The latter are: James Barnum (b. 1816), Boatswain's Mate, US Navy; Henry A. Barnum (1833-1892), Brevet Major General, US Army; and Harvey C. Barnum, Jr. (b. 1940), Captain, US Marine Corps.