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 Barham Village History


History Genealogy The Barham Family


The Barham Family

The Barham family has been at the centre of British history over many generations and takes its name from the village via Richard Fitz Urse who lived in the village at the time of Thomas a Beckett's murder in Canterbury Cathedral.   One of the murderers was Sir Reginald Fitz Urse and the family connection was most probably the reason why Richard decided to change his family name to Richard de Bereham (Richard of Barham).

The "Coat of Arms" (above) is shared between the village and the family and is described as: -
 "Silver, three bears sable, muzzled gules; on a fesse gules a fleur-de-lys between two martlets gold.".
Going back through the family's ancestors finds that its history is well connected - including: -

  • Henry Beauclerc (King Henry I of England). Acceded to the throne 6 Aug 1100 Westminster Abbey.

  • William of Normandy, “The Conqueror”, William I of England

  • and many rulers across Europe that will be added later.

Richard's children were: -

  • Warin de Bereham, born 1203 in Barham the precise year of his death presently unknown.

  • Gilbert de Bereham, born c1200 in Barham, married Lucy de Ocholte and died before 24th January 1255

  • Henry de Bereham born c1225 in Barham and died in 1276 at Cranbrook Kent.

As far as is known the family didn't remain in the village for many years after the adoption of the Barham family name and left c1229 although some direct descendents, such as author Richard Harris Barham, have also made their home in the area over the years.   The family also lived at Bivelham Manor and Buttes in Wadhurst, Chillingham Manor in Maidstone and Sissinghurst Castle amongst other lands.

The Barham Family and its links to America

The Barham family, who took it's name from the village, contributed two members to the early settlers in Virginia: -

Anthony Barham who arrived on the "Abigail" in 1621, his future wife Elizabeth Pierce having arrived on the "William and Thomas" in 1618.   Anthony's father was Thomas Barham (1565 - 1609) who was the son of another Thomas Barham (1537 - 1595).   Anthony actually to England after serving his community in Virginia and died in 1641.
This Thomas Barham was also an ancestor of the other member of the family -

Charles Barham who arrived on the "John and Ambrose" in 1653, he married Elizabeth Ridley in Virginia.   Charles' father was Robert Barham (c1599 - 1648) whose father was also Robert Barham (1572 - c1631), he being the son of Thomas Barham (1537 - 1595) and thence joins Anthony's family tree.

Americans who can trace their family tree back to Charles Barham will find that their ancestors come from ,as with early America itself, a number of European countries. The two gentlemen above are amongst the first settlers, Jamestown itself being the First Permanent European Settlement in North America dating from 1607.

It is known that Charles Barham came to Virginia in March 1653. He was evidently a “kinsman” who accompanied his uncle, Henry Filmer (the brother of Catherine Filmer) who was returning to Virginia with his family. Henry Filmer, unmarried at the time, first came to Virginia around 1636 - 1640 and served in the Army of Occupation, becoming a Burgess for James City County in 1642 and 1643. Sometime after he returned to England where he married Elizabeth (maiden name unknown) and fathered two children.

Henry Filmer had decided to return to Virginia because in March of 1653 he, his wife, son and daughter, an unnamed kinsman (apparently Charles), and others embarked on the "John and Ambrose" at Gravesend for the long journey to the Colonies. The trip to Virginia was covered in a letter to a friend in England and is among a collection of correspondence between Henry Filmer and his nephew, Robert Filmer, and other friends in England. It is known that Henry Filmer paid his way to Virginia and, since Charles Barham was not named as a “headright” in any land records, it appears that he also paid his own way.

In 1661 when he was a vestryman at Lawnes Creek Parish Church he was called "Mr. Charles Barham" and, in 1673, when he was the High Sheriff of Surry County, he was called "Captain Charles Barham". It is also known that he served as a Justice of the County and as Captain of Horse in the County Militia. In February of 1663 he bought a 300 acre farm on Hog Island from the sisters of a deceased John Medmore and it appears that was his primary residence in Surry County.

In June,1680, Charles Barham was on the tithe list in Surry County for the last time. Later that year he and his family moved to Martin's Hundred, across the James River in James City County, where he bought four hundred and sixty three acres of land from a John Hayman. In July, 1682, he prepared his will and in late 1683 he died. There is no record of his place of burial nor has a grave site ever been found.