George Barne II
|Sir George Barne II|
|Lord Mayor of London|
|Preceded by||Richard Dobbis|
|Succeeded by||Thomas Whyte|
|Sheriff of London|
|Died||18 February 1558|
Sir George Barne (died 1558) was an English businessman in the City of London who was active in developing new trading links with Russia, West Africa and North America. Created a knight in 1553, he served as Sheriff of London and Lord Mayor of London. He was the father of Sir George Barne III and grandfather of Sir William Barne. Nicholas Culverwell was probably a nephew.
Career in business
Following his father into business, as well as conventional activities such as exporting cloth to and importing wine from Spain, he is notable for his role in establishing new connections far outside what had been traditional English trading patterns. With his son-in-law Sir William Garrard, he was a leading figure in promoting the first expedition in 1553 of the Company of Merchant Adventurers to New Lands, part of which led to Sir Hugh Willoughby's unsuccessful attempt to find the Northeast Passage to China, but also resulted in Sir Richard Chancellor's successful negotiations with Tsar Ivan IV in Moscow. A founder and active member in 1555 of the Muscovy Company, he remained a chief proponent of increasing trade with Russia. Interested also in West Africa, he helped finance the first Guinea voyage in 1553, commanded by Thomas Wyndham. In North America, as one of the first four Consuls of the Company of Merchant Adventurers to New Lands, along with Sebastian Cabot he is credited for laying the foundation of future English commerce and colonisation along the eastern seaboard.
Career in local government
A member of the Haberdashers' Company, he also took a full part in City politics. He was alderman of the wards of Portsoken between 1542–1546 and Coleman Street between 1546–1558, Sheriff of London in 1545–1546, and Lord Mayor of London in 1552-1553. Knighted on 11 April 1553, he was one of the City fathers who signed the letters patent of King Edward VI which passed the crown to the Protestant Lady Jane Grey. Though consequently treated with some suspicion under the Catholic sovereigns Philip and Mary after Jane's execution, there is no evidence that he had strong Protestant sympathies but was merely acting in the interests of the City and its élite.
Death and legacy
Regarded by some as a stern moralist, he died on 18 February 1558 and was buried with his wife in the church of St Bartholomew-by-the-Exchange. As well as in London, he also owned property in Surrey and Hertfordshire. His son George continued many of his trading ventures, though some have questioned how far the father or the son should be credited with commercial innovations.
He married Alice Brooke from Shropshire, who died in 1559, and of their children:
- Sir George Barne III married Anne Garrard, daughter of Sir William Garrard;
- John Barne married Jane Langton, daughter of Thomas Langton and stepdaughter of Sir Andrew Judd.
- Elizabeth Barne married Sir John Rivers, Lord Mayor of London in 1574;
- Anne Barne married first Alexander Carlisle, becoming the mother of Christopher Carlisle, and secondly in 1562 Sir Francis Walsingham.
- Slack, Paul, "Barne, Sir George (c.1500–1558)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, retrieved 8 April 2017 Subscription or UK public library subscription needed
- 'Barne', in J.J. Howard and G.J. Armytage (eds), The Visitation of London in the year 1568. Taken by Robert Cooke, Clarenceux Harleian Society Vol. I (1869), p. 25.
- "A Triumph for Man", The Independent, Retrieved 2 Oct 2009
- "Trade, plunder, and settlement", Trade, plunder, and settlement, p. 106, Retrieved 2 Oct 2009.
- "Genealogy", The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, p. 111, Retrieved 2 Oct 2009.
- "Cabot-Caesar", The genesis of the United States: a narrative of the movement in England, p. 839, Retrieved 3 Oct 2009.
- "Aldermen of London"[unreliable source], Tudor Place, Retrieved 4 Oct 2009.
- "The Pursuit of Stability", The Pursuit of Stability: Social Relations in Elizabethan London, p. 250, Retrieved 3 Oct 2009.
- "Pedigree of Barne", Visitation of England and Wales, p. 121, Retrieved 2 Oct 2009.
- "Barne, of Sotterly and Dunwich", A Genealogical and heraldic history of Great Britain, p. 139, Retrieved 2 Oct 2009.
- "Willis's Current Notes", Willis's Current Notes, p. 84, Retrieved 2 Oct 2009.
- Slack, Paul, "Judde, Sir Andrew (c.1492–1558)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, retrieved 8 April 2017 Subscription or UK public library subscription needed
- "Carleill, Christopher". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.