Richard Barnes (bishop)

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The Rt Revd
Richard Barnes
Bishop of Durham
Church Church of England
Diocese Diocese of Durham
Elected 9 May 1575 (election confirmed)[1]
Installed 19 May 1575[1]
Term ended 1587 (death)
Predecessor James Pilkington
Successor Matthew Hutton
Other posts Bishop of Carlisle (1570–1575)
Bishop suffragan of Nottingham (1567–1570)
Personal details
Born 1532
Bold, south Lancashire
Died 24 August 1587(1587-08-24) (aged 54–56)
Nationality English
Denomination Anglican
Spouse Fredesmund Barnes née Gifford
Children Mary Jocelyn née Barnes
Alma mater Brasenose College, Oxford

Richard Barnes (1532 – 24 August 1587) was an Anglican priest who served as a bishop in the Church of England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

Early life, education and family[edit]

He was born in Bold which was then a village near St Helens in south Lancashire. He attended Farnworth Grammar School and then was admitted to Brasenose College, Oxford. Here he was elected a fellow in 1552, and received his BA in 1553. This was followed by a BD and then a postgraduate MA in 1557. Finally he became a DD in 1579.

After receiving Holy Orders he was made Minister of Stonegrave in Yorkshire. In 1561 he was appointed Chancellor of the Diocese of York and later became a canon and prebendary of York Minster.

He married Fredesmund Gifford in the 1560s.[2] Their daughter Mary was born about 1567; she married Richard Jocelyn of Hyde Hall in Sawbridgeworth. (Jocelyn was an ancestor of the Baronets Jocelyn of Hyde Hall, the Viscounts Jocelyn and the Earls of Roden by his second wife Joyce Atkinson.)[3][4]

Episcopal career[edit]

In 1567 he was appointed Bishop suffragan of Nottingham and later, in 1570, was appointed Bishop of Carlisle. As bishop, he soon gained a reputation as someone dedicated to seeking out recusants. In 1575 he was translated to Durham, as a result of the patronage of Lord Burghley. It seems that he was on bad terms with Edmund Grindal, then Archbishop of Canterbury. One possible reason for this is that Barnes disapproved of Grindal's refusal to suppress the prophesyings - which refusal had led to Grindal being suspended from office.

Whittingham affair[edit]

At the first Metropolitan Visitation of Barnes' tenure, in 1577, Edwin Sandys, the Archbishop of York delegated his authority to Barnes. However, he met determined opposition from the Dean, William Whittingham, who refused to allow him in to the chapter house. In retaliation, Barnes excommunicated Whittingham. Barnes later, during a legitimate episcopal visitation, described the diocese's affairs thus:

...that Augiae Stabulum, the church of Durham ... whose stink is grievous in the nose of God and of men and which to purge far passeth Hercules' labours (BL, Lansdowne MS. 25, fols. 161–2)

However, the conspiracy against Whittingham was brought to an end by the dean's death in 1579.


  1. ^ a b The Injunctions and other Ecclesiastical Proceedings of Richard Barnes, Bishop of Durham, from 1575 to 1587: p. IX (Accessed 1 February 2014)
  2. ^ "Richard Barnes". Ancestral File. FamilySearch. Retrieved 11 March 2010. 
  3. ^ Barns-Graham, Peter Charles. "Jocelyn01". Stirnet. Retrieved 11 March 2010. 
  4. ^ "Mary Barnes". Ancestral File. FamilySearch. Retrieved 11 March 2010. 


  • Foster, Alan, A History of Farnworth Church, its Parish and Village, 1981.
Church of England titles
New title Bishop of Nottingham
In abeyance
Title next held by
Henry Mackenzie
Preceded by
John Best
Bishop of Carlisle
Succeeded by
John May
Preceded by
James Pilkington
Bishop of Durham
Succeeded by
Matthew Hutton