Barham Downs History Society

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 15.52.48 Richard Hooker 2

Richard Hooker
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The area is recognised as one of outstanding natural beauty, comprising five principal village parishes, their associated hamlets and adjoining areas:-



Situated seven miles S.E. of Canterbury

Grid reference TR206495

Population: 1355

Parish church: St. John the Baptist




Reproduced from an article entitled "Coats of Arms of Sussex families"  by J H Huxford in a local newspaper in Sussex circa 1980.


This family is recorded as having held lands at Wadhurst in 1441.


Nicholas Berham inherited Barham Court from an ancestor Reginald FitzUrse (one of the murderers of Thomas Becket)


He was admitted to Grays' Inn and became Queens Sergeant in 1573 and was also MP for Maidstone.

The Barham Coat of Arms

He played a leading part in the prosecution of the 4th Duke of Norfolk in 1571 for his share in the conspiracy to de-throne Elizabeth I in the favour of Mary Queen of Scots and was thus instrumental in sending the Duke to the executioner’s block.


In 1577 he was present at the Oxford Assizes where he obtained the conviction of a suspected Roman Catholic, had him sent to the pillory and had his ears cut off. The case had hardly finished when the plague stuck the majority of those who had formed the court including Barham himself who died. No doubt it was considered by some the judgment of Heaven, but unfortunately within a month more than five hundred had perished.


The arms granted in 1574 are : Argent, on a fess gules, between three bears passant, sable muzzled gules, a fleur de lis between two martlets.


The bears may have been taken from the arms of FitzUrse branches of which family bore this charge in various forms. The bear is canting charge alluding to the family name. It is usually shown muzzled.