Christopher Vane, 1st Baron Barnard

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Lord Barnard
Arms of Vane: Azure, three sinister gauntlets (appaumée) or[1] These are a difference of the arms of the Fane family, Earls of Westmorland from 1624, which show: three dexter gauntlets back affrontée, with identical tinctures

Christopher Vane, 1st Baron Barnard (21 May 1653 – 28 October 1723) was an English peer. He is known for his disputes with his heirs and for employing Peter Smart, father of the poet Christopher Smart, as a steward.


Christopher Vane was the son of Henry Vane the Younger. He inherited Raby Castle, Durham and Fairlawne, Kent,[2] on the beheading of his father at Tower Hill in 1662.[3] Vane was MP for County Durham from 1675 to 1679, and a Whig sitting for Boroughbridge from 1689 to 1690 (when his election was overturned on petition). He was made a Privy counsellor in 1688, and in 1698, was created Baron Barnard of Barnard Castle by William III.[2]

During his time at Raby Castle, Christopher hired John Bazire and Peter Smart, father of Christopher Smart.[4] A struggle between his wife and his daughter-in-law Lucy Jolliffe ensued after 1703 and Christopher refused to pay the inheritance annuity to his son, William, after William was to be given the Fairlawne estate.[2] Christopher accomplished this task by giving Fairlawne and Raby Castle to John Bazire and Peter Smart "for the use of the said Lord Barnard and his heirs forever."[5] William took a lawsuit over the inheritance to the House of Lords, and during this time Christopher and his wife lived at Raby Castle.[2]

Later years

When his son Gilbert married Mary Randyll, Elizabeth started a quarrel with her daughter-in-law, which forced Christopher and Elizabeth to move back to Fairlawne.[4] Mary was described as "scandalous" by Christopher Vane (and it thought that her daughter, Anne Vane, followed her mother's example.[6] In 1712, Christopher hired John Proud, the steward of Raby Castle, to engage 200 workmen to strip the castle.[5][7] Owen Stanley Scott described the way that the castle was stripped:

"of its lead, glass, doors, and furniture, even pulling up the floors, cutting down the timber, and destroying the deer, and 'of a sudden in three days' did damage to the tune of £3000, holding a sale at which the household goods, lead, etc., were sold for what they would fetch"[8]

In response, Gilbert sued Christopher for the damages to the castle in the case Vane vs. Lord Barnard 1716.[7]

He died on 28 October 1723, aged 70 at Shipbourne, Kent and was buried in the parish church.[5] He wrote in a codicil to his will that Peter Smart would receive £40 a year.[5] Also, he bequeathed £200 to Christopher Smart and £50 to the other children of Peter Smart.[9] The reason for Christopher Smart's legacy has been seen by some as a sign that the future poet was "the pride of Fairlawne";[10] others disagree without an offered explanation.[9] Christopher Smart never received this money, as it was tied up and lost in a court battle.[11] In response to this loss, Henry Vane, 1st Earl of Darlington, Christopher's grandson through Gilbert, took the young Christopher Smart in at Raby Castle and paid for his education at Durham School.[11]


On 9 May 1676, he married Elizabeth Holles, daughter of Gilbert Holles, 3rd Earl of Clare. There was immediate bad feeling between Christopher and Elizabeth, on one side, and her brother and co-heir John Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.[2] They had three children:


  1. ^ Debrett's Peerage, 1968, p.115, which omits appaumée, useful in differentiating from Fane arms; concerning appaumée Cussans (1898) states: "In blazoning a Hand, besides stating what position it occupies, and whether it be the dexter or sinister, and erased or couped, it must be mentioned whether it be clenched or appaumé". (Cussans, John, Handbook of Heraldry, 2nd Edition, London, 1868, p.47 [1], p.92)
  2. ^ a b c d e Mounsey p. 23
  3. ^ Sherbo p. 3
  4. ^ a b Mounsey p. 24
  5. ^ a b c d Sherbo p. 4
  6. ^ Matthew Kilburn, ‘Vane, Anne (d. 1736)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2008 accessed 19 Feb 2017
  7. ^ a b Mounsey p. 25
  8. ^ Scott p. 82
  9. ^ a b Mounsey p. 27
  10. ^ Sherbo p. 6
  11. ^ a b Mounsey p. 28


  • Mounsey, Chris. Christopher Smart: Clown of God. London: Bucknell University Press, 2001.
  • Scott, Owen Stanley. Raby: its Castle and its Lords. Barnard Castle: Harry Ward, 1915.
  • Sherbo, Arthur. Christopher Smart: Scholar of the University. Michigan State University Press, 1967.
Parliament of England
Preceded by
John Tempest
Thomas Vane
Member of Parliament for County Durham
October 1675 – February 1679
With: John Tempest
Succeeded by
John Tempest
Sir Robert Eden, Bt
Peerage of England
Preceded by
New creation
Baron Barnard
Succeeded by
Gilbert Vane

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