The Saltonstall Family
The Saltonstall family had an important association with Barkway in the 1600s. Richard Saltonstall came originally from landed estates in Yorkshire and was a key figure in London during Queen Elizabeth the 1st’s reign. He was very much involved with the Skinners Guild of which he eventually became master. He was created Lord Mayor in 1597, and during his time in that role was knighted. His wife Susannah acquired the ownership of Barkway Rectory Manor in 1598, which she passed on to her son Peter. Peter moved into Manor Farm, and there started an association with the village for the next fifty years.
The rectory manor existed in its own right as a separate manor within the village, having besides Manor Farm, the church, vicarage, tenants, and a substantial land holding. Sir Peter therefore became upon the purchase, the lord of the manor, with the responsibilities that went with the role. His wife exercised joint roles with him as lord. He held regular manor courts although they may not have personally presided over them. He was created an equerry to James 1st and knighted in 1605. He and his wife Christian had a large family, the children’s names appearing in the parish birth registers, and a few recorded on memorials in the church following their deaths.
Sir Peter’s mother Susannah died in 1612, and in her will stipulated that the poor of Barkway should benefit from a legacy she had set up. Sir Peter attempted to organise his succession and inheritance following the death of his wife Christian in 1646. His direct heir was his son James, followed by his daughter Ann. Unfortunately, James died in 1649, and then that same year Ann died. Christian and Ann have memorials in the church chancel. Sir Peter died in 1651 aged 74, having sadly outlived all his family. The estate was inherited by Ann’s husband, Sir Edward Chester, the owner of Royston Priory and the Cokenach estate. Sir Peter was said to have been buried in Barkway church, but there is unfortunately no trace.