Barry, James, Lord Santry 1603-1673, chief justice of the King's Bench (Ireland), was son of Richard and Anne Barry. His father and grandfather were wealthy merchants of Dublin, his grandfather having been sheriff, and his father mayor and representative in parliament of that city. Lord Strafford speaks (Strafford's Letters) of the father in terms of respect, calling him a good protestant. James Barry received a legal training, and, being called to the bar, achieved for several years considerable reputation and success. He became recorder of the city of Dublin, and in 1629 prime serjeant-at-law, the stipend of which in those days, we are told, was 20l. 10s. per annum. He occupied this position when Lord Wentworth (Earl of Strafford) came to Ireland as lord deputy. Lord Wentworth at once recognised his abilities, and on the first opportunity (1634) promoted him to the office of second baron of the exchequer, in preference to another candidate strongly recommended by Archbishop Laud, and later in the same year Barry received the honour of knighthood. He published in 1637, at the request of Lord Wentworth, to whom he dedicated it, The Case of Tenures upon the Commission of Defective Titles, argued by all the Judges of Ireland, with the Resolution and the Reasons of their Resolution. This was his only publication. In 1640 he showed his gratitude by using all his influence, but in vain, with Sir James Ware and other members of the Irish House of Commons to prevent their sending a committee of their body to England to impeach the Earl of Strafford. There is nothing to record of Sir James Barry from this date until 1659, when he was chosen chairman of the convention which met in Dublin, in defiance of the council of state in England, and voted the unconditional restoration of Charles II, declared their detestation of the king's murder, and of the proceedings of the high court of justice, and published a declaration for a full and free parliament. In 1660 he was appointed by Charles one of the commissioners for executing his declaration for the settlement of Ireland, and, in consideration of his many good and acceptable services to his father, and his constant eminent loyalty to himself, he promoted him to the vacant chief justiceship of the King's Bench, and created him Baron of Santry in the kingdom of Ireland. When the Irish parliament met in 1661, after an interval of nearly twenty years, Lord Santry was proposed by the lord chancellor as speaker of the House of Lords, but was rejected, according to the Earl of Orrery (Letter to the Marquis of Ormond), because there were several material objections to him, besides his disability of body, and his being at best but a cold friend to the declaration. In this session of parliament he was nominated, together with the primate and the archbishop of Dublin, on a committee of the House of Peers to attend the lord justices to desire their lordships to supplicate his majesty that the late usurper's coin may continue current for some certain time, not exceeding a year, and also that there may be a mint erected in Ireland. Lord Santry married Catherine, daughter of Sir William Parsons, by whom he had four sons and four daughters. He died 9 Feb. 1672-3. The barony of Santry became extinct (1739) by forfeiture upon his grandson Henry (1710-1751) the fourth lord, being convicted of the murder of a footman.
Lodge's Peerage of Ireland, i. 307
Strafford's Letters, i. 299
Wright's Hist. of Ireland.
Contributor: P. B.-A. [Preston Bruce Austin]