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Barnes, Robert (1495–1540). Protestant martyr. Barnes, born in Norfolk, became prior of an Augustinian friary in Cambridge. He adopted Lutheranism and in 1526 was brought before Wolsey to answer charges of heresy. Barnes recanted and subsequently spent several years in Germany, where he stayed with Luther. He was recalled to England by Thomas Cromwell, to whom his support of the royal supremacy against the papacy might be of use. Barnes was employed on several diplomatic missions in Germany and Scandinavia and was involved in negotiating Henry VIII's marriage with Anne of Cleves. The breakdown of that marriage weakened his position and that of his patron. Cromwell was beheaded on 28 July 1540 and two days later Barnes, attainted for heresy, was burned at Smithfield.
J. A. Cannon