The Barnaby Rudge character list includes Barnaby Rudge, Dolly Varden, John Willet, Joe Willet, Emma Haredale, Edward Chester, Lord George Gordon and more.

characters from Barnaby Rudge

Characters In Barnaby Rudge

Updated November 27, 2021 – Originally Published February 18, 2021

This list of characters from Barnaby Rudge is presented in alphabetical order by last name.

Note: Includes spoilers!


Edward Chester is the son of Sir John Chester.

Edward is in love with Emma Haredale and wants to marry her. His father opposes the idea. They quarrel and Edward leaves for the West Indies. 

Edward reappears later in the novel. He and Joe Willet save Gabriel Varden from the rioters. Then they rescue Dolly and Emma. 

He marries Emma, and they move to the West Indies. 

Time has been lost

Quote by the character Edward Chester in Barnaby Rudge

Sir John Chester is a member of Parliament. Sir John is the father of Edward Chester. 

Sir John would like Edward to marry a woman with a good-sized inheritance. That would help fund his own lifestyle. 

Tom Cobb is a friend of John Willet. 

Solomon Daisy is a friend of John Willet. 

Ned Dennis is the hangman of Tyburn. He’s recruited by Lord George Gordon and goes with him and the other Protestant volunteers to London. 

Mr. Gashford is the treacherous secretary of Lord George Gordon.

He wore the aspect of a man who was always lying in wait for something that WOULDN’T come to pass.

Lord George Gordon is a fictionalized version of an actual person. In the novel, Gordon and his servants stay at the Maypole Inn on their way to London. While they’re at the Maypole, they recruit local citizens to join them on their way to London. 

The Real Lord George Gordon

In 1778, Parliament passed the Catholic Relief Act. The legislation allowed Catholics to join the army and purchase land if they took an oath of allegiance.  

However, the Catholic Relief Act was not popular with everyone. 

In 1780, Lord George Gordon led a mob to the House of Commons to present a petition against the act. A week of rioting ensued. During the riot, hundreds of people died. Buildings were looted and burned. King George III called out troops to settle the rioters. 

Lord George Gordon

Lord George Gordon

John Grueby is the loyal servant of Lord George Gordon.

Emma Haredale is the daughter of Reuben Haredale and the nice of Geoffrey Haredale.

Later she and her companion, Dolly Varden, are taken captive by rioters. The women are rescued by John Willet and Edward Chester.

She marries Edward Chester, and they move to the West Indies. 

Emma Haredale and Dolly Varden

Emma Haredale and Dolly Varden

Geoffrey Haredale took over the Warren after his brother, Ruben, died.

He is against the union of Edward Chester and his niece, Emma.

Mr. Hardale

Mr. Haredale confronting Edward Chester regarding his attentions toward Emma, illustration by Phiz (Hablot K. Browne)

Reuben Haredale was the father of Emma Haredale. He owned the Warren, a local estate.

Reuben was murdered years ago. After his death, the estate’s gardener and steward both disappeared. The body of the steward (the father of Barnaby Rudge) was found. He had been murdered as well. Everyone suspected the gardener murdered Reuben and the steward.  

 In a huge plot twist, it’s later revealed that Barnaby’s father was not murdered all those years ago. Instead, he murdered Rueben Haredale and the gardener. Rudge switched clothes with the dead gardener to pin the suspicion for the murder on him.

Hugh (‘Maypole’ Hugh) is the stableman of the Maypole. Later it’s revealed that he’s the son of Lord John Chester.

The Maypole

The Maypole Inn

Mr. Langdale is the vintner. 

Miss Miggs is Mrs. Varden’s housemaid. Later she becomes a jailer at a women’s prison. 

Miss Miggs

Miss Miggs, illustration by Phiz (Hablot K. Browne)

‘Long’ Phil Parkes is a friend of John Willet.

Mr. Parkes, finding himself in the position of having got into metaphysics without exactly seeing his way out of them, stammered forth an apology and retreated from the argument.  ~ Barnaby Rudge

Barnaby Rudge is a simple-minded fellow who has a pet raven named Grip.

Barnaby’s father was the apparently murdered steward who worked for Rueben Haredale. Later it’s revealed that Barnaby’s father is actually alive and in hiding because he murdered Rueben Haredale and his gardener. 

Barnaby and his mother flee the area where they’d been living to evade the mysterious highwayman. The highwayman was actually Barnaby’s father in disguise. 

Later Barnaby falls in with Lord Gordon’s bunch. Barnaby is taken prisoner by soldiers and taken to Newgate Prison. Through the efforts of Gabriel Varden, he’s pardoned and released.

Barnaby Rudge

Barnaby Rudge and Grip, painting by Fred Barnard

Barnaby Rudge Senior is the father of young Barnaby Rudge. It was thought that he was murdered along with his employer, Reuben Haredale. 

In a huge plot twist, it’s revealed that Barnaby Rudge Senior was not murdered all those years ago. Instead, he himself was the murderer of Rueben Haredale and the gardener. Rudge switched clothes with the dead gardener to pin the suspicion for the murder on him.

The senior Rudge started following Barnaby and his mother around to attempt to get money from his wife. During this time he was disguised as a highwayman.  

Mary Rudge is the mother of Barnaby. She leaves the area to escape the mysterious highwayman (later revealed to be her husband) who follows her and her son, Barnaby. 

Any one who had bestowed but a casual glance on Barnaby might have known that this was his mother, from the strong resemblance between them; but where in his face there was wildness and vacancy, in hers there was the patient composure of long effort and quiet resignation.

Stagg is a blind man who’s an associate of mysterious highwayman (later revealed to be Barnaby’s father) who’s pursuing Barnaby and his mother. 

Simon Tappertit is Gabriel Varden’s apprentice. He’s recruited by Lord George Gordon and goes with him and the other Protestant volunteers to London. 

Simon Tappertit and Miss Miggs

Simon Tappertit and Miss Miggs

Dolly Varden is the daughter of Gabriel and Martha Varden.

She becomes the companion of Emma Haredale.

Later, she and Emma are taken captive by rioters. The women are rescued by John Willet and Edward Chester.

Dolly ends up marrying Joe, and they become the new proprietors of the Maypole.

Dolly Varden

Dolly Varden as painted by William Powell Frith.

Gabriel Varden is married to Martha Varden. Their daughter is Dolly.

Gabriel is a locksmith. During the riots, he’s captured by rioters who want him to help them break into Newgate Prison. 

Gabriel Varden

Gabriel Varden

Martha Varden is married to Gabriel Varden. Their daughter is Dolly.

Mrs. Varden was a lady of what is commonly called an uncertain temper–a phrase which being interpreted signifies a temper tolerably certain to make everybody more or less uncomfortable. ~ Barnaby Rudge

Old John Willet is the proprietor of the Maypole Inn and the father of Joe Willet.

Joe Willet, the son of John Willet, is in love with Dolly Varden. 

Joe hates the fact that his father treats him as a child. After an argument with his father, Joe leaves and becomes a soldier.

He reappears late in the novel. He and Edward Chester save Gabriel Varden from the rioters. Then they rescue Dolly and Emma. 

Joe ends up marrying Dolly, and they become the new proprietors of the Maypole.

More About Barnaby Rudge

Barnaby Rudge Quotes

Collection of Quotations from Barnaby Rudge

Barnaby Rudge

Barnaby Rudge

Barnaby Rudge was actually the first novel that Dickens planned on writing. But maybe it's a good thing that didn't work out. One biographer calls Barnaby Rudge, "The least-read — and least-attractive — novel in the Dickens canon.”

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