Following the death of his father in 1964, Lord Barnard inherited the Barony of Barnard. He was educated at Eton and Durham University, where he gained an MSc.
During the Second World War, between 1942 and 1947, Henry John Neville Vane served in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. attaining the rank of Flying Officer, in 1945. He was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Northumberland Hussars Territorial Army in 1948 and in 1960 was awarded the Territorial Decoration. From 1964 to 1966, as Lieutenant-Colonel. he commanded the Northumberland Hussars and between 1979-89 was Honorary Colonel of the 7th (Durham) Battalion the Light Infantry.
In 1961 he became a Justice of the Peace and, in 1970, was appointed Lord-Lieutenant and Custos Rotulorum (Keeper of the Rolls) of the County of Durham, a position he held for 18 years, having served as a Deputy Lieutenant from 1956 to 1970 and a Durham County Councillor from 1952-61.
Lord Barnard was initiated into Agricola Lodge in 1961 and became its Worshipful Master in 1968. He was appointed as Provincial Grand Master in December 1969 and installed in 1970, a position he held for 28 years, during which time, he performed his duties and responsibilities with impeccable distinction.
In April 1970 he was installed as Senior Grand Warden of the United Grand Lodge of England. He was also to become a Member of Castle Lodge of Harmony and Royal Alpha Lodge, both meeting in London and in which he became Worshipful Master in 2001 and in 2006. respectively.
During his term as Provincial Grand Master, Lord Barnard was responsible for overseeing both the 1979 Festival in aid of the RMBI, and the 1989 Festival in aid of the RMTGB. He also saw 23 Craft Lodges being consecrated, many of which made him an Honorary Member.
In 1995, to celebrate his 25 years as PGM, a Celebration Dinner was held in the County Hotel in Durham, attended by the MWPro Grand Master, the Lord Farnham and many other dignitaries. Later, in 1996. an Especial Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge was held in Raby Castle at which he Invested 40 brethren with various ranks. These extra Ranks were granted by Grand Lodge in recognition of his long and devoted service to our Province.
Lord Barnard was Exalted into the Chapter of Concord in 1963 and became their First Principal in 1973. He was installed as Grand Superintendent in September 1980 and presided over the Consecration of seven Royal Arch Chapters, during his 17 years in that Office.
Lord Barnard announced that he would retire from Office on 31st January 1998. He had served the Provincial Grand Lodge of Durham, as PGM, for over 28 years, with distinction, tact and authority. He also retired, after 17 years. as Grand Superintendent of the Royal Arch Chapter of Durham. At the time of his retirement, Lord Barnard was the third most senior Provincial Grand Master in England.
On the evening of his retirement, to celebrate his term in Office, Lord Barnard hosted a Valedictory Dinner Party, in his Raby Castle home, for those officers who had served him as PGM. Following the Dinner, Lord Barnard proposed toasts to the Queen and the Grand Master. In response, RWBro His Hon Judge JGK Coles. PGM of Yorkshire North and East Ridings, proposed a toast to the health of Lord Barnard in a most elegant, entertaining and elaborate manner. In replying to the toast, Lord Barnard said ‘It would be a pleasure to be brought before you!’
The Lord Barnard’s personal support for the Masonic Charities has been well demonstrated by the ten times he has allowed the grounds of Raby Castle to be used to hold the Fairs. Fun Days and Galas, which have raised huge sums of money for those worthy causes.
Throughout his association with Freemasonry in the Durham Province and beyond, he gained the highest respect and admiration of all who came in contact with him. He has inspired others to follow his example arid there is no doubt that Freemasonry has been so much richer because of his involvement and enthusiasm. He will be greatly missed.