Thursday, 14 June 2018

(334) Baker of Lismacue

Baker of Lismacue
The Baker family of Lismacue are one of the few landed families in Co. Tipperary to still occupy their historic home. They trace their origin to Thomas Baker (d. 1642), who is said to have gone to Ireland in the retinue of the 3rd Earl of Sussex, who was Lord Deputy of Ireland from 1557-83. This is not chronologically totally impossible (if he went over at the end of Lord Sussex's tenure, he might only have been about eighty at his death), but it does seem more likely either that it was his father who emigrated to Ireland with Sussex, or that he was a settler in the Jacobean period. What does not seem to be in doubt is that by the end of the 1630s he had built up a substantial leasehold estate of some 3,730 acres, rented from Catholic Irish landlords, in the adjoining townlands of Ballygleragh, Lattin and Knockordan, south-west of Tipperary.  At the outbreak of the Great Rebellion in 1641, he was besieged at his stronghold of Knockordan Castle, and after holding out for about three months, he died - history does not seem to record whether his death was due to, or hastened by, the privations of the siege. Two days later, his widow surrendered the castle, and was turned out without any of her possessions; we know something about the circumstances because her claim for damages survived among the papers of the Commissioners sent down to enquire into the losses caused by the rebels.

More serious for the family was that their landlords were implicated (whether justly or not) in the rebellion, and the lands they rented were therefore forfeit to the Crown, causing the Bakers' rights as tenants to lapse. Fortunately, Thomas Baker had lent money to his landlords on the security of some of the lands, and this gave him a legal estate in part of his property which the law continued to recognise. His son, Walter Baker (1623-69) was thus able to salvage some of the estate, although it took a long time: he obtained a first recognition of his rights from the Commonwealth government in 1654 and was finally able to purchase the freehold in 1667. Walter was succeeded at his death in 1669 by his son Thomas (d. 1692), who was married but childless. In 1692, therefore, the estate devolved on Walter's second son, Richard, who had three sons. The eldest of these, William Baker (1676?-1733), had succeeded to the property by 1704, when he began the process of buying Lismacue, an estate about 12 miles east of his existing lands at Bansha (Co. Tipperary).

William Baker (d. 1733) had seven sons, the eldest of whom was Hugh Baker (d. 1772). A series of transactions affecting the family estates have suggested to previous writers that Hugh may not have been on good terms with the rest of his family, but this is far from clear. Indeed, William's first action, in 1718 (when Hugh was certainly a minor and possibly only about sixteen) was to make over most of his lands, excluding Lismacue, to Hugh, which does not quite fit such a pattern. It is true that in 1728 William leased Lismacue to his brother-in-law, the Rev. Charles Massy, for three lives, but with his eldest son established on his properties at Lizardconnell, this may have been more a matter of providing his younger children with a home than of excluding Hugh, who must later have been a party to the sale of Lattinmore and some other lands to raise portions for his younger siblings. It is not clear that Hugh ever lived at Lismacue, but it did come into the possession of his son and heir, Col. William Baker (1731-1808), whose rank came from a commission in the Tipperary Volunteers, formed in 1776. 

When Col. Baker died in 1808 he was succeeded by his eldest son, William Baker (c.1767-1815), who had not only attended Trinity College, Dublin, but taken a degree there and gone on to the Kings Inns to study law. Although there seems to be no record of his being called to bar, he did become an active JP in Tipperary, and in 1815 he was tragically murdered on his way home from a special meeting of the justices for the county under the Insurrection Act, apparently by the associates of a man who had been jailed there.  Although two men were eventually arrested for the act and one of them was executed on the evidence of the other, there seems little doubt that others who were involved escaped undetected. It was William Baker who built the present house at Lismacue. Work probably began soon after he inherited and is thought to have been completed by 1813, but William can have had very little time to enjoy his new house. After his death, as he had no children, the estate and house passed to his nephew, Hugh Baker (1798-1868), but the furniture and personal effects all passed to William's widow. Perhaps understandably, she did not wish to remain at Lismacue and moved to the fashionable watering place of Cheltenham, taking all the family furniture with her. Lismacue was probably let until Hugh Baker came of age in 1819 and perhaps for some years afterwards, as he seems to be first recorded as 'of Lismacue' in 1825. He probably carried out a thorough redecoration and refurnishing of the house at that time, since it preserves wallpapers of the 1830s.

Hugh Baker seems to have been a considerate and generous landlord, but that did not stop him receiving unwelcome attention from violent elements in the local population in the 1830s on account of the fact that he employed a Protestant steward. At one point he was obliged to leave the estate for the greater safety of Dublin, although he soon returned and was resident throughout the famine years of the 1840s. He had a large family of four sons and five daughters. The three younger sons all became lawyers, although one of them underwent a religious conversion in his thirties and subsequently devoted his life to Dr. Barnardo's Homes, where he succeeded the founder as Chairman and honorary Director. The heir to the estate was Hugh Baker (1845-87), who was noted more for his sporting than his intellectual prowess. He died young, leaving a widow and two small children. The estate passed to his young son, but it was heavily indebted and in an era of falling agricultural prices one of the creditors called in his loan, leading to the estate being vested in trustees for sale. Hugh Baker's widow, Frances, had meanwhile married again, to Maj. Ralph Hall Bunbury (d. 1898), who bought the house (but not the estate) so that the family could continue to live there. However when he died, rather than leaving the house as might have been expected to his step-son, Hugh Baker (1880-1952), it passed to his unmarried sisters.  Hugh, who became a naval officer and a leading figure in the world of fly-fishing, later moved to County Antrim, and died there without issue. The Misses Bunbury sold their unexpected legacy at a generously low valuation to Charles Conyers Massy Baker (1847-1905), the second son of Hugh Baker (1798-1868), who was perhaps looking to retire from his practice as a barrister. He was succeeded a few years later by his son, Allen Baker (1881-1959), who had the distinction of being the first person to qualify (in 1900) as a veterinary surgeon at the Royal Veterinary College of Ireland. He made his home at Lismacue, where he established a stud farm and acted as the local vet. His son and heir, William Baker (1913-77) followed in his father's footsteps and maintained both the stud and the veterinary practice. When he died suddenly in 1977 he had no son to succeed him, but his only daughter, Kate (b. 1952), and her husband, Jim Nicholson, took the house on. No inheritance planning had taken place and there were large death duties to pay which took many years to pay off, but from around 2000 they found the funds to embark on a systematic restoration of the house. They continue to operate the family stud farm, now with the assistance of a manager, and to offer accommodation at the house on a serviced let and bed-and-breakfast basis. It is to be hoped that one of their three children will in due course be willing to take on the revitalised house for a further generation.

Lismacue House, Bansha, Co. Tipperary

The first house on the site of which anything is recorded was taxed on five hearths in 1665, and was thus a fairly modest affair, although large by contemporary Irish standards. The present late Georgian house with battlements and other restrained Gothic touches was built in 1813 to the designs of William Robertson (1770-1850) for William Baker (d. 1815), who was murdered shortly afterwards. 

Lismacue House: the entrance front and side elevation c.1900. Image: Limerick Museum LM 1987.0803

It is a square stuccoed block of two storeys with an entrance front of three broad bays and a side elevation of five bays. The entrance front has a Gothic porch and is continued to the right by a longer wing (once also stuccoed but now of exposed rubble walling) ending in a battlemented gable with a large traceried window below. The side elevation has a battlemented pediment with pinnacles, and there is a further pediment on the rear elevation. Inside, the decoration is a good deal lighter and more elegant than the exterior might lead one to expect, the entrance hall in particular having a delicate if simple Gothick scheme. The house has several rooms with wallpaper dating from the early 1830s, which was installed for Hugh Baker (1798-1868). The house has been well restored since 2000, and is approached by a long and impressive lime avenue, said to have been planted in 1760. The fine open parkland has wonderful views of the Galtee Mountains and the Glen of Aherlow.

Descent: Charles Blount sold 1704-05 to William Baker (1676?-1733); to son, Hugh Baker (d. 1772); to son, Col. William Baker (1731-1808); to son, William Baker (c.1767-1815), who rebuilt the house; to nephew, Hugh Baker (1798-1868); to son, Hugh Baker (1845-87), whose widow married Maj. Ralph Bunbury; to son, Hugh Baker (b. 1880); sold by receivers to Maj. Ralph Bunbury (d. 1898); to sisters, who sold to Charles Conyers Massy Baker (1847-1905); to son, Allen Baker (1881-1969); to son, William Baker (1913-77); to daughter, Katherine Rachel (b. 1952), wife of Capt. James Nicholson.

Baker family of Lismacue House

Baker, Thomas (d. 1642). Parentage unknown. He is said to have gone to Ireland in the retinue of  Thomas Radclyffe, 3rd Earl of Sussex, who was Lord Deputy of Ireland 1557-83, but it seems unlikely that his emigration could have been so early and he was more probably the son of an Elizabethan settler or someone who went to Ireland in the Jacobean period. With the outbreak of the Great Rebellion in 1641 he was besieged at Knockordan Castle from October 1641, but after he died during the siege and when the defenders' ammunition was exhausted, his widow capitulated on 2 February 1642. The rebels took everything - even the clothes from their backs - and turned them out of the house. Anne's account of the siege was recorded by a commission sent to enquire into the losses of the loyal population. Because Baker's landlords were all Irish Catholics who were implicated in the rebellion, their lands were seized by the Crown and Baker's tenant rights were extinguished at the same time. Fortunately, Baker had lent money to some of his landlords on the security of their freehold, giving him a legal estate in the land which was not extinguished, as he himself was a loyal Protestant, and his son was able to recover these lands from those to whom the Crown had granted them. He married Anne [surname unknown] (fl. 1642) and had issue six children including:
(1) Walter Baker (1623-69) (q.v.);
(2) Richard Baker (fl. 1665-73); leased a farm at Solohead and brought an action for possession of it in 1673.
He settled at Knockordan Castle (Co. Tipperary) where he leased substantial lands from Irish landlords in the adjoining townlands of Ballygleragh, Lattin and Knockordan, amounting to some 3,730 statute acres. The castle at Knockordan was evidently destroyed after the 1641 siege.
He died during the siege at Knockordan, 31 January 1641/2. His widow surrendered the castle, 2 February 1641/2 and submitted a claim for damages, 8 July 1642; her date of death is unknown.

Baker, Walter (1623-69). Second son of Thomas Baker (d. 1642) and his wife Anne, born at Ballygleragh, 1623. Educated at Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1640). He married Martha Osborne, and had issue:
(1) Thomas Baker (d. 1692); married but had no issue; died intestate, 1692; administration of his goods granted to his widow;
(2) Richard Baker (fl. 1692) (q.v.);
(3) Walter Baker (d. 1740) of Ballywire; provided a home for his widowed sister Mary after 1722; will proved 3 November 1740;
(4) Martha Baker (fl. 1669); mentioned in her father's will; apparently dead by 1686;
(5) Mary Baker (d. c.1730); mentioned in her father's will; married, 1686 (settlement 21 October) Richard Chadwick (d. 1722) of Ballynamaght, but had no issue, and lived subsequently with her brother Walter; will proved 3 January 1729/30.
He lived at Cullen and later at Lattin, and secured from the Commonwealth government a recognition of his rights in some of his father's lands in Co. Tipperary. He subsequently obtained a grant of the freehold by letters patent from King Charles II in 1667. After his death his property passed in turn to his two elder sons.
He died in 1669; his will was proved at Cashel, 23 December 1669. His wife's date of death is unknown.

Baker, Richard (fl. 1692). Second son of Walter Baker (1623-69) and his wife Martha Osborne. He married and had issue:
(1) William Baker (1676?-1733) (q.v.);
(2) Baraby Baker; married and had issue a daughter;
(3) Walter Baker (fl. 1724), settled at Ballydavid in 1724; married and had issue one son and one daughter.
He inherited the Lattinmore estate from his elder brother in 1692.
He died before 1704.

Baker, William (1676?-1733). Son of Richard Baker (fl. 1692) and his wife, perhaps born at Doonass (Co. Clare), 1676. High Sheriff of Co. Tipperary, 1726. He married, 17 July 1700, Margaret, eldest daughter of Hugh Massy of Duntryleague (Co. Limerick), and had issue:
(1) Hugh Baker (d. 1772) (q.v.);
(2) Charles Baker;
(3) Thomas Baker;
(4) Richard Baker;
(5) William Baker (d. 1735); known as 'Never Fear-Em Billy Baker', perhaps because of his bravery as a duellist or horseman; died at Castletown (Co. Limerick), November 1735;
(6) Walter Baker (fl. 1730); received a legacy from his aunt, Mary Chadwick, in 1730;
(7) Godfrey Baker, merchant at Cork; married, 1744, Elizabeth, daughter of Peter Cossart of Cork and had issue four sons and two daughters;
(8) Elizabeth Baker; married Nicholas Wrixon;
(9) Katherine Baker; married Thomas Pope.
He inherited the Lattinmore estate from his father and purchased lands at Killenalliffe in 1703 and (for £1,300) the Lismacue estate (Co. Tipperary) from Charles Blount in 1704-05. In 1718 he made his eldest son tenant for life in much of his estate but reserved Lismacue, and in 1728 he leased Lismacue to Rev. Charles Massy for three lives. Lattinmore and other properties were sold in 1740 to provide portions for his younger children.
He died in 1733; his will was proved 28 September 1733. His widow's date of death is unknown.

Baker, Hugh (d. 1772). Eldest son of William Baker (1676-1733) and his wife Margaret, eldest daughter of Hugh Massy of Duntryleague (Co. Limerick). He married, by 1728, Catherine, daughter of Robert Ryves of Ryves Castle, Ballyskiddane (Co. Limerick) and had issue:
(1) Col. William Baker (1731-1808) (q.v.);
(2) Capt. Thomas Baker; an officer in the Royal Regiment of Artillery (Lt. Fireworker, 1754) and perhaps later in 5th Foot (Capt., 1775); married, 12 April 1771 at St George, Hanover Sq., London, Rose Elizabeth (d. 1777), daughter of Sir Neville Hickman, 4th bt., of Thonock Hall (Lincs), and had issue two sons (who died young); 
(3) Hugh Baker (d. 1801?); married Sydney Coates, and had issue two sons and three daughters; said to have died in 1801 (but this may be a confusion with his nephew of the same name);
(4) Walter Baker (d. 1778); lived at Ballydavid (Tipperary); died unmarried, about July 1778;
(5) Kilner Baker (d. 1804); wine merchant in Dublin; an officer in the Royal Anglesea Volunteers (Capt.) and later Secretary of the Independent Dublin Volunteers; married 1st, 1783 (licence 9 September), Elizabeth, second daughter and co-heiress of Rev. Robert Nettles, rector of Ballinamona (Co. Cork) and had issue one son and two daughters, and 2nd, a daughter of Kilner Brasier, who died without issue; died March 1804;
(6) Elizabeth Baker (c.1735-1821), born about 1735; married, May 1759, her cousin, the Hon. John Massy (d. 1815), third son of 1st Baron Massy of Duntrileague, but had no issue; died in Dublin aged 86, 31 December 1821;
(7) Margaret Baker; said to have married Kilner Brasier;
(8) Catherine Baker (d. 1782); died unmarried at Mallow (Co. Cork), about September 1782.
He became tenant for life of much of the family estate excluding Lismacue in 1718 and inherited the freehold from his father in 1733. He lived at Lizardconnell (near Ballywire) in 1730 and later at Castlesaffron, Doneraile (Co. Cork).
He died 25 January 1772. His wife's date of death is unknown.

Baker, Col. William (1731-1808). Eldest son of Hugh Baker (d. 1772) and his wife Catherine, daughter of Robert Ryves of Ryves Castle, Ballyskiddane (Co. Limerick), born 1731. An officer in the Tipperary Volunteers (Lt-Col. by 1782). He married Elizabeth, second daughter of Very Rev. Charles Massy of Doonass, Dean of Limerick, and had issue:
(1) William Baker (c.1767-1815) (q.v.);
(2) Hugh Baker (c.1769-1801) (q.v.);
(3) Lt-Col. Charles Massy Baker (1770-1840), born 1770; lived at Killenaliffe (Co. Tipperary); an officer in the 22nd and from 1804 the 14th Light Dragoons (Capt., 1795; Maj., 1808; Lt-Col., 1819; retired 1829), serving in Flanders, 1793-94, Ireland, 1798, Egypt, 1801 and Peninsular War, 1808-11; noted for his generosity to the poor and kindness to his tenants; died unmarried, 18 December 1840 and was buried at Luton (Beds); will proved in the PCC, 2 July 1841;
(4) Robert Baker (d. 1844); lived at Belmont (Offaly); a member of the Protestant Conservative Society; married [forename unknown] Collins; died 16 March 1844;
(5) Elizabeth Baker (c.1765-1844); married, 24 September 1784 at St Andrew, Dublin, Henry Fry (1757-1847) of Frybrook (Co. Roscommon) and had issue nine sons and four daughters; died 2 May 1844;
(6) Catherine Baker (fl. 1840); married, 1790, James Johnston Stoney (1759-1824) of Oakley Park (Co. Offaly), third son of George Stoney of Greyfort and Portland, and had issue four sons and four daughters;
(7) Grace Baker (d. 1827); married 1st, Richard Taylor and had issue one son, and 2nd, 18 March 1806 at St John, Limerick, Maj-Gen. Henry Phillott CB (1773-1839) of the Royal Artillery, and had further issue one son; buried at Portsmouth (Hants), 9 December 1827;
(8) Margaret Baker (fl. 1840); died unmarried after 1840.
He inherited the Lismacue estate.
He died 24 May 1808, and was buried at Lattin, being the last of the family interred there; his will was proved at Dublin in 1808. His wife's date of death is unknown.

Baker, William (c.1767-1815). Elder son of Col. William Baker (d. 1808) and his wife Elizabeth, second daughter of Very Rev. Charles Massy, Dean of Limerick, born about 1767. Educated at Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1783; BA 1788) and Kings' Inns, Dublin (admitted 1788). JP for Co. Tipperary. He married, 21 August 1805, Elizabeth, second daughter of Sir Thomas Roberts, 1st bt., of Brightfieldstown (Co. Cork), but had no issue.
He inherited the Lismacue estate from his father in 1808 and rebuilt the house in 1813 to the designs of William Robertson. After his death, the house and estate passed to his nephew, Hugh Baker (1798-1868), but the contents went to his widow who removed them from the house.
He was murdered by a gang of men on his way home from attending a special session of Quarter Sessions, held at Cashel under the Insurrection Act, 27 November 1815. His widow died in Cheltenham (Glos), 12 May 1829.

Baker, Hugh (c.1769-1801). Second son of Col. William Baker (d. 1808) and his wife Elizabeth, second daughter of Very Rev. Charles Massy, Dean of Limerick, born about 1769. Merchant in Tipperary. An officer in the Tipperary Volunteers. He married Anne, daughter of James Reardon of Tipperary, and had issue:
(1) Hugh Baker (1798-1868) (q.v.);
(2) Rev. William Benjamin Baker (1801-74), born 4 June 1801; educated at Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1820); ordained deacon, 1827 and priest, 1828; curate of Killermogh, 1829 and Durrow, c.1833; vicar of Toem, 1835-37; curate of Thurles, 1837-50 and rector of Shronell (Co. Tipperary), 1848-74; married, 22 October 1829, his cousin Sydney Sybell (d. 1830), daughter of John Scott Baker of Dublin, and had issue one son and one daughter (who married the novelist, Charles Lever); died 6 December 1874 and was buried at Bansha;
(3) Elizabeth Baker (d. 1867); died unmarried, 1867.
He died in 1801. His widow died 2 November 1847.

Baker, Hugh (1798-1868). Eldest son of Hugh Baker (d. 1801) and his wife Anne, daughter of James Reardon of Tipperary, born 1 August 1798. A member of the Grand Jury for Co. Tipperary by 1828. Guardian of the Tipperary Poor Law Union. He had the reputation of a kind and generous landlord, who reduced rents in hard times, but in the 1830s he suffered several unprovoked attacks (in which a hayrick was burned and two horses shot) because he chose to employ a Protestant steward, and he was obliged to leave his estate for a time for the greater safety of Dublin. He was blind in one eye as a result of an unsuccessful smallpox inoculation in childhood. He married, 21 February 1839 at Kilmeedy (Co. Limerick), Marion (1815-54), only child of Charles Conyers of Castle Conyers (Co. Limerick) and had issue:
(1) Marion Elizabeth Baker (1840-1916), born 6 June 1840; married 1st, 16 February 1865 at Templeneiry (Co. Tipperary), George Cole-Baker (murdered 1868) of Ballydavid (Co. Tipperary), son of the Rev. George Cole-Baker, and had issue one son and one daughter; married 2nd, 3 August 1876 at Lisnaskea (Co. Fermanagh), Frederick Browne (d. 1910), advocate, of Douglas (Isle of Man); died in Dublin, 4 April 1916; will proved 15 June 1916 (effects £96);
(2) Anne Baker (1841-1900), born 24 October 1841; married, 9 May 1866, Lt-Col. Morley Stratford Tynte Dennis JP (1811-1902) of Barraderry House (Co. Wicklow), second son of Thomas Stratford Dennis JP of Fort Granite (Co. Wicklow), but had no issue; died 31 January 1900;
(3) Mary Rachel Baker (1842-49), born about November 1842; died young of water on the brain, 7 December 1849;
(4) Elizabeth Henrietta Baker (1844-1919), born February 1844; emigrated to Canada with her husband, 1890; married, 10 August 1865 at Templeree (Co. Tipperary), Robert Bell Gordon (1840-1915), barrister-at-law and later Clerk of the Legislative Assembly of the Canadian North-West Territories, son of John Bagwell Gordon, and had issue one son and two daughters; died at Indian Head, Saskatchewan (Canada), 24 January 1919;
(5) Hugh Baker (1845-87) (q.v.);
(6) Charles Conyers Massy Baker (1847-1905) (q.v.);
(7) William Baker (1848-1920); educated at Tipperary Grammar School, Trinity College, Dublin (admitted about 1868; LLB; MA 1875; Secretary of University Cricket Club) and Inner Temple (admitted 1871; called to bar, 1875); barrister at law; in youth he was devoted to sport and excelled at rowing, football, cricket and as a horseman; in his early 30s he underwent a religious conversion and became an evangelical; a director of Dr Barnardo's Homes, 1886-1920 (Vice-Chairman, 1890-1905; Chairman & Hon. Director, 1905-20); died 17 November 1920;
(8) Sir Augustine Fitzgerald Baker (1851-1922), born 21 April 1851; educated at Tipperary Grammar School, Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1870; MA); admitted a solicitor, 1878; President of the Incorporated Law Society of Ireland, 1903; knighted 1903; the historian of the family, whose notes on its history were published shortly before his death; lived at 56 Merrion Sq., Dublin; died unmarried, 7 October 1922;
(9) Mary Rachel Baker (1854-1919), born about July 1854; married, 25 September 1878 at Bansha, John Twynam (1855-1918) of Soberton House (Hants), and had issue five sons (four of whom died in the First World War) and two daughters; died 19 October 1919; will proved 17 December 1919 (estate £692).
He inherited the Lismacue estate from his uncle in 1815 and came of age in 1819.
He died 5 November 1868 and was buried at Bansha; his will was proved 21 December 1868 (effects under £14,000). His wife died 3 July 1854 and was also buried at Bansha.

Baker, Hugh (1845-87). Eldest son of Hugh Baker (1798-1868) and his wife Marion, only child of Charles Conyers of Castle Conyers (Co. Limerick), born 12 September 1845. An officer in the South Tipperary Regiment of Artillery (Lt., 1868), he was a noted horseman and cricketer. He married, 1 March 1879 at Tipperary, Frances Elizabeth, youngest daughter of John Massy of Kingswell (Co. Tipperary), and had issue:
(1) Hugh Baker (1880-1952), born 1 March 1880; served in First World War as an officer in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (Cmdr.); President of Irish Trout Fishing Association and Ballycastle Angling Association; a member of the Irish Lights Commission; lived at Ballycastle (Co. Antrim); married, 1925, Anne (1890-1955), son of John O'Sullivan of Gurrane, Killarney (Kerry), but had no issue; died 10 June 1952 and was buried at Bansha; will proved in Belfast, 29 January 1953, and sealed in London (estate in Northern Ireland, £2,844; estate in England, £8,358);
(2) Alice Maud Massy Baker (1883-1935), born 21 August 1883; married, 2 November 1912,  Douglas Fenwick Murray RN (1874-1925) and had issue one daughter; died at Folkestone (Kent), 20 July 1935; will proved 14 September 1935 (estate £262).
He inherited the Lismacue estate from his father in 1868. At his death the estate passed to his son, but when debts secured on the property were called in, it was vested in trustees and sold except for one farm. The house was bought by his widow's second husband.
He died 9 July 1887 and was buried at Bansha; his will was proved 28 October 1887 (effects £2,815). His widow married 2nd, 13 September 1888, Maj. Ralph Hall Bunbury (d. 1898) of Noremount (Co. Kilkenny) and died in London, 10 April 1917; administration of her goods was granted 29 September 1917 (effects £68).

Baker, Charles Conyers Massy (1847-1905). Second son of Hugh Baker (1798-1868) and his wife Marion, only child of Charles Conyers of Castle Conyers (Co. Limerick), born 8 March 1847. Educated at Worcester College, Oxford (matriculated 1865; BA 1869) and Inner Temple (called to bar 1871). Barrister-at-law; JP for Co. Tipperary. He married, 10 June 1880 at St Matthew, Bayswater, London, Harriet Booth (k/a Ettie) (1853-1922), daughter of George Allen of Oakdale, Ockley (Surrey), and had issue:
(1) Allen Baker (1881-1969) (q.v.);
(2) Conyers Baker (1884-1922), born 30 January 1884; solicitor (admitted 1908) and later a missionary in Rangoon (Burma) and secretary of Bombay (India) YMCA; married, 2 February 1911 at Cahir (Co. Tipperary), Susan Dorothea Geraldine (1881-1969), second daughter of Ven. Robert Jones Sylvester Devenish, rector of Cahir (Co. Tipperary) and Archdeacon of Waterford, but had no issue; died suddenly in London, 24 December 1922; will proved 21 April 1923 (effects £187);
(3) Massy Baker (1888-1972), born 9 October 1888; emigrated to Canada in 1905; civil engineer; married 1st, 15 January 1920 at Carleton, Ontario (Canada), Mildred Schreiber (1893-1933), daughter of Lawrence Lambe of Ottawa (Canada) and had issue two sons and one daughter; married 2nd, 2 February 1935, also at Carleton, Ontario, Kathleen (1892-1981), daughter of Ven. Johnston McLelland Snowdon, Archdeacon of Ottawa, but had no further issue; died 12 January 1972 and was buried at Beechwood Cemetery, Ottawa;
(4) Dennis Baker (1893-1923), born 15 October 1893; served in First World War as an officer (Lt.) in Royal Engineers (Imperial), and died in Ontario (Canada) of tuberculosis contracted while on active service, 12 July 1923; will proved 25 November 1924 (effects in England £929);
(5) Irene Baker (1895-1981), born 19 December 1895; married, 12 February 1925 at Avey (Limerick), Herbert Constable Evans (d. 1926), son of Thomas Evans of Rathkeale (Co. Limerick), and had issue one son; died 28 April 1981 and was buried at Beechwood Cemetery, Ottawa (Canada).
He purchased Lismacue House from the heirs of his sister-in-law's second husband after 1898.
He died 12 January 1905 and was buried at Bansha; his will was proved 27 September 1905 (effects £1,045). His widow died at Sidcup (Kent), 13 December 1922; administration of her goods was granted to her eldest son, 20 April 1923 (effects in England, £46).

Baker, Allen (1881-1959). Eldest son of Charles Conyers Massy Baker (1847-1905) and his wife Harriet Booth, daughter of George Allen of Oakdale, Ockley (Surrey), born 24 July 1881. Educated at Royal Veterinary College of Ireland and was their first graduate. Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Established the Lismacue Stud Farm. He married 1st, 10 July 1910, Frances Violet (1887-1922), eldest daughter of Lt-Col. William Cooper-Chadwick of Ballinard (Co. Tipperary), and 2nd, 15 May 1935, Julia Dorothy (1889-1963), daughter of William Parry Evans of Wallasey (Ches.), and had issue:
(1.1) Mary Rachel Baker (1911-71), born 31 December 1911; married, 4 April 1933, Col. Kenneth Edgar Holmes MA MIEE, son of Col. John Dalrymple Edgar Holmes of Tipperary, and had issue two daughters; died 21 January 1971;
(1.2) William Baker (1913-77) (q.v.);
(1.3) Elizabeth Anne Baker (b. 1917), born 27 October 1917; married, 14 September 1941, (Jacob Harold) Barrett Best (b. 1902) of Gilltown Lodge, Kilcullen (Co. Kildare), son of Edwin Best of Armagh (Co. Armagh), and had issue two sons.
He inherited Lismacue House from his father in 1905.
He died 20 December 1959 and was buried at Bansha; his will was proved 21 May 1960 (estate £77,765).  His first wife died 10 June 1922 and was buried at Bansha; administration of her goods was granted 19 January 1923 (estate £16,577). His widow died 5 July 1963 and was buried at Bansha; her will was proved 14 July 1964 (estate £365).

Baker, William (1913-77). Only son of Allen Baker (1881-1969) and his first wife Frances Violet, eldest daughter of Lt-Col. William Cooper-Chadwick of Ballinard (Co. Tipperary), born 2 August 1913. Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Owner and manager of Lismacue Stud Farm. He married, 15 July 1950, Brenda Katherine (c.1915-2013), daughter of John Gillespie Aitken of Methergrove, High Bickington (Devon), and formerly wife of Alexander George Smith, and had issue:
(1) Katherine Rachel Baker (b. 1952) (q.v.).
He inherited Lismacue House from his father in 1969.
He died 15 November 1977 and was buried at Bansha. His widow died aged 98, 13 March 2013, and was also buried at Bansha.

Baker, Katherine Rachel (b. 1952). Only child of William Baker (1913-77) and his wife Brenda Katherine, daughter of John Gillespie Aitken of Methergrove, High Bickington (Devon), and formerly wife of Alexander George Smith, born 29 September 1952. Cordon Bleu chef; owner of Lismacue Stud Farm; operates Lismacue House as serviced holiday rental accommodation. She married, March 1976, Capt. James Nicholson, barrister-at-law, and had issue:
(1) Rachel Nicholson; Cordon Blue chef in France;
(2) Sarah Nicholson; educated at Alexandra College, Dublin and Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art Design and Technology; confectioner; emigrated to USA in 2009; director of Bang Candy Co., Nashville, Tennessee (USA); has issue one daughter;
(3) A son; works in information technology in Dublin.
She inherited Lismacue House from her father in 1977, and carried out a major restoration after 2000.
Now living.


Burke's Irish Family Records, 1976, pp. 52-54; Sir A.F. Baker, 'The Bakers of Lismacue: a family chronicle', Tipperary Historical Journal, 1994, pp. 115-28; video interviews by Christina Abt with Jim and Kate Nicholson at

Location of archives

No significant accumulation is known, but they main remain with the family at Lismacue.

Coat of arms

Azure, on a chevron or between three swans' necks erased proper ducally gorged of the second, as many cinquefoils gules.

Can you help?

Here are a few notes about information and images which would help to improve the account above. If you can help with any of these or with other additions or corrections, please use the contact form in the sidebar to get in touch.
  • Can anyone provide additional information about the earlier generations of this family, or portraits or photographs of any of the people whose names appear above in bold type?

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 14 June 2018.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

(333) Baker of Highfields

The earliest member of this family of whose identity it is possible to be certain is Richard Baker (1675-1749), a surgeon who moved from London to Leominster in Herefordshire. Burke's Landed Gentry says that his father was John Baker, the younger son of Sampson Baker of Norwich and London, merchant, who was 'believed to be a younger son of Sir Richard Baker MP of Middle Aston, Oxon and St Bride's, London, the historian... who died in Fleet debtors' prison 18 February 1644/5'. As far as the connection with Sir Richard Baker (and thus with the Bakers of Sissinghurst) is concerned, this seems to be a specious fantasy (Sir Richard did not marry until c.1621, and his children are all accounted for), and it is far from clear how much reliance should be put on the rest. 

If I have correctly identified Richard Baker's baptism at Stepney (Middx) in 1676, his parents were indeed John and Margaret, as Burke's suggests. But no marriage of a John Baker and Margaret Leighton is to be found, and nor is a baptism for a John, son of Sampson Baker. It may, however, be relevant to note that Burke's gives John a brother, Sampson Baker, gent., of Market Bosworth (Leics) and Rugby (Warks), born about 1643, and it is possible to find baptisms for both 'Samson', son of William & Susanna Baker in 1637 and his brother John in 1642 in the parish registers of Market Bosworth. William Baker of Market Bosworth was born in 1608 and was in turn the son of Sampson Baker of Market Bosworth and his wife Millicent Gooddale, who were married in 1605. It seems very possible that they are the true antecedents of this family.

Very little is known about Richard Baker (1675-1749) of Leominster, surgeon. He married at St Bride, Fleet St., London, in 1698, and his older children were born there. He appears to have moved to Leominster between 1705 and 1708 and he was still described as 'of Leominster' when his will was proved in 1750. His eldest surviving son and executor was William Baker (1705-71), about whom much more is known. After his baptism, he first appears in the historical record as a joiner working on the construction of Ditchley Park in Oxfordshire in 1727 under the direction of Francis Smith of Warwick, the most successful architect, mason and contractor in the Midlands. Although Smith put together teams of workmen for each new project he worked on rather than employing the same men continuously, he used consistently used a small pool of trusted specialist craftsmen - masons, bricklayers, joiners, carpenters, plasterers, painters, plumbers, ironworkers and so on. In the late 1720s and 1730s William Baker was one of this team, and is recorded working on half a dozen of Smith's commissions, including some of his most prestigious jobs, such as Ditchley Hall, Mawley Hall and Wingerworth Hall. By the later 1730s he was not only a craftsmen but also working as a site foreman, co-ordinating the work of the different building trades. His circumstances altered greatly with his second marriage, early in 1737, to Jane Dod, the heiress of a cadet branch of the Cheshire gentry family of that name. They made their home in the prosperous little town of Bridgnorth (Shropshire), where their four children were all born, and it was probably soon afterwards that William began to work on his own account, and to design buildings as well as constructing them. The death of Francis Smith in 1738 may also have been a factor in his change of role, although Smith's firm continued under his son. A full list of his known works in architecture can be found in Sir Howard Colvin's Biographical Dictionary.

In 1744, Jane Baker inherited her family seat of Highfields at Audlem (Cheshire), and by 1748 she and William had relocated there. William continued to work as an architect, surveyor and occasional contractor, but he combined this with the role of a gentleman farmer, as his surviving payments book for 1746-59 makes clear. He also operated a small brickworks on the Highfields estate. In 1767 he bought the manor of Fenton Culvert in Stoke-on-Trent for his younger son, and established a pottery there which was run in partnership between the two men until William's death. We know less about his architectural output after 1759, but it is apparent that he continued in practice until his death, when his elder son, Richard Baker (1743-1803) was assisting him. Richard is, by contrast with his father, a shadowy figure. He was educated at Repton School but did not attend a University and became assistant to his father in his architectural and surveying practice. After he succeeded to the business in 1771, its architectural output more or less ceased: he probably did not inherit his father's creative gifts and he certainly did not share his practical experience of building. He seems to have spent some of his early years in Leominster, and it may be that his wife came from that town, as he is said to have used her maiden surname (Hassall) while living there. After his mother died in 1783 he moved to Highfields, and he was probably responsible for the modernisation of the house which took place around that time. When he died at the relatively young of sixty in 1803, he described himself in his will as 'architect' rather than 'gentleman'. He had left marriage and children rather late in life and his heir was a teenage son, William Baker (1787-1863), who was a pupil at Shrewsbury School. He too seems to have used his mother's maiden name from time to time, and when he was married in 1813 he was called William Baker alias Hassall. He is not known to have followed his father and grandfather into architectural practice or surveying, but one of his five sons, Thomas Dod Baker (1830-80) took up the profession again and became Borough Architect of Kidderminster; several of the others became lawyers.

William's eldest son, another William Baker (1816-76), inherited Highfields from his father, and seems to have been a conventional country gentleman, interested in field sports and farming; indeed, he may have been primarily interested in field sports since he was Master of the Albrighton Foxhounds in 1856. By his second wife, Jane, the third daughter of Dr. John Bellyse of Nantwich, surgeon, he produced nine children, and when he died he was succeeded by his eldest son, John Bellyse Baker (1850-1932). It was the time of the great agricultural depression, and there are signs that his father may have handed over the estate in fairly poor condition. At all events, after a few years John came to the conclusion that he could not continue to live and farm at Highfields, and the estate was sold in 1884 to a Liverpool ship-broker, Charles Walford Kellock (d. 1897), who 'restored' and modernised the house. John and his family then emigrated to New Zealand where he became a sheep farmer and grazier, but for reasons which are unclear this was not a success. By 1890 he was back in England and after a few years working as a farm bailiff in Lancashire, he had recovered sufficient capital to purchase a boarding house at St Anne's-on-Sea, on the Lancashire coast, which he and his wife ran for many years. Socially, it was aeons away from the life to which he had been brought up, but it does seem to have provided a reasonable living. His sons were able to go to Christ's Hospital School although they did not attend a University. His elder son, Bellyse Baker (1886-1947) joined the cotton manufacturing industry as a clerk before the First World War, and war service, worked his way up the business to be its sales director. The fruits of this career enabled him to repurchase Highfields when it came on the market at the end of the Second World War, but he died shortly afterwards, and it was left to his son, John Bellyse Baker (1915-2010) to restore and reoccupy the house. Although the family had sold a good deal of the contents of Highfields when they went abroad in 1884, they had retained many of the more personal family items, and it was possible to return these to the house when they reacquired it. John Bellyse Baker developed a deep personal interest in the house and his family, and when Highfields was opened to the public in the 1980s, he wrote a guidebook for visitors. The house is no longer open to the public, but remains the home of the present John Bellyse Baker (b. 1956) and his family.

Highfields, Audlem, Cheshire

Highfields, Audlem: the house as it exists today. Image: Ken Maple. Audlem Online
A fine and symmetrical but much altered timber-framed house, built for William Dod, with cross-wings either side of a central hall block. The date of the house is unclear. In 1553 William Dod I acquired a pasture known as 'Highefelds', on which no house yet stood. His son, William Dod II, is recorded as 'of Highfields' in 1568, and so presumably a house had been built by then. But was it this house?
Highfields, Audlem: the chimneypiece of the Best Parlour, 1615.
Image: Country Life.
A chimneypiece in the Best Parlour in the south wing is dated 1615 and has the initials of William Dod III (1577-1647), and the whole fabric of the house could be of this date (a bedroom on the first floor has another original overmantel with the initials of his wife). Indeed, I would argue strongly for the later date if it was certain that the symmetry of the front was original, but the central porch and the gable above it seem to be 19th century, and the present arrangement by which the single-storey hall is entered in the centre seems to be 18th century, with some internal evidence that there was at one time a conventional hall and screens passage arrangement. In the absence of any dendro-chronological evidence, however, the date of the original building must remain a matter for speculation.

In the late 17th century, staircases with twisted balusters were inserted into both the cross-wings; that in the south range has balusters consisting of two detached strands twisted together, while that in the north range has clusters of balusters forming newels. There may have been other changes at the same time, including perhaps the addition of the drawing room between the wings on the garden front. Traditionally, this addition is said to have been made by the architect, William Baker, after he married Jane Dod and gained possession of the house, but it seems unlikely he would have built in timber when he was operating a brickworks on the estate, and it is more likely to be a 17th century addition. Baker, or his son and successor at Highfields, Richard Dod Baker (1743-1803) was, however, probably responsible for making a central doorway on the entrance front, and for the dado-height panelling in the hall. Richard was presumably responsible for inserting the sash windows with thin glazing bars and two tripartite windows recorded the earliest photograph of the house c.1860. The same view also shows that the house was then stuccoed and this too is likely to have been Richard's work.

Highfields, Audlem: the garden front, c.1900, from an old postcard.

After John Bellyse Baker sold the house in 1884 to Charles Walford Kellock, it was given a rather heavy-handed restoration. He stripped off the stucco to reveal the timber-frame beneath, replaced the Georgian sashes with leaded casements, added a new front porch, a timber-framed service wing on the north side, and tall chimneys of bright red Ruabon brick, which gave the house a more picturesque and irregular silhouette. In the north range an inglenook fireplace was created, with a late 19th century Gothic chimneypiece, and several other timber overmantels were brought in from elsewhere or fabricated from old carved work that may originally have adorned an overmantel or a bed or a cupboard. One such piece, labelled 'John Gwyn 1674', was installed in the drawing room, and there is another in the hall. Also apparently of the 1880s is the large half-timbered single-storey lodge on Woodhouse Lane. In the 1940s, the Bellyse Baker family bought the house back and were happily able to return many of the family pictures and other contents which had been removed from it in 1884.

Descent: William Dod (fl. 1553); to son, William Dod (fl. 1568); to son, William Dod (c.1577-1647); to son, Thomas Dod (d. c.1652); to brother, George Dod (1602-60); to son, George Dod (b. 1653); to son, George Dod (1681-1714); to daughter, Jane (1711-83), later wife of William Baker (1705-71); to son, Richard Dod Baker (1743-1823); to son, William Baker (1787-1863); to son, William Baker (1816-76); to son, John Bellyse Baker (1850-1932), who sold 1884 to Charles Walford Kellock (d. 1897); to son, Walter Walford Kellock (d. 1930); sold to Maj. & Mrs. Llewellyn, who leased it out; sold 1944 to Bellyse Baker (1886-1947); to son, John Bellyse Baker (1925-2010); to son, John Bellyse Baker (b. 1956).

Baker (later Bellyse Baker) family of Highfields

Baker, Richard (1675-1749). Son of John Baker (b. 1642?) of London and his wife Margaret Leighton, possibly the child of this name baptised at Stepney (Middx), 28 May 1676. Surgeon in London and later at Leominster (Herefs). He married, 9 October 1698 at St Bride, Fleet St., London, Mary, daughter of W. Smith, and had issue:
(1) Mary Baker (1699-1790), baptised at St Bride, Fleet St., London, 6 August 1699; married James Breach (d. 1790), surgeon, of Reading (Berks) and had issue; said to have died February 1790;
(2) Elizabeth Baker (b. 1701), baptised at St Bride, Fleet St., London, 20 March 1700/1; married, 5 October 1721 at Leominster, Thomas Nash, surgeon, of Leominster, and had issue four sons and one daughter;
(3) Richard Baker (b. 1702), baptised at St Bride, Fleet St., London, 28 February 1702/3; died unmarried before 1750; said to have been buried at Islington (Middx);
(4) William Baker (1705-71) (q.v.);
(5) James Baker (1708-44), baptised at Leominster, 26 December 1708; apothecary; married, 14 October 1736 at Stanton Lacy (Shrops.), Martha (who m2, Edward Adams, son of Edward Adams of Bagnall (Staffs) and had further issue), daughter of Joseph Adams of Burslem (Staffs); will proved October 1744;
(6) Henry Baker; educated at Shrewsbury School; died young;
(7) Susanna Baker (b. 1714), baptised at Leominster, 26 May 1714.
He lived in London and moved to Leominster (Herefs) between 1705 and 1708.
He died 24 May 1749; his will was proved at Hereford, 7 August 1750. His wife's date of death is unknown.

William Baker (1705-71)
Baker, William (1705-71). Eldest son of Richard Baker (1675-1749), surgeon, and his wife Mary, daughter of W. Smith of London, baptised at St Bride, Fleet St., London, 14 October 1705. Employed as a joiner and later foreman by Francis Smith of Warwick, architect, on projects including Ditchley Hall, 1727; Mawley Hall, Etwall Hall, Swynnerton Hall, Wingerworth Hall, Catton Hall and Patshull Hull, at several of which he worked on his own account after Smith's death in 1738, when he set up his own business as architect and surveyor. He was based at first at Bridgnorth (Shrops.), but after his second wife gained possession of Highfields in 1744, they moved there, and he thereafter combined his work as an architect and contractor with the life of a gentleman farmer; he also seems to have operated a brickmaking works on the estate. The fortunate survival of his payments book for the years 1748-59 provides evidence of the range and balance of his activities. His designs owe much to the pattern books of James Gibbs, but also show some Palladian influences, as might be expected in even a provincial architect of the mid 18th century. His earliest known independent work and probably his most significant building was the Butter Cross in Ludlow, a plan and elevation of which are shown in his portrait. He worked chiefly by contracting with a small number of craftsmen contractors for the erection of his buildings: Roger Eykyn (who was perhaps his brother-in-law), Gabriel Featherstone and Charles Trubshaw being the most frequently used. He married 1st, 5 July 1729 at Blymhill (Staffs), Eliza (d. 1729), eldest daughter of James Eykyn of Eccleston (Cheshire), and 2nd, 17 January 1736/7 at Bridgnorth, Jane (d. 1783), elder daughter and sole heiress of George Dod, barrister-at-law, of Highfields, Audlem (Cheshire), and had issue:
(2.1) Charity Baker (1739-1817), baptised at Bridgnorth, 23 September 1739; succeeded her father in the Woodhouse estate at Audlem, 1771; married, 9 November 1761 at Audlem, as his second wife, Lawrence Barrow, banker, of Chetwynd, Newport (Shrops.), Pool House, Astley (Worcs) and Chambers Court, Longdon (Worcs), but had no issue; buried at Longdon (Worcs), 25 April 1817; her will was proved in the PCC, 10 July 1817;
(2.2) Mary Baker (1741-1809), baptised at Bridgnorth, 20 August 1741; married, 28 August 1766 at Audlem, Capt. Edward Thorley (1740-94) of Colchester, of 2nd Queen's Royal (Tangier) Regt. and commander of Essex Militia, son of Rev. Thomas Thorley, Master of Audlem Grammar School, and had issue two sons and two daughters; lived latterly at Seed Green, Astley (Worcs); buried at Astley (Worcs), 29 July 1809, but is commemorated with her husband on a monument in St Botolph, Colchester; will proved 6 December 1809;
(2.3) Richard Baker (1743-1803) (q.v.);
(2.4) William Baker (1744-84), baptised at Bridgnorth, 18 April 1745; potter, initially in partnership with his father, as Baker & Bagnall of Fenton (Staffs) from 1767; Lord of the Manor of Fenton Culvert; DL and JP for Staffordshire; married, 1767, Sarah (d. 1833) (who m2, 21 December 1793, Ralph Bourne (d. 1835) of Hilderstone Hall (Staffs), and had further issue) and had issue three sons and three daughters, from whom descend the Meath-Baker family of Hasfield Court, who will be the subject of a forthcoming post); died 25 November 1784.
He acquired Highfields, Audlem, on his marriage to Jane Dod in 1736, and purchased the manor of Fenton Culvert for his second son in 1767.
He died 29 November 1771 and was buried at Audlem. His first wife died 31 October and was buried at Worfield, 3 November 1729. His widow died 17 March 1783.

Baker, Richard (1743-1803). Elder son of William Baker (1705-71), architect, of Audlem, and his second wife Jane, elder daughter and sole heiress of George Dod, barrister-at-law, of Highfields, Audlem, baptised at Bridgnorth, 20 July 1743. Educated at Repton School. Architect and surveyor at Leominster (where he used his wife's maiden surname) and later at Audlem and Stratford-on-Avon. He married, date unknown, Hannah (1758-1826?), daughter of John Hassall of Nantwich (Ches.) and had issue:
(1) Hannah Baker (1776?-1851), said to have been born 1776; married, 27 September 1808 at Mucklestone (Staffs), Dr. John Bellyse (1774-1850) of Dorfold Cottage, Nantwich (Ches.), son of Dr. John 'Cockfighting' Bellyse of Woodhouse, Audlem, and had issue five sons and one daughter; died 23 August 1851;
(2) Richard Dod Baker (1784-1807), born 1784; educated at Brasenose College, Oxford (matriculated 1801); an officer in the army (Ensign, 1803; Lt., 1804); died unmarried, 1807;
(3) William Baker (1787-1863) (q.v.);
(4) James Baker (b. c.1788), born about 1788; educated at Shrewsbury School (admitted 1802);
(5) Jane Baker (c.1790-1849); joint owner with Dr John 'Cockfighting' Bellyse (1738-1828) of Woodhouse, Audlem, which they purchased in 1820 from the Trustees of Mrs. Barrow's Charity and sold in 1849 to Lord Kilmorey; married, 26 September 1820 at Norton-in-Hales (Shrops.), Edmund Wells Oldaker (1786-1874) of Norton Green Hall, Burslem (Staffs), solicitor, son of William Oldaker, and had issue two sons (who died young) and seven daughters; died 25 July 1849 and was buried at Norton-le-Moors (Staffs), 1 August 1849;
(6) Mary Baker; died young.
He lived at Leominster until he inherited Highfields from his father in 1771; in his last years he was apparently living at Stratford-on-Avon (Warks).
He was buried at Audlem, 9 July 1803; his will was proved in the PCC, 30 September 1803. His wife is said to have died in 1826.

Baker, William (1787-1863). Second, but eldest surviving, son of Richard Dod Baker (1743-1803) of Highfields, Audlem, and his wife Hannah, daughter of John Hassall of Nantwich (Ches.), born 1787. Educated at Shrewsbury School (admitted 1802). At the time of his marriage he gave his name as William Baker alias Hassall. JP for Cheshire, 1839-63. He married, 9 August 1813 at Audlem, Anne Hough (d. 1854) of Layton (Ches.) and had issue:
(1) Richard Dod Baker (1815-43), born 26 July and baptised at Audlem, 15 November 1815; educated at Shrewsbury School (admitted 1831; left 1834); articled clerk to John Cooper Beckett, solicitor, 1833; solicitor at Audlem; died unmarried and without issue and was buried at Audlem, 24 August 1843;
(2) William Baker (1816-76) (q.v.);
(3) Sarah Baker (1818-1907), baptised at Audlem, 10 March 1818; married, 28 October 1845 at Audlem, James Goulbourn Etches (d. 1869), solicitor and later Master in Chancery, of Whitchurch (Shrops.), son of William Etches, and had issue seven sons and two daughters; died at Wellington (Shrops.), 16 April 1907; will proved 6 July 1907 (effects £420);
(4) Anne Baker (b. 1819), born 24 May 1819 and baptised at Audlem, 24 February 1820; married, 9 February 1864, Rev. James Alexander Wood, son of Capt. James Alexander Wood, but had no issue;
(5) John Hough Baker (1821-42), baptised at Audlem, 6 March 1822; died unmarried and without issue and was buried at Audlem, 10 January 1842;
(6) Mary Baker (1823-1905), baptised at Audlem, 15 April 1823; married, 22 April 1863 at Audlem, John Beaumont Piercy (c.1834-1900), architect and later secretary of the Staffordshire Waterworks Co., eldest son of Rev. John Piercy, rector of Rushock (Worcs); died 6 November 1905; administration of goods granted 6 January 1906 (effects £306);
(7) Jane Baker (1825-1914), born 10 June and baptised at Audlem, 11 June 1825; married, 24 October 1864 at Audlem, her first cousin, Joseph Hayward Bellyse of Blandford Forum (Dorset), solicitor, son of Richard Baker Bellyse, surgeon, but had no issue; died 11 April 1914; will proved 4 May 1914 (effects £417);
(8) George Baker (1827-77), born 26 August and baptised at Audlem, 27 August 1827; admitted a solicitor, 1852; partner in Machin & Baker of Audlem; clerk to Audlem Petty Sessions; married, 1870 (lic. 15 Nov.) at St George, Wolverhampton (Staffs), Jane, daughter of Richard Allman of Buerton (Ches.) and had issue one son and three daughters; died 1 October and was buried at Audlem, 5 October 1877;
(9) Thomas Dod Baker (1830-80), baptised at Audlem, 25 February 1830; architect and surveyor at Kidderminster, in partnership with John Beaumont Piercy until 1861 and subsequently Borough Architect; died unmarried, 7 May 1880; will proved 29 May 1880 (estate under £800);
(10) Charlotte Baker (b. 1832), born 14 February and baptised at Audlem, 23 July 1832; probably died young;
(11) Charity Baker (1834-1920), born 7 March and baptised at Audlem, 9 March 1834; married, 19 February 1862, Henry Onslow Piercy (1835-1909), son of Rev. John Piercy, and had issue; died at Bridlington (Yorks), 9 December 1920; will proved 6 May 1921 (estate £775).
He inherited Highfields, Audlem, from his father in 1803.
He died 8 July and was buried at Audlem, 13 July 1863; his will was proved 29 October 1863 (effects under £300). His wife was buried at Audlem, 5 December 1854.

Baker, William (1816-76). Second, but eldest surviving, son of William Baker (1787-1863) of Highfields, Audlem, and his wife Anne Hough of Layton (Ches.), born 3 September and baptised at Audlem, 5 December 1816. JP for Shropshire and for Cheshire (from 1873). Master of Albrighton Foxhounds, 1856. He married 1st, 18 June 1838 at St Nicholas, Liverpool (Lancs), Prudence (d. 1840?), daughter of William Cliffe and widow of John Baker (1806-37) of Fenton Culvert (Staffs); and 2nd, 8 February 1849 at Westminster (Middx), his cousin Henrietta Louisa (1830-80), third daughter and heiress in her issue of Dr. John Bellyse of Dorfold Cottage, Nantwich, surgeon, and had issue:
(2.1) Henrietta Baker (1849-1935), born 9 February and baptised at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster (Middx), 12 May 1849; lived at The Cedars, Audlem; died unmarried, 22 November 1935;
(2.2) John Bellyse Baker (1850-1932) (q.v.);
(2.3) Mary Louisa Baker (1852-60), baptised at Audlem, 11 July 1852; died young and was buried at Audlem, 23 January 1860;
(2.4) Jane Ellen Baker (1854-65), baptised at Audlem, 26 March 1854; died young and was buried at Audlem, 15 November 1865;
(2.5) Richard Dod Baker (1856-1902), baptised 5 October 1856; admitted a solicitor, 1881; churchwarden of Audlem; died unmarried, 23 September 1902; will proved 1902 (estate £24,574);
(2.6) Arthur Baker (1860-1916), baptised at Audlem, 12 April 1860; JP for Cheshire; lived at Hillside, Audlem; married, 16 August 1898 at Audlem, Marianne (d. 1908), daughter of James Hall of Kynsal Lodge, Audlem, and had issue one son and two daughters; died 29 April 1916; will proved 25 May 1916 (estate £10,587);
(2.7) Charity Baker (1862-81), born 1862 and baptised at Audlem, 22 January 1863; died unmarried, Jan-Mar 1881;
(2.8) Louisa Charlotte Baker (1866-1918), baptised at Audlem, 23 December 1866; died unmarried, 17 June 1918; will proved 23 August 1918 (estate £1,408);
(2.9) Emily Jane Baker (1869-1941), baptised at Audlem, 24 December 1869; Red Cross volunteer nurse, 1914-19; died unmarried, 1941.
He lived at Kynsal House, Audlem, until he inherited Highfields, Audlem, from his father in 1863.
He died 19 May 1876; his will was proved 21 July 1876 (effects under £1,500). His first wife may be the person of that name who died at Stoke-on-Trent in Oct-Dec 1840. His widow died Apr-Jun 1880.

Baker, John Bellyse (1850-1932). Eldest son of William Baker (1816-76) and his second wife, Henrietta Louisa, third daughter and heiress of Dr. John Bellyse of Dorfold Cottage, Nantwich (Ches.), born 17 August and baptised at Audlem, 17 November 1850. Educated at Repton School. In 1884, under the pressure of the Agricultural Depression, he sold Highfields and emigrated to New Zealand, where he became a sheepfarmer and grazier, but by 1890 he had returned to England and was working as a farm bailiff at Hindley (Lancs). By 1901 he was a lodging house keeper at St. Anne's-on-Sea (Lancs). He married, 23 June 1884 at Audlem, Richmal (1858-1934), daughter of William Mangnall, architect, of Prestwich (Lancs), and had issue:
(1) Bellyse Baker (1886-1947) (q.v.);
(2) Dorothy Baker (1888-1965), born at Wanganui (NZ), 10 October 1888; schoolteacher; lived at Nantwich (Ches.) and later at Old Colwyn (Denbighs.); died unmarried, 26 June 1965; will proved 26 October 1965 (estate £6,636);
(3) William Mangnall Baker (1890-1961), born 22 August and baptised at Audlem, 1 November 1890; educated at Christ's Hospital School; secretary of banking company; lived latterly at Old Colwyn (Denbighs.) with his two sisters; married, October 1913, Annie (b. 1889), daughter of William Tattersall of Blackpool (Lancs); died 24 November 1961; will proved 12 February 1962 (estate £6,505);
(4) Richmal Charity Baker (1895-1978), born 23 July and baptised at Audlem, 1 September 1895; working as 'daily governess' in 1939; lived at Nantwich and later at Old Colwyn with her elder sister; died unmarried, 29 April 1978; will proved 18 August 1978 (estate £46,682).
He inherited Highfields, Audlem from his father in 1876 but leased the house out until he sold the estate in 1884.
He died 15 April 1932. His widow died 26 December 1934; her will was proved 17 May 1935 (estate £1,426).

Baker, Bellyse (1886-1947). Elder son of John Bellyse Baker (1850-1932) and his wife Richmal, daughter of William Mangnall, architect, of Prestwich (Lancs), born at Wanganui (NZ), 23 June 1886. Educated at Christ's Hospital School. He served in the First World War in the Royal Field Artillery. He worked for a cotton manufacturing firm, starting as a clerk and rising to be Sales Director. He married, 16 June 1913, Lillian (k/a Lily) (1884-1971), daughter of Joseph Crosland of Blackpool (Lancs), and had issue:
(1) John Bellyse Baker (1915-2010) (q.v.).
He lived at Wilmslow, but repurchased Highfields, Audlem in 1946.
He died 17 November 1947; his will was proved 15 April 1948 (estate £28,735). His widow died 28 December 1971; her will was proved 27 September 1972 (estate £4,898).

Baker, John Bellyse (1915-2010). Only child of Bellyse Baker (1886-1947) and his wife Lillian, daughter of Joseph Crosland of Blackpool (Lancs), born 29 November 1915. Educated at Pownall School. Before the Second World War he was a salesman in his father's cotton manufacturing firm. Author of Highfields, Audlem, 1982. He married, 4 October 1952, Josephine May (k/a Jo) (1929-2016), only daughter of Joseph Henry Henderson of Roseneath, Wilmslow (Ches.), and had issue:
(1) John Bellyse Baker (b. 1956) (q.v.);
(2) Josephine Charity (k/a Chat) Baker (b. 1960), born 27 June 1960; married, October 1994, Simon J. Wright, and had issue one son and one daughter.
He inherited Highfields, Audlem, from his father in 1947.
He died 3 June 2010; his will was proved 17 February 2011. His widow died 2 July 2016.

Baker, John Bellyse  (b. 1956). Only son of John Bellyse Baker (1915-2010) and his wife Josephine Mary, only daughter of Joseph Henry Henderson of Roseneath, Wilmslow (Ches.), born 26 December 1956. Educated at Ellesmere College. Estate agent at Nantwich with Baker, Wynne & Wilson since 1992. He married, August 1987, Susan M. Fearnall (b. 1961), and had issue:
(1) Hannah Elizabeth Baker (b. 1990), born January 1990;
(2) Katherine Charity Baker (b. 1992), born May 1992.
He inherited Highfields, Audlem, from his father in 2010.
Now living.


Burke's Landed Gentry, 1972, pp. 35-38; P. de Figueiredo & J. Treuherz, Cheshire Country Houses, 1988, p. 241; J.M. Robinson, 'Highfields, Audlem, Cheshire', Country Life, 31 January 1991, pp. 48-51; R. Morrice, 'The payment book of William Baker of Audlem' in Bold & Cheney, English architecture: public and private, 1993, pp. 231-46; Sir H.M. Colvin, A biographical dictionary of British architects, 1600-1840, 4th edn., 2008, pp. 90-92; C. Hartwell, M. Hyde, E. Hubbard & Sir N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Cheshire, 2nd edn., 2011, p. 119.

Location of archives

Bellyse Baker of Highfield: deeds, accounts, family and estate papers, 1550-1850 [record on the National Register of Archives, but current location unknown].

Coat of arms

None recorded.

Can you help?

Here are a few notes about information and images which would help to improve the account above. If you can help with any of these or with other additions or corrections, please use the contact form in the sidebar to get in touch.
  • If anyone is able to provide greater certainty about the descent of this family in the 17th century, or further information about Richard Dod Baker (1743-1803) and his family, I should be very pleased to hear from them.
  • Can anyone provide portraits or photographs of the members of the family whose names appear in bold?

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 2 June 2018.