Saturday, 19 May 2018

(331) Baker of Bayfordbury

Baker of Bayfordbury
The fortunes of this family were founded by Sir William Baker (1705-70), kt., who was the son of a London draper and the grandson of a Worcester clergyman ejected from his living in 1662 for nonconformity. Sir William himself became a merchant specialising in trade with the north American colonies, and built up interests all along the American seaboard from New York down to Barbados in the Caribbean, including a large if disputed landholding in Georgia. He was also a long-serving director of the East India Company, serving as its Chairman in 1749-50 and 1752-53, although he left the board after his second term, which may imply a falling-out with his fellow directors, or simply the fact that by then he had become Deputy Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, which must have been more critical to his own business interests. He was the Governor of the Hudson's Bay company from 1760 until his death, and was perhaps the only man ever to hold that office and be Chairman of the East India Company. In 1747 he became a Member of Parliament, where he was both active and an able speaker. In the 1750s and 1760s he secured lucrative contracts for supplying and paying British troops in north America, and he was also one of the city financiers to whom the Government turned for loans on the largest scale. It is therefore no surprise that in his later years he was able to afford to buy the Bayfordbury estate in Hertfordshire, build a new house there, and lay out the grounds in the most fashionable style. He was also able to provide handsomely for his five sons.
Bohun Lodge, East Barnet: the home of Jacob Baker (1747-1802).
The eldest, William Baker (1743-1824) inherited Bayfordbury, while the fourth, Jacob Baker (1747-1802) bought Bourn Gate (later Bohun Lodge) at East Barnet (Herts) and the second, Richard Baker (1744-80) used his share of his father's fortune to buy Hertingfordbury Park, a late 17th century house standing across the fields from Bayfordbury. When he died without issue, it passed to his elder brother, and it may always have been expected that the two estates would be merged. William in fact gave Hertingfordbury to his next brother, Samuel Baker (1746-1804), who is said to have remained engaged with his father's business more than his siblings, but since he also died childless, it once again passed to William Baker. By 1804, William's heir, William Baker (1778-1813) was of age, and after he was married in 1809, he moved into Hertingfordbury Park. Just a few years later, however, he died, and in 1816 Hertingfordbury was pulled down and its lands were united with the Bayfordbury estate.

Sir William Baker's wife, Mary (d. 1753), was the daughter of the publisher Jacob Tonson junior, whose uncle, Jacob Tonson the elder, had been the founder of the Whig Kit-Kat club at the end of the 17th century. Although the club had ceased to function in about 1718, it left a striking legacy in the form of the forty-eight portraits of its members by Sir Godfrey Kneller which Tonson commissioned for the clubhouse built on the banks of the Thames at his Barn Elms, Barnes (Surrey) estate. In 1720 the elder Tonson gave Barn Elms to his nephew, along with the clubroom and the portraits, and after the younger Jacob Tonson died in 1735 they passed to his sons Jacob (1714-67) and Richard (1717-72), both of whom died without issue. They sold the Barn Elms estate, but Richard built a room onto his house near Windsor to display the portraits, and in 1772 the collection came to William Baker (1743-1824) as the next male heir. Forty-eight non-family portraits might be an embarrassing inheritance, but William followed his uncle's example and while enlarging Bayfordbury in 1809-12 created a new dining room in which the Kit-Kat portraits could be displayed.

William Baker (1743-1824) had a large family of fifteen children by his second wife, Juliana Penn, but his sons were singularly unfortunate. We have seen how the eldest, William, died in his father's lifetime in 1813. Three more of his sons became officers in the Royal Navy: two of them drowned and the third died of yellow fever in the Caribbean while still a midshipman. Two more died in infancy. It was only those who went into the army and the church who lived to see out a normal span of life, and the longest lived was the Rev. Robert George Baker (1788-1878), who became vicar of Fulham (Middx) and a canon of St. Paul's Cathedral. He became a noted antiquarian, and lived in a charming Regency cottage orné near Parsons Green called Ivy Cottage, which was sadly pulled down after his death.

Ivy Cottage, Fulham: the charming cottage orné, built for Walsh Porter in about 1800, which was the home of the Rev. R.G. Baker and demolished after his death in 1878. This engraving shows the house in 1817.

When William Baker died in 1824, he was succeeded at Bayfordbury by his grandson, William Robert Baker (1810-96), who is principally notable for enhancing the gardens with the addition of a pinetum (where he was advised by J.C. Loudon) and a rockery and rose garden (which was built by James Pulham, the specialist in artificial rockwork). His son, William Clinton Baker (1839-1903) seems to have had narrower and more conventional military and sporting interests than his forbears. His middle name was derived from his mother's maiden name, and in the 1880s he wrote to all his sons, asking them to adopt the surname Clinton-Baker, although it is not clear that this was done through any of the available legal processes. Usually, a change of this kind would indicate a substantial legacy from the Clintons, but I have not been able to trace one, and it may simply be that he thought Clinton-Baker sounded more distinguished. When he died in 1903 he was succeeded by his eldest son, Henry William Clinton-Baker (1865-1935), and it is apparent that by this time the great wealth of the 18th century Bakers had been whittled away. In order to meet the death duties on his father's estate, he was obliged to sell a manuscript copy of Milton's Paradise Lost, which formed part of the Tonson legacy, and he also expressed interest in selling the Kit-Kat Club portraits, although this did not happen. He was unmarried, and on his death the estate passed to his younger brother, Admiral Sir Lewis Clinton-Baker (1866-1939), kt., who had a distinguished naval career that included a prominent part in the Battle of Jutland in 1916. He only married late in life, and when he died his son, William Lewis Clinton-Baker (1921-2006) was still a minor. After the Second World War, however, the new owner dispersed the contents of the house at auction and sold the 2,500 acre Bayfordbury estate to the John Innes Horticultural Institute. The Kit Kat Club portraits were bought by the National Art Collections Fund and presented to the National Portrait Gallery: they are now divided between the Gallery's London headquarters and its northern showcase at Beningborough Hall (Yorks NR). After selling up at Bayfordbury, W.L. Clinton-Baker went to farm in Warwickshire, but in 1953 he emigrated with his family to New Zealand, where he became a naturalised citizen in 1977. Bayfordbury was sold to Hatfield Polytechnic in 1967, and although the grounds still belong to its successor body, the University of Hertfordshire, the house itself was sold in 1986 and used as offices before being converted into flats.

Bayfordbury, Hertfordshire

The parish of Bayford was divided among three manors in the medieval period, but ownership of these was united by Israel Mayo in 1678. In 1758 they were sold to the London merchant, Sir William Baker, who commissioned an estate map of his new possessions that was made the same year. This plan has a number of vignettes showing the principal buildings on the estate, one of which is a handsome modern farmhouse with an eaved pediment like those at Asgill House, Richmond (Surrey), suggesting that Sir Robert Taylor, the architect of Asgill, may have worked at Bayfordbury. 

Bayford: farmhouse probably designed by Sir Robert Taylor (now demolished) depicted on estate map of 1758.
Image: Hertfordshire Archives & Local Studies D/Ex 33 P1[3]34.

It has been suggested that Taylor might have been the architect employed for the new house which Sir William began at Bayfordbury in 1759, but the evidence adduced for this (the similarity of the attic windows of Bayfordbury to the doorways under segmental arches at the farmhouse) does not bear examination, as the attic windows in question were not part of the original design, and do not appear on a drawing of the house by H.G. Oldfield, made sometime before the house was altered in 1809-12. 

Bayfordbury: the house as first built, recorded in a watercolour by H.G. Oldfield, made before 1809.
Image: Hertfordshire Archives & Local Studies DE/Of/2/198.

Building of the new house on a site 'a little above the Bury farm' was underway by 1760, and as first built it was a brick building of seven bays and two storeys above a basement, linked by corridors behind screen walls to detached wings which contained the kitchens (on the east) and the stables (on the west). The plan of the house at this time has been altered beyond recovery, but the present entrance hall retains its original fireplace and ceiling, and no doubt served the same function when the house was first built. The room to its left, probably the original drawing room, also has a ceiling of 1762, and the room at the south-west corner of the main block is said to have been the original dining room. The staircase probably occupied the square space next to the drawing room on the east side of the house.

Bayfordbury: the entrance front as altered for William Baker in 1809-12.  Image: A Building Fan via Flickr.

In 1809-12, after retiring from Parliament, William Baker (1745-1824) made extensive alterations to Bayfordbury. It seems possible that Baker, who had undertaken archaeological investigations in Greece with William Gell and Sir Charles Monck of Belsay, acted as his own architect, but he employed Francis Aldhouse, a London builder and surveyor, who had some recent experience of building in the Greek style at Sacombe Park (Herts), to make plans and supervise the building process. The original central block and wings were connected by blocks of a single tall storey over a basement, creating a long facade of twenty-five bays that steps up gently to the centre, and the whole exterior was coated in stucco. New porticoes were applied to both main fronts: that on the entrance side has heavy Greek Doric columns, which echo the columns used on the new linking blocks. The portico on the garden side is of unfluted Ionic columns, and sits in the centre of a new iron balcony on thin shafts which runs all along the garden side. The new linking blocks contained a new library and dining room, the latter doubling as a gallery in which to display the Kit-Kat Club portraits which Baker had inherited from Jacob Tonson junior. The interior of the central block was also greatly changed, but treated in a severely plain manner. Only in the new top-lit central staircase, with a curved sweep to the first-floor landing and an iron balustrade, and in the long corridors with groin vaults and Soanian saucer domes leading away from it on each floor is any decoration to be found. A new stable block (converted into housing in the 1990s) was also built south-west of the house in 1812.

Bayfordbury: the garden front from a postcard published in 1911.

The grounds of Bayfordbury have long been celebrated for their beauty. They were laid out from 1763, and the groups of cedars on the lawns around the house were planted in 1765. William Baker created the lake in the park in 1772. Planting and improvements continued throughout the 19th century, and details of what was done when were recorded in a 'Planting Book' maintained by the family between 1759 and 1864. In 1845 a new rose garden, rock garden, pool and fountains were constructed in a grove south-west of the house by James Pulham, with his hallmark artificial rockwork, little of which remains today. A pinetum was begun north-east of the house in 1837, with the advice of J.C. Loudon, and proved one of the attractions which persuaded the John Innes Horticultural Institution to buy the house and grounds in 1946. The house was later sold to Hatfield Polytechnic (now the University of Hertfordshire), which has an observatory and a science learning centre in the park; the house itself was used as offices for many years but has now been divided into a number of flats.

Descent: estate assembled by Israel Mayo (d. 1715); sold 1713 to trustees of Henry Long; to daughter Jane (fl. 1728), later wife of Charles Adelmare alias Caesar (d. 1740); to daughters Jane, later wife of Charles Cotterell and Harriet, later wife of Robert Chester, who sold 1758 to Sir William Baker (1705-70), kt.; to son, William Baker (1745-1824); to grandson, William Robert Baker (1810-96); to son, William Clinton Baker (1839-1903); to son, Henry William Clinton-Baker (1865-1935); to brother, Adm. Sir Lewis Clinton-Baker (1866-1939), kt.; to son, William Lewis Clinton-Baker (b. 1921), who sold 1945 to John Innes Horticultural Association; sold 1967 to Hertfordshire County Council for the use of Hatfield Polytechnic (from 1992, the University of Hertfordshire); house sold 1986 as corporate headquarters while the University retained the grounds; divided into flats after 1999.

Hertingfordbury Park, Hertfordshire

A deer park at Hertingfordbury, attached to Hertford Castle, is first mentioned in 1285, and it remained a royal hunting park until the reign of King Charles I. It was then sold to Sir William Harrington, who converted the hunting lodge in the park into 'a good House fit for his own Habitation, where he lived sometime'. By 1643 it had passed to Thomas Keightley (1580-1663) who was visited here in that year by his cousin John Evelyn, the diarist. 

Hertingfordbury Park: entrance front, after an engraving by Drapentier. 

The house seems to have been entirely rebuilt by John Cullinge (d. 1687), who bought the estate in 1681. The 'very fair house' which resulted was engraved by Drapentier for Chauncy's History of Hertfordshire and is also recorded in several other drawings. It was built on a high basement lit by two-light mullioned windows, which were the only old-fashioned feature of an otherwise very up-to-date nine bay front with sash windows, a raised three-bay breakfront with a pediment, and a central doorcase. The house was apparently almost identical on the two fronts, but while the front entrance was approached from the forecourt by a straight flight of steps, the garden front had a more elaborate double curved flight leading down into a garden with a formal canal. 

Hertingfordbury Park: garden front, drawn by John Charnock, c.1790. Image: National Maritime Museum.
The house seems not to have been altered by later owners, but by the late 18th century it may have been in poor condition: some repairs were undertaken and a drain was made in 1799, when the house was found to be suffering from damp. In 1816, after the death of William Baker's eldest son and heir, it was decided to pull the house down, but the park remained part of the Bayfordbury estate for many decades afterwards. The present house called Hertingfordbury Park was built on a different site in the late 19th century for R. W. Partridge, and incorporates a 17th century cottage which has been mistaken for a surviving part of the old house; it was greatly enlarged in the 1980s. The park now also houses the buildings of St. Joseph's School, which has been on its present site since 1949.

Descent: Crown sold c.1630 to Sir William Harrington; sold before 1643 to Thomas Keightley (1580-1663); to son, William Keightley; to widow Amy, later wife of John Belsen; to her son, Thomas Keightley, who sold 1681 to John Cullinge (d. 1687); to son, John Cullinge (d. c.1703); to sister Elizabeth Cullinge, whose heirs sold to Spencer Cowper (d. 1727); to son, William Cowper (d. 1740); to son, William Cowper (d. 1769), whose widow Maria and son William sold 1773 to Richard Baker (d. 1780); to brother, William Baker (1743-1824), who gave it to his brother Samuel Baker (d. 1804); reverted to William Baker, who demolished the house in 1816.

Baker family of Bayfordbury

Baker, Rev. Joseph (1626-68). Eldest son of John Baker (d. 1670) and his wife Elizabeth (d. 1667), daughter of Edward Moseley, baptised at Oldswinford (Worcs), 11 March or 16 May 1626. Educated at St Catherine's Hall and later Emmanuel College, Cambridge (admitted 1644; matriculated 1647; BA 1647/8; MA 1651). At the instance of Richard Baxter, he gave up a living in Kent to become minister of St Andrew, Worcester (from which he was ejected 1662) and of Prestwood (Staffs). He married 1st, 5 June 1655 at Stepney (Middx), Elizabeth (1634-59), daughter of John Godscall, and 2nd, June 1661, Ann (c.1636-1719), daughter of John Swynfen, and had issue (in addition to three children by his first wife who all died in infancy):
(2.1) Ann Baker (1662-1708), born 28 April 1662; died unmarried, 8 April 1708;
(2.2) John Baker (1663-1727) (q.v.);
(2.3) Joseph Baker (b. 1665), born at Worcester, 15 December 1655; said to have died in Jamaica;
(2.4) Rev. Samuel Baker (1667-1749), born at Prestwood, 7 February 1666/7; educated at Pembroke College, Oxford (matriculated 1686; BA 1690; MA 1693 BD and DD 1723); ordained deacon, 1695 and priest, 1698; rector of St Michael Cornhill, London, 1705-49 and of Barnes, 1730-49; canon of St. Paul's, 1728-49*; buried at Barnes, 8 September 1749; will proved in the PCC, 16 September 1749.
He died 25 March 1668 and was buried at Oldswinford, where he is commemorated by a monument. His first wife died 'of a violent convulsion' after childbirth, 17 August 1659. His widow married 2nd, Rev. James Hancox (d. 1707) of Worfield (Shrops.) and died 17 August 1719.
* He has frequently been confused with another Samuel Baker, who was educated at Peterhouse, Cambridge, and who became rector of Settrington (Yorks) and a canon of York; he also died in 1749 [see A.L. Reade, Johnsonian gleanings, vol. 5, pp. 181-82].

Baker, John (1663-1727). Eldest son of Rev. Joseph Baker (1626-68) and his second wife, Ann, daughter of John Swynfen, baptised 8 August 1663. Citizen and draper of London. He married 1st, 2 April 1700, Ellen (d. 1701), daughter of Robert Longe of Bury St. Edmunds (Suffk), and 2nd, 14 September 1703 at St Mary Magdalene, Old Fish St., London, Maria Margharetta (1677-1761), daughter of William Cleeve of Hammersmith (Middx), and had issue including:
(1.1) Frances Baker (1701-59), born 20 September and baptised at St Michael Bassishaw, London, 1 October 1701; married, 26 January 1724/5 at St Michael Cornhill, London, William Rider (1695-1755) of Twickenham (Middx) and Alrewas Hayes (Staffs), formerly British consul at Madeira, and had issue two daughters; died at Twickenham, 18 October 1759; will proved in the PCC, 6 November 1759;
(2.1) John Baker (1704-60?), born 6 July 1704; probably the man of this name who was a citizen and merchant taylor of London and parish clerk of St Michael Bassishaw, London; married Elizabeth [surname unknown] (d. 1763) and had issue four sons and four daughters; buried in the belfry of St Michael Bassishaw, London, 30 December 1760;
(2.2) Sir William Baker (1705-70), kt. (q.v.);
(2.3) Anna Baker (1706-90), born 17 February and baptised at St Michael Bassishaw, London, 4 March 1706/7; married, 17 May 1740 at St Michael, Cornhill, London, Rev. John Wightwick (c.1708-41), curate of Barnes (Surrey) and rector of Shadwell (Middx), and had issue one son; died at Windsor (Berks), 1 September and was buried at Barnes, 8 September 1790;
(2.4) Maria Baker (1708-10), born 17 August and baptised at St Michael Bassishaw, London, 27 August 1708; died in infancy and was buried at St Michael Bassishaw, 29 March 1710;
(2.5) Richard Baker (1710-67), born 25 November and baptised at St Michael Bassishaw, London, 26 November 1710; merchant in Madeira and later in London; British consul in Madeira, 1734; married, 21 June 1748 at St Michael Cornhill, London, Barbara Wood (1724-1803) and had issue seven sons and four daughters; died 12 September 1767; will proved 11 November 1767;
(2.5) Elizabeth Baker (1711-80), born 8 January and baptised at St Michael Bassishaw, London, 9 January 1711; died unmarried at Windsor, 27 April and was buried at Barnes, 5 May 1780; will proved in the PCC, 22 May 1780;
(2.6) Jane Baker (b. & d. 1713), born 16 April and baptised at St Michael Bassishaw, 17 April 1713; died in infancy;
(2.7) Maria Baker (1714-98), born 1 September and baptised at St Michael Bassishaw, 5 September 1714; died unmarried at Windsor, 18 August, and was buried at Barnes, 24 September 1798; will proved in the PCC, 15 November 1798;
(2.8) Capt. Felix Baker (1715-53), born 12 December and baptised at St Michael Bassishaw, 15 December 1715; mariner; captain of the Stafford, in the service of the East India Company; lived at Copthall Court, London; married Catherine [surname unknown] but had no issue; died on a passage between Bombay and Bengal, 23 October 1753; will proved in the PCC, 4 July 1754;
(2.9) Jane Baker (1717-19), born 24 June and baptised at St Michael Bassishaw, 4 July 1717; said to have died in infancy, 19 April 1719;
(2.10) Sarah Baker (1719-90), born 22 September and baptised at St Michael Bassishaw, 2 October 1719; died unmarried at Putney (Surrey) and was buried at Barnes, 16 November 1790.
He lived in Basinghall St. in the city of London.
He died 9 December and was buried at St Michael Bassishaw, London, 14 December 1727; his will was proved 12 December 1727. His first wife died 28 December 1701. His widow died in London, 5 August 1761.

Baker, Sir William (1705-70), kt. Son of John Baker (b. 1663) and his second wife Maria, daughter of William Cleeve of Hammersmith (Middx), born 5 November and baptised at St Michael Bassishaw, London, 15 November 1705. Alderman and draper of London; a merchant in north American trade. He was one of the leading merchants trading with north America, with interests along the whole of the eastern seaboard and especially in New York, the Carolinas and Georgia, where he owned land; he was reputedly also the mortgagee of four estates in Barbados, one of which was seized by his executors and sold after his death. Alderman of London, 1739-70, but he never served as Sheriff or Lord Mayor. He was a Director of the East India Company, 1741-45, 1746-50 and 1751-53 (Deputy Chairman, 1749, 1751-52; Chairman, 1749-50 and 1752-53), and on the board of Hudson's Bay Company (Deputy Governor, 1750-60 and Governor 1760-70). From 1746-60 he was also an army contractor, with contracts for victualling and paying troops. Baker was consulted by the Treasury on finance but was not one of its chief financiers; though at times he subscribed substantial sums to Government loans: in 1761 nearly £100,000. MP for Plympton Erle, 1747-68; he was active in Parliament, where he was noted as an able speaker. Horace Walpole called him ‘a man rather busy and confident than able’, but to another contemporary he was ‘as shrewd a fellow as any in the world’. He was knighted, 3 November 1760. He married, 19 January 1741/2, Mary (1714-53), daughter of Jacob Tonson jun., publisher, and had issue:
(1) Anna Maria Baker (b. 1742), born 17 October and baptised at St Michael Bassishaw, London, 5 November 1742;
(2) William Baker (1743-1824) (q.v.);
(3) Richard Baker (1744-80), born 18 September and baptised at Barnes (Surrey), 6 October 1744; High Sheriff of Hertfordshire, 1779-80; bought Hertingfordbury Park in 1773 and bequeathed it to his elder brother; buried at Barnes, 4 July 1780;
(4) Samuel Baker (1746-1804), baptised at Barnes, 11 May 1746; inherited his father's business interests; was given Hertingfordbury Park by his brother William after 1780, but returned it to him by his will; died at Hertingfordbury (Herts), 2 July 1804; will proved in PCC, 13 December 1804;
(5) Jacob Baker (1747-1802), born 14 August and baptised at Barnes, 17 September 1747; educated at Eton and Clare College, Cambridge (admitted 1766); purchased Bourn Gate (later Bohun Lodge), East Barnet in 1775, and died there, 9 June 1802; buried at East Barnet, 15 June 1802;
(6) John Baker (1753-1802), born 15 February and baptised at St Peter-le-Poer, London, 13 March 1753; educated at Eton, Trinity Hall, Cambridge (admitted 1770) and Inner Temple (admitted 1773; called to bar, 1780); died unmarried and without issue, 29 March, and was buried at Hackney, 2 April 1802.
He purchased in 1758 the manors and estate of Bayford (Herts), built a new house known as Bayfordbury there in 1759-62, and laid out a park surrounding the house from 1763 onwards. He also made large land purchases in Georgia, and at one time, together with Brice Fisher and Nicholas Linwood, held the ‘Hobcaw Barony’ in South Carolina.
He died 23 January 1770 and was buried in Bath Abbey (Somerset), where he is commemorated by a monument; his will was proved in the PCC, 7 February 1770. His wife died 21 December 1753.

William Baker (1745-1824) by Nathaniel Dance RA
Baker, William (1743-1824). Eldest son of Sir William Baker (1705-70), kt. and his wife Mary, daughter of Jacob Tonson, born 3 October 1743. Educated at Eton, Clare College, Cambridge (admitted 1761 but did not matriculate) and Inner Temple (admitted 1761; called to the bar, 1775; bencher, 1808; reader, 1818). Made a tour of Holland in 1764. He was brought up as a country gentleman and was an officer in the Hertfordshire Yeomanry until 1810. Although he did not succeeed to his father's business interests, he was still noted as a London merchant in 1773 and was apparently a member of the Hudson's Bay Company in 1775. He served as Sheriff of London and Middlesex, 1770-71, but never became an Alderman. Whig MP for Plympton Erle, 1768-74, Aldborough, 1777-80, Hertford, 1780-84 and Hertfordshire, 1790-1802 and 1805-07. In Parliament he was initially a supporter of Rockingham and Charles James Fox but he became disenchanted with radicalism and later transferred his support to the Duke of Portland and then to the Pittite Tories. He was pious and was moved by considerations of humanity to support the abolition of the slave trade and the reform of the poor laws, and to oppose cockfighting and bull-baiting, and the judgement of a contemporary that he was ‘one of those people who with a great deal of zeal and good intentions in general, has not the advantage of a very right-headed judgment’ was perhaps somewhat harsh. He retired from active politics in 1807.  He married 1st, 23 May 1771 at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster (Middx), Juliana (1753-72), eldest daughter of Thomas Penn of Stoke Poges (Bucks), and 2nd, 7 October 1775 at St Marylebone (Middx), Sophia (1759-1847), third daughter of John Conyers of Copt Hall (Essex), and had issue:
(1.1) Juliana Baker (1772-1849), born 29 March and baptised at St Martin-in-the-Fields, 30 April 1772; married, 18 January 1803 at St Dunstan-in-the-West, London, John Fawcett Herbert Rawlins (c.1772-1849) of Middle Temple, but had no issue; died at Gunters Grove, Stogursey (Somerset), 11 September and was buried at Stogursey, 19 September 1849; will proved in the PCC, 9 March 1850;
(2.1) William Baker (1778-1813) (q.v.);
(2.2) Edward Baker (1779-96), born 5 September 1779; midshipman in Royal Navy; died of yellow fever, 21 April 1796 and was buried at Kingston (Jamaica), where he is commemorated by a monument;
(2.3) Sophia Baker (1781-1858), baptised at Bayfordbury, 1 October 1781; married, 12 January 1811 at St George, Hanover Sq., London, as his second wife, John Trower (1774-1855), stockbroker, of Weston Grove, Southampton (Hants) and had issue one son and four daughters; died 4 March 1858; will proved 8 May 1858 (effects under £1,000);
(2.4) George Finch Baker (1782-83), born 15 September 1782; died in infancy, 22 February 1803;
(2.5) Henrietta Juliana Baker (1784-1847), born 12 May 1784; married, 16 October 1823 at St Andrew, Hertford (Herts), Robert Henry Jenkinson (1786-1857) of Norbiton Hall (Surrey), son of John Jenkinson, but had no issue; died 19 April 1847; will proved in the PCC, 26 June 1847;
(2.6) Charlotte Amelia Baker (1785-1836), born 11 December 1785 and baptised at Bayfordbury, 9 January 1786; died unmarried, 16 January 1836; will proved 8 February 1836;
(2.7) Henry Baker (1787-1804), born 22 June 1787; an officer in the Royal Navy (Lt., 1803; Cmdr., 1803); died unmarried when he drowned off the coast of Jamaica in attempting to rescue the crew of a Spanish schooner,  9 June 1804;
(2.8) Rev. Robert George Baker (1788-1878), born 29 October 1788; educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge (matriculated 1806; BA 1810; MA 1813) ordained deacon, 1811 and priest, 1813; curate of Hertingfordbury, 1811-16; curate and later rector of Spingfield (Essex), 1816-27; rector of Little Berkhampstead (Herts), 1825-34; rector of Stevenage (Herts), 1833-34; vicar of All Saints, Fulham (Middx), 1834-71 and canon of St Paul's Cathedral, 1846-78; Rural Dean, 1851-71; domestic chaplain to 2nd and 3rd Earls of Liverpool from 1825; a keen antiquary and author of The Golden Characters of Fulham as well as Sermons etc.; married 1st, 16 June 1818 at Hatfield (Herts), Emma (1785-1864), daughter of William Franks and 2nd, 6 July 1865 at Fulham, Mary Catherine Henrietta (1820-71), daughter of Rt. Hon. Laurence Sulivan, but had no issue; died aged 89, 21 February 1878; will proved 27 March 1878 (effects under £40,000);
(2.9) Caroline Julia Baker (1790-96), born 22 April and baptised at St George, Hanover Sq., London, 27 May 1790; died young, 17 May and was buried at Bayford, 23 May 1796;
(2.10) Cmdr. Charles Adolphus Baker (1792-1822), born 8 October and baptised at St George, Hanover Sq., London, 13 November 1792; an officer in the Royal Navy (Lt., 1811; Cmdr., 1814); wrote an account of Admiral Duckworth's forcing of a passage through the Dardenelles straits in 1808, in which he took part; drowned off Newfoundland in the wreck of HMS Drake, 22 June 1822;
(2.11) Col. George Baker (1794-1859), born 8 January 1794; educated at Royal Military College; an officer in 16th Lancers (Cornet, 1808; Lt., 1812; Capt., 1820; Maj., 1826; retired, 1826; Lt-Col., 1836); military commissioner to Greece, 1830; married, 27 February 1824 at Clare (Suffk), Caroline Julia (1802-73), daughter of Col. John Barker of Clare Priory, and had issue three sons and four daughters; died at Bath (Somerset), 22 December 1859; will proved 25 February 1860 (effects under £16,000);
(2.12) Matilda Caroline Baker (1796-1867), born 13 August and baptised at St George, Hanover Sq., London, 24 August 1796 and again at Bayford, 3 October 1796; after the death of her father she lived at Springfield House (Essex) until she became a patient in Brooke House Asylum, Upper Clapton (Middx), 1861-67; died unmarried, 22 January 1867; will proved 25 February 1867 (effects under £9,000);
(2.13) John Thomas Baker (1799-1800), born 8 May and baptised at Bayford, 29 August 1799; died in infancy and was buried at Bayford, 18 May 1800;
(2.14) Emily Anne Baker (1801-59), born 6 April and baptised at St George, Hanover Sq., London, 25 May 1801; married, 3 June 1824 at Bayford, Rev. Henry Walter MA BD FRS (1785-1859), rector of Hazelbury Bryan (Dorset), eldest son of Rev. James Walter of Louth (Lincs), but had no issue; died 29 November 1859 and was buried at Monken Hadley (Herts); will proved 23 December 1859 (effects under £9,000);
(2.15) Maj. Thomas Richard Baker (1802-84), born 19 April and baptised at Bayford, 28 June 1802; an officer in 7th Fusiliers (Cornet, 1819; Lt., 1824; Capt., 1826; Maj., 1838); JP for Bath (from 1858); married, 13 June 1833 on Malta, Mary Frances (1815-43), daughter of Col. Henry Anderson Morshead of Widey Court (Devon), and had issue one son and two daughters; died at Redland Green House, Bristol, 7 December 1884; will proved 22 January 1885 (effects £5,137).
He inherited the Bayfordbury estate from his father in 1770 and made the lake in the park in 1772; he inherited Hertingfordbury Park from his younger brother, Richard, in 1780, but gave it to his brother Samuel, from whom he inherited it again in 1804; he pulled down the house there in 1816. He also inherited the Kit-Kat Club portraits and some Tonson family papers on the death of his wife's brother, Richard Tonson, in 1772, and when he remodelled and enlarged Bayfordbury in 1809-12 it was partly to provide hanging space for the portraits. He purchased the Roxford estate in 1801 to ensure he owned the whole prospect from his house.
He died 20 January 1824; his will was proved in the PCC, 13 April 1824. His first wife died following childbirth, 23 April, and was buried at Stoke Poges (Bucks), 29 April 1772. His widow died 6 December 1847; her will was proved 3 January 1848. 

Baker, William (1778-1813). Eldest son of William Baker (1743-1824) and his second wife Sophia, third daughter of John Conyers of Copt Hall (Essex), born 11 March 1778. Educated at Eton, Trinity College, Cambridge (admitted 1795; BA 1800; MA 1803) and Lincoln's Inn (admitted 1799). He married, 2 August 1809 at Lord Amherst's house in Palermo, Sicily (Italy), Esther Maria (k/a Estina) (1792-1859), daughter of Robert Fagan, consul-general in Sicily and Malta, and had issue:
(1) William Robert Baker (1810-96) (q.v.);
(2) Edward Baker (b. & d. 1811), born at Bengeo (Herts), 16 October 1811; died in infancy, 18 October 1811;
(3) Mary Anne Concordia Baker (1813-36), born a few days after the death of her father, 31 August 1813; died unmarried at Castellamare near Naples (Italy), 18 October 1836.
He lived at Bengeo Cottage on the Bayfordbury estate and later at Hertingfordbury Park, which his father pulled down after his death.
He died in the lifetime of his father, 29 August 1813, and was buried at Bayford. His widow married 2nd, 2 December 1820, Francis Acton (1796-1865), son of Lt-Gen. Joseph Edward Acton, and had further issue three sons; she died 11 November 1859.

Baker, William Robert (1810-96). Only surviving son of William Baker (1778-1813) and his wife Estina, daughter of Robert Fagan, consul-general in Sicily and Malta, born 8 October and baptised at Bengeo (Herts), 12 November 1810. Educated at Eton, Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1828) and Trinity College, Cambridge (matriculated 1831). JP and DL for Hertfordshire; High Sheriff of Hertfordshire, 1836. A member of the Royal Yacht Squadron from 1837; joint Steward of Hertford Races, 1838. An officer in the 1st Hertfordshire Militia (Lt.; retired 1860). He married, 4 October 1838 at Welwyn (Herts), Anna Emma Katherine (d. 1894), eldest daughter of Henry Fynes Clinton of Welwyn, and had issue:
(1) William Clinton Baker (1839-1903) (q.v.).
He inherited the Bayfordbury estate from his grandfather in 1824 and came of age in 1831. He developed the pinetum from 1837 and the rock garden and rose garden from 1845.
He died 29 November 1896; his will was proved 28 May 1897 (effects £7,222). His wife died 2 May 1894; administration of her goods was granted to her husband, 26 July 1894 (effects £720).

Baker, William Clinton (1839-1903). Only child of William Robert Baker (1810-96) and his wife Anna Emma Katherine, daughter of Henry Fynes Clinton of Welwyn (Herts), born 26 September 1839. Educated at Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1858) and Inner Temple (admitted 1861). JP for Hertfordshire. An officer in the 1st Herts Rifle Volunteers (Ensign; Lt., 1868). He married, 12 April 1864 at St Andrew, Wells St., London, Edith Mildmay Ashhurst (1842-1922), eldest daughter of Rev. Henry Lewis Majendie, vicar of Great Dunmow (Essex), and had issue:
(1) Henry William Clinton Baker (1865-1935) (q.v.);
(2) Adm. Sir Lewis Clinton Baker (1866-1939) (q.v.);
(3) Estina Anna Baker (1867-1925), born 24 August 1867; married, 29 July 1890 at Bayford, Herbert Nelson Lear (1862-1930) of Brill House (Bucks), land agent, son of Ven. Francis Lear, archdeacon of Salisbury; and had issue two daughters; died 12 September 1925; will proved 27 October 1925 (estate £1,391);
(4) Lt-Col. Osbert Clinton Baker (1869-1915), born 25 September 1869; educated at Winchester and Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst; an officer in the Royal Irish Rifles (2nd Lt., 1890; Lt., 1894; Capt., 1900; Maj., 1906; Lt-Col., 1915) who served in Boer War (Queen's Medal) and First World War; a good cricketer, a first class shot, and a keen polo player; he was unmarried and without issue; killed in action at Fromelles (France), 9 May 1915;
(5) Geoffrey Clinton Baker (1871-1951), born 1 December 1871; educated at Radley; merchant in India until he retired to England; married, 3 September 1907 at Meesden (Herts), Violet Edith Henniker (1883-1947), daughter of Col. Edward George Godolphin Hastings CB, and had issue one son; died 10 January 1951; will proved 11 May 1951 (estate £76,449);
(6) John Hugh Clinton Baker (1875-1905), born 27 December 1875; educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford; died unmarried at Cairo (Egypt), 4 March 1905 and was buried there; will proved 6 April 1905 (estate £3,515);
(7) Katharine Edith Baker (1879-1960), born 10 February and baptised at Bayford, 30 March 1879; married, 25 April 1908 at Bayford, George William Cole-Hamilton (1875-1946) of Fourways, Hoddesdon (Herts) and had issue four daughters; died 9 October 1960; will proved 24 February 1961 (estate £8,375).
He inherited the Bayfordbury estate from his father in 1896.
He died 7 July 1903; his will was proved 25 July 1903 (estate £27,226). His widow died 19 December 1922; her will was proved 2 July 1923 (effects £356).

Baker (later Clinton-Baker), Henry William (1865-1935). Eldest son of William Clinton Baker (1839-1903) and his wife Edith Mildmay Ashhurst, eldest daughter of Rev. Henry Lewis Majendie, vicar of Great Dunmow (Essex), born 16 March and baptised at Bayford, 14 May 1865. Educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1885). He took the name Clinton-Baker in lieu of Baker in 1881. County Councillor for Hertfordshire from 1902; JP for Hertfordshire; High Sheriff of Hertfordshire, 1915. He was unmarried and without issue.
He inherited the Bayfordbury estate from his father in 1903. In order to pay death duties, he sold a manuscript fair copy of Milton's 'Paradise Lost' which formed part of the Tonson legacy; it is now in the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York (USA).
He died 19 April 1935; his will was proved 24 July 1935 (estate £18,992).

Baker (later Clinton-Baker), Adm. Sir Lewis (1866-1939), kt. Second son of William Clinton Baker (1839-1903) and his wife Edith Mildmay Ashhurst, eldest daughter of Rev. Henry Lewis Majendie, vicar of Great Dunmow (Essex), born 16 March 1866. He took the name Clinton-Baker in lieu of Baker in 1881. An officer in the Royal Navy, 1879-1927 (Lt., 1890; Cmdr., 1901; Capt., 1906; Rear-Adm., 1917; Vice-Adm., 1922; Adm., 1926; retired, 1927), who was a midshipman at the bombardment of Alexandria, 1882 and later served in the Boer War and the First World War; Admiral Superintendent of Chatham dockyard, 1920-21; commander-in-chief for East Indies, 1921-23 and commander of naval reserves, 1925-27; ADC to King George V, 1917-27; appointed CB, 1916; CBE, 1919; KCVO, 1922; KCB, 1926; Commander of Legion d'honneur, Commander of Order of St. Vladimir of Russia; DSM of United States. JP (from 1925) and DL (from 1919) for Hertfordshire. He married, 11 May 1920 at St Katharine's Chapel, Regent's Park, Rosa Agnes MBE JP (1889-1960), daughter of William Henderson of Berkley House, Frome (Somerset), and had issue:
(1) William Lewis Clinton-Baker (1921-2006) (q.v.);
(2) Jane Clinton-Baker (1925-2008), born 21 August 1925; married 1st, 17 July 1948 (div.), Lt-Cmdr. Thomas Graeme Ridgeway RN (1919-94), son of Rev. Charles Lennox Ridgeway of Hill Hill, Hittisleigh (Devon), who was in 1949 successfully sued for breach of promise by Liana Maria Kremezi, a Greek citizen who by her actions with the resistance in the Second World War earned the nickname 'the Maid of Athens'; having been awarded damages of £10,500, which would have bankrupted him, she agreed to accept £2,200; married 2nd, Jul-Sept 1958, Michael Lorymer Augustin Riseley-Prichard (1928-82); died 30 September 2008; will proved 9 February 2009.
He inherited the Bayfordbury estate from his elder brother in 1935. After his death his widow lived for a time at Spring Hall, Sawbridgeworth (Herts) and then moved to London.
He died 15 December 1939; his will was proved 26 February 1940 (estate £7,796). His widow died 5 September 1960; her will was proved 16 December 1960 (estate £2,931).

Clinton-Baker, William Lewis (1921-2006). Only son of Adm. Sir Lewis Clinton Baker (1866-1939) and his wife Rosa Agnes, daughter of William Henderson of Berkley House (Somerset), born 9 May 1921. Educated at Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. Served as an officer in the Royal Navy (Lt., 1941; ret. 1945?) in Second World War (mentioned in despatches). After the war, he sold the Kit-Kat Club portraits to the National Art Collections Fund, which presented them to the National Portrait Gallery, and dispersed the remaining contents, pictures and library from Bayfordbury by auction. In 1953, he emigrated with his family to New Zealand, where he lived at Masterton near Wellington. He and his wife became naturalised citizens of New Zealand, 9 June 1977. He married 1st, 20 September 1947, Anne Favell Luard (1924-86), younger daughter of Capt. Robert Hesketh Bevan RN of Heythrop House (Oxon), and 2nd, Jan [surname unknown], and had issue:
(1.1) John William Clinton-Baker (b. 1948), born 30 September 1948;
(1.2) David Clinton-Baker (b. 1950), born Oct-Dec 1950; naturalised as a citizen of New Zealand, 22 February 1977; now resident in British Columbia (Canada); married and had issue;
(1.3) Michael Clinton-Baker (b. 1952), born 13 May 1952; educated at Lincoln University, New Zealand; naturalised as a citizen of New Zealand, 9 June 1977; property consultant at Wairarapa (NZ); married and had issue;
(1.4) Peter Clinton-Baker;
(1.5) James Clinton-Baker.
He inherited the Bayfordbury estate from his father in 1939, but sold the house and contents in 1945. He lived subsequently in London, and then at Lodge Farm, Kineton (Warks) before emigrating to New Zealand in 1953.
He died at Masterton, 31 July 2006. His wife died at Masterton, 22 March 1986.


Burke's Landed Gentry, 1952, p. 93; Sir N. Pevsner & B. Cherry, The buildings of England: Hertfordshire, 1977, pp. 90-91; J.T. Smith, English Houses 1200-1800: the Hertfordshire evidence, 1992, pp. 117-18, 122; J.T. Smith, Hertfordshire Houses: selective inventory, 1993, p. 26; A. Rowe (ed.), Hertfordshire Garden History: A miscellany, 2007, pp. 2, 18-20, 81-86, 144, 150-51;

Location of archives

Baker of Bayfordbury: deeds, estate papers and family correspondence, 18th century-1952 [Hertfordshire Archives & Local Studies, D/EB, D/EBk]

Coat of arms

Per pale, ermine and gules, a greyhound courant, between two bars invected in chief, two quatrefoils, and another in base, all counter-changed.

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 you provide further information about the members of this family who emigrated to New Zealand in the 1950s?
  • Can anyone provide portraits or photographs of members of this family whose names appear in bold above?

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 19 May 2018 and updated 25 June 2019, 14 August and 4 November 2020, and 19 December 2022. I am grateful to Dianne Simister for raising questions about John Baker (1704-60?) and to Ben Clinton-Baker for additional information.


  1. Thank you for your fascinating and thorough series. My comment is nothing to do with the Bakers; but what a pity the Kit-Kat portraits have become divided after so much effort was made over the years to keep them hung together. Time for a campaign to reunite them?

    1. Realistically, there are probably too many to hang them all in one place, and they do look very well at Beningborough.

  2. Incredible what you done for Baker all over the world, i am one of a few Bakers alive doing myheritage and ancestory. com, many are working Baker with other connected names, this and your other 322-340 Baker blogs has been a huge and obviously recent batch of info i needed see. My Sissinghurst line goes back to 1110 Kent England in my tree, if anyone can find past that let us know . This is my last find!profile-1501216-info ------- Also i hope to attach all these other lines to 1110 John Le Baker if possible

  3. There is a Geoffrey Clinton Baker listed as a student in the Applied Science Department of King's College London for the sessions 1892-94.Could this be the Geoffrey Clinton Baker above?
    Keith Newton

    1. I think it very probable. He would be about the right age and I doubt there were two men of that name and age around then.

  4. Henry Fynes Clinton 1781-1852) married,as his 2nd wife Katherine Majendie-possibly related to Edith Mildmay...


Please leave a comment if you have any additional information or corrections to offer, or if you are able to help with additional images of the people or buildings in this post.