Friday 19 July 2019

(383) Barker of Grimston Hall, The Chantry, Bocking Hall and Kilcooley Abbey, baronets

Barker of Grimston Hall, bts
Barker of Bocking Hall, bts.
This family trace their origins to a line of cloth merchants in Ipswich who traded with the Continent in the 15th and 16th centuries. As their standing in the town grew, they became increasingly prominent in civic affairs, and in due course they began to represent the town in Parliament. Robert Barker (d. 1571), with whom the genealogy below begins, was probably the first of the family to have this honour. William Barker (fl. 1522-76), a Cambridge academic who became the confidential secretary of the ill-fated 4th Duke of Norfolk and was implicated in the Ridolfi plot with his master, may have been a member of the family but there is no clear evidence of this. Robert Barker's son John Barker (c.1532-89), who was at odds with the corporation of Ipswich on several accounts in the 1560s, later became a more establishment figure and was MP for the town three times in the 1580s. He bought the Ringshall Hall estate near Needham Market (Suffk) in 1587, shortly before his death, although he may have viewed this more as an investment than a future residence. His son and heir, Sir Robert Barker (c.1560-1618), seems to have been based in London during his father's lifetime, and was no doubt involved in mercantile operations there, although he seems to have returned to Ipswich after his father's death. He too was MP for Ipswich (in 1593), and he continued the family's transition into the landed gentry by buying Grimston Hall at Trimley St Martin (Suffk) in 1597 and by taking as his second wife Susan, the daughter and heiress of Sir John Crofts, kt., of Saxham (Suffk). He was High Sheriff of Suffolk in 1615-16, an office which marks his acceptance into the county elite. Sir Robert had been made a Knight of the Bath at the Coronation of King James I, and it is not known why he was so honoured, but his wife was perhaps behind it; she seems to have been socially ambitious and as a widow she engineered a royal visit to Saxham in about 1620. She was several times in attendance on the King at his house at Newmarket, and no doubt arranged for her eldest son, Sir Thomas Barker (b. c.1598), who eventually succeeded to the Crofts estate, to be knighted there in 1622.

Sir Robert's heir, however, was his son by his first marriage, Sir John Barker (1587-1652). He was no doubt involved in his father's business as a young man, but completed the transition to the gentry by withdrawing from trade and settling at Grimston Hall. Perhaps as a result of his stepmother's influence, he was raised to a baronetcy in 1621, and he was High Sheriff of Suffolk in 1635-36. Nothing is known about his role in the Civil War, but what can be gleaned about the family's political and religious affiliations from their wills and connections suggest that they were of moderate Puritan views, which in this part of the country aligned them with the Parliamentarian majority and probably made a quiet life fairly straightforward. Sir John's half-brother, Sir Thomas, who was married into the Catholic Tasburgh family, had a rather more exposed position, and an estate which he leased from the Tasburghs was sequestrated for a time, although he himself was never suspected of recusant views.

Sir John's heir Sir John Barker (c.1623-64) 2nd bt., died young and was quickly followed to the grave by his eldest son, Sir Jermy Barker, 3rd bt., who was probably no more than ten years old. His second son, Sir John Barker (1655-96), 4th bt. then inherited the title and estates, and in 1665 his widow remarried in Westminster. The children may therefore have been brought up in London, and Sir John was sent to Merton College, Oxford, being perhaps the first of his family to attend a University. Whatever his background and family traditions, at Oxford the young Sir John would have been exposed to a more Royalist and conservative viewpoint, and as an adult he held Tory views, and sat in Parliament for Ipswich in that interest. Part of his attraction to the limited electorate of Ipswich was no doubt that he preferred living in the town, where he had a large modern house, to living at his seat a few miles away at Grimston, which was reduced or rebuilt as a farmhouse at this time.

Like his father, the fourth baronet died young, leaving children in their teens, and his widow married again, to a London lawyer who held a senior post with the Excise. His heir, Sir William Barker (1680-1731), 5th bt., was sent to Pembroke College, Cambridge and then entered Parliament, sitting as a Tory like his father for Ipswich, 1708-13 and later for Thetford, 1713-15 and for Suffolk, 1722-31. In his first Parliament, he was a member of the 'October Club', a pressure group of discontented hardline backbench Tories, which opposed the moderate stance of the Government and wanted more active reprisals against the members of the previous Whig administration. His first wife died after only a few years of marriage, leaving him with a son and heir, and he did not marry again until a few months before his death. The terms of his will suggest that in this period he fathered an illegitimate son, Charles King, for whom he made some provision.

Sir William's heir was his legitimate son, Sir John Barker (1714-57), 6th bt., who went to Cambridge and then married a substantial heiress. It was presumably a legacy of £12,000 from his step-grandfather as well as her money which enabled him to purchase The Chantry estate at Sproughton on the outskirts of Ipswich in 1740, and to improve the house there. Like his father and grandfather he died young, leaving an only son, Sir John Fytch Barker (1741-66), 7th bt., who married but had no children at his even earlier death. As a result, this branch of the Barkers died out, the baronetcy became extinct, and his property passed to a distant kinsman, George Richard Savage Nassau (1756-1823), who was actually not a blood relation at all. The Chantry was sold in 1771, although Grimston continued to pass by descent until the mid 19th century.

William Barker, the third son of Sir Robert Barker (c.1560-1618) by his second marriage, was sent into business in London and was bequeathed the Ringshall estate purchased by his grandfather when his father died. He seems to have prospered in trade, becoming a successful Baltic merchant (dealing chiefly in timber) and a contractor to the Navy, through which connection he became acquainted with the diarist Samuel Pepys. Like so many prosperous merchants, and especially those from a gentry background, in middle age he began investing his profits in land, buying the Everleigh Manor estate in Wiltshire in 1649 and then taking a lease of Kilmainham, Kells (Co. Meath) in 1660. It is not clear why he chose to invest in Ireland at this time, but he may have bought for a keen price, anticipating that a period of reduced volatility in Irish affairs would enable him to make a quick profit. In the event, the investment decision had unanticipated consequences. It seems likely that his son and heir, later Sir William Barker (1648-1719), 1st bt., was sent to Ireland as a young man to manage or improve the property, and that it was through this chance that he met and married Elizabeth, the daughter and heiress of Sir Jerome Alexander (d. 1670), a prominent Irish judge, who also had property at Kilmainham. Elizabeth brought him not just her lands at Kilmainham, but also Kilcooley Abbey in Co. Tipperary and probably an estate at Curraghmore in Co. Limerick (not to be confused with the property of the same name in Co. Waterford). Sir William, who had bought Bocking Hall in Essex, apparently with a view to making it his seat, promptly mortgaged it and relocated permanently to Ireland. He seems to have lived chiefly at Kilmainham, and paid only occasional visits to Kilcooley, where the former abbey buildings did not provide appropriate accommodation for permanent residence.

Sir William was succeeded by his son, Sir William Barker (c.1677-1746), 2nd bt., who was probably educated in England, and certainly preferred it to Ireland. He seems to have been a selfish and rather foolish man, who found it hard to control his expenditure. On inheriting the Irish estates from his father, he was full of plans for establishing a market town at Kilcooley and building a new mansion house, but he never had the money to bring these dreams to fruition. He was on poor terms with his sons, who were sent to live in Ireland, where the eldest, later Sir William Barker (1704-70), 3rd bt., was made manager of the Kilcooley estate, and later given it outright in 1735, subject to a rent-charge which syphoned most of the profit off to his father. The younger Sir William, however, by focusing on estate improvements and living frugally, made Kilcooley a successful operation, and laid the foundations of the prosperity which his son enjoyed. After his father died, he divided his time between Kilcooley and a town house in Dublin, and sold the Ringshall Hall estate in England.

Sir William died in 1770 and was succeeded by his only son, Sir William Barker (c.1737-1818), 4th bt., who had married in 1760 and built himself a small new house called Wilford (later Shangarry), four miles from Callan (Co. Kilkenny). His first plan seems to have been to let Kilcooley and live at Wilford, but in 1771 he decided to switch things round: Wilford was let and he built a new house at Kilcooley, which was quite a grand Palladian mansion. He went on to build new stables, and to landscape the park, in which he created a lake complete with a Gothick boathouse. It turned out that he and his wife were unable to have children, but his sister, Mary (c.1740-75), the widow of Chambré Brabazon Ponsonby (1729-62), came to live at Kilcooley with her son and daughter, and when his sister married again, her children remained with Sir William and his wife. What seems to have been a happy if unconventional family circle was completed by Sarah Ponsonby (1755-1831), the daughter of Chambré Ponsonby by his first wife, who later achieved some fame or notoriety with her life partner, Miss Butler, as the Ladies of Llangollen. Sir William made his nephew, Chambré Brabazon Ponsonby (1762-1834), his heir, and the latter duly inherited the estate in 1818. It remained the property of the Ponsonbys (who will be the subject of a separate post) until 2008.

Grimston Hall, Trimley St Martin, Suffolk

A somewhat enigmatic if ancient site, set on the side of a low hill rising out of the marshes adjoining the river Orwell where it flows out from Ipswich to the North Sea between Harwich and Felixstowe. Grimston is mentioned in Domesday Book, and was a seat of the Cavendish family (of whom Sir Thomas Cavendish (1560-92), the privateer and second Englishman to circumnavigate the globe, was one of the last) in the 15th and 16th centuries. It seems to be one of the many medieval and Tudor manor houses of East Anglia which declined into farmhouses in the subsequent centuries, although in the absence of a proper archaeological investigation of the building and its surroundings it is hard to be sure quite what the story was here. 

Grimston Hall: the house in 2018, with the older barn on the right. Image: © Robin Biddle.

The house, which is now L-shaped, has a probably 17th century semi-timbered structure, and is said to have a later, perhaps early 18th century, front. It could be a fragment of a rather larger house, cut down to meet the needs of tenant farmers when the Barkers moved to Ipswich in the third quarter of the 17th century, but it could also be a new farmhouse built at that time as a replacement for an earlier and larger gentry building. The latter possibility may be strengthened by the existence on the site of the fragile remains of an early 16th century barn set at a slight angle to the farmhouse, and thus presumably not coeval with it. The house was described as 'a good modern farmhouse' in 1829 and was later given a single-storey Victorian addition built to house a dining room. The house was occupied by farming tenants from 1830 until recently, and the owners are now seeking a viable future use for the building.

Descent: sold 1597 to Sir Robert Barker (c.1560-1618), kt.; to son, Sir John Barker (1587-1652), 1st bt.; to son, Sir John Barker (c.1623-64), 2nd bt.; to son, Sir Jermy Barker (d. 1664), 3rd bt.; to brother, Sir John Barker (1655-96), 4th bt.; to son, Sir William Barker (1680-1731), 5th bt.; to son, Sir John Barker (1714-57), 6th bt.; to son, Sir John Fytch Barker (1741-66), 7th bt.; bequeathed to George Nassau (1756-1823); to half-brother, William Henry Nassau-de-Zulestein (1754-1830), 5th Earl of Rochford... William Alexander Louis Stephen Douglas-Hamilton (1845-95), 12th Duke of Hamilton, who sold 1865 to Col. George Tomline... Capt. E.G. Pretyman of Orwell Pk... sold 1933 to Trinity College, Cambridge. The property was leased to farming tenants from the late 17th century onwards, except for a short period (probably in the 1770s) when it seems to have been occupied by George Nassau. 

The Chantry, Sproughton, Suffolk

The origin of the estate lies in a chantry dedicated to St. Thomas Becket at St Lawrence's church in Ipswich, which was founded in 1514-15 by Edmund Daundy, who was one of the town's wealthiest merchants and incidentally uncle to Cardinal Thomas Wolsey. He endowed his foundation with 100 acres of land at Sproughton, on the edge of the town, and after the chantry was dissolved in 1547 this became the site of a secular house belonging to the Cutler family, which was taxed on sixteen hearths in 1674. By then, the property was owned by Sir Peyton Ventris (d. 1691), whose son Edmund Ventris is supposed to have rebuilt the house in about 1700 as a five-bay, two-storey building. After Ventris' death in 1740 the estate was sold to Sir John Barker (1714-57), 6th bt., who had been living in Ipswich. He is said to have made extensive improvements to the house, but these are no longer readily detectable in the light of later changes. 

The Chantry: this engraving by J.P. Neale, published in 1821, seems to be the earliest view of the house.
After the early death of Sir John Fytch Barker (1741-66), 7th bt., the estate was sold to Metcalfe Russell, who added the top storey (rainwater heads dated 1772), lower one-bay wings to either side of the house, the three-bay pediment on the north-facing entrance front, and built the surviving stable block to the west of the house, and a large conservatory on the east front, which was demolished in the 1930s. Russell also laid out the park, although much of its character derives from additions and alterations for Charles Collinson in the early 19th century, with the avenue of lime trees from the London road being planted in 1807, and the lake in the south-west corner of the park (Beech Water) being created in 1828.

The Chantry, Sproughton: the entrance front photographed c.1950, showing the effect of the changes of 1853.
Later changes include the addition a two-storey porte-cochère, the widening of the garden front to seven bays and the construction of a three-bay bow in the centre. These works were carried out in a debased classical style in 1853-54 for Sir Fitzroy Kelly. His architect was perhaps R.M. Phipson (whose roughly contemporary design for Stoke Park, Stoke St. Mary in a similar style, was recently acquired by the RIBA Drawings Collection). The little classical entrance lodge on the Hadleigh road, of white brick and stone, can also be attributed to Phipson, and he may have been responsible for the Victorian alterations to the interior of the house too, including the creation of a spacious double-height entrance hall and the staircase to its right, which has an iron balustrade. Both rooms have good, restrained, stucco decoration. 

The Chantry, Sproughton: garden front as remodelled in 1853. Image: Keith Evans. Some rights reserved.

At the same time as the house was remodelled, Sir Fitzroy Kelly engaged W.A. Nesfield to lay out a new formal flower garden south of the house, which was restored to a slightly different design after 1906. In 1927 the house was acquired by a property developer who planned to turn it into a housing estate, but it was rescued from this fate by Sir Arthur Churchman, who bought it in 1928 and presented it to the Borough of Ipswich. The grounds became a public park, while the house was used as an International Friendship Centre until the Second World War, and subsequently as a convalescent home, now run by the Sue Ryder Foundation.

Descent: Sir Peyton Ventris (d. 1691); to son, Edmund Ventris (d. 1740), a master in Chancery; sold after his death to Sir John Barker (1714-57), 6th bt.; to son, Sir John Fytch Barker (1741-66), 7th bt.; sold after his death to Metcalfe Russell; to Michael Collinson; to son, Charles Collinson; sold 1836 to Charles Lillingston; sold 1852 to Sir Fitzroy Kelly, kt., barrister and MP; sold 1867 to Charles Binney Skinner; sold by 1897 to Sir Henry Cecil Domville (d. 1902); sold 1906 to Mrs. Annie Mary Jump (d. 1926); sold 1927 to George Gooday; sold 1928 to Sir Arthur Churchman, who gave it to the Borough of Ipswich.

Bocking Hall, Essex

Bocking Hall: the east front
A complex rendered timber-framed manor house, of two storeys with attics, built in at least five phases. What is now the east-facing main front consists of a jettied range of c.1530, (perhaps built as the upper-end cross-wing of an earlier house to the west), with to its north the end gable of a later 17th century wing built at right-angles to the c.1530 block, and then a further 17th century extension. Probably in the 18th century, an effort was made to make this facade more regular, creating smaller gabled projections either side of the main gable-end (one of which forms a porch) and inserting a Venetian window into the first floor of the big gable-end. The porch has original moulded jambs and a four-centred arch in a square head. On the west side of the main block there is an original two-light mullioned window with leaded glazing, but most of the windows have been replaced with 18th century sashes.

Bocking Hall: the hall

Inside the house has been much altered but retains a great deal of 17th century and later panelling and a number of associated chimneypieces. The hall has original moulded ceiling beams with carved stops, resting on chamfered wallposts, and the walls are covered with early 17th-century panelling for about half their height. The staircase at the south-west end of the Hall is original and has solid oak steps, and at the top and bottom, archways with moulded jambs and four-centred arches under square heads. In the cross-wing the south-east room has original panelling up to the ceiling, and a frieze carved with arabesques; over the fireplace is an original overmantel, not in situ, with carved arched panels divided by carved and shaped pilasters. In the north wing the rooms have chamfered ceiling beams and shaped wall-posts. On the first floor two rooms have the walls covered with early 17th-century panelling; the south room has also an overmantel with moulded panels divided by fluted pilasters, while the north room has also fluted pilasters flanking the fireplace. The roof of the earliest part of the house is of queen-post type with wind-braced purlins, and tie-beams with curved braces.

Descent: John Wentworth (temp. Eliz I)... Adrian Moore (fl. 1624)... John Maysent (c.1716)...Sir William Barker (c.1652-1719), 1st bt.; mortgaged to Prisca Cabourne, who gained possession.. John English Tabor (fl. 1857) of Bovingdon (who let to Capt. C.J. Bolton (d. 1917) and his widow (d. 1929)); to Maj. A.M. Tabor (fl. 1930) of Bovingdon...Mr & Mrs Suckling (fl. 1942)...

Ringshall Hall, Suffolk

Ringshall Hall: the surviving fragment of the 16th century house was much altered c.1788 and later.

The present much remodelled 16th century timber-framed and plastered house is a fragment of a larger manor house which is thought to have been built between 1524 and 1548 for Sir Richard Gresham, kt., whose son, Sir Thomas Gresham (c.1519-79) founded the Royal Exchange in London. Inside, the ground floor rooms have moulded ceiling beams and joists, evidently of the 16th century, but there is evidence of a great many alterations of the 17th or 18th centuries. This was perhaps the result of converting the house to meet the needs of a tenant farmer when the main body of the house was demolished after it became part of the Adair family's Suffolk estate in about 1787.

Descent: Sir Richard Gresham (fl. 1519-48); to son, Sir Thomas Gresham (c.1519-79), kt.; sold 1587 to John Barker (c.1532-89); to son, Sir Robert Barker (c.1560-1618), kt.; to son, William Barker; to son, Sir William Barker (1648-1719), 1st bt.; to son, Sir William Barker (c.1677-1746), 2nd bt.; to son, Sir William Barker (1704-70), 3rd bt. who sold 1750 to Peter Lefebure; sold 1761 to William Watson; sold 1783 to William Wollaston; sold c.1787 to Alexander Adair (1743-1834), who demolished most of the house; to kinsman, Sir Robert Shafto Adair (1786-1849), 1st bt.; to son, Sir Robert Alexander Shafto Adair (1811-86), 2nd bt. and 1st Baron Waveney; to brother, Sir Hugh Edward Adair (1815-1902), 3rd bt.; to son, Sir Frederick Edward Shafto Adair (1860-1915), 4th bt; to brother, Sir Robert Shafto Adair (1862-1949), 5th bt., who sold 1921...

Kilcooley Abbey, Co. Tipperary

Kilcooley Abbey in Co. Tipperary was founded by the King of Thomond, Donal Mor O'Brien, in c.1182 and within two years the abbey became a daughter house of the Cistercian Jerpoint Abbey in Co. Kilkenny. The abbey buildings were burnt in 1418 and almost completely destroyed by a second fire in 1445, after which they were rebuilt under the leadership of the abbot, Philip O’Molwanayn. The abbey was dissolved in 1540, one of the early casualties of Henry VIII's long campaign to eliminate the monastic tradition in Ireland, and the Crown retained the site until 1557, when the abbey and the lands were granted to the Thomas Butler, Earl of Ormond and Ossory. The Butlers quietly allowed the monks to return to Kilcooley and Thomas O'Leamy was appointed abbot in 1622. They were dispossessed again in 1636 when Kilcooley was bought from the Butlers by Sir Jerome Alexander (d. 1670), but they returned yet again during the turbulent years following the Catholic Confederation rebellion in 1641 and were only finally expelled by Cromwell's army in 1650. Kilcooley was no doubt one of 'ruins that Cromwell knocked about a bit', and it probably stood empty and decaying until the property passed by marriage to the Barkers, who seem to have made a home from the abbey ruins which was adequate for the occasional residence of the family for the next century or more.
Kilcooley Abbey: the buildings in 1792, when they had only recently ceased to be used as an occasional residence.
The Barkers had property in England and near Kells (Co. Meath), and also had a town house in Dublin, so Kilcooley was very much a part-time residence until about 1770, when Sir William Barker (c.1737-1818), 4th bt, inherited the estate. Following his marriage in 1760, Sir William had built himself a small but distinctive house (which he called Wilford but which later reverted to the original name of Shangarry) a few miles from Kilcooley. No illustration of this seems to be known, but maps show a building perhaps only one room and a corridor deep with a round tower at either end, and the ruins of this still stand in the landscape. After he inherited Kilcooley, Wilford was let in 1771, and the advertisement describes it as 'built within these ten years'. 

Kilcooley Abbey: the new house of c.1770,
 in its original form
Having taken possession of Kilcooley, Sir William seems fairly quickly to have set about the building of a new house, which consisted of a two-storey Palladian block connected to single-storey wings on either side with pedimental gables. The central block had seven bays on the entrance front and five bays on the garden side, where the central three bays are articulated by giant pilasters but have no pediment. The seven bay front is shown in its original form in the background of a painting from the family's collection. After building the house, Sir William turned his attention to the grounds, which were landscaped and in 1789 given a lake with a surviving Gothick boathouse. He undertook further improvements to the estate in the 1790s, when Sir Richard Morrison designed and built a new stable block in 1792-96 and Richard Coffey designed a grand new gateway to the estate (1791-93), which was perhaps never built. In 1817, a folly in the true sense of the word was built on the estate, reputedly to commemorate the Duke of Wellington's victories but perhaps more prosaically to mark the owner's 80th birthday. It appears to be a four-square Gothic tower with blind windows, but only the two sides facing Kilcooley were constructed; a modern spiral staircase now provides access to a viewing platform at the top.

Kilcooley Abbey: the garden front, as reconstructed after the 1839 fire.
Despite his investment in the estate, Sir William had no children, and the baronetcy died with him. His property passed to his nephew, Chambré Brabazon Ponsonby-Barker (1762-1834), who was required to add the 'Barker' as a condition of his inheritance; he was succeded by his son, William Ponsonby-Barker (1795-1877), early in whose tenure, in February 1839, Kilcooley was burned down, with the loss of all the contents. Happily, the house was adequately insured, and the family once again retreated to the old abbey ruins, while the house was restored and remodelled. With the rebuilding of the house, the opportunity was taken to modernise the layout and decoration. A number of distracting excrescences were added to the exterior of the house, and a large double-height entrance hall with a first-floor gallery, top-lit by a glazed dome, was created inside. The principal reception rooms run along the garden side of the house, with views down to the abbey ruins. Later changes seem to have been relatively few, although at some point some aggressively ugly wooden chimneypieces were introduced to the main rooms. The house was photographed by Country Life in 2004, and a series of views of the interior, when it was still furnished, can be seen hereCuriously, the abbey ruins (which form a picturesque object in the landscape of the house) bear few signs of their repeated domestic occupation, which must say something about the extent and character of their conservation and presentation in the last century and a half.

In 1877 the estate passed to William Ponsonby-Barker's brother, Capt. T.H. Ponsonby (1807-80), known as 'Damnation Tom' from his habit of using that expletive in every other sentence. It remained the property of his descendants until 2008, when the contents were dispersed at auction and the house, which was by this time in poor repair, was sold. The new owner was a casualty of the recession and the house changed hands again in 2013 and has recently been on the market again. Recent owners have enlarged the estate by repurchasing the surrounding woodlands, but seem to have done nothing to halt the accelerating decay of the house, which is now rapidly sliding into ruin, with the recent collapse of one of the bay windows on the garden front.

Kilcooley Abbey: the derelict state of the house in 2018. Image: Herbert Schubert.
Descent: James Butler, 12th Earl (and later 1st Duke) of Ormonde sold 1636 to Sir Jerome Alexander (d. 1670); to daughter Elizabeth, wife of Sir William Barker (1648-1719), 1st bt.; to son, Sir William Barker (c.1677-1746), 2nd bt.; to son, Sir William Barker (1704-70), 3rd bt.; to son, Sir William Barker (c.1737-1818), 4th bt.; to nephew, Charles Brabazon Ponsonby (later Ponsonby-Barker) (1762-1834); to son, William Ponsonby-Barker (1795-1877); to brother, Thomas Henry Ponsonby (1807-80); to son, Chambre Brabazon Ponsonby (1839-84); to son, Thomas Brabazon Ponsonby (1878-1946); to son, Maj. George Thomas Ponsonby (1915-84); to son, Peter Douglas Ponsonby (b. 1955), who sold 2008... sold 2013 to Thomas O'Gorman; said to have been sold 2018...

Barker family of Grimston Hall

Barker, Robert (d. 1571). Son of Robert Barker of Ipswich and his wife Anne, daughter and co-heir of Edward Bestard? of Cambridge, perhaps born about 1510. Merchant at Ipswich. JP for Ipswich by 1556; Portman, 1556; Bailiff, 1563-4, 1567-8; MP for Ipswich, 1558-59, and possibly the man of this name who was MP for Thetford, 1555. He married 1st, by 1532, a daughter of [forename unknown] Kempe or King of Suffolk, and 2nd, by 1561, Katherine, widow of Henry Gooch, and had issue including:
(1.1) John Barker (c.1532-89) (q.v.).
He lived at Ipswich.
He died 30 August or 16 September 1571. His first wife died before 1561. His widow's date of death is unknown.

Barker, John (c.1532-89). Only recorded son of Robert Barker (d. 1571) of Ipswich and his wife, a daughter of [forename unknown] Kempe or Kinge of Suffolk, born about 1532. Cloth merchant in Ipswich, trading with the Continent. Chamberlain of Ipswich, 1562-63; Coroner of Ipswich, 1568-69; Bailiff of Ipswich, 1576-77, 1582-82 and 1587-88; MP for Ipswich, 1584, 1586 and 1589. He was several times in trouble for contravening regulations over the export of cloth, and was briefly imprisoned on that account in 1560. In 1586 Dunkirk pirates captured and destroyed one of his ships. It was probably in connexion with this that he and other Ipswich merchants were granted a commission of reprisal to recover losses of £19,000. In 1588 he was a substantial subscriber to the Armada Fund. He married 1st, Wilhelmina (who was naturalised in 1572), daughter and heir of John Bomart of Bremen (Germany), merchant, and 2nd, Anne (fl. 1589), daughter of Henry Herdson, alderman of London and widow of George Stoddart of London, and had issue:
(1.1) Sir Robert Barker (c.1560-1618), kt. (q.v.);
(1.2) Col. John Barker (fl. 1589); an officer in the army (Col.); inherited the manor of Bull's Hall, Yaxley, from his father; married a daughter of Paul Withypoll of Gonville Hall, Cambridge, and had issue two daughters;
(1.3) William Barker (fl. 1589); married and had issue, including a daughter who married Thomas Knapp of Battisford;
(1.4) Margery Barker (d. 1597); married, c.1585, Thomas Clench (c.1557-1624) of Holbrook (Suffk), lawyer (who m2, 1601, Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Revesby of Lavenham and widow of Henry Wingfield of Crowfield (Suffk) and m3, c.1609, Anne (d. 1626), daughter of John Burd of Denston (Suffk) and widow of Sir Anthony Wingfield of Goodwins Hoo (Suffk), but had no further issue), son and heir of John Clench, a judge of the court of King's Bench, and had issue three sons and two daughters; died 2 July 1597;
(1.5) Thomasine Barker; married, 1585, as the second of his three wives, Sir Robert Gardiner (1540-1620), kt., of Hartest and Shimpling (Suffk), Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, 1586-1603; perhaps died in Ireland;
(2.1) Abigail Barker (1584-1638), baptised in London, 1 March 1584; bequeathed a marriage portion of £1000 by her father and married 1st, Sir Edward Waterhouse (1581-1630), kt. of Shibden Hall, Halifax (Yorks WR), who became bankrupt, and 2nd, 24 October 1631 at St Peter Cornhill, London, Hon. William Fairfax of Lythe (Yorks) (who m2, Mary, daughter of Marmaduke Cholmeley of Brandsby (Yorks)), son of Thomas Fairfax, 1st Viscount Fairfax; buried at Christ Church, Newgate St., London (as Lady Abigail Waterhouse), 10 March 1638.
He lived in Ipswich. He purchased the Ringshall Hall estate in 1587.
He died in the parish of St. Olave, Hart St., London about 6 June 1589 and 'was carried to Ipswich to be buried'; his will was proved 16 June 1589 and confirmed after a family dispute, 7 July 1592. His first wife was living in 1572. His second wife survived him and may be the Ann Barker who married Robert Boolen at Trimley St. Martin in 1594; her date of death is unknown.

Barker, Sir Robert (c.1560-1618), kt. Eldest son of John Barker (c.1532-89) and his first wife, Wilhelmina, daughter and heir of John Bomart of Bremen (Germany), merchant, born about 1560.  Probably a merchant in Ipswich and London. Chamberlain of Ipswich, 1587, 1596-97; Bailiff, 1590-91; MP for Ipswich, 1593; JP for Ipswich 1591, 1597 and for Suffolk, 1601; High Sheriff of Suffolk, 1615-16. He was made a Knight of the Bath at the coronation of King James I, 1603. He married 1st, 1586 at St Olave, Hart St., London, Judith (d. 1594), daughter of George Stoddart esq. of Mottingham (Kent) and 2nd, 27 September 1597 at Little Saxham (Suffk), Susan (b. 1577), daughter of Sir John Crofts, kt., of Saxham (Suffk), and had issue:
(1.1) Sir John Barker (1587-1652), 1st bt. (q.v.);
(1.2) 'Namy' [Naomi] Barker (b. 1589), baptised at St. Olave, Hart St., London, 24 April 1589; probably died young;
(1.3) Robert Barker (d. 1625); died unmarried and was buried at Trimley St Martin, 21 April 1625;
(1.4) Anne Barker (d. 1637); married, 1616, Sir Arthur Jenney (1591-1668), kt., judge, of Knodishall (Suffk) (who married 2nd, Catherine Porter), son of Francis Jenney of Knodishall, and had issue seven sons and four daughters; buried at St Stephen, Norwich, 8 August 1637;
(2.1) Sir Thomas Barker (b. c.1598); heir to his mother; educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge (admitted 1618); lived at Besford and Hardington (Suffk); knighted at Newmarket, 21 February 1621/22; married, 3 March 1621/22 at Flixton (Suffk), Penelope, daughter of Sir John Tasburgh, kt. and had issue several children; living in 1651;
(2.2) Edward Barker (fl. 1618); married 1st, 1631 at St Mary-le-Tower, Ipswich, Mary (d. 1648), daughter and heiress of Edward Wigmore of Twickenham (Middx) and widow of Sir Thomas Holland (c.1578-1626), kt., of Quidenham (Norfk), and 2nd, a daughter of James Pooley esq. of Boxted (Suffk);
(2.3) William Barker [for whom see below, Barker family of Bocking Hall and Kilcooley Abbey];
(2.4) Edmond Barker (fl. 1618);
(2.5) Henry Barker (fl. 1618);
(2.6) Anthony Barker (fl. 1618);
(2.7) Frances Barker (fl. 1618), born after 1599;
(2.8) Susan Barker (fl. 1618), born after 1599;
(2.9) Elizabeth Barker (fl. 1618)born after 1612;
(2.10) Dorothy Barker (d. 1658?)born after 1612; probably the person of this name who died unmarried and was buried at Trimley St. Martin, 5 October 1658.
He inherited the Ringshall Hall estate from his father in 1589, and bought Grimston Hall in 1597.
He died 8 October 1618 and was buried at Battisford (Suffk); will proved 6 December 1618. His first wife was buried at St Olave, Hart St., London, 6 March 1593/4. His widow was living in 1622; her date of death is unknown.

Barker, Sir John (1587-1652), 1st bt. Elder son of Sir Robert Barker (c.1560-1618), kt. and his first wife, Judith, daughter of George Stoddart esq. of Mottingham (Kent), baptised at St Olave, Hart St., London, 16 November 1587. Educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge (matriculated 1606) and Lincoln's Inn (admitted 1609/10). He was created a baronet by King James I, 17 March 1621. High Sheriff of Suffolk, 1635-36. He was appointed to the Commission of Array in 1642, but seems to have taken no part in the Civil War. He married, 1619 at Lambs Chapel, London, Frances, daughter of Sir John Jermy, kt. of Brightwell (Suffk) and had issue:
(1) Sir John Barker (c.1623-64), 2nd bt. (q.v.);
(2) Thomas Barker (1625-60), baptised at Trimley St. Martin, 31 March 1625; educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge (matriculated 1642) and Grays Inn (admitted 1644/5); married a daughter of Sir Dudley Carleton, kt., of Imber Court (Surrey); buried at Trimley St Martin, 21 September 1660;
(3) Robert Barker (d. 1656); died without issue and was buried at Trimley St Martin, 15 May 1656.
He inherited Grimston Hall from his father in 1618.
He was buried at Trimley St Martin, 19 May 1652; his will was proved 17 June 1652. His wife apparently predeceased him.

Barker, Sir John (c.1623-64), 2nd bt. Eldest son of Sir John Barker (1587-1652), 1st bt. and his wife Frances, daughter of Sir John Jermy, kt. of Brightwell (Suffk), born at Teversham (Cambs) about 1623. Educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge (matriculated 1640). He succeeded his father as 2nd baronet in 1652. High Sheriff of Suffolk, 1654-55. He married, c.1653, Winifred (c.1635-73), daughter of Sir Philip Parker, kt., of Erwarton Hall (Suffk), and had issue:
(1) Sir Jermy Barker (1653-64), 3rd bt., baptised at Trimley St. Martin, 20 December 1653; succeeded his father as 3rd baronet and inherited Grimston Hall and Ringshall Hall in 1664, but died unmarried later the same year and was buried at Trimley St Martin, 15 December 1664;
(2) Sir John Barker (1655-96), 4th bt. (q.v.);
(3) Frances Barker (b. 1656), baptised at Trimley St. Martin, 30 December 1656;
(4) Dorothy Barker (b. & d. 1658), baptised at Trimley St. Martin, 18 February 1657/8; died in infancy and was buried at Trimley St. Martin, 5 October 1658;
(5) Philip Barker (b. 1659), baptised at Trimley St. Martin, 25 October 1659;
(6) Robert Barker (1661-1702), baptised at Trimley St. Martin, 16 April 1661; educated at Merton College, Oxford (matriculated 1677) and Grays Inn (admitted 1679); married, 1682 (lic. 2 October), Margaret (b. c.1667), daughter of Robert Marriot esq. of Bredfield (Suffk) and had issue two sons (both killed in active service under Queen Anne) and five daughters; buried at Trimley St Martin, 8 July 1702.
He inherited Grimston Hall from his father in 1652. After his death the property passed in turn to his eldest and second sons.
He was buried at Trimley St Martin, 30 March 1664 and his will was proved 27 May 1664. His widow married 2nd, 1665 (licence 15 December), Anthony Gawdy of Westminster; she was buried at Trimley St Martin, 29 September 1673.

Barker, Sir John (1655-96), 4th bt. Second son of Sir John Barker (c.1623-64), 2nd bt., and his wife Winifred, daughter of Sir Philip Parker, kt. of Erwarton Hall (Suffk), baptised a Trimley St. Martin, 2 September 1655. He succeeded his elder brother as 4th baronet in 1665. Educated at Merton College, Oxford (matriculated 1672/3). A Tory in politics, he was MP for Ipswich, 1680-81, 1685-87, 1689-96; JP (from c.1680) and DL (from 1685) for Suffolk; and was appointed a Portman of Ipswich, 1684-88. He married, 2 June 1678 at Barham (Suffk), Bridget (1660-1719?), eldest daughter of Sir Nicholas Bacon KB of Shrubland Hall, and had issue:
(1) Sir William Barker (1680-1731), 5th bt. (q.v.);
(2) Nicholas Barker (d. 1681); buried at Trimley St. Martin, 6 November 1681;
(3) Robert Barker (d. 1684); buried at Trimley St. Martin, 24 June 1684;
(4) Bridget Barker (d. 1687); buried at Trimley St. Martin, 9 August 1687;
(5) Katherine Barker (d. 1688); buried at Trimley St. Martin, 30 July 1688;
(6) Ann Barker (d. 1689); buried at Trimley St. Martin, 27 August 1689;
(7) Elizabeth Barker (d. 1689); buried at Trimley St. Martin, 21 August 1689;
(8) John Barker (d. 1694); buried at Trimley St. Martin, 30 January 1693/4;
(9) Grace Barker (d. 1727); married, 11 July 1724 at St Matthew, Ipswich, her first cousin, Philip Bacon esq. of Ipswich, son of Philip Bacon of Shrubland Hall; buried at Trimley St Martin, 3 July 1727.
He inherited Grimston Hall from his elder brother in 1665, but returned to live in Ipswich after coming of age.
He died at Ipswich and was buried at Trimley St Martin, 21 August 1696; his will was proved 3 November 1697. His widow married 2nd, 4 October 1698, John Ellis (c.1662-1738) of Grays Inn, barrister-at-law and solicitor of the excise, son of John Ellis of Grays Inn, and had further issue; she predeceased her husband and was buried at Trimley St Martin, 17 June 1719.

Barker, Sir William (1680-1731), 5th bt. Only son of Sir John Barker (1655-96), 4th bt., and his wife Bridget, eldest daughter of Sir Nicholas Bacon KB of Shrubland Hall (Suffk), said to have been born 23 October 1680. Educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge (matriculated 1702). He succeeded his father as 5th baronet, 1696. He was made a freeman of Orford (Suffk), 1703 and of Dunwich (Suffk), 1709. A Tory in politics, and a member of the October Club, he was MP for Ipswich 1708-13, Thetford, 1713-15 and Suffolk, 1722-31. High Sheriff of Suffolk, 1738-39. He married 1st, 8 October 1713 at Heveningham (Suffk), Mary (d. 1716), only daughter of John Bence esq. of Heveningham, and 2nd, 9 February 1731 at St Marylebone (Middx), Anne, daughter of John? Baker, and widow of Edward Spencer esq. of Rendlesham (Suffk), and had issue:
(1.1) Sir John Barker (1714-57), 6th bt. (q.v.).
He probably also had an illegitimate son by Mary King:
(X1) Charles King, to whom he left £500 to provide for his upbringing and apprenticeship ‘to some good trade’.
He inherited Grimston Hall from his father in 1696.
He died at his house in London, 23 July and was buried at Trimley St Martin, 31 July 1731. His first wife died 1 January, and was buried at Trimley St Martin, 9 January 1715/6. His widow died at Sproughton, 26 November 1754 and was buried at Trimley St. Martin; administration of her goods was granted 21 April 1760. 

Barker, Sir John (1714-57), 6th bt. Only child of Sir William Barker (1680-1731), 5th bt. and his first wife, Mary, only daughter of John Bence of Heveningham (Suffk), baptised at St Matthew, Ipswich (Suffk), 21 July 1714. Educated at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge (awarded MA 1734). He succeeded his father as 6th baronet, 2 July 1731. High Sheriff of Suffolk, 1743-44. He married, 28 October 1740 at Morden College (registered at St Luke, Charlton (Kent)), Alice, only daughter of Sir Comport Fytch, 2nd bt., of Mount Mascall, Eltham (Kent) and heir of her brother, Sir William Fytch (d. 1736), 3rd bt., and had issue:
(1) Sir John Fytch Barker (1741-66), 7th bt. (q.v.).
He inherited Grimston Hall from his father in 1731, but lived in Ipswich. In 1739 it was reported that he had inherited £12,000 under the will of John Ellis of Grays Inn (his step-grandfather). In about 1740 he purchased The Chantry, Sproughton (Suffk), to which he made 'substantial improvements'. On his marriage he acquired Mount Mascall and Jacket's Court (Kent) in right of his wife, but these estates passed to her absolutely on his death, and she bequeathed them to the daughters of her second husband.
He died 7 June and was buried at Trimley St Martin, 20 June 1757; his will was proved 14 July 1757. His widow married 2nd, 27 June 1759, Philip Brooke (d. 1762) of Nacton (Suffk) and was buried at Nacton, 16 October 1771; her will was proved 20 November 1771.

Barker, Sir John Fytch (1741-66), 7th bt. Only child of Sir John Barker (d. 1757), 6th bt., and his wife Alice, only daughter of Sir Compert Fytch, bt. of Mount Mascall (Kent), born 25 July 1741. He succeeded his father as 7th baronet, 7 June 1757. Educated at Rev. Samuel Swinden's Academy at Greenwich (Kent). He was an officer in the Suffolk Militia (Capt. by 1759). He married, May 1759, Lucy (c.1741-70), younger daughter of Sir Richard Lloyd, kt., of Hintlesham (Suffk), judge and MP, and had issue:
(1) John Barker (d. 1760); died in infancy and was buried at Trimley St. Martin, 15 October 1760.
He inherited Grimston Hall and The Chantry, Sproughton from his father in 1757. At his death he bequeathed his property to his widow for life with remainder to his distant kinsman, George Richard Savage Nassau (1756-1823), who was a descendant of the 5th baronet's second wife by her first husband; Sproughton was sold by Chancery decree in 1771.
He died at Sproughton, 3 January 1766, when the baronetcy became extinct; his will was proved 26 January 1766; however the entry for his buried at Trimley St. Martin is dated 12 April 1766. His widow married 2nd, 29 July 1767 at St Ann, Soho (Middx), Lt-Col. James Hamilton (1746-1804), equerry to the Duke of York, and had issue one daughter; she was buried at Hintlesham (Suffk), 18 September 1770; administration of her goods was granted in February 1785.

Barker family of Bocking Hall and Kilcooley Abbey

Barker, William. Third son of Sir Robert Barker (c.1560-1618), kt. and his second wife, Susanna, daughter of Sir John Crofts, kt., of Saxham (Suffk). A leading Baltic merchant and Navy contractor in London. Master of the Mercers Company, 1656 and 1672. Sometimes referred to as Alderman Barker, although he paid a fine to avoid the office on the day of his election in 1651. It was apparently he rather than his son who brought a petition before the King in 1667 against his ill usage by the Council of Ireland in the matter of certain lands there, which may perhaps have related to his property at Kilmainham. He married 1st, 16 July 1639 at Islington (Middx), Martha, daughter of William Turnor of Highworth (Wilts) and of London, merchant, and widow of Daniel Williams of London, merchant, and 2nd, 21 November 1655 at St Mary Bothaw, London, Grace, daughter of Henry Fetherston, and had issue, with others who were stillborn:
(1.1) Susanna Barker (1640-69), baptised at St Andrew Undershaft, London, 4 January 1640/1; died unmarried and was buried 30 September 1669;
(1.2) William Barker (d. 1643); died young and was buried at St. Helen, Bishopsgate, London, 1 March 1642/3;
(1.3) Martha Barker (b. 1642), baptised at St Helen Bishopsgate, London, 16 December 1642;
(1.4) William Barker (b. & d. 1645), baptised at St Helen, Bishopsgate, London, 18 January 1645; died in infancy and was buried at the same church, 23 January 1645;
(1.5) Mary Barker (b. & d. 1646), baptised 7 January 1645/6; died in infancy and was buried at St Helen, Bishopsgate, London, 17 July 1646;
(1.6) Thomas Barker (b. 1647), baptised at St Helen, Bishopsgate, London, 11 November 1647; probably died young;
(1.7) Sir William Barker (1648-1719), 1st bt. (q.v.);
(1.8) Lucy Barker (d. 1651); buried 18 January 1650/1;
(2.1) Grace Barker (b. & d. 1656), baptised 6 September 1656; died in infancy and was buried 22 December 1656;
(2.2) Robert Barker (b. 1657), born 3 December 1657 and baptised at St Helen, Bishopsgate, 5 January 1658; educated at University College, Oxford (matriculated 1676) and Grays Inn (admitted 1678/9);
(2.3) Henry Barker (b. 1659), baptised 11 April 1659.
He inherited Ringshall Hall from his father in 1618. In 1649 he bought the manor of Everleigh (Wilts), which passed to his grandson Robert, whose descendants sold it in 1765. In 1660 he took a 999-year lease of a property at Kilmainham (Co. Meath).
His date of death is unknown. His first wife was buried at St Helen, Bishopsgate, 24 May 1653. His second wife's date of death is unknown.

Barker, Sir William (1648-1719), 1st bt. Only known son of William Barker and his wife Martha, daughter of William Turnor of Highworth (Wilts) and London, merchant, and widow of Daniel Williams of London, merchant, baptised at St Helen, Bishopsgate, London, 18 December 1648. Educated at Queens' College, Cambridge (matriculated 1667; created MA 1669) and Grays Inn (admitted 1670). He moved to Ireland and mortgaged his estate at Bocking. He was created a baronet by King Charles II, 29 March 1676. He married 1st, 1676 (settlement 23 June), Elizabeth, principal heiress of Sir Joseph Alexander, kt., Justice of the Common Pleas in Ireland, 1660-70, and 2nd, 1702 (licence 11 November), Letitia Motham (b. c.1672), and had issue:
(1.1) Sir William Barker (c.1677-1746), 2nd bt. (q.v.);
(1.2) Jerome Barker; died unmarried before December 1722;
(1.3) Robert Barker (d. 1722), of Everleigh Manor (Wilts); married [forename unknown], daughter and co-heir of Samuel Keck esq. of the Middle Temple, Master in Chancery; died without issue, December 1722;
(1.4) Martha Barker (fl. 1725); living in 1725, and probably died unmarried.
He inherited Ringshall Hall and the Kilmainham estate from his father and purchased Bocking Hall (Essex), which he mortgaged to Prisca Cobourne, who gained possession of it after his death and is said to have used it to endow a charity for the widows and children of poor clergymen. Through his marriage he acquired Sir Jerome Alexander's Kilcooley Abbey estate in Co. Tipperary, which was worth £1,500 a year, and a leasehold estate at Kilmainham; it is not clear whether this was the same property which his father had leased (perhaps as a sub-tenant) or an adjoining one.
He died in Ireland in 1719 and his will was proved 13 November 1719; a later will was subsequently found and was proved 10 December 1742. His first wife died in 1702; her will was proved Dublin, 18 December 1702. His widow was living in 1724.

Barker, Sir William (c.1677-1746), 2nd bt. Eldest son of Sir William Barker (1648-1719), 1st bt., and his wife Elizabeth, sixteenth child but principal heiress of Sir Jerome Alexander, kt., one of the Justices of Common Pleas in Ireland, born about 1677. Educated at Middle Temple (admitted 1696). He succeeded his father as 2nd baronet in about 1719. High Sheriff of Suffolk, 1738-39. He seems to have been a selfish, litigious and rather foolish man, who wasted a great deal of money on lawsuits and high living. He had a poor opinion of his sons, whom he starved of funds, but made a generous provision for his daughters' marriage portions, which he could ill-afford. In 1737, he was said to be pursuing a wealthy widow, Lady Kemp, whose fortune might have assisted his financial problems, but he married 1st, 7 August 1703 at St Paul's Cathedral, London, Catherine Teresa (d. by 1737), daughter and co-heir of Samuel Keck esq. of the Middle Temple, and 2nd, 1745, Deborah Beaumont (d. 1770), and had issue:
(1.1) Sir William Barker (1704-70), 3rd bt. (q.v.);
(1.2) Samuel Barker (d. 1779); sent to live with his elder brother at Kilcooley, where he farmed one of the estate farms; described as 'my idle and spendthrift second son' in his father's will, where he was left only an annuity of £20 a year, 'enough to keep him from starving till be betakes himself to some industry to get his Bread'; died unmarried at Kilcooley, 1779;
(1.3) Alexander Barker (d. 1806?); 'my like unworthy third son', also granted an annuity of £20 a year in his father's will; possibly the man of this name whose will was proved in Dublin in 1806;
(1.4) Elizabeth Barker (d. 1780); married, before 1746, Thomas Vokes (1707-65) of Cragbeg, Limerick, barrister-at-law and sheriff of Limerick, 1760, son of William Vokes of Limerick, and had issue four sons and one daughter; died 24 March 1780;
(1.5) Hannah Martha Barker; living in 1741 but not mentioned in her father's will and probably died unmarried;
(1.6) Grace Barker; married, 1743 at Ringshall, Rev. William Peppen (c.1721-89), rector of Ringshall and Battisford (Suffk), 1744-89, son of Rev. William Peppen, previously vicar of Ringshall, and had issue one son and two daughters; buried at Ringshall, where she and her husband are commemorated by a monument.
He inherited Ringshall Hall and Kilcooley Abbey from his father in about 1719, but lived chiefly in England, where he was criticised by his son for his expenditure on improvements at Ringshall. He is said to have planned to develop Kilcooley as a market town, and to have intended to build a mansion there, but these plans were frustrated by his profligacy and his expenditure on lawsuits. In 1735 he transferred ownership of Kilcooley to his son, subject to a rent-charge, which at £350 a year represented more than half the value of the estate. At the time of his death he was living at Kilmainham.
He died 5 May 1746; his will was proved 4 June 1746 but was subject to a dispute between his widow and eldest son resolved in favour of the former in January 1747. His first wife was dead by 1737. His widow married 2nd, 1751, William Daniel (d. 1771) of Colchester, attorney, and was buried at Colchester, 30 September 1770.

Sir William Barker, 3rd bt.
Barker, Sir William (1704-70), 3rd bt. Eldest son of Sir William Barker (c.1677-1746), 2nd bt., and his wife Catherine Teresa, daughter and co-heir of Samuel Keck esq. of the Middle Temple, born 1704. Educated at Kilkenny College and Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1720/1), where he was involved in an undergraduate riot. He worked hard at improving the Kilcooley estate after taking over its ownership and management in 1735, and lived modestly in a way that laid the foundations for the considerable prosperity of his son, but he took no part in public affairs. He succeeded his father as 3rd baronet, 5 May 1746. He married, 1736, Mary (c.1720-76), daughter of Valentine Quin esq. of Adare (Co. Limerick), and had issue:
(1) Sir William Barker (c.1737-1818), 4th bt. (q.v.);
(2) Mary Barker (c.1740-75) (q.v.);
(3) Hannah Maria Barker (d. by 1779); her portrait was painted, probably by John Lewis; married, August 1767, Col. Eland Mossom (1749-1808) of Kilkenny, MP for Kilkenny, 1777-83 and Col. of Kilkenny Rangers (who m2, November 1779, Jane, daughter of Christopher Hewetson, and had further issue four sons and six daughters), only son of Eland Mossom of Mount Eland (Co. Kilkenny), and had issue one son (who died young); died in or before 1779.
He was given Kilcooley Abbey by his father in 1735, subject to a heavy rent-charge, and  inherited Ringshall Hall from his father in 1746, which he sold in 1750 to reduce the estate's debts. He also had a town house in Rutland Sq., Dublin.
He died 20 March 1770 and his will was proved in Dublin. His widow died at Kilkenny, 16 September 1776.

Sir William Barker, 4th bt.
Barker, Sir William (c.1737-1818), 4th bt. Only son of Sir William Barker (1704-70), 3rd bt., and his wife Mary, daughter of Valentine Quin esq. of Adare (Co. Limerick), born about 1737.  Educated at Kilkenny College and Middle Temple (admitted 1757). High Sheriff of Co. Tipperary, 1764. He succeeded his father as 4th baronet, 20 March 1770. He was noted for an experiment in settling Protestant farmers from the Palatinate in south-west Germany on smallholdings of 32 acres on his estate, with a view to establishing a numerous and prosperous Protestant peasantry on his estate; the resulting settlement is still known as Palatinate Street. He had an aversion to politics, but his desire to take a lead in local affairs led him to establish two companies of Kilcooley Infantry (the Kilcooley True Blues and Slievedarragh Light Dragoons) as part of the Tipperary Volunteers; Sir William himself acting as colonel of the former troop. He married, 1760 (licence 23 January), Catherine (c.1740-1830), only daughter and heiress of William Lane esq. of Dublin, attorney, but had no issue.
He seems to have built a small house with a circular tower at either end called Wilford (formerly and later known as Shangarry) four miles from Callan (Co. Kilkenny) and lived there until he inherited Bocking Hall and Kilcooley Abbey from his father in 1770. He apparently attempted to let Kilcooley in 1770 but evidently decided to rebuild it and to let Wilford instead; it is now a ruin. On his death his estates passed to his nephew, Charles Brabazon Ponsonby (later Ponsonby-Barker) (1762-1834). He had a town house in Alfred St., Dublin. His widow lived latterly at Bath (Somerset).
He died 22 October 1818, when the baronetcy became extinct. His widow died at Bath in April 1830 and was buried at Kilcooley; her will was proved in the PCC, 21 June 1830.

Barker, Mary (c.1740-75). Eldest daughter of Sir William Barker (1704-70), 3rd bt., and his wife Mary, daughter of Valentine Quin esq. of Adare (Co. Limerick), probably born about 1740. After the death of her first husband, she and her children lived at Kilcooley until she married again; after her remarriage, her children by her first husband remained with her brother at Kilcooley and were brought up as his own*. She married 1st, 1758 in Ireland (licence) as his third wife, Chambré Brabazon Ponsonby (1729-62), MP for Newtownards, 1750-60 and High Sheriff of Co. Kilkenny, 1756, son of Maj-Gen. the Hon. Henry Ponsonby of Ashfield (Kilkenny), and 2nd, 1766 (licence), as his second wife, Sir Robert Staples (1740-1816), 7th bt. of Dunmore (Co. Leix), and had issue:
(1.1) Mary Ponsonby (b. c.1760; fl. 1816), born about 1760; established a school at Fethard (Co. Tipperary); married, 1786, Thomas Barton (1757-1818) of Grove, Fethard, MP for Fethard, 1783-97 and son of William Barton, and had issue five sons and four daughters; living in 1816;
(1.2) Chambré Brabazon Ponsonby (later Ponsonby-Barker) (1762-1834), born 12 June 1762; an officer in the 2nd Horse (Lt.) and in Shivardugh & Comsey Union Cavalry (Lt., 1796); freeman of Fethard (Co. Tipperary), 1786; MP for Dungarvan in Irish House of Commons, 1790-97; Trustee of the Linen Board for Ulster, 1795; inherited Belmont Lodge, Durrow (Co. Leix) from his father and the Bocking Hall and Kilcooley Abbey estates from his uncle, Sir William Barker, in 1818, when he took the additional name Barker; married, 4 June 1791, Lady Henrietta (d. 1838), eldest daughter of Thomas Taylour, 1st Earl of Bective and had issue three sons [from whom descend the Ponsonbys of Kilcooley Abbey who will be the subject of a separate post] and one daughter; died 13 December 1834;
(2.1) Anne Maria Staples (c.1769-1849), born about 1769; married, 1799, as his second wife, Ralph Smyth (1755-1817) of Gaybrook, son of Ralph Smyth of Fieldstown (Westmeath), and had issue two sons and three daughters; died 16 February 1849.
(2.2) Sir Robert Staples (1772-1832), 8th bt., born 13 February 1772; died unmarried, 24 June 1832, but had an illegitimate son (Edmond) who inherited Dunmore House. [The Staples baronets of Dunmore and Lissan House will be the subject of a future post].
Her first husband was seated at Ashfield (Co. Kilkenny); her second husband at Dunmore House (Co. Leix).
She died in Dublin, 'after a tedious illness, borne with pious resignation', early in February 1775 and was buried at Castle Durrow (Co. Leix). Her first husband died 20 December 1762. Her second husband died in 1816.
*The family circle is said also to have included Sarah Ponsonby (1755-1831), the daughter of Mary's first husband by a previous marriage, who later achieved celebrity as one of the Ladies of Llangollen.


Burke's Landed Gentry, 1850, p. 54; Burke's Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies, 2nd edn., 1841, pp. 35-37; W.G. Neely, Kilcooley: land and people in Tipperary, 1983; E.M. Johnston-Liik, History of the Irish Parliament, 1692-1800, 2002, vol. 6, pp. 81-82; W. Hayes & A. Kavanagh, The Tipperary gentry, 2003, pp. 182-94; J. Bettley & Sir N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Suffolk - East, 2015, p. 377;;;;;;

Location of archives

Barker family of Bocking Hall and Kilcooley Abbey: deeds, estate and family papers, 17th-20th cents. [Trinity College Library, Dublin, Ponsonby papers]. 
No substantial group of papers relating to the Barker family of Grimston Hall and The Chantry is known to survive.

Coat of arms

Party per fess nebuly, azure and sable, three martlets or.

Can you help?

  • Does anyone know more about the ownership history of Bocking Hall in the 18th and 19th centuries?
  • Can anyone provide further genealogical information for the earlier generations of this family? I am particularly keen to establish birth and death dates for William Barker, son of Sir Robert Barker (d. 1618) and father of Sir William Barker, 1st bt. of Kilcooley, and to find out more about his younger siblings.
  • I should be most grateful if anyone can provide photographs or portraits of people whose names appear in bold above, and who are not already illustrated.
  • As always, any additions or corrections to the account given above will be gratefully received and incorporated.

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 19 July 2019 and was updated 20 July, 19 & 22 August, 2, 4, 12 and 22 September 2019 and 17 July 2020. I am most grateful to Herbert Schubert for assistance with images.

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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.