Monday, 5 August 2019

(386) Barker of Hambleton Old Hall and Lyndon Hall

Barker of Lyndon Hall
The Barkers who became one of the leading gentry families of England's smallest county, Rutland, were tenant farmers in and around Hambleton for several generations before Baldwin Barker (d. 1603), with whom the genealogy below begins, began their rise in social status. He remained a tenant farmer, but greatly enlarged his holding, which he bequeathed to his eldest son, Abel Barker (d. 1637). Abel continued his father's expansion, and in 1634 he was in a position to invest over £1,000 in the purchase of The Old Hall, Hambleton, which had been built a generation or so earlier. The Old Hall had all the symmetry and elegance expected of a gentry residence, but was on a modest scale, and it was not the manor house. At some point in the mid 17th century its aspirational qualities were reinforced by the creation of loggias in the centre of both fronts, and it may be that this was the work of Abel Barker, or perhaps of his second son, Sir Abel Barker (1618-79), 1st bt., who inherited the house and some of his father's lands in 1637 and the rest of the estate when his elder brother died two years later.

Certainly Sir Abel (as he became in 1665) later evinced an interest in architecture. He seems to have successfully navigated the difficult years of the Civil War, in which he was a moderate Parliamentarian, while retaining links by marriage with some of the local Royalist families, and he found immediate favour with the new regime at the Restoration, as is shown by his continuation as a JP and his appointment as a Deputy Lieutenant in 1660. In 1662 he took the opportunity to purchase the Lyndon estate, about two miles south of Hambleton, jointly with his younger brother Thomas, who paid about a third of the purchase price. There was an old gabled manor house here, less imposing than his existing house at Hambleton, and he decided to replace it with a new house that would be more consistent with the increased size of his estate and with his new dignity as a baronet. Rather than turn to a local mason or an acknowledged gentleman amateur for a design, however, he turned architect himself, and the fortunate survival of some of his records mean that we can follow how he went about the project in a way that is rarely possible.
Top Hall, Lyndon: apparently built for Thomas Barker at the same time
as his brother built Lyndon Hall. Image: Alan Murray-Rust. Some rights reserved
His younger brother, Thomas, who had assisted with the purchase of the Lyndon estate, did not share the new house, but seems to have built a smaller version of it in the form of the five-bay house now known as Top Hall, Lyndon, but formerly as High Hall. Since Thomas was unmarried and had no children, he bequeathed this property to his nephew, Sir Thomas Barker (1647-1707), 2nd bt., who had succeeded his father in the main house in 1679, and thus united the two moieties of the property. Sir Thomas, who was also unmarried, did not share the financial prudence of his forbears, and spent freely on an active social life among the local gentry. As a result of this, and the burden placed on the estate by provision for a number of long-lived widows, it was a substantially incumbered property that Sir Thomas bequeathed at his death to his second cousin once removed, Samuel Barker.

South Luffenham Hall: a late 17th century house clearly influenced
by Lyndon Hall.  Image: James Lees-Milne/Historic England
Samuel Barker (1686-1759) was the great-grandson of Baldwin Barker's youngest son (another Samuel). His immediate forbears had been farmers at North and South Luffenham, although I have found no evidence that they ever owned South Luffenham Hall, which was another house so close in style to Lyndon Hall and Top Hall that one feels Sir Abel Barker must at least have provided advice to the builder if he did not design it himself. Samuel Barker is said to have been obliged to rent out Lyndon Hall for some twenty years, during which time he lived in London, although I have not been able to confirm this from original sources. He married Mary, the daughter of William Whiston (1667-1752), who was Newton's successor as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge until he was deprived in 1710 for his unorthodox religious views. Samuel was himself a Hebrew scholar of some note, and had interests in common with Whiston, who was not only a mathematician but also a theologian and historian. Samuel's only son, Thomas Barker (1722-1809), inherited his father's academic interests, and although he appears not to have been sent to University he became a pioneering meteorologist and also interested himself in the study of comets as well as in religious subjects. He was also notable in his time for being a lifelong vegetarian or vegan, who abstained from animal productions not from any conviction but because it was discovered in childhood that they disagreed with him. In later years, however, he did come to feel that his long and healthy life were a result of this abstinence. Thomas married Ann, the sister of Gilbert White, the pioneering naturalist, and the two men corresponded about their shared interest in the natural world, and particularly in the migration patterns of birds.

Like his father, Thomas had only one son, Samuel Barker (1757-1835), who proved to be the last of the male line of his family, since his only son died young. At his death, therefore, the estate passed to his two daughters, who died in 1843 and 1846, and was then purchased from their executors by his nephew, the Rev. Edward Brown (1786-1862), who was rector of Sheering (Essex) until he resigned his living in 1843. He was unmarried and had no children, so at his death he bequeathed the Lyndon and Hambleton estate to his nephew, Edward Nathaniel Conant (1820-1901), whose descendants hold it today. The Conant family will be the subject of a future post.

Hambleton Old Hall, Rutland

This house was not the manor house of Hambleton, and it was not much larger than a farmhouse, but it was an ambitious house, built for Christopher Loveday, gentleman, and called 'newly erected' when he sold it in 1611. It has been altered in later centuries, but it was from the first a very consciously designed and rather playful building, exploring in miniature some of the themes of the great mansions of the area. 

Hambleton Old Hall: engraving of the north front by W. Eaton, published in The Builder in 1906. Eaton was an architect, who may have been responsible for the restoration of the house.
In form it was originally a simple H-plan, with a central hall (entered in the traditional way through a screens passage) with great chamber above, flanked by gabled wings that project on  both the north and south fronts: that on the east containing the family rooms and than on the west the service rooms. Except for the recessed centres, which are faced with ashlar, the house is built of rubble stone which may originally have been finished with limewash. It has mullioned and transomed windows with ovolo mouldings and straight hoodmoulds over each window rather than continuous stringcourses. At roof level, the centre of each side, the inner faces of the wings, and the east front, have parapets of bold open arcading, an unusual motif also found at Exton Old Hall. The main rooms face south, and on this front the windows are somewhat larger than on the north side, although both fronts are almost perfectly symmetrical. 

Hambleton Old Hall: ground plan (after J.A. Gotch). Key: A: porch; B: hall; C: dining rm; D: kitchen; E: bakehouse.

The authors of the Buildings of England suggest that the entrance may originally have been on the south side, but the plan suggests that the recessed centre of the north front had single-storey blocks in the re-entrant angles forming a porch, leading into the screens passage, and on the other side either a bay window at the dais end of the hall or a closet opening off it. Later in the 17th century, when the house was remodelled (perhaps by Abel Barker, who bought it in 1634, or by his son), these two features were incorporated into a four-bay arched loggia with a flat roof and balustrade; on the south side, where there were no projections to incorporate, the similar loggia was simply formed of columns supporting the balustraded parapet. 

Hambleton Old Hall: the south front of the house in 1930. Image: Country Life.
Other 17th century changes include the partial refenestration of the south front with cross-windows; the insertion of a dog-leg staircase with fairly slim balusters to replace one of the original spiral staircases, and the addition of tall ashlar-faced chimneys; the low service wing on the west may also be of this period, since it existed when the house was sketched in the early 19th century. The 17th century makeover was not too sweeping, however, and some of the original interior features also survive, including several doorways and fireplaces with four-centered heads and some simple wainscoting in the dining room. The house was restored at the end of the 19th century and remained the centre of an active farm until the construction of Rutland Water (completed in 1975). The new reservoir flooded the Gwash valley, including most of the farmland attached to the house, which was left surrounded by water on three sides.

Descent: built for Christopher Loveday; sold 1611 to Roger Quarles, whose descendants sold 1634 to Abel Barker (d. 1637); to son, Sir Abel Barker (1618-79), 1st bt.; to son, Sir Thomas Barker (1647-1707), 2nd bt.; to second cousin, Samuel Barker (1686-1759); to son, Thomas Barker (1722-1809); to son, Samuel Barker (1757-1835); to daughters, Mary (1794-1843) and Ann (1795-1846); sold 1846 to their cousin, Rev. Edward Brown (1787-1862); to nephew, Edward Nathaniel Conant (1820-1901); to son, Ernest William Proby Conant (1850-1920); to son, Sir Roger John Edward Conant (1899-1973), 1st bt.; to son, Sir John Ernest Michael Conant (b. 1923), 2nd bt.; given to son Simon Edward Christopher Conant (b. 1958). The house was effectively used as a dower house in the 18th and 19th centuries, and occasionally let when it was not needed by the family. In the 20th century it was let to the redoubtable Miss Maud Tryon 1910-49 and to Air Vice Marshal Johnnie Johnson in the 1970s.

Lyndon Hall, Rutland

A satisfyingly logical and externally well-preserved stone house, largely designed by the owner, Sir Abel Barker (1618-79), 1st bt., with some professional input from a surveyor called John Sturges, and constructed in 1672-77. Barker was evidently of the same mind as Roger North, who thought professional architects 'proud, opinionated and troublesome', and never there when wanted; while a 'workman pretending to the designing part' was 'full of paltry vulgar contrivances'. 'Therefore', concluded North, 'be your own architect or sit still'. Sir Abel bought the Lyndon estate jointly with his brother Thomas in 1662 and found there a gabled manor house which was inferior to the house he had inherited at Hambleton. But the situation was good, and he soon turned his mind to the project of building an up-to-date new house at Lyndon that would reflect the dignity of his enlarged estate and new baronetcy. He began by assembling a small working library of architectural books and making notes on them. Those he relied on most were Palladio (probably in the first English translation of 1663), Sir Balthazar Gerbier's Advice to All Builders (also of 1663) and The Act for Rebuilding the City of London (1667), which set out in detail the building standards required after the Great Fire of London. On the basis of these sources, Barker developed a scheme for the house over the winter of 1667-68 and then discussed his ideas with John Sturges, before producing a specification dated 10 March 1668. Sturges's role was evidently to turn Barker's notes and ideas into a design; he produced a 'modello' - perhaps a drawing rather than a three-dimensional model, although the latter is certainly possible - on which Barker formulated critical observations. Sturges was paid for further advice in 1672, but that seems to have been the limit of his involvement, for Sir Abel contracted directly with his craftsmen and evidently superintended construction himself. This sort of collaborative approach to building was probably more common in the 17th century than we can now readily credit in an age conditioned to expect a clear distinction between client and architect, but this is one instance where the documentation survives to demonstrate it.

The design for Lyndon Hall may have been largely agreed by 1668 but construction did not begin until 1672, and in the intervening years Sir Abel no doubt accumulated funds to pay for the project, and acquired and seasoned building materials; he may also have gained experience in supervising workmen by playing a role in his widowed sister's new house at Medbourne (Leics), for which contracts were signed in 1668, or by building Top Hall at Lyndon, a smaller five-bay house in very much the same style as Lyndon Hall itself, which is believed to have been erected for his brother Thomas. South Luffenham Manor, which is not closely dated, is very similar in style to Lyndon, and Stapleford Park (Leics), dated only c.1670-80, has a wing which is a nine-bay version of the design, so it may be that having demonstrated his skill at Lyndon, Sir Abel was called upon to assist his friends and neighbours with their buildings, as other gentlemen amateurs are known to have done.

Lyndon Hall: the east front. Image: Country Life.

Stylistically, Lyndon Hall clearly owes a debt to Thorpe Hall, Peterborough (1653-56), which was no doubt the fashionable house nearest and most familiar to Barker, though grander than his aspirations for Lyndon. The house as originally built was an absolutely square triple-pile building, with each front 64 feet long and consisting of seven bays and two storeys. It has a hipped roof with deep eaves, four handsome chimneystacks decorated with rusticated arches on each side that are regularly and symmetrically placed, and dormer windows with alternating triangular and segmental pediments. A central lead flat with a cupola was intended at one time, but may have been omitted in the final design.  Originally, the facades all had a central doorway with a swan-necked pediment supported on pilasters with sunk panels, but that on the west side was lost when the house was enlarged in the 19th century, that on the north now has a porch, and that on the east has been converted into a window. Each facade also has rusticated quoins, a plain string course, and stone cross-windows with bolection-moulded surrounds.
Lyndon Hall: reconstruction of original plan.
Key: A: Entrance Hall; B: Great Hall; C: Drawing Rm; D: Summer Parlour;
E: Winter Parlour; F: Kitchen; G: Back Hall; H: Staircase.

While the exterior of Lyndon Hall survives remarkably well, the interior has been much altered, though enough survives to enable the original arrangement to be understood, in conjunction with Sir Abel Barker's notes and accounts. The two major cross-walls dividing the three piles of the house run from east to west, and the house was designed around the axis of a corridor running at right-angles to these walls from the doorway in the south (entrance) front to its counterpart on the north front. The four corners of the house were occupied by the largest rooms: the kitchen and related spaces (north-west), the summer parlour (north-east), the great hall (south-east) and the entrance hall and winter parlour (south-west), while the drawing room and staircase lay between the hall and summer parlour in the centre of the east front, and the corresponding space on the west side of the house was occupied by a back hall, back stairs and the larder. 

Lyndon Hall in 1910, showing the large addition made for E.N. Conant in 1867.
Little seems to have been done to the house by way of alterations before it passed out the hands of the Barker family in 1846. The Rev. Edward Brown is said to have spent £5,000 on improvements to the house in the late 1840s, and after it was inherited by E.N. Conant in 1862, he carried out a major remodelling and redecoration of the interior, completed in about 1867. He moved the entrance from the south side to the north, built a large new wing onto the west side of the house, incorporating a new dining room, extra bedrooms and service rooms, and a huge glass-roofed conservatory; turned the winter parlour into a library; rebuilt the staircase and formed arcaded openings between it and the central corridor on both the ground and first floors; and also replaced the partition wall between the corridor and the summer parlour with a screen of Tuscan columns. The old great hall became a new drawing room, and was given convincing mid-18th century style decoration, and perhaps at the same time, the 17th century stables, which have mullioned and transomed windows and coped gables, were elaborated with an arcaded stone cupola and arched windows. The present interiors are therefore largely mid 19th century, although the Victorian wing was demolished (except for the dining room) in the mid 20th century.

Lyndon Hall: the south front, showing the dining room that is all that survives of a large Victorian wing. Image: AndyDij.

Descent: sold 1662 to Sir Abel Barker (1618-79), 1st bt.; to son, Sir Thomas Barker (c.1648-1707), 2nd bt.; to second cousin, Samuel Barker (1686-1759); to son, Thomas Barker (1722-1809); to son, Samuel Barker (1757-1835); to daughters, Mary (1794-1843) and Ann (1795-1846); sold 1846 to their cousin, Rev. Edward Brown (1787-1862); to nephew, Edward Nathaniel Conant (1820-1901); to son, Ernest William Proby Conant (1850-1920); to son, Sir Roger John Edward Conant (1899-1973), 1st bt.; to son, Sir John Ernest Michael Conant (b. 1923), 2nd bt.; given to son Simon Edward Christopher Conant (b. 1958).

Barker family of Lyndon Hall

Barker, Baldwin (d. 1603). Parentage unknown. Tenant farmer and wool grazier at Hambleton. He may have been illiterate as he signed his will with a mark. It is generally said that he married twice, but there seems to be no evidence of a wife other than Elizabeth Taylor, by whom he had issue:
(1) Abel Barker (d. 1637) (q.v.);
(2) Rev. Thomas Barker (1572-1617), born at Luffenham (Rut.); educated at Trinity College, Cambridge (matriculated 1589); rector of All Saints & St Peter, Stamford, 1601 and perhaps also rector of Yelden (Beds), 1603-17; buried 12 November 1617;
(3) Mary Barker (fl. 1603); married [forename unknown] Tookey, probably of South Luffenham;
(4) Agnes Barker (fl. 1603); married [forename unknown] Taylor;
(5) Dorothy Barker (fl. 1603); married (intended in 1583), Richard Tampion of South Luffenham;
(6) Clement Barker (fl. 1635); fined for non-payment of church rates, 1620 and 1630, and for tippling on a Sunday, 1635; married, before 1592, Margaret [surname unknown], who was accused of being unfaithful;
(7) Susan Barker (fl. 1603); married [forename unknown] Cooke;
(8) Samuel Barker (d. 1585); buried at Hambleton, 2 July 1585;
(9) Thomasine Barker (b. 1584), baptised at Hambleton, 19 February 1583/4; married John Musson, possibly the father of the man of that name who was later bailiff to her nephew at Hambleton;
(10) Samuel Barker (1586-1658) (q.v.);
(11) Zachary Barker (b. & d. 1589), baptised at Hambleton, 29 September 1589; died in infancy and was buried 10 October 1589.
He lived at Hambleton.
He was buried at Hambleton, 5 July 1603; his will was proved in the PCC, 13 January 1603/4. His widow was buried at Hambleton, 12 January 1619; her will was proved at Peterborough.

Barker, Abel (d. 1637). Elder son of Baldwin Barker (d. 1603) and his wife, Elizabeth Taylor. Wool grazier. He married, 2 November 1605 at Hambleton, Elizabeth Wright (d. 1665) of Uppingham (Rut.), and had issue including:
(1) John Barker (1608-39), baptised at Hambleton, 19 June 1608; inherited the major part of his father's lands at Hambleton; High Sheriff of Rutland, 1637-38; buried at Hambleton, 16 October 1639; will proved at Peterborough, 1639;
(2) Thomasine Barker (b. 1610), baptised at Hambleton, 9 April 1610; built Medbourne Hall; married, 8 February 1629 at Hambleton, Andrew Collin of Medbourne (Leics) and had issue two daughters;
(3) Edmond Barker (b. & d. 1612), baptised at Hambleton, 12 September 1612; died in infancy and was buried at Hambleton, 30 November 1612;
(4) Elizabeth Barker (b. 1613), baptised at Hambleton, 8 January 1613/4; married 1st, 6 January 1641 at Hambleton, Valentine Goodman, yeoman, and had issue five sons; married 2nd, Everard Goodman (d. 1687), the step-brother of her first husband;
(5) Abel Barker (1616-17), baptised at Hambleton, 14 May 1616; died in infancy and was buried at Hambleton, 28 August 1617;
(6) Sir Abel Barker (1618-79), 1st bt. (q.v.);
(7) Thomas Barker (c.1620-80), born about 1620; High Sheriff of Rutland, 1670-71; purchased the manor and advowson of Lyndon jointly with his brother Abel in 1662 and probably built Top Hall for his own use; died unmarried and was buried at Lyndon 1 October 1680; will proved in the PCC, 1 June 1681;
(8) Mary Barker (b. 1621), baptised at Hambleton, 21 October 1621; married, 1648 (sett. Jan), Henry Green and had issue two sons and three daughters;
(9) Ephraim Barker (b. 1624), baptised at Hambleton, 14 April 1624.
He bought Hambleton Old Hall (Rutland) in 1634.
He died in 1637; his will was proved at Peterborough, 1637. His widow was buried at Hambleton, 29 November 1665.

Barker, Sir Abel (1618-79), 1st bt. Second son of Abel Barker (d. 1637) and his wife Elizabeth Wright, baptised at Hambleton, 20 September 1618. High Sheriff of Rutland, 1646-47 and selected to serve for Leicestershire, 1652-53 but was discharged by Parliament for unknown reasons; MP for Rutland, 1656-58, 1679 and also stood unsuccessfully in 1661. He was a DL for Rutland 1660-79 and JP for Rutland, 1647-52, 1653-79. He was a lukewarm Parliamentarian and served on the Rutland County Committee, but by twice marrying into Royalist families he prudently sought to build up some credit with the other side, and this eased his acceptance by the new regime after the Restoration; he signed the loyal address at the Restoration. He was nominated for the proposed Order of knights of the Royal Oak and created a baronet, 9 September 1665. He married 1st, about July 1646, Anne (1611-47), daughter of Sir Thomas Burton, 1st bt. of Stockerston (Leics) and 2nd, 6 September 1655 at Ketton (Rut.), Mary (d. 1710), daughter of Alexander Noel esq. of Whitwell (Rut.), and had issue:
(1.1) Sir Thomas Barker (1647-1707), 2nd bt. (q.v.);
(2.1) Mary Barker (1656-85), baptised at Hambleton, 7 August 1656; married Christopher Dighton (d. 1702) of Middle Temple, but had no issue; buried at Lyndon, 1685;
(2.2) twin, John Barker (b. & d. 1657), baptised at Hambleton, 24 June 1657; died in infancy and was buried at Hambleton, 26 June 1657;
(2.3) twin, Abel Barker (b. & d. 1657), baptised at Hambleton, 24 June 1657; died in infancy and was buried at Hambleton, 10 November 1657;
(2.4) twin, Thomasine Barker (1658-97), baptised at Hambleton, 15 June 1658; married Col. William Parsons (d. 1710), and had issue one daughter; buried with great pomp at St Margaret, Westminster, December 1697;
(2.5) twin, Elizabeth Barker (b. 1658), baptised at Hambleton, 15 June 1658; married, 1686 (agreement 11 June) at St Bride, Fleet St., London, Francis Leigh (b. 1648) of Ireland, and had issue two daughters.
He inherited Hambleton Old Hall from his father in 1637 and the rest of the estate on his elder brother's death in 1639. He purchased the Lyndon estate in 1662 (with his brother Thomas) and built Lyndon Hall, 1668-75 to his own designs, with advice from one John Sturges.
He was buried at Lyndon, 2 September 1679. His first wife died in 1647. His widow died in 1710.

Barker, Sir Thomas (1647-1707), 2nd bt. Only son of Sir Abel Barker (1618-79), 1st bt., and his first wife Anne, daughter of Sir Thomas Burton, bt. of Stockerston (Leics), baptised at Hambleton, 26 December 1647. Educated at Middle Temple (admitted 1665). High Sheriff of Rutland, 1680-81. He is said to have been a spenthrift, who 'enjoyed an active social life with the wealthy Lincolnshire gentry', which left the estate in financial difficulties. He was in particular a member of the Earl of Exeter's drinking club, the Honourable Order of Little Bedlam, which convened at Burghley House from 1684 onwards. He was unmarried, and without issue.
He inherited Lyndon Hall from his father in 1679. At his death it passed to his second cousin, Samuel Barker (1686-1759) (q.v.).
He was buried at Lyndon, 22 March 1706/7, when the baronetcy became extinct; his will was proved in November 1708.

Barker, Samuel (1586-1658). Youngest surviving son of Baldwin Barker (d. 1603) and his wife, Elizabeth Taylor, baptised at Hambleton, 1 November 1586. Perhaps the man of this name educated at Staple Inn and Grays Inn (admitted 1608/9). He was appointed to the Parliamentarian committee for raising money for the defence of the county, 1645. He married Dorothy, daughter of Thomas Dixey or Dixie, and had issue including:
(1) Rev. Abel Barker (c.1618-62); educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge (matriculated 1634; BA 1637/8; MA 1641); Dixie Fellow of Emmanuel College, c.1638-45; ordained deacon and priest, 1645; rector of Lyndon by 1659; died unmarried and was buried at Lyndon, 22 February 1661/2; administration of his goods granted June 1662;
(2) Samuel Barker (c.1620-76) (q.v.);
(3) Nathaniel Barker (d. 1669); educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge (matriculated 1631) and Grays Inn (admitted 1644); died unmarried, 1669;
(4) Jonathan Barker (1632-69); lived at North Luffenham Manor; died unmarried, 6 January and was buried at North Luffenham, 8 January 1668/9, where he is commemorated by a monument;
(5) Bridget Barker (1634-87); lived at North Luffenham Manor; buried at North Luffenham, 7 September 1687;
(6) John Barker (1636-75); lived at North Luffenham Manor; died unmarried, 2 November 1675 and was buried at North Luffenham, where he is commemorated by a monument;
(7) Dorothy Barker (1645-1711); lived at North Luffenham Manor; married, 28 February 1688/9 at North Luffenham, Wellesbourne Sill (1645-1725);
(8) Elizabeth Barker; probably died young.
He lived at South Luffenham (Rut.)
His died in 1658/9; his will was proved in the PCC, 15 June 1659. His wife's date of death is unknown.

Barker, Samuel (c.1620-76). Second? son of Samuel Barker and his wife Dorothy Dixey or  Dixie, born about 1620. Educated at Grays Inn (admitted 1637/8). He married, 1652, without his father's consent, Elizabeth (c.1619-94), daughter of Augustine Wildbore of Wigan (Lancs) and widow of Thomas Chaloner of Duffield (Derbys) and had issue:
(1) Samuel Barker (d. 1682); educated at Grays Inn (admitted 1670/1); barrister-at-law; lived at Stamford (Lincs); died unmarried and was buried at South Luffenham, 12 April 1682;
(2) Augustine Barker (c.1655-89) (q.v.);
(3) Elizabeth Barker (d. 1681); buried at South Luffenham, 11 August 1681;
(4) Dorothy Barker (d. 1686).
He lived at South Luffenham (Rut.)
He died in 1676. His widow was buried at South Luffenham, 18 January 1693/4.

Barker, Augustine (c.1655-89). Younger son of Samuel Barker (c.1620-76) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Augustine Wildbore of Wigan (Lancs) and widow of Thomas Chaloner of Duffield (Derbys), born about 1655. He married, 1685 (settlement 22 December), Thomasin (1668-1742), daughter of Thomas Tryst of Maidford (Northants) and had issue:
(1) Samuel Barker (1686-1759) (q.v.);
(2) Elizabeth Barker (1688-1748), baptised at South Luffenham, 13 March 1687/8; married, 10 July 1711 at North Luffenham (Rut.), Capt. Lancelot Dawes of Seaton (Rut.), and had issue two sons and six daughters; died 17 May 1748 and was buried at Seaton, where she is commemorated by a monument.
He lived at South Luffenham (Rut.).
He was buried at South Luffenham, 6 April 1689; his will was proved at Peterborough. His widow died 27 February and was buried at Seaton 2 March 1741/2, where she is commemorated by a monument.

Barker, Samuel (1686-1759). Only son of Augustin Barker (d. 1689) and his wife Thomasin Tryst of Maidford (Northants), born at Maidford (Northants), 27 December 1686. Educated at Wadham College, Oxford (matriculated 1704; BA 1707/8). A Hebrew scholar, 'well known to the philosophers and controversialists of his time', who wrote several learned tracts which were collected and published after his death (1761), together with a Hebrew grammar to which he had devoted much time. High Sheriff of Rutland, 1709-10. He married, 1717, Sarah (1700-91), only daughter of the Rev. William Whiston, and had issue:
(1) Sarah Barker (1718-1803); died unmarried and was buried at Lyndon, 8 April 1803;
(2) Elizabeth Barker (1720-88); died unmarried and was buried at Lyndon, 26 August 1788;
(3) Thomas Barker (1722-1809) (q.v.);
(4) Anne Barker (1724-80); died unmarried and was buried at Lyndon, 28 September 1780.
He inherited Lyndon Hall from his second cousin in 1707, but the estate finances were so strained by the burden of widow's jointures and provision for unmarried children that they were for some time obliged to let it out and live in London.
He died 14 March and was buried at Lyndon, 19 March 1759. His widow died aged 91 and was buried at Lyndon, 23 December 1791.

Barker, Thomas (1722-1809). Son of Samuel Barker (1686-1739) and his wife Sarah, daughter of Rev. William Whiston, born at Lyndon Hall, 1722. He seems not to have had a University education, but was described in 1750 as 'naturally prone to extreme abstractedness and speculativeness', and he applied his intellect in a variety of fields. He is best known today as a pioneering meterologist, whose accurate measurements continue to be of value to climate scientists today. He kept a weather diary from the 1730s and between 1771 and 1798 his meteorological observations at Lyndon were regularly published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, although he was apparently never a Fellow of that body. He also wrote on astronomical subjects, and published An Account of the Discoveries Concerning Comets (1757), and he was a regular correspondent of his brother-in-law, Gilbert White, with whom he had a shared interest in the seasonal migration of birds, among other topicsHe was also an amateur theologian who published three tracts, A Treatise on the Duty of Baptism (1771), On Prophecies Relating to the Messiah (1780), and On the Nature and Circumstances of the Demoniacks in the Gospels (1783), in all of which he expressed unorthodox views. He was, from infancy, a lifelong vegetarian or vegan, not from conviction but because he found that any animal products disagreed with him. He was a JP and DL for Rutland, but had a distaste for public life and never served, for example, as High Sheriff. He married, 6 January 1751 at Selborne, Anne (c.1731-1807), daughter of John White of Selborne (Hants) and sister of the naturalist, Gilbert White, and had issue:
(1) Sarah Barker (1752-90) (q.v.);
(2) Anne Barker (1754-1829), born 5 June 1754 and baptised at Lyndon, 27 February 1755; died unmarried and was buried at All Saints, Stamford (Lincs), 29 April 1829; will proved in the PCC, 14 May 1829;
(3) Samuel Barker (1757-1835) (q.v.);
(4) Mary Barker (1760-1831), born 16 March 1760 and was baptised at Lyndon, 8 July 1774; died unmarried and was buried at Lyndon, 15 July 1831;
(5) Elizabeth Barker (1764-1828), born 30 July 1764 and baptised at Lyndon, 3 April 1779; died unmarried; will proved in the PCC, 11 July 1828.
He inherited Lyndon Hall from his father in 1759.
He died aged 88 on 29 December 1809 and was buried at Lyndon, 3 January 1810; his will was proved in the PCC, 14 April 1810. His wife was buried at Lyndon, 30 September 1807.

Barker, Samuel (1757-1835). Only son of Thomas Barker (1722-1809) and his wife Anne, daughter of John White of Selborne (Hants), born 21 January 1757 and baptised at Lyndon, 16 July 1764. Educated at Clare College, Cambridge (admitted 1777). High Sheriff of Rutland, 1815-16. In 1817 he was described by a young William Henry Fox Talbot as 'a great mechanist', presumably in the sense of one who made precision instruments. He married, 7 October 1786 at Rushton (Northants), Mary (1760-1820), daughter of the Rev. George Haggitt, rector of Rushton, and had issue:
(1) Thomas Barker (1792-1802), born 27 October and baptised at Whitwell (Rut.), 28 October 1792; died young and was buried at Lyndon, 14 February 1802;
(2) Mary Barker (1794-1843), baptised at Whitwell, 16 February 1794; died unmarried, 13 June, and was buried at Lyndon, 17 June 1843; her will was proved in the PCC, 16 January 1844;
(3) Ann Barker (1795-1846), baptised at Whitwell, 21 June 1795; died unmarried and was buried at Lyndon, 8 January 1846; her will was proved in the PCC, 15 January 1846.
He inherited Lyndon Hall from his father in 1809. On his death the estate passed to his two unmarried daughters and in 1846, after the death of Ann Barker, it was sold by her executors to Rev. Edward Brown, his brother-in-law (and thence passed in 1862 to a nephew, Edward Nathaniel Conant (1820-1901)).
He died on 28 March and was buried at Lyndon, 4 April 1835; his will was proved in the PCC, 20 June 1835. His wife died in Kensington (Middx) about the end of December 1820 and was buried at Lyndon, 2 January 1821.

Barker, Sarah (1752-90). Eldest daughter of Thomas Barker (1722-1809) and his wife Anne, daughter of John White of Selborne (Hants), born 5 June 1752 and baptised at Lyndon, 1 May 1767. She married, 2 September 1779 at Lyndon, Edward Brown (1748-1841) of Stamford (Lincs), and had issue:
(1) Rev. William Brown (1780-1826), baptised at Uppingham (Rut.), 14 October 1780; educated at Wadham College, Oxford (matriculated 1800; BA 1802); unmarried; attempted suicide by cutting his throat, 10 March, and died of the resulting wounds, 16 March 1826; buried at Horbling (Lincs), 20 March 1826;
(2) Anne Brown (1781-1862), born 1 August and baptised at Uppingham, 15 November 1781; lived at Leamington Spa (Warks); died unmarried, 5 June 1862; will proved 7 July 1862 (effects under £30,000);
(3) Catherine Brown (1782-1847), born 8 September and baptised at Uppingham, 12 October 1782; married, 4 December 1817 at All Saints, Stamford, John Edward Conant (1777-1848), and had issue two sons (including Edward Nathaniel Conant (1820-1901), who inherited the Lyndon estate from his uncle in 1862) and two daughters; died at Twickenham (Middx), 4 April and was buried at Kensal Green Cemetery, 10 April 1847;
(4) Mary Brown (1784-1857), baptised at Uppingham, 2 October 1784; died unmarried, 17 November and was buried at Horbling, 24 October 1857;
(5) Elizabeth Brown (1786-1862), baptised at Uppingham, 18 May 1786; married, 27 August 1818 at All Saints, Stamford, Samuel Richard Fydell (1771-1868) of Morcott Hall (Rut.), but had no issue; died 16 January 1862;
(6) Rev. Edward Brown (1787-1862)baptised at All Saints, Stamford, 13 October 1787; educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1805; BA 1809; MA 1812); ordained deacon, 1810; Student of Christ Church; rector of Sheering (Essex), 1824-43; purchased the Lyndon estate from the executors of his aunt in 1846 and bequeathed it to his nephew, Edward Nathaniel Conant (1820-1901); died suddenly at Morcott Hall (Rut.), 16 September 1862; will proved 23 October 1862 (effects under £400,000);
(7) Jane Brown (1789-1870); married, 29 August 1826 at All Saints, Stamford, Rev. Robert Deeker (c.1796-1862) but had no issue; died 10 January 1870; will proved 26 February 1870 (effects under £120,000);
(8) twin, Sarah Brown (1790-1871), baptised at All Saints, Stamford, 1 October 1790; died unmarried at Exeter (Devon), 28 February 1871; will proved 10 March 1871 (effects under £160,000);
(9) twin, Thomas Brown (b. & d. 1790), baptised at All Saints, Stamford, 1 October 1790; died in infancy and was buried at Horbling, 29 October 1790.
She and her husband lived at Stamford (Lincs).
She died at Stamford, 1 October, and was buried at Horbling, 6 October 1790. Her husband died aged 92 'leaving an immense fortune' on 6 May 1841; his will was proved 24 August 1841 (effects under £400,000).


Burke's Extinct & Dormant Baronetcies, 2nd edn, 1841, pp. 36-37; G.E. C[okayne], The complete baronetage, vol. 4, 1904, p.23; A. Oswold, 'The Old Hall, Nether Hambleton', Country Life, 27 September 1930; J. Cornforth, 'Lyndon Hall, Rutland', Country Life, 10 November 1966; J. Cornforth, English Country Houses: Caroline, 1966, pp. 174-77; J.A. & B.D. Kington, 'Thomas Barker of Lyndon Hall and his weather observations', Rutland Record, vol. 2, 1981, pp. 58-68; Sir N. Pevsner & E. Williamson, The buildings of England: Leicestershire & Rutland, 2nd edn, 1984, pp. 474-75, 484-85, 507; N. Cooper, The houses of the gentry 1480-1680, 1999, p. 49; R. Ovens & S. Sleath (eds), The heritage of Rutland Water, Rutland Local History & Record Society, 2007, esp. pp. 153-71; H.G. Davies, 'Marriage strategies of Midlands "lesser gentry", c.1660-1820', MPhil thesis, University of Warwick, 2018.

Location of archives

Barker family of Lyndon Hall: deeds, estate and family papers, 1544-1933 [Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland, DG11, DE730]

Coat of arms

Party nebuly or and azure three martlets counterchanged.

Can you help?

  • I should be most grateful for any information about the ownership of South Luffenham Hall in the late 17th century, and the possible involvement of Sir Abel Barker in its design.
  • 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 5 August 2019 and was updated 4, 12 and 22 September 2019.

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