Wednesday, 21 August 2019

(388) Barker of Stanlake Park

This family can be traced no further back than Thomas Barker (1754-1815), a prosperous Birmingham linen draper, who retired in 1812 to what may have been a newly-built house at Ladywood on the edge of the city called Springfield House. Thomas married twice, although both of his wives were called Mary. By his first wife he had two sons, the elder of whom, John Fisher Barker (1776-1858) inherited the linen drapery business and later moved further out of the city, to Erdington (Warks). By his second marriage, Thomas had a further five sons and four daughters, many of whom had interesting careers. The eldest son of this family, Charles Barker (1793-1841) was given a classical education and sent to Oxford, where he took a degree. On leaving university he was appointed - no doubt through his father's contacts - as Master of the Bishop Vesey Grammar School in Sutton Coldfield (Warks), but he allowed the school to fail while using the income it provided to live the life of a gentleman. His three surviving brothers seem to have been more conscientious: two of them were solicitors, in London and Manchester, while a third became an eminent London surgeon. Our concern here is with George Barker (1795-1868), a solicitor who was educated at Rugby School and probably articled in Birmingham, perhaps to Thomas Whateley. He is easily confused with George Barker (1776-1845), a leading Birmingham solicitor in the second quarter of the 19th century, who was probably his cousin, and who later acquired Thomas Barker's house at Springfield.

George Barker (1795-1868) was in practice in London by 1825, and within twenty years he seems to have made a great deal of money. The nature of his legal practice, and thus the source of this wealth, is far from clear, but by 1845 he seems to have been in a position to retire from practice and to buy Stanlake Park as a country estate. His choice of this estate, which lay partly in the parish of Hurst (Berks), where another Barker family had long been resident, may indicate that he believed, or wanted others to believe, that he was connected to them, but any connection can only have been very distant and none has been traced. At his death, George left a substantial fortune of £250,000, which would have ranked him with all but the richest industrialists and landowners, and meant that he was at least five times wealthier than the average country squire. When George died he was succeeded by his eldest son, George William Barker (1831-69), but in less than a year G.W. Barker had died too, leaving his surviving younger brother, the Rev. Alfred Gresley Barker (1835-1906), as head of the family. Stanlake Park passed, however, to the widow of George Barker senior, Emma Sophia Barker (1799-1886), and only passed to Alfred after her death. Alfred, who was rector of Sherfield-on-Loddon (Hants) from 1863-75, bought the rectory, which he renamed 'St. Leonards' shortly before giving up his incumbency, and provided a smaller house in the village for his successor as rector. He also purchased additional land at Sherfield, forming a small estate around St. Leonards, where he continued to live after inheriting Stanlake. Stanlake was therefore let until after Alfred's death, when his son and heir, Lt-Col. Frederick George Barker (1866-1951) took the house and estate back in hand. Both Alfred and Frederick were keen amateur cricketers, but Frederick's first love was hunting, and Stanlake provided access to both fox and stag hunts. Hunting was a passion which he shared with his eldest son, George Cartmell Barker (1896-1945), who was killed in a hunting accident, and with his daughter, Effie Barker (1912-97), who was Master or joint Master of the Garth Foxhounds for thirty years. F.G. Barker and his family are several times described as a close-knit family, but his youngest son, Gilbert Welch Barker (1906-66), who was an art historian and novelist, seems to have had very different interests to the rest of the family. It was he who brought his friend, the novelist Angela Thirkell (1890-1961), to stay at Stanlake, and there are said to be echoes of both the house and the family in a number of her works. Stanlake Park was sold in 1952 after F.G. Barker's death, but there are living descendants of his two eldest children.

Stanlake Park, Hurst, Berkshire

Stanlake Park: view of the entrance front in the 1920s. Image: University of London/Victoria County History.
An account of this house is given in a post on the Aldworth family of Stanlake Park and Frogmore House.

Barker family of Stanlake Park

Barker, Thomas (c.1754-1815). Parentage unknown, said to have been born 8 October 1754. Linen draper in Birmingham (retired 1812). He married 1st, 1 February 1776 at Birmingham, Mary, daughter of William Thomas of Birmingham, linen draper, and 2nd, 1 March 1787 at Birmingham, Mary Lander (c.1761-1825), and had issue:
(1.1) John Fisher Barker (1776-1858), born 12 November and baptised at St Philip, Birmingham, 6 December 1776; draper in Birmingham; lived in retirement as a gentleman at Erdington (Warks) and later at Heavitree (Devon); married, 26 August 1806 at Southwark (Surrey), Maria (d. 1860), daughter of William Watson of Southwark, and had issue three sons and one daughter; died 24 November 1858; will proved 27 December 1858 (effects under £5,000);
(1.2) William Barker (b. 1778), baptised at St Philip, Birmingham, 25 February 1778; perhaps died young;
(2.1) Katherine Anne Barker (1788-1801), born 12 January 1788 and baptised at St Philip, Birmingham, 28 March 1789; died young, 15 February and was buried at St Philip, Birmingham, 26 February 1801;
(2.2) Mary Barker (1789-1862), born 22 January and baptised at St Philip, Birmingham, 28 March 1789; married, 15 August 1811 at St Martin, Birmingham, John Cox Dillman Engleheart (1783-1862) of St. Marylebone (Middx) and later Tunbridge Wells (Kent), artist, and had issue one son and four daughters; died Jan-Mar 1878 and was buried at Tunbridge Wells;
(2.3) Jane Sophia Barker (1790-1870), born 1 September 1790 and baptised at St Philip, Birmingham, 3 September 1791; married, 28 September 1833 at Naples (Italy), George W. Mylne (1802-73) of Cheltenham (Glos), advocate, but had no issue; buried at St Peter, Leckhampton (Glos), 30 November 1870;
(2.4) Charles Barker (1793-1842), born 31 January 1793 and baptised at St Philip, Birmingham, 7 May 1794; educated at Rugby (admitted 1805) and Trinity College, Oxford (matriculated 1811; BA 1815; MA 1817; BCL 1830); Master of the Bishop Vesey Grammar School, Sutton Coldfield (Warks), 1818-42, where his tenure 'heralded the lowest point' in the school's history; he took only classical pupils, but was an abysmal teacher and school numbers dwindled almost to the point of extinction; he 'lived like a country gentleman, using the school as his stately home, managing the school lands and involving himself in local politics', and even converted the schoolroom into a dining room, teaching the occasional pupil in the laundry instead; despite this, his cronies in the Sutton Coldfield corporation appointed him as Warden (i.e. Mayor) in 1836 and 1837; JP for Warwickshire; he married, 4 January 1825 at Edgbaston (Warks), Caroline (b. 1792), daughter of Theophilus Richards of Edgbaston, and had issue; he died 17 October and was buried at Sutton Coldfield, 25 October 1842; his will was proved 6 January 1843;
(2.5) (Thomas) Henry Barker (1794-1841), born 18 June 1794 and baptised at St Philip, Birmingham, 4 October 1796; solicitor in Manchester by 1826; died unmarried at Cheltenham, 31 January, and was buried at Holy Trinity, Cheltenham, 5 February 1841; after his brother Charles, who he named as his executor, became too ill to wind up his estate, administration of his goods with will annexed was granted to one of his creditors, 22 September 1841;
(2.6) George Barker (1795-1868) (q.v.);
(2.7) Francis Barker (1797-98), born 21 November 1797; died in infancy, 18 February 1798;
(2.8) Helen Barker (1798-1885), born 20 October 1798 and baptised at St Philip, Birmingham, 30 October 1800; remained unmarried and lived with her married sister in Cheltenham; died in Teignmouth (Devon), 3 January 1885 and was buried at St Peter, Leckhampton (Glos), 7 January 1885;
(2.9) Edgar Barker (1801-73), born 3 March 1801 and baptised at St Philip, Birmingham, 20 September 1803; surgeon; FRCS; consultant surgeon at St Thomas's Hospital, London; married, 20 September 1828 at Meldreth (Cambs.), Anne Mortlock (1805-91), and had issue four sons and five daughters; died 4 August 1873; will proved 12 September 1873 (effects under £35,000).
He lived at Springfield House, Ladywood, Birmingham, which was sold in 1820.
He died 25 April at Springfield House, and was buried at St Philip, Birmingham, 29 April 1815. His first wife was buried 16 January 1780 or 4 May 1782. His widow died in London, 13 August 1825.

Barker, George (1795-1868). Fourth son of Thomas Barker (1754-1815), and his second wife Mary Lander, born 22 November 1795 and baptised at St Philip, Birmingham, 4 October 1796. Educated at Rugby (admitted 1807). Solicitor in Grays Inn Square, London by 1825 (and not to be confused with the man of the same name who was a solicitor in Birmingham, for whom see ODNB). JP for Berkshire; High Sheriff of Berkshire, 1856. He married, 18 August 1829 at Cheshunt (Herts), Emma Sophia (1799-1886), daughter of Frederick George Prescott of Theobalds Park (Herts), and had issue:
(1) George William Barker (1831-69) (q.v.);
(2) Frederick Grote Barker (1833-54), born 22 January and baptised at St Pancras Old Church (Middx), 23 February 1833; educated at Trinity College, Oxford (mat. 1850); an officer in the 68th Foot (Ensign, 1851; Lt., 1854); unmarried and without issue; fought in the Crimean War and was killed at the Battle of Inkerman, 5 November 1854;
(3) Emma Blanche Barker (1834-68), born 7 June and baptised at St Pancras Old Church, 13 August 1834; married, 3 October 1866 at Ruscombe, Letabilière John Litton, barrister-at-law, of Dublin, second son of Rt. Hon. Edward Litton QC MP of Altmore (Tyrone), Master in Chancery in Ireland, and had issue one son; died of gastric fever in Dublin, 5 December 1868;
(4) Rev. Alfred Gresley Barker (1835-1906) (q.v.);
(5) Arthur Henry Barker (1839-48), born 2 March and baptised at St Pancras Old Church, 16 April 1839; died young and was buried at St George, Bloomsbury, 7 July 1848;
(6) Francis (k/a Frank) Barker (1840-43), born 31 May and baptised at St Pancras Old Church, 23 June 1840; died young and was buried at St George, Bloomsbury, 29 June 1843;
(7) Edmund Fisher Barker (1842-43), born 24 February 1842; died in infancy, 17 March 1843.
He purchased Stanlake Park in 1847.
He died at the Bedford Hotel, Brighton (Sussex), 16 November 1868; his will was proved 6 January 1869 (effects under £250,000). His widow died 8 December 1886; her will was proved 3 March 1887 (effects £10,909).

Barker, George William (1831-69). Eldest son of George Barker (1795-1868) and his wife Emma Sophia, daughter of Frederick George Prescott of Theobalds Park (Herts), born 8 August 1831 and baptised at Cheshunt (Herts), 7 January 1832. Educated at Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1849; BA 1853; MA 1857) and Inner Temple (admitted 1853; called 1857). Barrister-at-law. JP for Berkshire; an officer in the Royal Berkshire Militia (Ensign, 1853; Lt., 1854). He was unmarried and without issue.
He inherited Stanlake Park from his father in 1868. At his death it passed to his mother for life and then to his younger brother.
He died 10 September 1869; his will was proved 21 May 1870 (effects under £9,000).

Barker, Rev. Alfred Gresley (1835-1906). Third and youngest surviving son of George Barker (1795-1868) and his wife Emma Sophia, daughter of Frederick George Prescott of Theobalds Park (Herts), born 11 December 1835 and baptised at St Pancras Old Church (Middx), 21 January 1836. Educated at Trinity College, Oxford (matriculated 1853; BA 1858; MA 1860). Ordained deacon, 1860 and priest, 1861. Curate in Dorset and Berkshire, 1861-63; Rector of Sherfield-on-Loddon (Hants), 1863-75. He was a freemason from 1856. He married, 23 May 1865 at St John, Penge (Surrey), Agnes (1841-1923), second daughter of Rev. Comyns Tucker of Beech Hill, Morchard Bishop (Devon), rector of Washford Pyne (Devon), and had issue, with a stillborn son:
(1) Frederick George Barker (1866-1951) (q.v.);
(2) Violet Agnes Barker (1867-1935), born 17 September and baptised at Sherfield-on-Loddon, 27 October 1867; married, 7 May 1891 at Sherfield-on-Loddon, Douglas Burnett (1859-1922), distiller and vinegar manufacturer, only son of Charles Douglas Burnett of Fern Hill, Farnborough (Hants) and had issue five children, of whom three were stillborn and one died young; died 15 November 1935; will proved 23 December 1935 (estate £9,569);
(3) Frances Mary (k/a Daisy) Barker (1873-1935), born 16 April 1873; married, 25 July 1894 at Sherfield-on-Loddon, Col. Robert Henry Tilney DSO (1866-1927), later stockbroker, eldest son of Col. R.J. Tilney CB of Parkside, Liverpool (Lancs) and had issue two sons and one daughter; died 9 July 1935; will proved 22 August 1935 (estate £5,547);
(4) Emma Louisa Mabel Barker (1878-81), born 24 August 1878; died young, 13 January 1881;
(5) twin, Arthur Prescott Barker (1882-1973), born 7 December 1882; solicitor; served in Army Service Corps in First World War (2nd Lt.) and received the Serbian Order of the White Eagle (5th class); married, 21 November 1925, Beatrice Emma (1893-1982), daughter of Richard Durnford CB, and had issue one son and one daughter; died 24 September 1973; will proved 12 November 1973 (estate £18,735);
(6) twin, Rev. John Bramston Barker (1882-1969), born 7 December 1882; educated at Eton, Trinity College, Oxford (BA) and Wells Theological College; ordained deacon, 1906 and priest, 1907; chaplain to the forces in First World War; rector of Sherfield-on-Loddon, 1913-25, Stratfield Saye (Hants), 1924-44 and of Dogmersfield & Winchfield (Hants), 1944-53; hon. canon of Winchester Cathedral, 1941-69; married, 3 June 1914 at Scole (Norfk), Nancy Rosamund (1891-1964), daughter of Rev. F. Page-Roberts, rector of Stratfield Saye, and had issue one son (kia 1940) and three daughters; died 17 November 1969; will proved 18 January 1970 (estate £21,129);
(7) Lillian Alice Barker (1885-1944), born 10/11 February 1885; married, 14 December 1905, Rev. Herbert Edward Watson Steedman (1868-1944), rector of Steventon, 1901-30 and Abbotts Ann (Hants), 1930-40, but had no issue; died 2 December 1944; will proved 5 February 1945 (estate £18,998).
He inherited Stanlake Park from his mother in 1886. At his death he left property at Hook (Hants) to his twin younger sons and the rest of his property to his widow for life, with power to appoint the subsequent beneficiary.
He died 11 December 1906; his will was proved 28 December 1906 (estate £70,630). His widow died 3 September 1923; her will was proved 12 October 1923 (estate £16,021).

Barker, Lt-Col. Frederick George (1866-1951). Eldest son of Rev. Alfred Gresley Barker (1835-1906) and his wife Agnes, second daughter of Rev. Comyns Tucker of Beech Hill (Devon), rector of Washford Pyne (Devon), born 27 October and baptised at Sherfield-on-Loddon (Hants), 25 November 1866. Educated at Eton, Brasenose College, Oxford (matriculated 1886; BA 1891; MA 1894) and Inner Temple (admitted 1890; called 1894). Barrister-at-law on the Western circuit. DL and JP (from 1911) for Berkshire (Chairman of Wokingham Petty Sessions, 1931-44). He was an officer in the Royal Berkshire Regt. militia battalion, 1887-1917 (Lt-Col. commanding, 1909-17), and served in South African War and First World War (mentioned in despatches); he then went to France on the General Staff until 1920 and was appointed CBE, 1919. He was a member of the Thames Conservancy Board and a County Alderman of Berkshire County Council. He was keen on both cricket and hunting, serving as secretary of The Vyne Hunt for ten years and as Master of The Garth Foxhounds, 1928-31 (despite badly breaking his leg in an accident on his first day in the field as Master); he was also a freemason from 1889. He married, 17 July 1895 at Bramley (Hants), Lucile Mary (1872-1945), daughter of Cartmell Harrison of Bramley, and had issue:
(1) George Cartmell Barker (1896-1945), born 2 May 1896; educated at Eton and Royal Military College, Sandhurst; an officer in the army (2nd Lt., 1915; Lt., 1917; Capt., 1920; retired, 1930; returned to service, c.1939; Brev. Maj., 1943); Master of the Badsworth Foxhounds, 1934; married 1st, 29 June 1921 at Holy Trinity, Sloane St., London (div. 1935), Bridget Myfanwy Gian (1900-66) (who m2, 10 December 1935, Louis Philippe Mortimer de Carol de Moute, Baron de Moute (div. 1947)), second daughter of Edgar Lubbock, and had issue one daughter; married 2nd, 6 December 1935 at St Ethelburga, Bishopsgate, London, Irene Rachel MBE (1902-78), only daughter of Rev. William Heaton Elmhurst of Elmhurst, Barnsley (Yorks) and had issue two daughters; killed in a hunting accident, 23 October 1945; will proved 5 March 1946 (estate £929);
(2) Edgar Prescott Barker (1897-1986), born 19 July 1897; educated at Cheltenham College; an officer in the army (Maj.) in the First and Second World Wars; stud manager at King Edward Place, Wanborough (Wilts); married, 25 June 1931 at St Mark, North Audley St., London, Nancy (1902-97), eldest daughter of Alfred Allen Longsdon of Norman Court, Salisbury (Wilts) and had issue one son and one daughter; died 11 March 1986; will proved 20 June 1986 (estate under £40,000);
(3) Algernon Gresley Barker (1900-24), born 5 September 1900; educated at Eton and Royal Military College, Sandhurst; an officer in 60th Rifles (Lt.); died at Kuldana (India), 24 September 1924; commemorated by a monument in Ruscombe church; administration of his goods granted to his father, 2 April 1925 (estate £265);
(4) Gilbert Welch Barker (1906-66), born 28 January 1906; educated at Eton and in France; art historian and novelist; Librarian to St. John and Red Cross Hospitals Library Dept; appointed an officer of the Order of St John, 1956; lived at Twyford (Berks); died 31 October 1966; will proved 19 January 1967 (estate £49,356);
(5) Effie Lucile Barker (1912-97), born 16 February 1912; served with the British Red Cross in Germany after the Second World War and was one of the first to enter the Belsen Concentration Camp after its liberation; Master of The Garth Hunt, 1936-62 and merged Garth & South Berks Hunt, 1962-66; lived at Twyford (Berks); died unmarried, May 1997.
He moved into Stanlake Park soon after 1906 though he did not inherit it until his mother's death in 1923. It was sold in 1952, after his death.
He died 18 November 1951; his will was proved 6 February and 25 June 1952 (estate £68,688). His wife died 14 May 1945.


Burke's Landed Gentry, 1965, p. 47; VCH Berkshire, vol. 3, 1923, pp. 247-60; G. Tyack, S. Bradley & Sir N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Berkshire, 2nd edn., 2010, pp. 338-39;

Location of archives

No significant accumulation is known to survive, although some papers may remain with the family. Earlier records of the Stanlake Park estate will be found in the Neville family papers in the Berkshire Record Office (D/EN) and Essex Archives (D/DBy).

Coat of arms

None recorded.

Can you help?

  • 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 21 August 2019 and was updated 22 August and 19 December 2019.

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