John Barker, Lieut-Colonel, of Clare Priory (c.1748 - 1804)

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Birthplace: Gosport, Hants., UK
Death: Died in Clare, Suffolk, UK
Managed by: Angela Tugwell
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About John Barker, Lieut-Colonel, of Clare Priory

John was born Jan 1752 in Gosport, Hants., England.

American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) - Siege of Philadelphia, USA

The following is an excerpt from The King's Own Fourth Regiment history: "Tough winter quarters were endured in New Jersey in early 1777, where cold and boredom were relieved only by foraging duties and surprise raids. There were more engagements in New Jersey in June of 1777, but none were decisive so the army embarked to attack Philadelphia by sea - the so-called easy way to win a campaign and lose a war. The Lights played a key role in the advance from the Head of Elk in Maryland to Philadelphia in that summer and fall of 1777, skirmishing almost the whole way, ably supporting the Hessian Jaeger Corps.

The Lights were again in the van for the flank march in the near-decisive battle of Brandywine (11th Sept,1777). The hat companies of the 4th led the attack across Chadd's ford into the teeth of an American battery, but were lucky enough to avoid heavy losses. The next major action was at Germantown (4th Oct.1777), where the Light Infantry was obliged to retreat. Losses in our company were severe, sadly including several men who'd served since before the beginning of the war. The action ended in the usual rebel rout.

Periodic skirmishing went on through the winter of 1777-78, including one interesting clash in the snow in January, when the Lights were covering the rear of a successful foraging party returning to Philadelphia. The Americans pursued only to run into an ambush that ended in yet another costly rebel rout. Can you imagine setting an ambush and waiting for hours in the deep snow?

In 1778, the British were obliged to evacuate Philadelphia in anticipation of French intervention. The army successfully retreated to New York, defeating Washington's attempt to hit it at Monmouth Courthouse (28th June 1778)."

"General Barker and the Diary of Lieutenant John Barker"


(1776, 16 January John Barker was transferred from The King's Own Fourth Regiment to the British Tenth Regiment of Foot)

1777 In the middle of October, The British Army entered Philadelphia, where it set up permanent headquarters. .....

1778.....at the evacuation of Philadelphia John Barker was Captain of the (British) Tenth Regiment , the last to depart the City, having to cover the retreat. The movement was a hurried one, and his diary was left behind.

Colonial Society of Massachusetts, Vol. V, 1897 and 1898, published the following

"Much credit is due Miss Dana for her enterprise in securing this Diary and in ascertaining its authorship. In the winter of 1875-76, she attended a class in American history conducted by Mr. Hale, who urged upon the members the possibility of so utilizing the Centennial enthusiasm as to bring to 'light original documents that might be lying about in private families utterly forgotten. "of a committee to collect relics for the Philadelphia Exhibition. On her return, she called upon two ladies, the daughters of General Burbeck, an artillery officer of the Revolution. They said they had sent all their father's papers to Colonel Asa Bird Gardiner of West Point, who was writing a history of the American Artil- lery. They had nothing left, they said, but an old manuscript which was found among their father's papers and thrown aside as having no connection with him. This they allowed Miss Daggett to see and to forward to her cousin for inspection. It proved to be the very thing that was wanted, and gave great delight to Miss Dana and Mr. Hale, who, with the owner's consent, offered it for publication. Mr. Howells, the editor of the Atlantic, accepted it for the following year with the privilege of eliminating such portions as he considered unimportant. Miss Dana now purchased the Diary and prepared some explan- atory notes. She endeavored to learn more about the writer,

"....... later Miss Dana applied to the British War Office, and obtained information which left very little doubt that the writer of the Diary was Lieutenant John Barker of the same, King's Own, regiment, .........................................................................The best men from the whole regiment were selected for the Light company, and to be in that or in the Grenadiers was a special distinction. eight definite questions and sent them to the War Office for answers. After considerable delay, caused by their being sent to the King's Own regiment, then stationed at Gibraltar, the Office sent her very courteously two sets of answers, one from the Regimental, the other from the War Office, records. From these answers she constructed the theory that Lieutenant John Barker must have been the writer of the Diary. The fact that he was transferred to the Tenth in January was no objection, as the entries made no mention of the Fourth after that date; and the long blank alluded to was probably caused by his new duties as Captain, leaving him no time for writing. Barker's father died that same month of January, though he does not allude to it; but news travelled slowly in those days and the items are all very fragmentary toward the close of the Diary, which ends at Halifax 20 April.

"This unique story would not be complete without a final word concerning the elusive writer, whom we have at last hunted down and invested with a distinction in literature which he never antici- pated. Lieutenant Barker was the son of Admiral John Barker, who was third in command at the taking of Havana in 1762.

The son married Caroline, daughter of Lady Henrietta Conyers, whose sister, Lady Juliana Fennor, married Thomas Penn of Stoke Park, Bucks, son of William Penn, one of the hereditary proprietors of Pennsylvania. These ladies were daughters of the first Earl of Pomfret.

Lieutenant Barker, as we have seen, afterward became Captain in the Tenth and finally retired as Lieutenant Colonel of the Twenty-seventh, and in 1803 owner of Clare Priory, near Clare Castle in Suffolk.

10 April 1799 He married Caroline Conyers, one of many daughters of Lady Henrietta Conyers. They were married by the Reverend Edward Conyers (Vicar of Epping, Essex) in her Parish of St. George's, Hanover Square. He was mentioned as John Barker, Esq., (paymaster) of Chatham Barracks, Kent,. Witnesses were John Conyers and Augusta Sophia Feilding. (Source: Register book of marriages belonging to the parish, Vol.2)

Also mentioned in The Gentleman's Magazine, and Historical Chronicle, Volume 69, Part 1, under Marriages of Remarkable Persons, p.525, for 1799, "John Barker of Wentworth County, Suffolk, Paymaster at Chatham Barracks"

By Descent he inherited Clare Priory but was the owner only from 1803-1804.

['''Clare Priory Estate''' passed from Peter Colton April 30 1715 to Barnardiston Johnson, Esq., 4th June 1715 to Samuel Barnardiston, 20th June 1715 to John Poulter, Esq., 2 October 1718 to Francis Botelen, Esq., who on 29th June 1720 resold same to John Poulter, Esq.   20th June 1745 John Poulter died and bequeathed same to Admiral William Barker, from whom it passed by will to his daughter Martha Shrive (nee Barker) and her sister Lydia Sayer  from Joseph Barker Esq (her brother).  After Martha, the Estate went to her son '''William Shrive Jr. from whom it passed also by will to his cousin - this Colonel John Barker, son of John Barker (the younger brother to Martha]'''  

[source "List of the Owners of Clare Priory" and notes by Emily Hills, gr.granddaughter of William Barker]

1804 After his death,Clare Priory was then bequeathed to his widow, Caroline (nee Conyers) who died in 1848. Visitors to Clare's St. Peter and St. Paul Church chapel can view two hatchments dedicated to John and Caroline.

The Will of John Barker of Clare , Suffolk 06 December 1804 is at the National Archives, London, PROB 11/1418

Caroline (Conyers) Barker's daughter Caroline Barker married George Baker, and Caroline (Conyers) and the Baker family are recorded in the 1841 Census as living at Clare Priory.

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John Barker, Lieut-Colonel, of Clare Priory's Timeline

1748
1748
Gosport, Hants., UK
1799
April 10, 1799
Age 51
London, England
1800
May 24, 1800
Age 52
Clare, Suffolk, UK
1802
June 27, 1802
Age 54
Newport, UK
1804
November 27, 1804
Age 56
Clare, Suffolk, UK
????
????
Clare, Suffolk, England