BARKER, Robert III (1563-1618), of Bildeston, Suff.; later of Monkwick, Essex.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. 1563, 3rd s. of John Barker, merchant, of Bildeston by Elizabeth, da. of Edward Bestney of Cambs. educ. St. John’s, Camb. 1577; I. Temple 1578, called. m. by 1587, Margaret, da. of Robert Coke of Mileham, Suff., 2s. 3da. suc. fa. 1589.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Colchester 26 Sept. 1597, later town clerk; j.p. Harwich 1601, Essex by 1607; auditor for the freemen’s accts. I. Temple 1598, 1600, bencher by 1602, reader 1603; serjeant-at-law 28 Jan. 1603.2


When Barker was made serjeant-at-law, John Chamberlain commented:

the world finds no other reason but that he is Master Attorney’s [Edward Coke] brother-in-law, or else (as one said) that among so many biters there should be one Barker.

Cecil, however, described him as ‘a grave and learned man, held sufficient by all and recommended by one whom the Queen knows’. His connexions with Coke no doubt led to his appointment as a magistrate at Harwich for which town Coke had obtained a charter in 1600. Barker was admitted to the freedom of Colchester immediately after his first election to Parliament for the town, and in 1601 he and Richard Symnell were re-elected ‘with one general consent of voice’. In 1600 he was of counsel for the town, and in 1603 the bailiffs, aldermen and common council voted him £10 towards his expenses as reader of the Inner Temple. It is likely that the references to ‘Mr. Barker’ in the proceedings of the 1597 Parliament are to Edward Barker. However, as burgess for Colchester, Barker might have served on a committee to discuss fen drainage (3 Dec. 1597) and another concerning fustians (4 Dec. 1601).3

Until about 1597 Barker lived in Suffolk, where he owned the manors of Ufford, Sogenhoe and Ufford Sutton, and it may have been he who was on the county commission of the peace 1597-1603. He inherited land in Manningtree and Wenden, Essex, and by 1597 had settled at Monkwick, near Colchester, which he had bought in 1592; he also acquired other lands in Colchester, Wivenhoe and Lexden, including the manor of Gosbecks. He died at Monkwick 5 Apr. 1618. His widow continued to live in Colchester, and most of his property was inherited by his elder son Bestney. No will or administration has been traced.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: J.H.


  • 1. Grange, Hist. Bildeston; Morant, Essex, ii. 592.
  • 2. Essex Rev. iv. 244; PRO Index 4208; C181/12; Essex RO, assize files 35/49/H4; Cal. I.T. Recs. i. 446; CSP Dom. 1601-3, p. 290.
  • 3. Chamberlain Letters, ed. McClure, i. 185; CSP Dom. 1601-3, p. 285; C. Hughes. Hist. Harwich Harbour ; Colchester recs. ass. bk. 1576-99, 1600-20; Essex Arch. Soc., Morant mss; D’Ewes, 567, 668.
  • 4. W. A. Copinger, Suff. Manors, vii. 276, 277, 278; Morant, ii. 462, 592; Essex Rev. iv. 244; C142/371/114.