BARKER, Sir John, 4th Bt. (c.1655-96), of Ipswich, Suff.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



14 Dec. 1680 - Mar. 1681
1685 - 1687
1689 - 14 Aug. 1696

Family and Education

b. c.1655, 2nd s. of Sir John Barker, 2nd Bt., of Grimston Hall, Trimley, Suff. by Winifred, da. of Sir Philip Parker, 1st Bt.†, of Erwarton, Suff.  educ. Merton, Oxf. matric. 10 Feb. 1674, aged 18.  m. 2 June 1678, Bridget, da. of Sir Nicholas Bacon† of Shrubland, Barham, Suff., 1s. 1da.  suc. bro. as 4th Bt. May 1665.1

Offices Held

Portman, Ipswich 1685–Sept. 1688.2


Blacklisted by Anthony Rowe* as one who had voted in February 1689 against the transfer of the crown, Barker was nevertheless re-elected on the Tory interest at Ipswich in 1690. Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) listed him as a Tory and a supporter of the Court. He was unable to attend Parliament at its opening: writing at the end of February 1690 to excuse his having sent an agent to negotiate the sale of his timber to the navy, he described himself as ‘but lately recovered from a long and dangerous sickness’, which made him ‘very unwilling to undertake a winter’s journey’. On 21 Mar. he was still in Ipswich, but he had arrived at the House by 2 Apr. when he was nominated to an inquiry committee. The following month, on the 9th, Barker was nominated to prepare a bill upon the wine regulations. On 16 Dec. he told against Thomas Trenchard* in a disputed election for Dorchester. In the same month Carmarthen forecast that Barker would support him in the event of a Commons’ attack on his ministerial position. In Robert Harley’s* list of April 1691 he was classed with the Country party. He was appointed on 28 Oct. 1691 to draft a bill for the general improvement of highways. On 17 Dec. he was granted leave of absence for two weeks, his wife being ill, and in the following session he was again given leave of absence, for a week, on 3 Feb. 1693. He told on 24 Nov., probably on the opposition side, on an adjournment motion. On 15 Jan. 1694 he was once more given leave of absence, on this occasion for a fortnight. With his Ipswich colleague and fellow Tory Sir Charles Blois, 1st Bt., he escaped the Whig purge of the Suffolk commission of the peace in 1694 because he was a Member of Parliament. According to Edmund Bohun, who was no friend of his, he ‘should have been’ turned out ‘but for that only consideration’. On 4 Dec. 1694 Barker was nominated to prepare a prison regulation bill, and later in the same session, on 4 Feb. 1695, he told with Blois against imposing an oath on land tax assessors. On 6 Mar. he was granted three weeks’ leave of absence to recover his health. He was a teller twice more this session, on 13 and 16 Apr., both times against going into committee on the glass duty bill.3

Forecast as a probable opponent of the Court in the divisions of 31 Jan. 1696 on the proposed council of trade, Barker refused the Association and voted in March against fixing the price of guineas at 22s. He acted as a teller three times in February 1696: against leave for a bill to enable Quakers to affirm instead of swearing oaths (7 Feb.); for the Tory candidates in the Dunwich election (12 Feb.); and in favour of a Tory motion for an address to the King to postpone the assizes for two weeks (17 Feb.). Humphrey Prideaux reported on 20 July that Barker ‘lies in a very languishing condition, not like to recover’. Barker died on 14 Aug. 1696. ‘My worthy friend Sir Charles Blois’ was named as a trustee in his will.4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: D. W. Hayton


  • 1. E. Anglian, n.s. iv. 33; PCC 306 Pyne.
  • 2. R. Canning, Ipswich Chs. (1754), 52, 82.
  • 3. Add. 18986, ff. 473, 477; Bohun Diary ed. Wilton Rix, 103, 106, 121–2, 184.
  • 4. Prideaux Letters (Cam. Soc. n.s. xv), 181, 184; PCC 306 Pyne.