BARING, John (1730-1816), of Mount Radford, Exeter, Devon.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



9 Nov. 1776 - 1802

Family and Education

b. 5 Oct. 1730, 1st s. of John Baring of Larkbear, Exeter, and bro. of Sir Francis Baring, 1st Bt.* educ. Exeter; Geneva. m. 24 Nov. 1757, Anne, da. of Francis Parker of Blagdon, 2s. 4da. suc. fa. 1748.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Devon 1776-7.


Baring, once the wealthiest cloth merchant in Exeter and co-founder with his brother Francis of the highly lucrative London finance house, retired from active participation in business in 1777, but remained a sleeping partner in the London concern until 1800. In March 1790, when he faced the prospect of a contest at Exeter, where he had enjoyed the support of the corporation in 1780 and 1784, it was reported that local contempt for his ‘pusillanimous’ abstention on the repeal of the Test Act might cost him his seat, but he narrowly retained it at the poll and survived a subsequent petition. Returned unopposed in 1796, he later admitted to having spent above £40,000 on Exeter elections over the years.1

For the first four sessions of the 1790 Parliament he evidently continued to support Pitt, as he had since 1783, but in 1795, possibly influenced by his brother, he began to vote spasmodically with opposition, doing so in favour of peace negotiations, 26 Jan., 5 Feb., 29 Oct. 1795 and 15 Feb. 1796, and for inquiry into the state of the nation, 24 Mar. 1795. Baring, who was marked ‘doubtful’ in the ministerial election survey for 1796, voted for abolition of the slave trade, 15 Mar. 1796, and for Grey’s parliamentary reform motion, 26 May 1797. No further votes are recorded in his name and he is not known to have spoken in the House. He gave old age as the reason for his retirement at the dissolution of 1802.2

Baring, a tall, thin man, known behind his back as ‘Old Turkey Legs’, was said in 1810 to enjoy a taxable income of £10,000 a year.3 He died 29 Jan. 1816.4

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: P. A. Symonds


  • 1. Add. 35392, f. 162; Farington, vi. 187.
  • 2. The Times, 28 May 1802.
  • 3. R. W. Hidy, House of Baring in American Trade, 9; Farington, vi. 187.
  • 4. Gent. Mag. (1816), i. 278; Burke PB gives 1 Feb. 1816.