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

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



14 Dec. 1680
1695 - July 1696

Family and Education

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

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, Suff. 1677-80, Suff. and Ipswich 1689-90; j.p. Suff. by 1680-d.; portman, Ipswich 1684-July 1688; dep. lt. Suff. 1685-d.2


Barker’s family had been in Ipswich from the time of Edward III. They represented the borough in several Elizabethan Parliaments, and achieved gentry status, acquiring Grimston Hall in 1597. His grandfather was nominated to the commission of array in 1642, but seems to have taken no part in the Civil War. His father was sheriff of Suffolk in 1654-5 and signed the Suffolk petition to George Monck for a free Parliament.3

Barker himself lived principally in Ipswich, where he owned a large house. He was first returned for the borough at a by-election to the second Exclusion Parliament in 1680 and retained the seat for the rest of his life. He probably opposed exclusion as he remained on the Suffolk commission of the peace. He was not appointed to any committees and made no recorded speeches in either this Parliament or the next. He was appointed to municipal office at Ipswich in 1684 under the new charter, and in February 1685 he was one of three who presented a congratulatory address from Ipswich to the new King. A moderately active Member of James II’s Parliament, he was appointed to three committees, including one on a bill to encourage shipbuilding. His answers on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws are not recorded, but they were probably negative, as he was removed as portman of Ipswich.4

In the Convention, according to Anthony Rowe, Barker voted to agree with the Lords that the throne was not vacant. An active Member, he was appointed to 39 committees, including those to consider new oaths of supremacy and allegiance, to repeal the Corporations Act, to prepare a bill for religious comprehension, and to draft an address thanking the King for his care of the Church. He made no recorded speeches, but acted as teller in four divisions. He opposed committing the bill for better ordering of English forces, and prolonging the use of foreign-built ships in the coal trade. He was appointed to the committees to inquire into the charges against William Harbord and the delays in relieving Londonderry. On 10 July he was the first Member appointed to a small committee to amend the excise bill in accordance with the debate. He was teller for a Tory amendment to the corporations bill on 23 July and for going into supply committee a week later. After the recess he was among those instructed to prepare charges against the late Treasury solicitors, to inquire into war expenditure, and to prepare a statement of the revenue. He was appointed to the committee on the bill to enable his youthful neighbour, Lord Hereford, to settle a jointure on his marriage. His last committee in the Convention was on the bill to impose a general oath of allegiance.5

Barker remained a Tory under William III, and did not sign the Association. He died on 14 Aug. 1696. His only son represented Ipswich as a Tory in the three last Parliaments of Queen Anne.6

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Paula Watson


  • 1. East Anglian, n.s. iv. 33; PCC 306 Pyne.
  • 2. G. R. Clarke, Ipswich, 57-58; E. Bohun, Diary, 120-1; R. Cunning, Principal Charters of Ipswich, 51, 82; PC2/72/654.
  • 3. Suff. and the Great Rebellion (Suff. Rec. Soc. iii), 128; Copinger, Suff. Manors, iii. 99.
  • 4. Copinger, ii. 340; London Gazette, 12 Feb. 1685; PC2/72/654.
  • 5. CJ, x. 142, 208, 233, 245.
  • 6. Luttrell, iv. 37; Prideaux Letters (Cam. Soc. n.s. xv), 184.