BARKER, Scorie (c.1652-1713), of Grove House, Chiswick, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. c.1652, 1st s. of Henry Barker of Grove House, Chiswick by Anne, da. of Chaloner Chute† of Sutton Court, Chiswick. educ. M. Temple 1662, called 1675; Oriel, Oxf. matric. 17 May 1667, aged 15. m. lic. 19 May 1679, Anne, da. of Sir John Robinson, 1st Bt.†, of Milk Street, London and Nuneham Courtnay, Oxon., 8s. 5da. suc. fa. 1695.1
Freeman, Wallingford 1679; bencher, M. Temple 1691, reader 1693, treas. 1702–3.2
Of Berkshire origin, the Barkers had first established themselves in Chiswick in the mid-16th century, and by the time of the Restoration were one of the leading families in the parish. According to the evidence of his matriculation, Scorie was born in about 1652, but his marriage licence suggests that his birth came two years later. He derived his unusual Christian name from his maternal grandmother, Anne Skory, who had married the eminent lawyer and Speaker, Chaloner Chute. The family’s respectability owed much to their long-standing association with the legal profession, and Scorie duly entered the Middle Temple, thereby following the example of three successive generations of Barkers. Moreover, enduring family influence in Berkshire, most notably their ownership of the manor of Clapcot, facilitated his return for Wallingford in 1679–81. Although his father held a clerkship of the crown in Chancery, Barker was prepared to oppose the Court, voting for Exclusion. However, despite his success at Wallingford, he did not seek to regain a place in the House until December 1701, when he stood for Middlesex ‘singly upon his own interest’, and finished a lowly fifth. There were reports that he put up only to transfer his votes to another candidate, which may partially account for his undistinguished performance at the poll.3
Barker did not contest the county election of July 1702, but subsequently demonstrated support for the war effort by advancing £3,000 to the crown. In 1705 he emerged as one of the Whig candidates for Middlesex, and finished top of the poll. Lord Sunderland (Charles, Lord Spencer*) regarded his return as a Whig gain, while another parliamentary analyst classed him as ‘Low Church’. He also voted for the Court candidate as Speaker, and on 18 Feb. 1706 supported the Court during proceedings on the ‘place’ clause in the regency bill. Unfortunately, the presence in the House of fellow Whig Samuel Barker, Member for Cricklade, makes it difficult to delineate his Commons activity. However, in the first session he can be plausibly identified as the main sponsor of a bill to settle the estate of Thomas Gower of Edmonton, Middlesex. The politics of the Middlesex Member were far from obscure, since in 1708 two parliamentary lists classed him as a Whig.4
Barker enjoyed an unopposed return at the county election of May 1708, and proved an active Member, there being no possible confusion concerning entries for ‘Mr Barker’ in the Journals for that Parliament. Although selected for drafting committees for bills to give powers to the London commission for sewers, and to regulate the payment of seamen’s wages, he was more prominently involved with the management of a bill to relieve creditors of the Royal African Company, and, not surprisingly, with a land registry bill for Middlesex. During this first session he was classed as one of the supporters of the poor Palatines, and in the next voted for the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell. Further proof of his party loyalties came in February 1710, when he played an important role in drafting the bill to regulate select vestries within the bills of mortality, a Whig measure aimed at limiting High Church influence within the capital. Soon afterwards he signed an address from the Westminster commission of the peace condemning recent disturbances by Church supporters, and supported a similar volley from the Middlesex sessions.5
Having emerged as an opponent of the High Tories, Barker paid the price at the county contest of October 1710, when both he and his running-mate John Austen* were well beaten. He did not get another chance to regain his seat, since he died shortly before the next general election, and was buried on 22 Aug. 1713 at Chiswick. His will revealed a surprising distaste for dynastic honours, directing that his funeral should not be accompanied by ‘escutcheons, achievement, or anything else belonging to the useless science of heraldry’. His estate, which included gardens at Chiswick reputed to be ‘the finest in England’, passed to his eldest son Henry, who subsequently used the family interest to mount four unsuccessful campaigns for a county seat between 1715 and 1740.6
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Perry Gauci
- 1. PCC 201 Leeds.
- 2. Berks. RO, Wallingford statute bk. 1648–1766, f. 108.
- 3. Vis. Berks. (Harl. Soc. lvii), 64; VCH Mdx. vii. 76–77; W. P. W. Phillimore and W. H. Whitear, Chiswick, 251; London Mar. Lic. ed. Foster, 77; VCH Bucks. iii. 230, 549; Post Boy, 18–20 Nov. 1701.
- 4. Cal. Treas. Bks. xix. 338.
- 5. Add. ch. 76111, 76123.
- 6. Mdx. and Herts. N. and Q. iii. 159; PCC 201 Leeds; Phillimore and Whitear, 13.